Local players square off when Southwest State, Gustavus meet in men's basketball

Nov. 6—ROCHESTER — It was just an exhibition game, but when Gustavus Adolphus College played at Southwest Minnesota State University in men's basketball last week, a number of area players were represented on both teams.

Southwest State features Jake Braaten, a sophomore guard from Byron; Aeron Stevens, a freshman forward and Plainview-Elgin-Millville grad; and Buay Koak, a freshman guard from Austin and a Pacelli graduate.

Last season as a redshirt freshman, Braaten played in 25 games and made 17 starts. The 6-footer averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

The Gustavus squad features sophomore guard Eli Wolffe, a Southland grad, freshman guard Isaac Matti of Hayfield and freshman guard Isaac Dearborn of Byron. Wolffe saw action in one game as a reserve as a freshman.

Until recently, freshman Kaiden Peters, a Plainview-Elgin-Millville grad, was also a member of the Gustavus team. He played in the exhibition against Southwest State, but is no longer on the Gusties' roster.

Stevens and Peters helped P-E-M reach the Class 2A state tournament during the 2022-23 season. Peters hit a dramatic 3-pointer at the buzzer to snap a tie and lift the Bulldogs past Lake City 58-55 in the Section 1-2A championship game.

Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys basketball coach Jason Herber recently talked to Peters about playing at Gustavus.

"He said he didn't know if he was going to stick with it," Herber said.

Herber said Peters had doubts about remaining on the team after being told he would have limited playing time during his freshman season.

"He just said, 'It's so much I just can't keep up with classes, I have to give something up.' I told him he was just a freshman," Herber said. "He might transfer to the U (of Minnesota) and finish out school after this year."

Peters is roommates with Logan Tuckner of John Marshall. Tuckner was slated to be a member of the Gustavus junior varsity in men's basketball this season as a freshman, but he also decided to leave the team.

Herber said the commitment to playing college basketball is a huge step up from high school, as well as the talent level. That means it's not for everyone.

"It doesn't matter, it could be RCTC, it's still great basketball," Herber said. "You have to be good (especially) if you're a guard. It's a lot different than high school."

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Freshman Tysen Grinde of Spring Grove has had his freshman football season come to an end at Dakota State University, but he might not be done with sports at the college for the school year.

Grinde, a 6-3 wide receiver, suffered a broken collarbone this season. He did not have any pass receptions for Dakota State, an NAIA school based in Madison, S.D.

Wade Grinde, Tysen's father and the boys basketball coach at Spring Grove, said his son is likely to join the Dakota State track and field team in the spring.

"He wants to try the decathlon," Wade Grinde said. "He's been studying up on it."

The decathlon features 10 events and emphasizes a variety of running, jumping and throw skills.

—Rochester's Aidan Jahns and Hudson Fix, both Lourdes grads, are also members of the Dakota State football team. Both players are freshman reserve defensive backs.

Jahns is also the team's starting place-kicker. He is 10-for-11 on extra points through nine games and 4-for-7 on field goals with a long of 36 yards. He has made two tackles this season and also has caught one pass for three yards.

Fix does not have any tackles for the 1-8 squad.

Guy N. Limbeck is a sports writer for the Post Bulletin. His Local Notebook appears each Tuesday. He can be reached at