The possible future of Hawley boys basketball

On the agenda for Hawley’s Monday school board meeting is voting on Nathan Stoa as the next Nuggets head boys basketball coach.

Ben Ellefson averaged over 24 points this season for Hawley. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Stoa would inherit a senior class of six with parts of it having gone 57-22 in the last three seasons, including Ben Ellefson. Ellefson averaged 24.1 points, 11 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.8 assists last season at center, while hitting 36.8 percent of his 125 shots from beyond the 3-point line. Ellefson has an offer from Augustana to play basketball along with offers from North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Wyoming, Air Force and Fordham to play football.

Here’s a look at Stoa’s resume:

- Graduated from Oak Grove Lutheran in 1999 where he played on two District 2 championship teams under Steve Carnal.

- Graduated from Concordia College in 2003

Coaching experience

Assistant coach for Shanley girls basketball under head coach Barb Metcalf.

Assistant coach for Ulen-Hitterdal girls basketball under head coach Jeff Schultz.

Assistant coach for Ulen-Hitterdal boys basketball under head coach Jason Cresap.

Head boys basketball coach at Ulen-Hitterdal. 4-22 overall, 2-16 in Heart O’ Lakes Conference.

Head girls basketball coach at Pine City. 64-123 overall. The Dragons 18-8 season in 2009-2010 was their only season over .500 since 1988-89.

Other coaching
Assistant baseball coach for Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal and assistant football coach for Ulen-Hitterdal.

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.



North Dakota Lions all-star BB rosters released

Below are rosters for this summer’s North Dakota Lions all-star boys and girls basketball series: The Class A and B all-stars play a two-game series with games being hosted July 15th at the Bismarck Civic Center and July 16th at the Fargo Civic Center. Tipoffs each night is 6 p.m. for the girls and 8 p.m. for the boys.

Class A boys
Grand Fork Red River: Chad Bartosh. Wahpeton: Jack Christensen. Williston: Jayden Fergusson. Bismarck Century: Robert Hutchins, Tyler Rudolph. Fargo Davies: Andrew Kozlowski and Tanner Kretchman. Fargo South: Colton Lloyd. Bismarck: Taylor Schafer. West Fargo, Travis Schock. Fargo Shanley: Patrick Strom. Bismarck St. Mary’s: Ben Weisbeck. Alternates: Hunter Cichos, Devils Lake; Jacob Hanson, Mandan; Bailee McLachlan, Fargo North; Noah Poss, Fargo South. Head Coach: Bart Manson, fargo Davies. Assistant Coach: Brent DeKok, Bismarck St. Mary’s.


Class B boys
Fairmount-Cambell-Tintah: D’Angelo Burns. Milnor: Wyatt Mund, Briton Bussman. Maple Valley: James Richman. Grafton: Garek Droog. LaMoure-Litchville-Marion: Brady Thielges. Munich-Starkweather: Lucas Dick. Four Winds-Minnewaukan: Hadley Smith. Max: Colton Schroeder. Westhope-Newburg: Hunter Braaten. Des Lacs-Burlington: Tanner Holte. New Town: Wayne Fox. Alternates: Austin Volk, North Border. Head Coach: Kyle Card, Fargo Oak Grove. Assistant coach: Mike Santjer, Rugby.

Class A girls
Fargo North: Kate Astrup. Bismarck Century: Jen Benz, Macy Lynch. Wahpeton: Lachelle Bumgarner. Valley City: Dierra Diegel. Bismarck: Keisha Englehardt, Courtney Trolliey. Fargo Davies: Brook Hildre. Mandan: McKayla Howling Wolf. Jamestown: Paige Peterson. West Fargo: Cassidy Thorson. Devils Lake: Madison Walford. Alternates: Callie Carlson, Grand Forks Red River. Allyson Friedt, Fargo South. Kaitlyn Langerud, West Fargo. Chelsea Peterson, Mandan. Head coach: Todd Magnuson, Minot. Assistant coach: Tonah Safranski, Fargo Davies.

