Basketball opponents remember Zach Kvalvog

Zach Kvalvog (10) celebrates Park Christian's first ever trip to state. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Zach Kvalvog (10) celebrates Park Christian’s first ever trip to state after upsetting No. 2-ranked Battle Lake. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The funeral for Park Christian’s Zach Kvalvog was Monday, after a car accident took the 18-year-old’s life last week.

It was said the happiest place for Kvalvog was the basketball court. He was the starting point guard for the Falcons since he was a freshman. He was a captain as a sophomore when the Falcons went to state for the first time in school history and he scored his 1,000th career point as a junior.

The Falcons were 16-10, 22-10 and 21-7 with a section championship in the three seasons Kvalvog was the starting point guard. They were 8-19 and 6-21 in the two seasons before Kvalvog took over at point guard.

Here’s what opponents said on social media and in interviews with the Forum about facing Kvalvog in his happy place.

 

Brett Maas – Norman County East Ulen-Hitterdal basketball coach 

As a freshman, Zach had the task of guarding (conference) player of the year Neil Henrickson early in the year when Park came to Ulen. During free throws, Neil would always come over to me and we would talk about the game and some strategy. In the middle of the game, Park was shooting free throws so Neil came over towards the bench to come talk to me. As I was going over adjustments with Neil, we looked over and Zach was basically standing side by side with us. Gary Walton, Parks coach at the time, must have told Zach to never leave Neil’s side. We both kind of just looked at Zach with this weird look and started laughing. Zach never flinched. He was totally immersed in the game plan. I will never forget that. The kid had absolutely no fear.

 

Daniel Lindgren – Mayville State (Enderlin High School)

 

Ron Ohren – Norman County West basketball coach

Lots of memories most of them bad for the Panthers. The kid never stopped hustling all over the court. I remember last year’s game at NCW when our point guard asked Zack, “Don’t you ever get tired?” and Zack calmly replied, “Never.” I remember playing them his freshmen year and I called my point guard, who Zack was guarding, over for a chat during a free throw and Zack came with him to listen to our conversation. Hated playing against the kid, but that is out of complete respect for his talents and work ethic. What coach wouldn’t want a Zack Kavlvog on your own team.

 

Cody Baumann – Fosston 

 

Kyle Haberman – Lake Park-Audubon basketball coach

He was a player your guys hated playing, but highly respected. I remember during our playoff game last year where he simply took over the game on both ends of the floor. He made you shake your head and admire how hard he was playing. Zach was the type of kid you could tell your players, “This is what it takes to be great.”

 

Ryan Bjerke – Fargo North 

 

Tyler Bormann – Breckenridge basketball coach 

He was a tremendous leader, as evidenced by his ability to set the tone for that program as a freshman, a tough task for any high school player, yet it appeared natural for him. He lead by example with his effort and toughness. As a point guard, he played beyond his years in terms of understanding how to make others better and being difficult to play against at an early age. If you’re a basketball fan, you appreciated and respected the way Zach played the game regardless of what team you cheer for. We (Breckenridge) left the floor better as a team having played against Zach’s team and he earned our respect both as a player and young man in the process.

 

Samuel Priem – Detroit Lakes 

 

Mike Clark – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton basketball coach 

Zach was the kind of player any coach would want on and leading their team. His work ethic and passion for the game was evident every time he stepped on the floor. He was as intense of a competitor as we’ll ever see, but played the game and treated it and his opponents with the respect and honor they deserve. He was a joy to watch and a challenge to game plan against. Just an all-around great player.

 

Matt Bye – Moorhead 

 

Gregg Preston – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy basketball coach

The news about the Kvalvog boys was completely gut-wrenching. I appreciated Zach’s energy, enthusiasm, hard work, competitiveness, and the overall excitement and life that he brought into a gym and a game by his presence. Personally, he was a player that always was willing to talk after the game, whether he won or lost and it was apparent that the basketball relationships he built in his years as a high school basketball player extended well beyond the Fargo-Moorhead area. We are hurting with and praying for the  family, friends, and our brothers and sisters at Park Christian

 

Shayne Dauenhauer – Fargo Shanley 

 

Todd Henrickson – Barnesville basketball coach 

What I remember of Zach as a freshman was the tenacity with which he played. Although he was not big in stature, he more than made up for it through heart and desire. We had solid guards that year and he made things very difficult for us. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor and worked extremely hard. He did a great job running their offense and setting his teammates up. It was also difficult to rattle him. I remember showing different defensive looks which seemed to have little or no affect on him. The program may have said he was a freshman, however, he sure did not play like one.

