Knights face tough road for turnaround

With eight games against teams that won at least 20 games each last season, the Irondale High School boys basketball team faces a tough schedule as it tries to rebound from a two-win season a year ago. Despite the daunting slate of games, head coach Jon DeMars expects a marked improvement from a year ago.

"We will be much improved this season," said DeMars, who is in his 18th season as Irondale's head coach.

This year's main lineup should include four seniors, three juniors and two sophomores. Four returning players who played significant varsity minutes last season are seniors Spencer Hofschulte-Beck and Ben Bookey and juniors Ryan Schicker and Uwana Etuk-Akpan.

Other players who should find their way onto the court for serious playing time include seniors Nate McGee and Isaac Ackerman, junior Kevin Schramm and sophomores Sonam Paichang and Sean Sutherlin.

Irondale opened the season last Friday against former North Suburban Conference rival St. Louis Park. The Orioles outlasted the Knights 68-60 thanks to nine players who scored points compared to only seven for Irondale.

Sutherlin led Irondale with 16 points, Etuk-Akpan added 14 and Paichang also reached double figures with 10. St. Louis Park's top three scorers combined for 35 points.

Next up for Irondale is a trip to North Branch on Tuesday before a brutal three-game stretch to open December. The Knights host Maple Grove, which won 19 games last year, on Dec. 2; travel to Osseo, which won 22 games last year, on Dec 5; and visit Totino-Grace, which won 23 games last year, on Dec. 9.

Other 20-game winners on the schedule include Robbinsdale Armstrong, Champlin Park and Mounds View.

"We have a killer schedule," DeMars said. "We will grow as a team throughout the season and expect to be a challenge for our opponents."

Brian Meyers can be reached at or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

2014-15 Irondale High School boys basketball schedule

  • Nov. 21 vs. St. Louis Park 7:15 p.m.
  • Nov. 25 at North Branch 7:15 p.m.
  • Dec. 2 vs. Maple Grove 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 5 at Osseo 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 9 at Totino-Grace 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 11 vs. Spring Lake Park 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 13 at Winona 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 16 at Robbinsdale Armstrong 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 19 at Anoka 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 22 vs. Centennial 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 29 at Hastings tournament Time TBA
  • Dec. 30 at Hastings tournament Time TBA
  • Jan. 6 vs. Park Center 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 8 vs. Champlin Park 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 13 at Blaine 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 16 vs. Andover 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 20 at Elk River 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 23 vs. Osseo 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 27 at Maple Grove 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 30 at Coon Rapids 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 3 at Spring Lake Park 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 6 vs. Totino-Grace 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 9 at Mounds View 7:15 p.m.
  • Feb. 13 vs. Robbinsdale Armstrong 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 18 vs. South St. Paul 7:15 p.m.
  • Feb. 20 at Park Center 7 p.m.


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