Class B girls
Thompson: Shannon Galegher, Karleigh Weber. Hillsboro-Central Valley: Kennedy Henningsgard. North Star: Allie Heisler. Carrington: Kayla Hochhalter. Grant County: Ashley Werner. Bismarck Shiloh Christian: Gabby Wilkinson. Minot Ryan: Anika Rovig. Towner-Granville-Upham: Mattie Schmitt. Beach: Hailee Farstveet, Bailey Waldal. New Town: Baeleigh Brady. Alternates: Chelsey Anderson, North Sargent. Enderlin: Megan Johnson. Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter: Mariah Jangula. Kidder County: Sadie Rohrich. Abby Landenberger, Underwood. Karlie Schroeder, New Salem-Almont. Head coach: Julie Stewart, Minot Ryan. Assistant coach: Jim Petrik, Bismarck Shiloh Chrisitian.

West Fargo’s Danica Dutt to swim at UND

WEST FARGO – Five months ago, West Fargo senior Danica Dutt wrapped up her prep swimming career at the state meet in Grand Forks.

Next fall, Grand Forks will be the site where Dutt’s collegiate career begins.

Thursday, Dutt signed her national letter of intent to swim at the University of North Dakota.

“I really liked the fact that UND was close to home,” said Dutt, who plans to study elementary education. “When I visited there the team was very welcoming. It helps that I know quite a few of the swimmers there. I feel that, right now, I’d be in the middle swimming wise so I’ll have swimmers to push me and I could push other people too.”

Dutt was also recruited by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Bowling Green (Ohio), and Grand Canyon University (Ariz.).

Danica Dutt is a four-time state champion in the 100-yard butterfly. Dutt signed her national letter of intent to swim at the University of North Dakota on Thursday. Photo by Forum photo editor Michael Vosburg

“It has always been something I thought about,” Dutt said of swimming at the Division I level. “I have been swimming for so long so I thought I should continue on and swim in college.”

Dutt, who helped West Fargo to a second-place finish at the state swimming and diving meet last fall, is a four-time individual state champion in the 100-yard butterfly – an event she will swim at UND along with a sprint race.

Dutt also anchored the Packers’ state champion 400 freestyle relay last fall and finished second in the 200 individual medley.

“It has been exciting,” Dutt said of her time with the Packers. “Each year the team got so much closer and this past year getting second place (as a team) was super awesome. Having our relay team win was also really exciting for all of us.”

Minnesota All-Area girls and boys basketball teams

Here’s a look at the top Minnesota boys and girls basketball players from around the area.


Tyler Ukkelberg – Battle Lake – Forward – Senior

Tyler Ukkelberg (33) led Battle Lake to a 27-1 season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ukkelberg averaged 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Battlers with a field-goal percentage of nearly 59 percent. He also earned the Triple ‘A’ award in Minnesota for his work in academics, art and athletics.

The Battlers went 27-1 and were ranked No. 2 for most of the season in Class 1A with their lone loss coming in the Section 6A championship game.


Hunter Nickel – Park Christian – Center – Senior

Park Christian’s Hunter Nickel (right) led the Falcons to their first trip to state in school history. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Nickel was a walking triple-double for the Falcons, leading Park Christian to its first trip to the state tournament in school history. He averaged 14.6 points, 8.41 rebounds and 7.34 blocks a game.

His 219 blocks this season were the third most in a season in Minnesota high school basketball history.


Ben Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Junior

Ben Ellefson averaged over 24 points this season for Hawley. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Ellefson was a double-double machine for the Nuggets. He averaged 24.1 points, 11 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.8 assists for Hawley. He shot 48.1 percent from the field, 73.8 from the free-throw line and hit 36.8 percent of his 125 3-point attempts.

He’ll be looking to pass the 2,000-point mark next season for Hawley.


Cody Dorow – Moorhead – Guard – Junior

Cody Dorow was one point away from breaking the Moorhead single-season school record for points this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Dorow could fill it up. The junior finished with 688 points on the season, one short of Aaron Lien’s school record. Lien got that record in 26 games, Dorow scored 688 in 24 games for an average of 28.67 points a game for the Spuds.

Scary to think what he’ll be like next season.


Ryan Bruggeman – Pelican Rapids – Guard – Senior

Ryan Bruggeman was the MVP of the Heart O’ Lakes conference. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

Bruggeman was the MVP of the Heart O’ Lakes Conference and for good reason. He averaged 26.7 points, 8.7 assists, 8.7 rebounds and 3.2 steals a game for the Vikings this season.