 

John Gullingsrud – Pelican Rapids basketball coach

I think the best word that comes to mind when I think about Zach Kvalvog, as a basketball player, is relentless. He would go all out on both ends of the floor for the entire game and would never let up. When a team’s best player has that type of attitude and work ethic, it rubs off on the rest of his teammates and the whole team follows suit, which is what we would see when we played Park Christian. That is why he was such a good leader. He led not only with words but with his actions. As a coach, opponent, or basketball fan in the stands, you couldn’t help but respect the way he played the game.

 

Neil Steffes – Fertile-Beltrami

He was a very intense competitor, hard worker, great leader and he was a player who you hated when you were playing against him, but you wanted him on your team because he wanted to win and would do anything to get the win.

 

 

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

Rosters released for the North Dakota Lions All-Star boys and girls basketball series

FARGO – Below are the rosters for the upcoming North Dakota Lions All-Star boys and girls basketball series. Games will be 6 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday July 14 in Bismarck and July 15 in Fargo. Girls games will be at 6 p.m. and boys at 8 p.m. both nights.

Boys
Class A
Dakota Halvorson, G, Minot; Noah Bosh, F, Minot; Justin Fleck, G, Bismarck; Riley Henderson, F, Bismarck Century; Nathan Martin, F, Turtle Mountain-Belcourt; Nick Fuchs, G, Jamestown; Blaze Irwin, F, Wahpeton; Thomas Nelson, F, Wahpeton; Jared Lentz, F, Valley City; Collin Larson, G, Fargo Davies; Melvin Collins, F, West Fargo; Shayden Keplin, G; Grand Forks Red River. Alternates: Justin Fenster, F, Mandan; Matt Wolbaum, G, Fargo Shanley. Head coach: Dean Winczewski, Minot. Assistant coach: Darrin Mattern, Bismarck Century.

Class B
Christian Adams, G, Fargo Oak Grove; Carter Kretchman, G, Fargo Oak Grove; Brock Robbins, G, Cavalier; Jonathon Purintun, G, Linton-HMB; Adam White, F, Ellendale; Christian Kvilvang, F, North Star; Trayvon McKay, G, Four Winds Minnewaukan; Andrew Hartman, F, Bismarck Shiloh Christian; Brad Heidlebaugh, F, Rugby; Austin Lee, G, Lewis & Clark-Berthold; Zach Miller, F, Rugby; Daniel Prince, G, New England. Alternates: Ethan Brown, F, Cavalier; Jace Pederson, G, Hatton-Northwood; Alex Weston, F, North Star; Tanner Bernhardt, G, Rugby; Jett Hettich, G, Beulah; Cole Wilhelmi, G, Dickinson Trinity; Darryl Grady, F, New Town. Head coach: Mike Santjer, Rugby. Assistant coach: Rick Smith, Four Winds-Minnewaukan.

Girls
Class A
Jordyn Jossart, G, Bismarck Century; Cassidy Wilhelm, G, Bismarck Century; Sierra Dutternhefer, F, Minot; Sophie Bengson, G, Minot; Alexis Klabo, F, Fargo Davies; Jackie Day, F, fargo Shanley; Nya Chakin, C, Fargo South; Alison Enno, G, West Fargo; Mckayla Peltier, F, Turtle Mountain-Belcourt; Erika Differeding, F, Wahpeton; Alexa Hutzenbiler, F, Bismarck St. Mary’s; Emily Bendish, F, Mandan. Head coach: Ron Metz, Bismarck Century. Assistant coach: Kent Ripplinger, Grand Forks Red River.

Class B
Alexis Piatz, G, Kindred; hannah Schlecht, G, Sargent Central; Mackenzie Irwin, G, Midway-Minto; Fallyn Freije, F, Lakota-Edmore; Alli Vandal, G, Rolla; Mia Wilkinson, F, Bismarck Shiloh Christian; Gabbie Bohl, F, Minot Ryan. Madison Erickson, F, Lewis & Clark-Berthold; Madison Wald, G, Minot Ryan; Hannah Jacobs, G, Divide County. Cheyenne Packineau, F, Parshall; Michelle Risan, G, Parshall. Alternates: Helen Schuster, G, Midway-Minto; Brooke Rosenau, G, Carrington; Ariana Zook, G, Bowman County. Head coach: Julie Stewart, Minot Ryan. Assistant coach: Perry Piatz, Kindred.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM

 

 

2014-15 Minnesota All-Area girls basketball team

Here’s a look at the top Minnesota girls basketball players from the area for the 2014-15 season.

 

ALL-AREA TEAM

Sam Haiby – Moorhead – Guard – Freshman

Moorhead freshman Sam Haiby is getting looks from a lot of colleges including the University of Minnesota and North Carolina. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Moorhead freshman Sam Haiby is getting looks from a lot of colleges, including the University of Minnesota and North Carolina. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

There’s a reason colleges are looking at Sam Haiby. She’s just a freshman and there’s not much she can’t do on a basketball court.