Michael Strand – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Kyler Martz – Barnesville – Forward – Senior

Nick Trosdahl – Battle Lake – Center – Junior
Dan Marso – Battle Lake – Guard – Senior

Nate Lorenz – Breckenridge – Forward – Junior

Austin Rund – Fergus Falls – Forward – Senior

Daniel Nersten – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy – Forward – Senior

Matt Moberg – Park Christian – Guard – Senior
Zach Kvalvog – Park Christian – Guard – Sophomore

Tyler Glines – Perham – Guard – Senior
Hunter Salathe – Perham – Forward – Senior
Nick Bahls – Perham – Guard – Senior

Carter Thiel – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross – Forward – Senior





Monica Vega – Ada-Borup – Guard – Senior

Monica Vega earned all-state honors for her senior season. Michael Vosburg/Forum

There wasn’t anything Vega was incredible at for the Cougars, but there was nothing she wasn’t good at, as the backbone for section champion Ada-Borup. She led the Cougars with 11.6 points a game to go along with 3.5 assists, 3.9 steals and 2.7 rebounds a game.

She was named to the Minnesota Coaches Association all-state team.


Bailey Strand – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

Bailey Strand is headed to the University of North Dakota to play basketball. Photo by Joe Brown/Red Wing Republican Eagle

Strand averaged over 22 points a game, while shooting over 48 percent from the field, including 39 percent from beyond the 3-point line. She’s headed to the University of North Dakota to play basketball and was named by the Minnesota Coaches Association to the all-state team.


Brianna Rasmusson – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

Brianna Rasmusson led Fergus Falls to a third-place finish in Class 3A. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Rasmusson did everything for Fergus Falls, earning all-state honors along the way. She averaged 11.15 points, 8.74 assists, 6.28 rebounds and more than three steals a game for the section-champion Otters.


Mackenzie Korf – Pelican Rapids – Guard – Sophomore

Mackenzie Korf (ball) got career point No. 1,000 this season as just a sophomore. Photo by Chris Murphy/Forum

Before tearing her ACL, Mackenzie Korf was averaging over 25 points, along with seven assists, six rebounds and five steals, a game and Pelican Rapids was ranked in the top 5 in the state. After, the Vikings fell to a No. 3 seed in their subsection and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

The all-state sophomore scored her 1,000th point of her career just 18 games into her sophomore season.


Anna Monke – Fergus Falls – Forward – Senior

Anna Monke is headed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to play basketball next season. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Monke averaged over 14 points and eight rebounds a game for Fergus Falls. She was an honorable mention on the Minnesota Coaches Association’s all-state team and will play basketball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season.



Shaina Stevenson – Ada-Borup – Guard – Senior
Haley Gehrtz - Ada-Borup – Center – Senior

Holly Vancura – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Peyton Boom – Barnesville – Center – Freshman

Alison Beyer – Breckenridge – Forward – Senior
Katrina Dahlgren – Breckenridge – Guard – Senior

Jody Noreen – Hawley – Guard – Junior
Olivia Olson – Hawley – Guard – Junior
Mira Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Sophomore

Kristin Traiser – Fergus Falls – Center – Senior
Devonie Smith – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

Josi Tappe – Frazee – Guard – Junior

Breann Hogie – Lake Park-Audubon – Forward – Senior
Bailee Bartunek – Lake Park-Audubon – Center – Senior

Lydia Rutten – New York Mills – Guard – Freshman
Ellie Rutten – New York Mills – Center – Junior

Lincoln Haiby – Pelican Rapids – Forward – Junior

Ella Von Ruden – Perham – Guard – Sophomore
Maria Rutten – Perham – Guard – Sophomore

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.



Minot Ryan girls basketball team vying for title, No. 57

March 15, 2012 – That was the date the Minot Ryan girls basketball team last lost a game.

The loss – a 46-45 setback against Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock – came in the Class B state quarterfinals.

Since that day, the Lions have won 56 games in a row. Included in that streak was a 54-50 win over Central Cass in the 2013 state championship game.

Today, No. 1 ranked Ryan (27-0) has a chance to post back-to-back perfect seasons. The Lions play No. 3-ranked Bismarck Shiloh Christian at 8 p.m. tonight in the Class B state title game at the Fargodome.

A victory tonight also gives Ryan a place in North Dakota High School sports history.