In her first year starting for the Spuds, Haiby averaged 20.7 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals a game. She shot 41 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line.

Her assist-to-turnover ratio was more than 2-to-1.

 

 

Mackenzie Korf – Pelican Rapids –  Guard –  Junior

Mackenzie Korf picked up right where she left off before tearing her ACL last season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Mackenzie Korf picked up right where she left off before tearing her ACL last season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Mackenzie Korf averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game this season for 19-9 Pelican Rapids, while shooting nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line.

Not bad considering she tore her ACL last February. The picture above was the only real way to guard Korf.

 

 

Mira Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Junior

Hawley junior Mira Ellefson (left) averaged 18.3 points a game this season for Hawley. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Hawley junior Mira Ellefson (left) averaged 18.3 points a game this season for Hawley. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

She’s got the size of a power forward, but can handle the ball like a point guard. She can shoot, she can drive, she can work in the post. Hawley’s Mira Ellefson did it all for the Nuggets.

Ellefson averaged 18.3 points and 8.08 rebounds this season. She shot 54 percent from the field, hit 27 of her 66 (40.9 percent) of her 3-point attempts and shot 77.7 percent from the free-throw line. Ellefson also averaged 2.62 steals and 2.62 assists to go along with one block a game.

 

 

Lexi Merkens – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior

Ada-Borup was the leader of No. 1-ranked Ada-Borup all season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ada-Borup was the leader of No. 1-ranked Ada-Borup all season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Lexi Merkens was the No. 1 player on the No. 1 team in Class 1A in Ada-Borup.

Everything down low belonged to Merkens. Every rebound, every point, every defensive stop.

She averaged nearly 15 points and more than five rebounds a game. She shot 45 percent from the field and hit 47 of her 134 (35 percent) attempts from 3-point land.

She could score down low or beyond the 3-point arc and averaged 3.62 assists and 2.55 steals a game.

In the state tournament, Merkens had seven points, eight assists and nine rebounds in the quarterfinals, 12 points in the semifinals and a double-double in the state championship with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to lead the Cougars to a state title.

 

 

Shay Nielsen –  Detroit Lakes –  Center – Senior

Detroit Lakes' Shay Nielsen (right) averaged a double-double this season for DL. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Detroit Lakes’ Shay Nielsen (right) averaged a double-double this season for DL. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Shay Nielsen averaged 18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds this season for Detroit Lakes. The senior shot 51.4 percent from the field and 74.6 percent at the free-throw line.

Nielsen was a finalist for Minnesota Miss Basketball award and is headed to the University of Minnesota for shot put.

 

 

FIRST OFF THE BENCH

Lincoln Haiby – Pelican Rapids – Forward – Senior

Pelican Rapids' senior Lincoln Haiby (ball) averaged nearly a double-double this season for the Vikings. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Pelican Rapids’ senior Lincoln Haiby (ball) averaged nearly a double-double this season for the Vikings. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Lincoln Haiby averaged 14.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game for Pelican Rapids to go along with two assists and 1.9 steals a game. The senior shot 76.3 percent from the free-throw line as well.

 

Jody Noreen – Hawley – Guard – Senior

Jody Noreen was the floor general for Hawley this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Jody Noreen was the floor general for Hawley this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Stats will never show what Jody Noreen has meant to the Hawley basketball program, but the oddity in seeing someone else bring up the ball next season will.

Noreen has seemingly been the point guard and floor general for the Nuggets forever. She averaged 7.96 points, 4.07 assists, 2.81 rebounds and 2.46 steals a game this season for the Nuggets. She had one turnover for every three assists.

She played some of the best defense in the area, dove for loose balls and it’s hard to find someone who got more excited for every point than Noreen. Every intangible a coach could want, Noreen had.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Haley Poehler – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior
Lexi Nelson – Ada-Borup – Guard – Junior
Miki Lee – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior

Alli Skogen – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Nicole Herbranson – Barnesville – Guard – Freshman
Peyton Boom – Barnesville – Center – Sophomore

Emily Friedrich – Brandon-Evansville – Center – Senior

Kyley Foster – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior

Alyson Brenna – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton – Forward – Junior
Natalie Steichen – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton – Guard – Freshman

Josi Tappe – Frazee – Guard – Senior
Kennady Barlund – Frazee – Forward – Senior

Olivia Olson – Hawley – Guard – Senior

Brooke Tonsfeldt – Moorhead – Forward – Sophomore

Lydia Rutten – New York Mills – Guard – Sophomore

Haley Henrickson – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal – Guard – Senior

Katie Klein – Park Rapids – Guard – Senior

Megan Swedberg – Waubun – Center – Junior

Shania Glenz – Verndale – Guard – Sophomore

Hannah Gail – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross –  Center – Sophomore
Jordan Stafford – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross – Guard – Junior

 

 

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

Rugby and Oak Grove to meet in Class B semifinals tonight

BISMARCK – The rematch is set.