If the Lions extend their winning streak to 57 games, that mark will tie the state and Class B girls basketball consecutive wins record held by Larimore.

Larimore won 57 games from 2002-2004 and claimed two state titles during that stretch.

The Lions and Skyhawks met during the regular season with Ryan winning 77-43 on Dec. 21. It was Shiloh Christian’s lone loss of the season. The Skyhawks have won 24 straight since the loss to Ryan.

Ryan lost one senior starter – Quinn Harmon – from last year’s state title team and brought back three all-state players in Hannah Stewart, Gabbie Bohl and Annika Rovig.

Stewart and Bohl are 6-foot-2 forwards and average double figures in scoring each game.

No player or coach on the team seems all that concerned about the win streak. When asked about the milestone in front of a group of reporters following Ryan’s 54-34 win over Central Cass in the semifinals Friday night, head coach Julie Stewart replied with a smile: “We are on a winning streak?”

It is obvious the Lions came to Fargo with its focus on winning another title, the consecutive wins record is just a byproduct of their success.

Team North Dakota roster announced for Badlands Bowl

It’s been four months since the final down was played at the 2013 Dakota Bowl, but the lineup of summer all-star football games is already starting to materialize.

Today, the Team North Dakota roster for the 2014 Badlands Bowl was released and there are several players from The Forum’s coverage area on the team.

The 2014 Badlands Bowl is set for a 7 p.m. CST kickoff on June 21 at the Biesiot Activity Center in Dickinson.

Team North Dakota will lineup against Team Montana in a border battle to determine football supremacy between the two states.

Players that made the roster from The Forum’s coverage area include:

Chris Ennen,  OL (Fargo Davies)
Jordan Hjelseth, RB/LB (Fargo Davies)
Tyler Trefethren, OL/DL (Fargo South)
Drew Fahrman, OL (Fargo South)
Dallas Raftevold, WR (Fargo South)
Joe Mehrer, OL (Fargo South)
Eric Bachmeier, WR, (Kindred)
Brady Thielges, RB (LaMoure)
Wyatt Mund, TE (Milnor-North Sargent)

Kindred quarterback/wide receiver Eric Bachmeier is one of several players from The Forum’s coverage area that was named to North Dakota’s roster for the 2014 Badlands Bowl. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Bachmeier is headed to North Dakota State. Ennen, Hjelseth, Trefethren and Fahrman are all headed to Northern State.

Team North Dakota’s head coach will be Barry Holmen of Minot. Assistants are: Wayne Werremeyer (Fargo Davies), Chauncy Hendershot (Minot), Rick Philion (Hazen), Funnon Barker (Shiloh Christian) and Cody Kittelson (Kindred).

More information on rosters and the Badlands Bowl can be found at:

Shanley’s Sarah Jacobson wins Gatorade POY honors

Fargo Shanley sophomore guard Sarah Jacobson is the recipient of the 2013-14 North Dakota Gatorade girls basketball player of the year award.

She joins a list of recent winners of the award that includes Hannah Larson (Bismarck Century, 2012-13) and Holly Johnson (Minot, 2011-12). Both Larson and Johnson won Miss. Basketball the years they were honored. Jacobson still has both her junior and senior season’s left to play.

Jacobson helped the Deacons to a 23-2 record and a North Dakota Class A state championship this season. The 5-foot-8 guard averaged 23.7 points per game at last weekend’s Super A tournament in Minot that included a 28-point effort in the title game victory over Minot High School.

Fargo Shanley sophomore guard Sarah Jacobson averaged 21.9 points per game for the Deacons this year. Forum file photo

Jacobson, who earned all-state honors as a freshman, averaged 21.9 points per game, 6.8 assists per game and 4.9 rebounds per game this season.

Jacobson also competes in volleyball and soccer at Shanley.

Oak Grove and Oakes battle to determine Region 1 boys basketball championship

It all comes down to No. 2-ranked Fargo Oak Grove (22-2) and Oakes (12-12) tonight at the Fargo Civic Center.

Winner goes to state. Simple as that.

Tipoff is set for approximately 7:30 p.m. and it will be a battle of teams that have had very different seasons.

Fargo Oak Grove’s Carter Kretchman has hit 10 3-pointers in the Region 1 tournament. Darren Gibbins/The Forum

Oak Grove started the year with a seven-game winning streak. In contrast, the Tornadoes started the year 0-7. Oak Grove lost to Shiloh Christian in OT – its only loss of the regular season. Along the way was a huge 73-72 win over then No. 1-ranked and undefeated Milnor. The Grovers had a setback against Kindred in the District 2 championship game, but have recovered in the Region 1 tournament defeating Lidgerwood-Wyndmere and the No. 3-ranked Bison for the second time this season.

Oakes has won 11 of its last 15 games and have gotten hot at the right time. The Tornadoes scored a 61-60 win over Kindred in the quarterfinals Monday and followed up with another come-from-behind victory against Enderlin on Tuesday.

Oakes junior guard Bryce Meehl scored a game-high 35 points for the Tornadoes on Tuesday in a 82-69 win over Enderlin. Darren Gibbins/The Forum

I’ve now seen Oakes play twice and I’ve covered eight of the Grovers games this season. After observing the teams, here are my keys to game for both the Grovers and Tornadoes:


1. Defense, a must have: Oak Grove’s explosive offense is well known, but the defense led by seniors Austin Promersberger and Nick Card. Promersberger is a “defense first” player and adds a different dynamic to the team. He also is an all-state defender in soccer. Card is good for a couple blocked shots a game as well.

2. Perimeter game:  When the Grovers get in a groove from beyond the arc they are tough to slow down. Carter Kretchman and Christian Adams are Oak Groves primary shooters from the perimeter, but sixth-man Isaac Olson and junior Blake Richards have proved they can convert 3-pointers as well.

3. Account for Ethan Zetocha and Tristan Meier: Zetocha and Meier combined for four 3-pointers in Tuesday’s win over Enderlin. Match that output with the contributions of Bryce Meehl and the Tornadoes quickly have an offense that can stack up with Oak Grove. If the Grovers cut off those sources of offense, it could be a long night for the Tornadoes.


1. Know where Carter Kretchman is at all times: This task is easier said than done. Kretchman has combined for 51 points in the Region 1 tournament and has hit a total of 10 3-pointers in the first two games. If the game gets out of hand in Oak Grove’s favor it will likely be the work of this 5-foot-9 sharp-shooting guard.

2. The Value “Meehl” Deal: On Tuesday night Bryce Meehl got to the free-throw line a lot – 22 times to be exact. Meehl hit 20 of those 22 charity throws and finished with a game-high 35 points. That is value. Meehl’s ability to drive inside is a strength for Oakes and they’ll need it again tonight.

3. Be within striking distance at the fourth quarter: In both of their wins at the Region 1 tournament the Tornadoes have had strong fourth quarters. Head coach Brandon Bata said that’s been a big strength for his team all season long and if Oakes hangs around, the final eight minutes could be very interesting.

Top 5 Area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Week 13)

Eli Beachy and the Yellowjackets will play for a share of the HOL title Thursday against Barnesville. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Barnesville hops back in the rankings with Pelican Rapids dropping out on the boys side.

Girls side stays the same, but Hawley is inching closer to Pelican Rapids.



1. Battle Lake (23-0)

This week: At Frazee Thursday

Battle Lake is the only remaining undefeated team in the state. The Battlers beat a 16-6 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy team 68-57 and a 16-6 West Central Area team 55-40.

A win over their fifth Class 2A team would cap a perfect regular season for the Battlers.


2. Perham (17-7)

This week: At Barnesville Thursday

Perham’s hopes for a share of the HOL title all depends on a win over Barnesville on Thursday. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

The Heart O’ Lakes Conference comes down to Thursday. The winner of Perham and Barnesville will be sharing the conference championship with Hawley.


3. Barnesville (18-4)

This week: Host Perham Thursday, at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal Friday

Barnesville answered a bad loss to Breckenridge with five straight wins. With the Trojans, Perham, Hawley and Pelican Rapids all in the same subsection, you can flip a coin to pick what team will head to the section championship.


4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross(19-2)

This week: Host Breckenridge Friday

The Warriors have two losses. One to a team from South Dakota and another to Battle Lake 71-32 on Jan. 7.

They won’t escape Battle Lake in the postseason. In order to get to a section championship, the Warriors will have to figure out the Battlers.


5. Fertile-Beltrami (20-5)

This week: Host Kittson County Central Thursday

Falcons look set for a subsection title matchup with Northern Freeze, which beat them 70-59 earlier in the season.