No. 1 ranked Rugby and No. 4-ranked Fargo Oak Grove will play tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the North Dakota Class B boys basketball state semifinals.

A year ago, the Grovers and Panthers needed overtime to decide who would win the 2014 Class B state title.

Both teams return standouts that were featured players in the title game a year ago.

Two of those players are now finalists for the North Dakota Mr. Basketball award – Rugby’s Brad Heidlebaugh and Oak Grove’s Carter Kretchman.

Kretchman is averaging 18.5 points and 6.2 assists per game for the Grovers and received tournament MVP honors a year ago after scoring 36 points in the state championship game. Kretchman was 5-for-7 from beyond the arc and 11-for-11 from the free throw line in the title game a year ago.

Heidlebaugh is an all-around athlete and is playing football next fall at the University of North Dakota.

The 6-foot-4 forward is averaging 20.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Panthers. Heidlebaugh scored 24 points in the state championship game a year ago.

“That’s a great team we are playing (today) and I’m sure they will be hungry to play us,” Fargo Oak Grove senior guard Christian Adams said.  “It should be a great game.”

Both teams looked good Thursday in the quarterfinals and Rugby actually jumped out to a 29-6 lead over Parshall in the first quarter without Heidlebaugh ever taking a shot.

“They looked really good,” Oak Grove head coach Kyle Card said. “It is going to be a battle and is going to be exciting. We will see what happens.”

Adams averages 20.9 points per game and the Panthers will need to at least try to keep him at bay on top of the tough assignment of containing Kretchman. If Adams scored 29 like he did against May-Port-CG on Thursday it could spell disaster for the Panthers.

On the flip side Rugby will need to take advantage of their size against the Grovers. Three of Rugby’s five starters are 6-foot-3 or taller. Oak Grove only has one 6-3 starter in Isaac Olson.

Rugby’s success could be trying to slow the game down and distribute the ball in the paint.

Bottom line is tonight’s game has the potential to be a classic Class B tournament game and the fact that it comes in the semifinals only adds to the intrigue.

Kretchman named Gatorade Player of the Year

Fargo Oak Grove senior point guard Carter Kretchman was named North Dakota’s Gatorade Player of the Year for boys basketball on Friday.

Kretchman, 5-foot-9, averages 18.5 points and 6.2 assists per game for the Grovers. He has helped lead Oak Grove to back-to-back North Dakota Class B state tournament appearances including a state championship in 2014.

Kretchman is a finalist for the North Dakota Mr. Basketball award, which is awarded Saturday following the conclusion of the Class B state championship.

The Grovers standout is now a finalist for the National Gatorade Player of the Year award, which is awarded later this month. Kretchman is undecided on his college choice.

Kretchman’s brother, Tanner, won North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year honors a year ago playing for Fargo Davies.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM

INSIDE THE MATCHUP: Fargo Oak Grove vs. May-Port-CG (Class B boys BB)

FARGO – The North Dakota Class B boys basketball state tournament tips off at the Bismarck Event Center on Thursday. I’ll be in Bismarck to cover the Class B boys basketball tournament for the first time since I took over the North Dakota prep sports beat at The Forum. Since the tournament transitioned back to being the last basketball tournament of the season it no longer conflicts with the Class A East Region boys and girls basketball tournament coverage freeing me up to cover it this year. I’m looking forward to it.

No. 4-ranked Fargo Oak Grove, May-Port-CG and LaMoure-Litchville-Marion are the three teams that are in The Forum’s greater metro coverage area so look for previews on those teams in the print editions this week. Today’s edition includes a preview on Oak Grove and its senior trio of Carter Kretchman, Christian Adams and Isaac Olson who average double-figures in scoring. The Tuesday edition of the Forum also has a feature on May-Port-CG by the Grand Forks Herald writer Greg DeVillers.

Fargo Oak Grove seniors Christian Adams (34), Carter Kretchman (10), Isaac Olson (44) all average double figures in scoring for the Grovers. Photo by David Samson / The Forum

Fargo Oak Grove seniors Christian Adams (34), Carter Kretchman (10), Isaac Olson (44) all average double figures in scoring for the Grovers. Photo by David Samson / The Forum

May-Port-CG and Oak Grove play at 2:45 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.

This blog post will go inside the matchup between the Grovers and Patriots.