If the Falcons get by Northern Freeze, they’d most likely have to take on a Red Lake team they fell to 61-55 earlier in the season.




1. Fergus Falls (22-0)

This week: Host Brainerd Thursday, host Moorhead Saturday

Fergus Falls has a couple of Class 4A teams this week to test their undefeated record.


2. Ada-Borup (21-0)

This week: At Crookston Thursday

The Cougars took on the No. 9-ranked team in Class 1A in Win-E-Mac and beat them 53-36. They are nearly beating teams on average by 34 points a game.

A big test looms Monday (Feb. 24) against Pelican Rapids.


3. Pelican Rapids (18-2)

This week: At Barnesville Friday, at Park Rapids Saturday

Lincoln Haiby (10) and company will have to overcome a bruising loss to Hawley. Photo by Chris Murphy/Forum

The Vikings had their seven-game winning streak snapped in a 61-36 drubbing by Hawley. That goes down as the Vikings only section loss and makes the southwest subsection of 8AA extremely interesting.


4. Hawley (15-6)

This week: At Breckenridge Friday

Hawley coach Bill Gottenborg did what he does best. He adjusted and found a defensive scheme.

After losing to Pelican Rapids 59-37 on Jan. 14, the Nuggets topped the No. 5-ranked team in Class 2A 61-36. These two teams could meet with a chance to play in the section title on the line.


5. Verndale (20-3)

This week: At Sebeka Friday

The Pirates knocked off Browerville 78-70 on Feb. 18, redeeming their 76-72 loss to the Pirates in the season opener. That evens up the north subsection of Section 5A, as these two teams should meet in the subsection championship.

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

Top 5 Area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Week 12)

Tyler Ukkelberg (33) had 15 points and 15 rebounds in an 81-71 win over Pelican Rapids last week. Battlers are 20-0 and look tough. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Thanks to the carousel that is the Heart O’ Lakes Conference, Pelican Rapids swaps with Barnesville in the boys rankings. Battle Lake continues to prove itself worthy of the top spot.

On the girls side, Verndale and Hawley swap spots at the bottom of the top five and Fergus Falls wins its biggest game of the season.



1. Battle Lake (20-0)

This week: At Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Thursday, at West Central Area Saturday

Battle Lake showed exactly why they are 20-0 in their 81-71 win over Pelican Rapids, the Class 1A team’s fourth win over a Class 2A team.

The Battlers have four guys that can jump out of the building seen in 11 blocks between Tyler Ukkelberg, Dan Marso, Petric VanErp and Tony Ukkelberg. That length and jumping ability was also seen in the fact they won the rebound battle 40-29.

They can bomb from the outside, as they hit eight 3-pointers from four different guys and they have a post presence in Nick Trosdahl, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. This all against a 15-5 Pelican Rapids team that had won five straight.

16-5 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and 14-5 West Central Area won’t be easy, but, at this point, it’s hard to bet against Battle Lake.


2. Perham (14-6)

This week: Host Frazee Tuesday, at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Friday, at Little Falls Saturday

Hawley’s Dillon Omberg (4) nailed four free throws in the final 10 seconds to get Hawley the season sweep of Perham. Perham is 2-3 versus the top three teams in the HOL. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Perham is 10-3 in section play with the hardest schedule of any team in the Heart O’ Lakes Conference.

The Yellowjackets fell to a team that is becoming a thorn in a lot of sides in the HOL in Hawley. The Nuggets are 10-9 overall, but 7-3 in conference and tied with Barnesville and Pelican Rapids for the conference lead with Perham behind them at 6-3.

Perham is 0-2 against Hawley, 1-0 against Barnesville and 1-1 against Pelican Rapids.

At this point, flip a coin to see what team will make it out of the HOL and the southwest subsection of Section 8AA.


3. Pelican Rapids (15-5)

This week: At Hawley Tuesday, Host Breckenridge Friday

Ryan Bruggeman’s 36 points was not enough for Pelican Rapids against Battle Lake on Saturday. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Pelican Rapids picked up revenge on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, knocked off East Grand Forks before falling to Battle Lake last week. Won’t get any easier with Hawley Tuesday.

Pelican gets the nod over Barnesville for their 10-4 record in section play and Barnesville falling to Breckenridge, but the Trojans aren’t going anywhere just yet. Just like everything in the HOL, this could all change with one game.


4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (16-1)

This week: Host Sisseton (S.D.) Tuesday, host Ortonville Thursday, at Brandon-Evansville Friday

Senior forward Carter Thiel is leading the Warriors on an incredible season. Problem is they’ll have to top a Battle Lake team that beat them 71-32 in their only loss just to get a chance to play in a section title game.


5. Fertile-Beltrami (16-4)

This week: At Norman County West Tuesday, at Fosston Thursday

The Falcons had won six straight before losing to 18-1 Cavalier (N.D.). The Falcons look set for a subsection title matchup with Northern Freeze, which beat them 70-59 earlier in the season.

If the Falcons get by Northern Freeze, they’d most likely have to take on a Red Lake team they fell to 61-55 earlier in the season.


Knocking on the door

Barnesville (15-4): This should really be knocking on the revolving door thanks to the HOL. Barnesville falls due to a loss to 7-12 Breckenridge and because the above teams seem to be guaranteed a spot in their subsection title games.

At this point, it’s hard to guarantee the Trojans win their first playoff game. Pelican Rapids and Perham seem like a better bet….for now.




1. Fergus Falls (18-0)

This week: At Sartell-St. Stephen Tuesday, host Fergus Falls Invitational Thursday

The Otters have plenty to smile about after a 10-point win over No. 7-ranked Thief River Falls. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Fergus Falls had their toughest matchup of the season against Thief River Falls (ranked No. 7 in Class 3A) and still won by 10, opening the second half on a 17-4 run to take a 40-27 lead and winning 50-40.

Bailey Strand and Anna Monke had 16 each, Kristen Traiser had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Otters. Don’t see any team beating the Otters in the regular season.


2. Ada-Borup (18-0)

This week: At Win-E-Mac Thursday

The Cougars are beating teams on average by 34 points. They get 17-1 Win-E-Mac, which is ranked No. 9 in Class 1A, Thursday.

Ada-Borup beat Mahnomen 55-20 and didn’t have a player score more than Haley Gehrtz’s 11. The Cougars beat Climax-Fisher 70-16 and didn’t have a player score more than Lexi Merkens’ 14 and beat Hillsboro-Central Valley 70-58 and had five girls in double digits in scoring.


3. Pelican Rapids (17-1)

This week: Host Hawley Thursday

Sophomore Mackenzie Korf (ball) had 32 points against Little Falls, including career point No. 1,000. Photo by Chris Murphy/Forum

So much focus is on sophomore guard Mackenzie Korf and for good reason. She had 32 points 11 assists and six steals Saturday versus Little Falls and her final jumper gave her 1,000 points for her career.

What’s overlooked is Grace Forsgren and Lincoln Haiby. Forsgren had 17 points, six rebounds and three assists against Little Falls and Lincoln Haiby had 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 73-59 win over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

The Vikings become a more complete team with every game.


4. Hawley (13-6)

This week: At Pelican Rapids Thursday, at Concordia College (Moorhead) vs. Brandon-Evansville Saturday

The Nuggets are rolling. They’ve won seven straight and are 10-2 in section play, but there’s no hiding from Pelican Rapids. The Nuggets will have to top them to escape the southwest subsection of Section 8AA.

The Nuggets lost to Pelican Rapids 59-37 on Jan. 14. They head to Pelican Rapids Thursday.


5. Verndale (16-3)

This week: Host Bertha-Hewitt Tuesday, host New York Mills Thursday, at Wadena-Deer Creek Saturday

Verndale was close to dropping out of the rankings after a 65-51 loss to West Central Area and a 61-58 win in overtime against Henning, but the Pirates are 7-2 in section play and are most likely two games away from a trip to state.

The Pirates will most likely see Browerville in the Section 5A North championship. They lost the previous meeting 76-72 in the season opener. If they can get by Browerville then they are in the section title game with Isle and one win away from a trip to state.


Knocking on the door

Barnesville (14-3): Barnesville has a 58-56 loss to Frazee, a 49-34 loss to Pelican Rapids and a 53-44 loss to Hawley on the resume. The Trojans are 1-1 against Hawley and 0-1 against Pelican Rapids. Those will be the teams they need to overcome in section play to get to the section championship.


Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.