Here is a look at both teams:

FARGO OAK GROVE

COACH: Kyle Card
RECORD: 21-4, Region 1 champions (No. 3 seed at state tournament)
STATE TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The Grovers are making their 11th state tournament appearance in program history. Oak Grove has won three state titles 1969, 2000 and 2014.
STARTING LINEUP: Carter Kretchman, Sr., G (18.5 points per game, 6.2 assists per game, 49 3-pointers made, 84.5% FTs); Christian Adams, Sr., G (20.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg); Isaac Olson, Sr., F (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg); Blake Richards, Sr. G (8.2 ppg, 43 3-pointers); Luke Teigen, Sr., F (2.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
OAK GROVE FACTS: Defending Class B state champion Oak Grove only lost one game to a North Dakota team – a 77-76 double overtime loss to Northern Cass in Hunter, N.D. on Jan. 13. … The Grovers’ other three losses were to Hawley, Barnesville and Fergus Falls Hillcrest. … Oak Grove averages 75.0 points per game – second most in the eight-team tournament field, second only to No. 1-seed Four Winds-Minnewaukan (81.0 ppg).

MAY-PORT-CG

COACH: Kyle Morehart
RECORD: 18-6, Region 2 champions
STATE TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The Patriots are making their ninth state tournament appearance and first since 2006. May-Port-CG has won four state titles (1996, 1997, 2002 and 2003).
STARTING LINEUP: Brady Nygaard, Sr., G (6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg); Connor Moore, Sr., G (14.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.6 apg); Alec Chandler, Sr., F (7.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg); Ian Chandler, Soph., F (9.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg); Chadrin Johnson, Jr., C (12.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
MAY-PORT-CG FACTS: May-Port-CG allows 44.2 points per game, which is fourth fewest in the eight-team tournament field. … The Patriots average 55.2 points per game. … May-Port-CG is the last school ever to repeat as Class B boys basketball champions (2002 and 2003).

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM

 

2014-15 Minnesota All-Area boys basketball team

Here’s a look at the top Minnesota boys basketball players from the area for the 2014-15 season.

 

ALL-AREA TEAM

Cody Dorow – Moorhead – Guard – Senior
Moorhead's Cody Dorow had another big season scoring. He's headed to MSUM. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Moorhead’s Cody Dorow had another big season scoring. He’s headed to MSUM. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Cody Dorow could score any way possible for the Spuds. When it came to crunch time, there was no one who wanted the ball more.

He improved his defense from a year ago and the only real struggle, ironically, came at the free-throw line for a guy who could hit a shot anywhere beyond the 3-point arc. Even though he shot 77 percent from the free-throw line, it was something Dorow was not pleased with all season.

Dorow averaged 23 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals a game this season for the Spuds. He shot 51 percent from the field and ended his career as one of the best scorers in Moorhead history, finishing with 1,613 career points.

Dorow finished third all-time in Moorhead history for points behind Aaron Lien’s 1,886 and Jordan Driscoll’s 1,651.

In 93 games for his career, Dorow finished with 17.34 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.03 assists and 1.52 steals per game.

Dorow is headed to Minnesota State Moorhead to play basketball.

 

 

Tony Ukkelberg – Battle Lake – Guard – Junior

Battle Lake junior Tony Ukkelberg (right) was the leading scorer for BL this season. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Battle Lake junior Tony Ukkelberg (right) was the leading scorer for BL this season. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Tony Ukkelberg averaged nearly 17 points a game for Class 1A, Section 6 champion Battle Lake.

Ukkelberg was efficient as can be, hitting nearly 60 percent of his shots from the field and nearly 50 percent of the 3-pointers he took. The junior got his 1,000th point this season and helped lead Battle Lake to its first state tournament win in program history.

Unfortunately for Ukkelberg, he suffered an ankle injury in the state quarterfinals that kept him out for most of the second half and the state semifinals.

 

 

Ben Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Senior

Ben Ellefson became the 26th player in Minnesota high school basketball history to get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ben Ellefson became the 26th player in Minnesota high school basketball history to get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ben Ellefson is headed to North Dakota State for football, but one could argue he’s almost a better basketball player. It’s one thing to have the size of a DI tight end to outmuscle anyone on the court in high school. It’s another thing to have the shot and smarts Ellefson showed.

Ellefson not only shot 62 percent from the field, but he hit 46 of the 102 (45.1 percent) 3-pointers he attempted and shot nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line. On top of averaging 23 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, he averaged 1.85 assists, 1.93 steals and a block a game for the Nuggets.

He hit two milestones this season, getting his 2,000th point and 1,000th rebound of his career, becoming just the 26th player in Minnesota history to have both.

An example of how smart of a basketball player could be seen in the final two plays of his basketball career.

In this video from the Wahpeton Daily News at the 1:38 mark Ellefson gets a rebound with Hawley down five in the final 10 seconds of the subsection championship and instead of putting it back up, goes to the 3-point line and buries a fadeaway 3.

Hawley fouls with 1.6 seconds to go and trailing by two. Breckenridge misses the first free throw and instead of just grabbing the ball, turning and throwing it at the net, Ellefson moves a teammate away from touching it, let’s it bounce, gets behind it before time starts and tries to get a quick pass closer to the net for a better shot.

It didn’t work, but just portrayed how Ellefson does not think like the average athlete.

 

 

Petric VanErp – Battle Lake – Forward – Senior

Petric VanErp averaged nearly 17 points a game for Battle Lake this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Petric VanErp averaged 16.2 points and 8.7 rebounds a game for Battle Lake this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Petric VanErp did it all for the Battlers this season. VanErp could jump, run, shoot and could guard a team’s best player, whether they were a guard or center.

VanErp averaged 16.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals a game for Battle Lake. He even came back less than two weeks after tearing his meniscus to help the Battlers win a sub-section and section title.

In the state quarterfinals, exactly three weeks after tearing his meniscus, VanErp had nine points, 15 rebounds and five assists to get the Battlers to the state semifinals. In the state semifinals, with Battle Lake without its leading scorer, VanErp dropped 29 points.

He got the 1,000th point of his career this season as well.

 

 

Nate Lorenz – Breckenridge – Center – Senior

Breckenridge's Nate Lorenz (right) led the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Breckenridge’s Nate Lorenz (right) led the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Starting for Breckenridge since he was a freshman, there’s been a lot on the shoulders of Nate Lorenz.

The 6-foot-7 University of Minnesota Crookston commit got everything off his shoulders this season, averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds a game to lead the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979.

Lorenz became the all-time leading scorer in school history this season and the all-time leading rebounder in school history as a junior. He finished with 1,523 points and 984 rebounds in his career.

The size is one thing, but Lorenz could pass the ball, averaging more than two assists a game. He was a big reason Breckenridge was such a good shooting team from beyond the 3-point arc. Once the double team would come to him in the post, Lorenz would find an open guy for 3.

 

 

FIRST OFF THE BENCH

Christian Hedstrom – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior

Christian Hedstrom was the leading scorer for Detroit Lakes this season. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

Christian Hedstrom was the leading scorer for Detroit Lakes this season. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

Christian Hedstrom averaged 16.03 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.54 assists and 1.77 steals a game for 23-6 Detroit Lakes this season.

 

Jake Isaac – Fergus Falls Hillcrest – Center – Senior

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy senior Jake Isaac (left) averaged a double-double for HLA this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy senior Jake Isaac (left) averaged 21.7 points a game for HLA this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Jake Isaac averaged 21.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game for Hillcrest Lutheran Academy this season. He shot 58 percent from the field and hit 29 of the 79 (37 percent) 3-pointers he attempted.

Isaac finished with 1,413 points for his career and broke the school record for career free-throw percentage at 84 percent.

 

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Ben Sauve – Barnesville – Guard – Senior

Nick Trosdahl – Battle Lake – Center – Senior

Ashton Hegge – Breckenridge – Guard – Junior
Nate Blaufuss – Breckenridge – Guard – Senior

Ben Hokanson – Detroit Lakes – Center – Senior
Ryan Cihak – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior

Brady Bellefeuille – Frazee – Forward – Senior

Aaron Regnier – Hawley – Forward – Senior
Dillon Omberg – Hawley – Guard – Senior

Chris Tungseth – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy – Guard – Junior

Matt Bye – Moorhead – Guard – Junior
Nick Wiesmann – Moorhead – Center – Senior

Hunter Thompson – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal – Guard – Senior

Zach Kvalvog – Park Christian – Guard – Junior

Jordan McCollum – Park Rapids – Forward – Senior

Sam Muer – Perham – Forward – Senior

Darius Woods-Steichen – Waubun – Forward – Junior

Jay Zimmerman – West Cental Area – Center – Senior

 

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

NOTEBOOK: Davies’ Bart Manson looks back on Turtle Mountain-Belcourt’s last run at the Class A boys basketball tournament

FARGO – When the Fargo Davies boys basketball team hits the North Court of the Fargodome to play Turtle Mountain-Belcourt in the Class A quarterfinals at 8 p.m. tonight, Eagles’ coach Bart Manson may have a brief flashback to a different time.

The year was 1997. Davies High School was still years away from being even an agenda item at a school board meeting in Fargo, but Manson was still doing what he does today – coaching high school boys basketball.

That year, Manson was the head coach of the Turtle Mountain-Belcourt boys basketball team. The Braves made the Class A state championship game that year and lost to Fargo Shanley.

That year would be the Braves last trip to state until this season.

“It has been a long time,” Manson said. “I’m really happy for them. D.J. McGillis is a very good friend of mine and I’ve talked with him a lot throughout the season. I couldn’t be happier for them making the state tournament. It will be weird to play them right away.”

Manson’s Davies squad is the East Region’s No. 2 seed at the tournament and is ranked No. 5 in the state. The Eagles will be favored in regards to seeding, but Manson said his team will have to keep the Braves’ athleticism in check if it hoped to advance to the semifinals.

“They are athletic and they have three really good player who can cause some problems from for us if we allow them to,” Manson said. “We have to continue to be a good rebounding team and play with a lot of energy. If we do those two things we feel like we can play with any team at the state tournament.”

Irwin and Halverson headed to Magic City

The East and West Region senior athletes of the year – Wahpeton’s Blaze Irwin and Minot’s Dakota Halvorson – are both headed to play basketball at Minot State next year.

Irwin averages 17.7 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Huskies, who play Bismarck Century in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. today.

Halvorson averages 17.1 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game for the Magicians. Minot plays West Fargo at 6 p.m. today in the quarterfinals.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM

Region 1 boys basketball tournament tips off this afternoon

WAHPETON – The North Dakota Class B region boys basketball get going today across the state. I’ll be at Region 1 today for the quarterfinals. Listed below are the pairings for the entire Region 1 tournament. No. 4-ranked Fargo Oak Grove survived a tight District 2 championship game against Enderlin last Monday and the Eagles appear to be a force to be reckoned with late in the season. Enderlin started the year 0-6. Northern Cass is ranked No. 7 in Class B.

Hankinson is the No. 1 seed from District 1. The Pirates have put together a solid season and put it on the line tonight against Central Cass, who spent several weeks in the Class B Top 10.

Oak Grove won the Region 1 championship a year ago and has played in the last five Region 1 title games.

Class B, Region 1
At Wahpeton (NDSCS)
Ed Werre Arena
Today
Quarterfinals
1) D2 No. 1 Fargo Oak Grove (18-4), D1 No. 4 North Sargent (9-13), 3 p.m.
2) D1 No. 2 Lidgerwood-Wyndmere (14-7), D2 No. 3 Northern Cass (18-3), 4:30 p.m.
3) D1 No. 1 Hankinson (17-4), D2 No. 4 Central Cass (18-4), 6 p.m.
4) D2 No. 2 Enderlin (12-10), D1 No. 3 Milnor (10-12), 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday
Semifinals
5) Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.
6) Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday
Third-place game
7) Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 loser, 6 p.m.
Championship
8) Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM

ND Class A boys and girls state basketball tournament pairings are set

The pairings for the North Dakota Class A boys and girls basketball tournament have been set. They are listed below. The tournaments tipoff Thursday at the Fargodome. The Forum will have lots of preview coverage and will be covering every game of the championship bracket (Quarterfinals, semifinals and titles games). I’ll also try to blog a couple of times before the tournament to add more of what doesn’t make it to the print editions. So look for my links on twitter throughout the week. If the state tournament is anything like the region tournaments this weekend it should be a great weekend.

Boys
Class A State Tournament
At Fargodome
Thursday
Quarterfinals
(North Court)
1) E1 Grand Forks Red River (15-9) vs. W4 Jamestown (10-14), 2 p.m.
2) W2 Bismarck Century (21-3) vs. E3 Wahpeton (20-4), 4 p.m.
3) W1 Minot (23-1) vs. E4 West Fargo (19-5), 6 p.m.
4) E2 Fargo Davies (20-4) vs. W3 Turtle Mountain-Belcourt (14-10), 8 p.m.

Friday
Consolation semifinals
(South Court)
5) Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, noon
6) Game 3 loser vs. game 4 loser, 2 p.m.
Semifinals
(North Court)
7) Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6:30 p.m.
8) Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday
Fifth-place
9) Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 11:30 a.m.
Third place
10) Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 loser, 3:30 p.m.
Championship
11) Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 8:30 p.m.

Girls
Class A State Tournament
At Fargodome
Thursday
Quarterfinals
(South Court)
1) E1 Fargo Shanley (24-0) vs. W4 Bismarck (15-9), 1 p.m.
2) W2 Minot (20-4) vs. E3 Grand Forks Red River (17-7), 3 p.m.
3) W1 Bismarck Century (20-4) vs. E4 West Fargo (16-8), 5 p.m.
4) E2 Fargo Davies (19-5) vs. W3 Turtle Mountain-Belcourt (16-8), 7 p.m.

Friday
Consolation semifinals
(South Court)
5) Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 4 p.m.
6) Game 3 loser vs. game 4 loser, 6 p.m.
Semifinals
(North Court)
7) Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 1 p.m.
8) Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 3 p.m.

Saturday
Fifth-place
9) Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 9:30 a.m.
Third place
10) Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 loser, 1:30 p.m.
Championship
11) Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 6 p.m.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM

 

North Dakota high school girls hockey state tournament preview capsules

Bismarck vs. Dickinson, 11 a.m.

Bismarck (No. 1 seed)
Coach: Tim Meyer, first season
Record: 19-2-0, 17-0-0 North Dakota
State tournament history: 13th overall state tournament appearance with three state championships (2006, 2007, 2013). Lost to West Fargo 2-1 in the 2014 championship.
Top players: Britta Curl, Fr., F (32-15–47); Jesse Binstock, Sr., F (13-15–28); Sage Barta, Sr., F (11-16–27); Skylar Ackerman, eighth grade, G (0.59 GAA, 95.6 SP).

Dickinson (No. 8 seed)
Coach: Al Takle, second season
Record: 6-14-0, 6-11-0 North Dakota
State tournament history: Third overall state appearance and first since 2009.
Top players: Rachel Lantz, Sr., F (19-11–30); Kayla Wallace, Sr., F (7-14–21); Kira Zastoupil (13-3–16); Kelsey Gillen, Sr., G (5.18 GAA, 85.3 SP).

Fargo North-South vs. Minot, 1 p.m.

Fargo North-South (No. 4 seed)
Coach: Kris Dougherty, sixth season
Record: 9-11-3, 9-7-2 North Dakota
State tournament history: First state appearance as a co-op that was formed this season. North and South programs have combined to win seven state titles.
Top players: Anna Erickson, Fr., F (16-19–35); Graysen Myers, Fr., F (10-13–33); Kendra Johnson, Sr., F (12-17–29); Emily Grothmann, Sr., G (1.86 GAA, 93.5 SP).

Minot (No. 5 seed)
Coach: Weylin Wahlstrom, fourth season
Record: 14-9-0, 12-8-0 North Dakota
State tournament history: Qualfified for state 13 consecutive years.
Top players: Bryanna Bergeron, Soph., F (24-19–43); Mackinzy Maciver, Soph., F (16-23–39), Dessa Flom, seventh grade, F (11-10–21); Kinsey Hanson, Jr., F (13-8–21); Alex Nelson, Fr., G (2.71 GAA, 89.8 SP).

Grand Forks vs. Mandan, 5 p.m.

Grand Forks (No. 2 seed)
Coach: Alex Hedlund, first season
Record: 16-6-1, 16-2-1 North Dakota
State tournament history: Qualified for 13 state tournaments and has played in championship game three times.
Top players: Peyton LeNoir, Jr., F (14-16–30), Tori Christian 15-13–28); Bailee Enlow, Jr., F (10-14–24); Katie Rodningen, Soph., F (9-15–24); Abby Schauer, eighth grade, F (11-13–24); Jerrica Rosendahl, Sr., G (1.75 GAA, 93.5 SP).

Mandan (No. 7 seed)
Coach: DeWitt Mack, fifth season
Record: 10-11-0, 9-9-0 North Dakota
State tournament history: Second straight state appearance after qualifying for the first tourney in 2014.
Top players: Mariah Marsh, Jr., F (19-7–26); Rebecca Helbling, Jr., F (10-13–23); Maiah McCowan, Soph., F (9-9–18); Paige Lillis, Jr., D (8-10–18); Chelsey Norton, Jr., G (4.09 GAA, 86.5 SP).

West Fargo vs. Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.

West Fargo (No. 3 seed)
Coach: Pat Johnson, eighth season
Record: 15-7-1, 14-3-1 North Dakota
State tournament history: Eighth state tournament appearance. West Fargo defeated Bismarck 2-1 in the 2014 state championship game and won one other championship (2010).
Top players: Janey Sandoval, Soph., F (34-35–69); Anna Promersberger, Fr., F (20-13–33); Madison Nelson, Sr., F (4-17–21); Courtney Walsh, Fr., D (11-8–19); Morgan Stirling (1.28 GAA, 94.6 SP).

 

Fargo Davies (No. 6 seed)
Coach: Josh Issertell, first season at Davies
Record: 10-11-2, 8-9-2 North Dakota
State tournament history: Qualified for the 2013 and 2014 state tournaments as a co-op team with Fargo South and is making its third overall appearance.
Top players: Annika Mogck, Soph., F (21-9–30); Kylie Schafer, Fr., F (17-7–24); Megan Lorenz, Jr., F (13-11–24); Sydney Peterson, Fr., G (3.30 GAA, 87.2 SP).

– Compiled by Tom Mix

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM