Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Jan. 28)

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton girls basketball team shook up the girls bball rankings, while the boys stay the same in this week’s area Minnesota high school basketball rankings.

 

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (17-1)

Last week: 94-21 win at home over Rothsay; 55-24 win at Osakis

Next up: at Parkers Prairie, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; vs. Pelican Rapids at Concordia-Moorhead, Saturday, 6 p.m.; host Brandon-Evansville, 7:30 p.m., Monday

The Battlers continue to roll. Outside of a 68-61 loss to No. 3 Maranatha Academy, no team has come within 18 of them.

They’ve won nine straight since the loss. The Battlers have a big conference battle with Parkers Prairie (13-3) on Thursday, which will be a good test for Tony Ukkelberg, Nick Trosdahl, Andrew/Petric VanErp and company.

 

2. Hawley (13-3)

Last week: 62-40 win at home over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Next up: host Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, Thursday, 6 p.m.; at Crookston, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.; at Barnesville, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Hawley and point guard Dillon Omberg (left) have a big week coming up. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Big upcoming week for Hawley boys basketball with Crookston and Barnesville coming up.

There’s a good chance these will be the last two teams Hawley will face in order to get to state with Crookston leading 8AA North and Barnesville being behind Hawley in 8AA South.

 

3. Detroit Lakes (15-2)

Last week: 52-35 win at home over Little Falls; 62-61 win at home over Sartell-St. Stephen

Next up: host Park Rapids, Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; at Wadena-Deer Creek, Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Detroit Lakes had a nail biter against Sartell, but the Lakers got the win. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

The Lakers have won three games in a row since losing to Crosby-Ironton. They are 6-0 in 8AAA and already beaten an Albany team they will most likely see in the section championship by 10.

Christian Hedstrom was the hero against Sartell, hitting a 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds and hitting two free throws in the final seconds to squeak out a win.

DL made state in 2012. Before that, the last time the Lakers went to state was 1918. Doesn’t look the Lakers will have that huge of a gap again.

 

4. Moorhead (14-5)

Last week: 87-57 win at home over West Fargo Sheyenne (N.D.); 62-60 win at home over Brainerd

Next up: at Bemidji, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Grand Rapids, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Matt Bye had 25 points in Moorhead’s 62-60 win over Brainerd on Tuesday. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Moorhead has won five straight since losing four of five and, more importantly, are 7-1 in section play.

The bad news is the one loss in section play came by 11 to St. Michael-Albertville, which is most likely the team the Spuds will see in the section championship.

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (13-2)

Last week: 71-22 win at Ashby; 80-40 win at Hancock

Next up: host Rothsay, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Fargo Oak Grove (N.D.), Saturday, 5:30 p.m.; host Parkers Prairie, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

The Comets get a couple of good tests coming up in Oak Grove and Parkers Prairie.

Those would be nice confidence boosters for them, but that one loss in 6A will be hanging over their heads. The Comets are 11-1 in section play, but the one loss is by 20 to a Battle Lake team they will most likely see in the section title game.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (16-0)

Last week: 63-49 win at home over Fertile-Beltrami; 69-31 win at Red Lake Falls; 83-21 win at Mahnomen

Next up: at Climax-Fisher, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Win-E-Mac, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

No team has come within 14 of Ada-Borup and a team that was within 16 of the Cougars recently lost by 31.

The Cougars have a big test against 14-2 Win-E-Mac coming up. The Cougars look good right now, but a win against Win-E-Mac would vault them into state-title-contender status.

 

2. Hawley (14-2)

Last week: 47-25 win at Breckenridge; 73-45 win at East Grand Forks; 70-62 loss at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Next up: at Crookston, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

Hawley just dropped its first Class 2A game and it came to a team they will most likely see in the sub-section title game. If they don’t see D-G-F then it will be Pelican Rapids, who is coming on strong at 11-5.

The Nuggets beat Pelican Rapids by 10 and is 1-1 against D-G-F now. Things just became very interesting in 8AA South.

 

3. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (11-4)

Last week: 63-55 win at home over Frazee; 70-62 win at home over Hawley

Next up: at Breckenridge, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; host Moorhead, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Natalie Steichen came up big for D-G-F in the win over Hawley. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Huge week for D-G-F. Not only with the win over Hawley, but a big win over Frazee as well.

If anything, D-G-F at least puts some doubt in the heads of Hawley. After the Nuggets owned the Rebels in the first meeting of the season, D-G-F came back and handed Hawley its first Class 2A loss.

Everyone contributed for the Rebels, as they had nine different players score. Natalie Steichen and Anna Smith had 15 points each and Ally Reno added 12 points.

The scary thing about D-G-F is the Rebels have just three seniors on the team. Steichen is a freshman and Smith and Reno are juniors.

8AA South is up for grabs thanks to that win from the Rebels.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (16-2)

Last week: 52-50 overtime win over Brandon-Evansville at home; 43-42 overtime win at Henning; 60-58 overtime win at Morris Area

Next up: host Hancock, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Ashby, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Warriors had a big win over Brandon-Evansville, which will most likely be the team W-H-N sees in the 6A South championship.

Yes, W-H-N needed overtime to beat 6A South teams Brandon-Evansville and Henning by a combined four points, but a win is a win.

Regardless, the Warriors are seemingly the best option for which team will face Ada-Borup in the 6A championship game.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, since the two teams don’t play during the regular season, the benefit of the doubt will go to Ada-Borup until they prove otherwise.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (12-4)

Last week: 59-43 win at Pequot Lakes; 57-35 win at home over Wadena-Deer Creek

Next up: at Thief River Falls, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Perham, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

DL’s Hailey Jorgenson hit five 3-pointers in the win over Wadena-Deer Creek. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

8AAA is brutal. Sartell-St. Stephen is 12-5, Detroit Lakes and Albany are 12-4, Alexandria is 12-2 and Thief River Falls is 15-2.

Alexandria is No. 5 in Class 3A QRF and Thief River Falls is No. 7. Albany is 24, Detroit Lakes is 22 and Sartell is 20.

That is a tough section tournament to get through.

DL doesn’t play Sartell or Albany in the regular season, is 1-0 against Alexandria and 0-1 against TRF with a rematch coming next.

Big test for the Lakers at TRF.

 

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.

 

 

 

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Jan. 21)

Some movement in the boys rankings with Detroit Lakes and Hillcrest losing, but all teams from last week remain in the rankings.

On the girls side, Detroit Lakes is back in at No. 5, after Frazee fell hard to Hawley.

Here’s the top area Minnesota high school basketball teams for the week of Jan. 21.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (15-1)

Last week: 54-34 win at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy; 78-33 win at home over Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley; 72-19 win at home over Ashby

Next up: host Rothsay, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Osakis, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Well, Section 6A now belongs to Battle Lake. The Battlers have beaten the team they will most likely face in the sub-section title in West Central Area 61-32 and beat a team they could face in the section title game 54-34 in Hillcrest.

Hillcrest will get another crack at Battle Lake on the road on Feb. 17. As of now, only Park Christian, which the Battlers would not see until the section title game, could bring down Battle Lake.

Petric VanErp picked up his 1,000th career point for Battle Lake.

 

2. Hawley (12-3)

Last week: 71-61 win at home over Breckenridge

Next up: host Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Aaron Regnier (left) has been the perfect duo for fellow big man Ben Ellefson. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Hawley is a tough team to stop.

Breckenridge stopped forward Ben Ellefson the first time they met, went up 16 points and still lost because fellow post Aaron Regnier went off.

If you somehow stop both Ellefson and Regnier, you have to hope 3-pointers from Dawson Tusow, Dillon Omberg, Ben Steichen and Jordan Harms – who can also get to the basket – aren’t falling.

Ellefson dropped 32 on Breckenridge and Regnier added 16 in the second meeting and Breckenridge couldn’t find an answer for them. Ellefson is 160 points away from the 2,000th of his career and is within striking distance of his 1,000th rebound.

The Nuggets are 8-0 in 8AA, have yet to lose to a Class 2A team and seemingly have a date with Crookston for the section title.

 

3. Detroit Lakes (13-2)

Last week: 48-46 loss in overtime at Crosby-Ironton; 66-27 win at home against Detroit Lakes

Next up: host Little Falls, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Sartell-St. Stephen, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Corbin Duncan (left) has been one of many contributors for DL this season. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

The good news for DL is the Lakers lost to a Class 2A team they will never see again.

More good news is they’ve already beaten the two teams they could probably see in the section championship game in Alexandria (54-49) and Albany (61-51).

DL answered its loss with a 66-27 dismantling of Pequot Lakes behind 14 points from Christian Hedstrom, 12 points from Trey Lyngaas and 10 points from Ben Hokanson.

 

4. Moorhead (12-5)

Last week: 76-48 win at Anoka

Next up: host West Fargo Sheyenne (N.D.), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Brainerd, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Cody Dorow has 25 or more points in each of the last three wins for Moorhead. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Moorhead responded to losing four of five with rattling off three straight wins. Senior guard Cody Dorow dropped 30 against Anoka, 28 against Fergus Falls and 25 against St. Cloud Tech in the three-game win streak for the Spuds.

Dorow is catching fire at the right time for the Spuds.

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (11-2)

Last week: 54-34 loss at home against Battle Lake; 70-41 win at Brandon-Evansville

Next up: at Ashby, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Hancock, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

That was a bad loss to Battle Lake. Not because Battle Lake is a bad team, but to fall by 20 to a team you may see in the section title game is tough, especially when you can only muster up 34 points.

Hillcrest will get another shot at Battle Lake on Feb. 17

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (13-0)

Last week: 72-41 win at home over Barnesville; 65-34 win at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal; 80-20 win over Northern Cass (N.D.)

Next up: host Fertile-Beltrami, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Red Lake Falls, Monday, 7:30 p.m.; at Mahnomen, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Ada-Borup coach David Smart picked up win No. 300 in the win over Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal and the Cougars keep on rolling.

No team has come within 16 points of Ada-Borup this season.

 

2. Hawley (12-1)

Last week: 60-37 win at home over Frazee

Next up: at Breckenridge, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at East Grand Forks, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.; at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Frazee entered Hawley with a seven-game win streak. The Hornets left with a blowout loss.

It’s not very fair when the No. 2-ranked team in the state hits 12 of 18 3-pointers, 10 of which came from Olivia Olson and Mira Ellefson.

Those two are pretty much impossible to stop. Helps to have point guard Jody Noreen to handle the ball with Olson and Ellefson free to run wild.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (13-2)

Last week: 49-41 win at West Central Area

Next up: host Brandon-Evansville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Henning, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Morris Area, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

That’s a big win over West Central Area for the Warriors, as that puts them in firm control of 6A South.

Problem, as always, is Ada-Borup looms in 6A North.

 

4. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton(9-4)

Last week: 66-64 win at Perham; 80-62 win at home over Park Rapids

Next up: host Frazee, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Hawley, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Allyson Brenna had 20 points to lead D-G-F over Perham. Not the best showing for D-G-F to squeak out one against a 4-9 Perham team, but it was on the road.

The real test is coming for the Rebels with Frazee and Hawley coming to town. D-G-F has Pelican Rapids on its tail for which team will face Hawley in the 8AA South championship.

D-G-F has a chance to prove they can win 8AA South next week.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (10-4)

Last week: 61-52 win at Staples-Motley; 59-43 win at home over Crosby-Ironton; 61-53 win at Moorhead

Next up: at Pequot Lakes, Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; host Wadena-Deer Creek, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Detroit Lakes has won four straight games. Photo by Brian Basham/Forum

Detroit Lakes is back in the rankings after rattling off four straight wins.

Lakers are 3-1 in 8AAA and have beaten the team currently sitting atop the section in Alexandria 56-49 in the season opener.

DL has talent and seniors. Just have to put it together.

 

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.

 

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Jan. 14)

Moorhead is back in on the boys side and Frazee and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton is in on the girls side.

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy’s boys basketball team had the biggest week of any team with a big win over Park Christian.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (12-1)

Last week: 85-33 win at New York Mills; 61-32 win at home against West Central Area

Next up: at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Friday, 7 p.m.; host Ashby, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Well, Section 6A South belongs to Battle Lake after the Battlers dismantled previously unbeaten West Central Area 61-32.

The Battlers are 8-0 in Section 6A and will find out if the entire section belongs to them, as they face off against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, the leader of 6A North, on Thursday.

Usual suspects Petric VanErp, Nick Trosdahl and Tony Ukkelberg were all in double digits in scoring against West Central Area.

 

2. Detroit Lakes (12-1)

Last week: 80-58 win at Staples-Motley; 61-51 win at Albany

Next up: at Crosby-Ironton, Friday, 7:15 p.m.; host Pequot Lakes, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Trey Lyngaas stepped up big for DL in the win over Albany. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

If the Albany game was a preview for the 8AAA championship game then Detroit Lakes is mighty pleased, as the Lakers won by 10 on the road.

DL now has a firm hold on 8AAA and all the confidence to go with it.

The wealth keeps spreading, as Corbin Duncan, Ryan Cihak and Trey Lyngaas each had 12 points.

 

3. Hawley (11-3)

Last week: 73-35 win at home over Pelican Rapids; 57-29 win at home over East Grand Forks

Next up: host Breckenridge, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Another big game for Hawley’s Ben Ellefson (left), as the senior big man dropped 40 points against East Grand Forks. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Another big night for Hawley senior forward Ben Ellefson, as he dropped 40 points against East Grand Forks.

Hawley is yet to lose to a Class 2A team, lost to two Class 3A teams by a combined six points and lost to a 4A team by 13.

Hawley has a QRF ranking of 112. The next best in 8AA South is Barnesville at 76.4 and the next best in 8AA is Crookston at 100.5.

 

4. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (10-1)

Last week: 62-35 win at Underwood; 54-52 win at Park Christian; 70-57 at Breckenridge

Next up: host Battle Lake, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; at Brandon-Evansville, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Hillcrest was able to outlast Park Christian for a big section win between two 7-0 teams in 6A. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

To not only knock off the one team that stood in its way of a 6A North title in Park Christian on the road, but to also beat a Class 2A team by 13 in Breckenridge, is pretty impressive for Hillcrest.

Comets senior forward Jake Isaac had a week. He scored 25 points against Underwood, Isaac had 19 and the game-winning putback against Park Christian and had 15 against Breckenridge.

Now that Hillcrest proved it can play for a 6A North title, the Comets will have to prove they can compete for a 6A title, as the Comets will host the leaders of 6A South in Battle Lake on Thursday.

 

5. Moorhead (11-5)

Last week: 79-37 win at home over St. Cloud Tech; 73-67 win at home over Fergus Falls

Next up: at Anoka, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Cody Dorow (right) dropped 28 points in a win over Fergus Falls for Moorhead. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

It’s hard to boot Park Christian for losing on a buzzer beater to a team they will most likely see in the sub-section title game.

Then again, it’s hard to keep Moorhead out when the Spuds are 6-1 in 8AAAA and two of their five losses have come to teams not in the state of Minnesota.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (10-0)

Last week: 85-36 win at home over Waubun; 86-18 win at Lake Park-Audubon

Next up: host Barnesville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Northern Cass (N.D.), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

The blowouts continue for Ada-Borup, as the closest game the Cougars have been in is a 16-point win over Norman County East-Ulen-HItterdal.

The Cougars have beaten teams by an average of 43.7 points. That’s not fair.

 

2. Hawley (11-1)

Last week: 57-32 win at home over Perham; 57-47 win at Pelican Rapids

Next up: host Frazee, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Nuggets had three in double digits in points against Perham and shot 45.5 percent from the field in the win over Pelican Rapids.

Hawley is 6-0 in 8AA, have 8AA South wrapped around their finger and seemingly are destined for a date with Crookston for the 8AA title.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (12-2)

Last week: 68-34 win at Ortonville; 55-38 win at home over Richland(N.D.)

Next up: at Sissteon (S.D.), Thursday, 8 p.m.; at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Saturday, 4 p.m.; at West Central Area, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Wheaton is yet to lose to a Class 1A team. The Warriors have a date with a team that could challenge them for the 6A South crown in West Central Area on Tuesday.

If they make it out of 6A South, the Warriors still have Ada-Borup to deal with.

 

4. Frazee (9-4)

Last week: 60-47 win at home over Henning; 49-40 win at home over Perham

Next up: at Hawley, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; vs. Crookston at Concordia, Saturday, 2 p.m.; at Roseau, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Kennady Barlund is help leading Frazee on a seven-game winning streak. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

The good news is Frazee has won seven in a row after starting the season 2-4 and are 5-3 against 8AA teams. The bad news is seven of those wins have come at home.

Hornets have a nice chance to prove that Kennady Barlund, Josi Tappe and company are for real with a game at Hawley on Friday.

 

5. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (7-4)

Last week: 48-45 loss at East Grand Forks; 55-45 loss at Barnesville

Next up: at Perham, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Park Rapids, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Pretty terrible week for D-G-F. No excuse losing to a 4-9 East Grand Forks team and a 4-5 Barnesville team, but here we are.

Outside of Frazee attempting to give Hawley a run on Friday, it looks as though 8AA South will come down to Hawley and either D-G-F or Pelican Rapids.

Hawley handled D-G-F rather easily earlier in the season, but the Rebels will get another crack at them on Jan. 27.

 

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.

 

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Jan. 7)

Moorhead was bounced out of the boys rankings for Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, which has a huge game looming with Park Christian on Saturday.

No changes on the girls side, as Ada-Borup and Hawley are in control in the top two spots.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (10-1)

Last week: 68-44 win over Fargo South (N.D.) at Fergus Falls; 68-29 win at Underwood

Next up: at New York Mills, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host West Central Area, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Battle Lake answered its first loss of the season with two wins. It’ll be interesting to see if that loss will benefit the Battlers, seeing as over their head all last season was the fact they were undefeated. Then, the Battlers lost at the worst possible time: in the section championship game.

Tony Ukkelberg and Petric VanErp continue to lead the way for the Battlers. They can both jump out of the building and Nick Trosdahl is down low to clean up.

Battlers have a big one with West Central Area, which is currently 8-0 overall and 2-0 in 6A South. Could very well be a preview for the sub-section title game.

 

2. Detroit Lakes (10-1)

Last week: 64-48 win at Fergus Falls

Next up: at Staple-Motley, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Albany, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Sam Champa is one of many options DL has offensively. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

The Lakers keep cleaning up against Section 8AAA teams, knocking off Fergus Falls.

The Lakers continue to get scoring from all over the place with Corbin Duncan getting 20, Ryan Cihak getting 16 and Christian Hedstrom adding 13 in the win against Fergus Falls.

Huge game coming at Albany for the Lakers. Albany is 9-1 overall and 1-0 in the section and this could be a preview of the section championship game.

 

3. Hawley (9-3)

Last week: 50-39 win at Perham

Next up: host Pelican Rapids, Friday, 7:30 p.m.;host East Grand Forks, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Jordan Harms (left) getting to the basket is a big reason Hawley is 9-3. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Hawley is 5-0 against section opponents and the Nuggets have five consecutive home games coming up.

The Nuggets trailed rival Perham 26-18 at half, but outscored the Yellowjackets 32-13 in the second half. The Nuggets hit seven of their 15 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

Not sure last season’s team would have overcome a deficit like that on the road at Perham. This is a different Nuggets squad.

This is what has Hawley at No. 3 in the latest Class 2A QRF rankings.

 

4. Park Christian (10-2)

Last week: 59-57 win over Oakes (N.D.) at Jamestown Civic Center; 55-31 win at home over Ada-Borup

Next up: host Lake Park-Audubon, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Saturday, 3:45 p.m.; at Norman County West, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

New contributors have come on as of late for Park Christian, but Zach Kvalvog is the biggest reason the Falcons are where they are. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

It’s not all Zach Kvalvog for Park Christian of late. Mark Schwandt had 18 points in the win over Oakes and the Falcons had four in double digits in scoring in the win over Ada-Borup.

The Falcons have a big test coming on Saturday, as they welcome Hillcrest Lutheran Academy to town. HLA is 9-1 overall and 6-0 in Section 6A, whereas the Falcons are 10-2 overall and 6-0 in 6A.

This could very well be a preview of the sub-section championship game in 6A North.

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (7-1)

Last week: 97-45 win over Pelican Rapids at Fergus Falls

Next up: at Underwood, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Park Christian, Saturday, 3:45 p.m.;at Breckenridge, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Jake Isaac got his 1,000th point of his career with 38 points against Pelican Rapids. He made all but two of the 17 shots he took from the field.

The Comets have options with Isaac, Chris Tungseth, Ben Herzog and Micah Jones, but they will need to prove they can get by Park Christian first. Their chance is Saturday.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (8-0)

Last week: 98-31 win at Park Christian

Next up: host Waubun, Friday, 6 p.m.; at Lake Park-Audubon, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Ada-Borup is really good at girls basketball.

The Cougars play defense, run the floor and have shooters. Between Lexi Nelson, Morgan Miller, Lexi Merkens and Haley Poehler the Cougars are seemingly unstoppable.

Coach David Smart got career win No. 296 on Tuesday, all of which have come in 15 seasons with the Cougars.

 

2. Hawley (9-1)

Last week: 63-44 win at home against Fargo Oak Grove (N.D.)

Next up: host Perham, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Pelican Rapids, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Jody Noreen (left) runs the Hawley offense from the point guard position. She’s the floor general for the Nuggets. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

Mira Ellefson continues to shine, scoring 23 points in the win over Oak Grove.

Nuggets are 4-0 in section play and have an interesting matchup with a Pelican Rapids team beginning to get fully healthy. As of right now, it looks like only Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton stands in Hawley’s way of a trip back to the section championship game and the Nuggets beat the Rebels handily already this season.

 

3. Verndale (6-0)

Last week: 59-36 win at Nevis

Next up: host New York Mills, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Staples-Motley, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Verndale is 4-0 in Section 5A, but will have to get by Browerville to just get out of 5A North.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (10-2)

Last week: 75-25 win at home over Rosholt

Next up: at Ortonville, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Wheaton is on top of 6A South, but what looms is a date with Ada-Borup for the section title if the Warriors can get by West Central Area.

Not an easy road to state.

 

5. Park Rapids (7-2)

Last week: 69-65 win at home against Perham

Next up: at Wadena-Deer Creek, Friday, 7:15 p.m.; host Staples-Motley, Monday, 7:15 p.m.; host Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

The thing that separate Park Rapids and the top of the 8AA North standings is a three-point loss to Pequot Lakes.

The Panthers have proven they can play with the best, but they have to prove they can beat the best to get to state.

 

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.

 

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Dec. 31)

Hawley has taken big steps since losing the opening two games of the season. Aaron Regnier (ball) is one of the reasons. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

With the holiday break, there’s two weeks of basketball to catch up on. Battle Lake fell, but not enough to knock them out of the top spot on the boys side and there’s a new No. 1 and a new No. 5 on the girls side.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (9-1)

Last two weeks: win at home over Perham 59-35; win at home over Frazee 52-37; loss at Fergus Falls against Maranatha Christian 68-61; win at Fergus Falls against Fargo South (N.D.) 68-44

Next up: at Underwood, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The best part of the last two weeks for Battle Lake was probably the loss to Maranatha Christian. Sure, blowout wins over Class 2A Perham and Class 2A Frazee were impressive for Class 1A Battle Lake, but sticking with the No. 2-ranked 1A team in the state was far more impressive.

In fact, the Battlers didn’t just stick with the Mustangs. They had them. They were up 13 midway through the second half, but couldn’t close it out. Regardless, the knock on Battle Lake is their schedule and the Battlers showed they could play with the best in the state.

 

2. Detroit Lakes (9-1)

Last two weeks: win at Alexandria 54-49; win at Bemidji 60-44; win at home against Zimmerman 60-55

Next up: at Fergus Falls, Tuesday, 2:30 p.m.

Ben Hokanson (white jersey) is one of a couple DL players who have emerged to take the load off of Ryan Cihak. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Detroit Lakes is in good control of 8AAA, but a matchup at Albany on Jan. 10 could be a preview of the section championship.

DL has been getting contributions everywhere of late, rather than a majority coming from Ryan Cihak. In the win against Alexandria, Corbin Duncan had 16 points and Trey Lyngaas and Christian Hedstrom each had 11 with Cihak only scoring six. In the win over Bemidji, Lyngaas had 14 and Ben Hokanson had 16 to go along with Cihak’s 12.

Christian Hedstrom had 18 points and Corbin Duncan had 10 to Cihak’s seven in the win over Zimmerman.

DL is becoming a more complete team as the season progress.

 

3. Hawley (8-3)

Last two weeks: win at home over Barnesville 71-50; win at Thief River Falls 63-45; win at Moorhead 78-68; loss to Stillwater at Moorhead 80-67

Next up: at Perham, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Ben Ellefson had a career-high 40 points in the win over Moorhead. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Hawley gets stronger and stronger. They beat a 7-3 Class 3A Thief River Falls team, a 9-3 Class 4A Moorhead team and fought hard against a 6-5 Class 4A Stillwater team. They were within striking distance of the Ponies, but Stillwater had too much size for a Class 2A team.

The Nuggets have won eight of nine since losing to two Class 3A teams. Nuggets play good defense and are not settling for 3-pointers as they have in recent years.

They have big bodies down low in Aaron Regnier, Ben Ellefson, who dropped 40 points in the win against Moorhead, and Dawson Tusow. Jordan Harms is getting to the basket, rather than settling for jumpers, Dillon Omberg has a firm grip on the point-guard position and Hawley keeps rolling.

 

4. Moorhead (9-3)

Last two weeks: lost at home to Benilde-St. Margaret’s 81-77; lost at home to Hawley 78-68; won at home over Bismark St. Mary’s (N.D.) 73-36

Next up: Sioux Falls Roosevelt(S.D.), Friday, 9 p.m. at Sanford Pentagon Classic; Sioux Falls O’Gorman (S.D.), Saturday, 3 p.m. at Sanford Pentagon Classic

Big men Leif Engen (right) and Nick Wiesmann got in foul trouble against Hawley and didn’t have an answer for Hawley’s Ben Ellefson (left). Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

The Spuds had some bad losses. Can’t lose to a 4-9 Class 3A team in Benilde or even to a really good Class 2A Hawley team on your home floor.

Spuds came back with a shellacking of Bismarck St. Mary’s, but the Spuds need to turn it around.

 

5. Park Christian (8-2)

Last two weeks: win at home against Mahnomen 82-69; loss at Fargo Oak Grove (N.D.) 81-67; win at home against Rothsay 85-38; win at New York Mills 78-57

Next up: at Jamestown Civic Center against Oakes (N.D), Friday, 6 p.m.; host Ada-Borup, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Liam Huseby (right) is one of just three seniors on a Park Christian team that is seemingly set for another section-title game matchup with Battle Lake. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Zach Kvalvog continues to impress, as he scored 37 against Mahnomen, 16 against Oak Grove, got his 1,000th career point against Rothsay and the junior had 26 points and 10 assists against New York Mills.

Park Christian looks ready for a rematch against Battle Lake for the section title.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (7-0)

Last two weeks: win at home against Bagley 82-19; win at Pelican Rapids 70-48

Next up: at Park Christian, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The machine that is Ada-Borup girls basketball continues to roll.

Lexi Merkens and Haley Poehler are proving to be a tough duo to handle. Merkens had 23 points and Poehler had 13 points in the win against Bagley and the duo both scored 17 in the win over Class 2A Pelican Rapids for Class 1A Ada-Borup.

 

2. Hawley (8-1)

Last two weeks: win at home against Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal 76-55; loss at Thief River Falls 71-65; win at home against Sartell-St. Stephen 58-39; win at home against Detroit Lakes 56-34

Next up: host Fargo Oak Grove (N.D.), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Mira Ellefson had 24 points in the win over Detroit Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Hard to fault Hawley for losing to an 8-2 Class 3A team on the road, but that’s the problem when Ada-Borup is breathing down your neck for the top spot. There’s not much room for error.

Hawley recovered well with wins over two Class 3A teams that are combined 10-5 in Sartell and Detroit Lakes.

 

3. Verndale (5-0)

Last two weeks: win at Henning 53-52

Next up: at Nevis, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Verndale is 3-0 in section play, but just getting out of the 5A North Sub-Section could be brutal with 8-0 Browerville, 5-1 Parkers Prairie and 7-1 Sebeka.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcorss (9-2)

Last two weeks: win at Wyndmere-Lidgerwood 56-54; win at Battle Lake 42-37; loss at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 68-55; win at D-G-F over Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 50-46

Next up: host Rosholt, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

W-H-N’s two losses came to a team not in Minnesota and a team a class above the Class 1A Warriors.

The Warriors are 3-0 in section play and look like they will have a date with mighty Ada-Borup for the Section 6A title.

 

5. Park Rapids (6-2)

Last two weeks: win at Detroit Lakes 53-50; win at home against Waubun 63-45; win at Pelican Rapids over Rothsay 58-13; win at Pelican Rapids over Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal 64-47

Next up: host Perham, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Park Rapids handed Detroit Lakes its first Mid-State Conference loss of the season. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The good news for Park Rapids is the Panthers have won five in a row after losing two of their first three games.

The bad news is those two losses came to Pequot Lakes (50-47) and Roseau (82-69), one or both of which the Panthers will need to get by just to get out of the 8AA North Sub-Section.

 

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.

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Dec. 17)

The No. 5 spot on these rankings for girls and boys has become quite poisonous, so beware.

On the boys side, Battle Lake has a strong hold on the No. 1 spot, while Detroit Lakes and Moorhead will swap between No. 2 and No. 3 probably all season. On the girls side, Hawley and Ada-Borup are seemingly locked in at No. 1 and No. 2

Here are your area basketball rankings after a few weeks of basketball.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (6-0)

Last week: win at home over Parkers Prairie 75-35; win at Brandon-Evansville 66-34

Next up: host Perham, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Frazee, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Battle Lake had its closest game of the season against Brandon-Evansville. The Battlers won by 32.

The Battlers are yet to give up 40 points this season and are seemingly unstoppable right now.

 

2. Moorhead  (8-1)

Last week: win at home over Bemidji 77-35; win at home over Osseo 86-71

Next up: host Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Matt Bye has been one of the leaders of the Moorhead boys basketball team that is currently 8-1. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Moorhead and Detroit Lakes seemingly are going to dance between the No. 2 and No. 3 spots all season. The reasoning for Moorhead being ahead of DL is the the St. Michael-Albertville loss on the road for the Spuds is a little more forgivable than DL’s loss.

That being said, what doesn’t bode well for the Spuds is the fact St. Michael-Albertville is unavoidable in 8AAAA, whereas DL did not lose to a section opponent.

Spuds have a different guy each night seemingly step up. They have a solid starting five playing a lot of minutes right now.

In the first QRF rankings, Spuds are No. 10 in Class 4A, which is the highest ranking of any area boys basketball team.

 

3. Detroit Lakes (6-1)

Last week: win win at Pequot Lakes 60-43; loss at Minneapolis Washburn 65-53; win at home against Thief River Falls 78-58

Next up: at Alexandria, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; at Bemidji, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Another Detroit Lakes win and another big game for Ryan Cihak. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Big win over Thief River Falls for Detroit Lakes in the team’s section opener. Not much time for celebration because the Lakers have the other big section game against Alexandria on Saturday.

Lakers win that one and 8AAA will belong to them for the time being. Ryan Cihak continues to impress for the Lakers, as he dropped 25 against Thief River Falls.

Lakers took their first loss of the season, but it was to a 6AAA team, so that doesn’t hurt their chances of getting to state.

 

4. Hawley (5-2)

Last week: win at home over Fargo Oak Grove (N.D.) 82-55; winat Frazee 69-52

Next up: host Barnesville, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Thief River Falls, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Give Ben Ellefson (left) the ball down low and good things will happen. Hawley has won five straight. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ben Ellefson had 26 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Oak Grove and had 28 points against Frazee.

He’s headed to North Dakota State to play tight end next season, but he’s a load to handle in the paint as well.

Nuggets are 3-0 in section and have a big game against section rival Barnesville on Friday.

 

5. Park Christian (5-1)

Last week: win at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal 62-52; win at Bagley 69-47

Next up: host Mahnomen, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Fargo Oak Grove (N.D.), Saturday, 4 p.m.; host Rothsay, Monday, 8 p.m.

Time to stop ignoring the Falcons. Not sure how they’re doing this with a first-year coach in Josh Lee and after losing four starters, but here we are.

Park Christian is 5-1 overall with their only loss coming to a team a class above them and they are 3-0 in 6A North.

Zach Kvalvog (the only name I still need to triple check after years of spelling) has been incredible. The junior point guard is averaging 19.5 points a game and has been the leading scorer in every game for the Falcons but one.

A rematch against Battle Lake for the 6A title would be very interesting. Scary thing is Park Christian has just three seniors this season.

 

GIRLS

1. Hawley (5-0)

Last week: win at Wadena-Deer Creek 68-42; win at Barnesville 67-45

Next up: host Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Thief River Falls, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

The Nuggets are 5-0 overall and 4-0 in their section. Their closest game was a nine-point win over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in which D-G-F closed the gap when back-ups were put in for the final 80 seconds of the game.

Guard Olivia Olson and center Mira Ellefson are simply impossible to stop. TRF is an interesting matchup for the Nuggets, but the Prowlers are also a class above the Nuggets, so a loss wouldn’t mean much for Hawley.

A win, however, would be extremely impressive.

 

2. Ada-Borup (5-0)

Last week: win at home over Red Lake County Central 85-21; win at Fosston 72-33

Next up: host Bagley, Friday, 6 p.m.; at Pelican Rapids, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Speaking of destroying teams, here’s Ada-Borup. The Cougars’ closest win this season was by 16 points.

Hard to find a loss on Ada-Borup’s schedule until Feb. 17 when the Cougars play Hawley at Hawley.

 

3. Verndale (4-0)

Last week: win at home over Bertha-Hewitt 52-34; win at Swanville over Royalton 48-37

Next up: at Henning, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Verndale keeps rolling behind Sarah Moenkedick and Jordyn Glenz. The Pirates are 4-0 and 3-0 in 5A North.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (6-1)

Last week: win at Hancock 61-43; win at Lidgerwood tournament over Hankinson (N.D.) 29-25; loss at Lidgerwood tournament to Fairmount-Campbell-Tintah 60-43

Next up: vs. Wyndmere-Lidgerwood (N.D.) at Lidgerwood Tournament,Thursday, 7 p.m.; at Battle Lake, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Warriors haven’t lost to a team from Minnesota yet and are 2-0 in section play.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (3-1)

Last week: win at home over Fergus Falls 72-48; loss at home against Thief River Falls 71-65

Next up: host Park Rapids, Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Thief River Falls will be standing in the way of DL getting a section title until the Lakers prove otherwise. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Still not ready to give up on Detroit Lakes just yet. The Lakers suffered a tough loss to TRF in what could be a section title game preview.

The Lakers started the game on an 11-0 run, but TRF answered. It was 68-65 TRF late and the Prowlers iced it from the free-throw line.

TRF is a team Detroit Lakes has to get over if they want a section title. The Lakers have lost six of the last seven against the Prowlers.

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.

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Dec. 10)

With Wheaton-Herman-Norcross losing to Park Christian and getting rolled by Battle Lake, there’s a bit of a shakeup in the boys top five. Moorhead added to the girls top five.

Here’s your top area Minnesota girls and boys basketball teams for the week of Dec. 10.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (4-0)

Last week: win at Rothsay 86-28; win at Wheaton-Herman Norcross 63-23

Next up: host Parkers Prairie, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Brandon-Evansville, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Safe to say Battle Lake has a strong hold on Section 6A. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross may have been who they faced in the section title game.

The Battlers would be more than happy with that after a 40-point dismantling of the Warriors. Pick your poison on who to guard in Andrew VanErp, Petric VanErp, Tony Ukkelberg and Nick Trosdahl.

It most likely won’t work out well.

 

2. Detroit Lakes

Last week: win at home over Crosby-Iron 60-50; win at home over Wadena-Deer Creek 96-22

Next up: at Pequot Lakes, Friday, 7:15 p.m.; at Minneapolis Washburn, Saturday, 3 p.m.; host Thief River Falls, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Lakers look strong in the early part of the season. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Still no road games or section games for Detroit Lakes, but the Lakers are cruising, recently winning by 74. The Lakers will get a taste of section when they face off against Thief River Falls, which could be a preview of the section title game.

Christian Hedstrom has led DL in scoring in all four wins.

 

3. Moorhead (6-1)

Last week: won at home over Rogers 66-50; lost at St. Michael-Albertville 70-59

Next up: host Bemidji, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Osseo, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Spuds suffered their first loss of the season. Time to see how they respond. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

For the first time this season, the Spuds lost. Unfortunately for Moorhead it comes against a section opponent in St. Michael-Albertville.

Could be a preview for the 8AAAA championship game.

 

4. Hawley (3-2)

Last week: win at Ada-Borup 84-51; win at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 68-43

Next up: host Oak Grove (N.D.), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Frazee, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Hawley has won three straight since losing by a combined six points to Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls, both of which play in the class above the Nuggets.

More importantly, they are 2-0 in 8AA with double-digit wins at Breckenridge and at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (4-0)

Last week: win at home over Ashby 92-29; win at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 74-23

Next up: at Rothsay, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Parkers Prairie, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The Comets have won four section games to start the season by 47, 24, 63 and 41 points. Jake Issac has led the way with more than 22 points per game.

 

GIRLS

1. Hawley (3-0)

Last week: win at home over Breckenridge 58-41; win at home over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 69-60

Next up: at Wadena-Deer Creek, Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; at Barnesville, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Hawley’s Mira Ellefson may be hurting in this picture, but she’s hurting defenses in the early part of the season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Hawley is tough to guard.

Olivia Olson had 22 points against D-G-F and did it driving to the hole and shooting from the outside. Mira Ellefson can get to the rim at will and while defenses are attempting to guard those two, Jody Noreen can drive, Brittany Laddusaw can hit a 3-pointer and ignore Karyssa Hovelson down low and she’ll make you pay.

With Hovelson cleaning up the boards – she had 14 against D-G-F – that leaves Ellefson free to work the post.

Not much the Nuggets can’t do.

 

2. Ada-Borup (3-0)

Last week: win at Hillsboro-Central Valley (N.D.) 60-31; win at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal 75-59

Next up: host Red Lake County Central, Monday, 7:30 p.m.; at Fosston, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Ada-Borup won its first section game by 16 against NCE-U-H behind 26 points from Lexi Merkens, 12 points from Morgan Miller and 13 points from Haley Poehler.

The well-oiled machine that is the Cougars basketball team continues. They have not lost back-to-back games since March 17-18 of 2006 at the Class 1A state tournament. They’ve played 245 games since.

 

3. Verndale (2-0)

Last week: win at Pillager 60-42; win at home over Menahga 68-45

Next up: host Bertha-Hewitt, Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Royalton Tournament, Monday, 6 p.m.

The Pirates set a program record for wins with 25 last season and have seven of nine varsity players back, including four of five starters.

Pirates are experienced and still somewhat young.

 

4. Detroit Lakes (2-0)

Last week: win at Alexandria 56-49; win at Wadena-Deer Creek 58-18

Next up: host Fergus Falls, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; host Thief River Falls, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Shay Nielsen (ball) is going to be tough to guard all season for opponents. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Detroit Lakes isn’t messing around in the early part of its schedule. The Lakers have already beaten section rivals Alexandria and will take on 4-0 Thief River Falls on Tuesday in what could be a preview of the section championship.

DL had three in double digits in scoring behind 12 each from Hailey Jorgenson and Grace Swenson and 11 from Shay Nielsen in the opener against Alexandria.

 

5. Moorhead (4-0)

Last week: win at home over Fergus Falls 63-59; win at Fargo South (N.D.) 63-55; win at home against Brainerd 65-58

Next up: at St. Michael-Albertville, Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; host Buffalo, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Spuds were supposed to be a couple years away, but they’re 4-0 and freshman Sam Haiby looks like the real deal. She’s scored 27, 32, 18 and 30 in the Spuds four wins.

Big test coming against St. Michael-Albertville. If Moorhead keeps it close, they could be closer to competing than expected.

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. 

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Dec. 3)

With some boys basketball games in the books and girls basketball games beginning, the season is fully underway. Here’s a look at the top five Minnesota girls and boys basketball teams in the area in the early going.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (2-0)

Last week: won at Hancock 82-33; won at Ashby 100-39

Next up: at Rothsay, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Battle Lake had four guys in double digits in scoring in their opening win of the season with Tony Ukkelberg with 26, Andrew VanErp with 16, Petric VanErp with 14 and Nick Trosdahl with 10.

Those four will lead Battle Lake all season. They are incredibly athletic and can jump out of the building. In their second win of the season, Petric VanErp dropped 27, Ukkelberg had 20 and Trosdahl had 18.

Wheaton-Herman-Norcross will be a good test to see just how big of a hold the Battlers have on Section 6A.

 

2. Moorhead (5-0)

Last week: won at Brainerd 62-54; won at home over Alexandria 69-47; won at Buffalo 74-53; won at Anoka-Ramsey over Elk River 62-60; won at Fergus Falls 84-59

Next up: host Rogers, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at St. Michael-Albertville, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Matt Bye (left) and Nick Wiesmann (ball) have helped the Spuds to a 5-0 start. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

It’s been an exciting time to be a Spud to open this basketball season. Moorhead opened with a come-from-behind win over Brainerd, rolled Alexandria, Buffalo and Fergus Falls and used a buzzer beater to beat Elk River.

The scoring has come from all over the place between Shane Steckler , who had seven 3-pointers in the first half and tied the school record with eight against Buffalo, Matt Bye, who hit the buzzer beater against Elk River and Cody Dorow, who has scored 29, 26, 23, 16 and 22 for the Spuds.

A huge addition in the starting lineup has been Leif Engen, who is turning into a double-double machine, down low next to big man Nick Wiesmann.

Last season, it took the Spuds 12 games to get five wins and they finished 4-3 in Section 8AAAA. Spuds are 5-0 and 3-0 in section.

 

3. Detroit Lakes (2-0)

Last week: won at home over Hawley 84-83; won at home over Staples-Motley 93-57

Next up: host Crosby-Ironton, Friday, 7:15 p.m.; host Wadena-Deer Creek, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

DL’s Ryan Cihak (31) was the hero in the Lakers 84-83 win over Hawley to open the season. He hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

DL won the opener against Hawley that featured 20 seniors. The Lakers trailed 72-55 wtih 7:48 to go, but came back and won.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that was to 2A Hawley, which is a class below 3A DL. Hawley has a lot of weapons, but they also lost to DL’s 8AAA rival Fergus Falls 82-77.

DL has weapons of its own. Christian Hedstrom had 23, Ryan Cihak had 18, Corbin Duncan had 15 and Sam Champa had 10 against Hawley. Lakers have size, seen in the fact they held 6-foot-4, 220-pound North Dakota State tight end commit Ben Ellefson to just 13 points.

Hedstrom had 18, Ben Hokanson had 18 and Cihak had 10 in the Game 2 win for the Lakers.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (2-0)

Last week: won at home over Ashby 66-55; won at Rothsay 58-44

Next up: host Park Christian, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Battle Lake, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

W-H-N lost four of its 26 games last season, two of which came to Battle Lake in terrible fashion 71-32 and 74-45.

That will be the problem for the Warriors. Can Carson Maudal, Jacob Pederson, Bailey Anderson and company compete with Battle Lake? Will find that out Tuesday.

 

5. Hawley (1-2)

Last week: lost 84-83 at Detroit Lakes; lost at home against Fergus Falls 82-77; won at Breckenridge 68-57

Next up: at Ada-Borup, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Hawley suffered two tough losses against Class 3A teams to start the season, but came back to beat section rival Breckenridge. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Not quite ready to give up on Hawley just yet. There’s a good chance this No. 5 spot switches between Barnesville, W-H-N, Hawley, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Fergus Falls and maybe even Breckenridge.

The benefit of the doubt right now is going to Hawley. The Nuggets blew a 17-point lead in the second half to Detroit Lakes in the opener. The Nuggets had a 14-point deficit they closed to two in the second half against Fergus Falls, but could get no closer. Those losses are frustrating, but forgivable, considering both teams play in the class above Hawley.

The Nuggets got first-year coach Nathan Stoa his first win over Breckenridge in a game in which they trailed by 17 thanks to a career-high 29 points from Aaron Regnier.

Nuggets got 31 points from Ben Ellefson in the loss to Fergus Falls and 25 points from Dillon Omberg in the loss against Detroit Lakes. They certainly got weapons.

 

GIRLS

1. Hawley (1-0)

Last week: win at home over Lake Park-Audubon 59-14

Next up: host Breckenridge, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Karyssa Hovelson (center) gives Hawley size alongside Mira Ellefson. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

Mira Ellefson and Olivia Olson nearly outscored the entire Lake Park-Audubon team with 13 points each in the season opener for the Nuggets. Nuggets outrebounded LP-A 30-17 and forced 36 turnovers.

There’s a whole lot of seniors on this Nuggets team. They got size, they can shoot, they can create their own shot and all coach Bill Gottenborg’s teams know defense.

Don’t see Hawley losing the No. 1 spot anytime soon.

 

2. Ada-Borup (1-0)

Last week: win at home over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 64-44

Next up: at Hillsboro-Central Valley, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Haley Poehler (ball) had eight points in Ada-Borup’s season opener. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

If Hawley were to trip up, Ada-Borup will be waiting to move into that No. 1 spot.

As they normally do, Ada-Borup’s scoring came from all over the place in their season opener. Lexi Nelson had 15 points, Lexi Merkens had 13 points, Miki Lee had 12 points and Morgan Miller and Haley Poehler each had eight points.

This is what the Cougars do. They get up big, give younger players playing time and the train rolls on. That was a Class 2A D-G-F team that Class 1A Ada-Borup just rolled by 20.

 

3. Pelican Rapids

Last week: no games

Next up: Tip-off Class, Saturday, at Hokpins vs. Dover-Eyota, 6 p.m.; at Perham, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Mackenzie Korf (ball) will make her return this season after tearing her ACL in February. Photo by Chris Murphy/Forum

No games yet for Pelican Rapids. The Vikings wait for Mackenzie Korf’s first game since tearing her ACL on Feb. 22.

 

4. Verndale

Last week: no games

Next up: at Pillager, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Menahga, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

No games yet for Verndale, as the Pirates return senior Elyssa Kern, juniors Jordyn Glenz, Sarah Moenkedick and Keila Schmitz, along with sophomore Shania Glenz.

They were young last season and went 25-4. This season, the Pirates are experienced and are built for an even bigger push in two years.

 

5. Detroit Lakes

Last week: no games

Next up: at Alexandria, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Wadena-Deer Creek, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

DL has plenty of returning weapons in search of their first section title since 2009. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newpspapers

New York Mills drops out of the top five after a big loss to Perham. Could be a lot of rotating at the No. 5 spot in the girls’ rankings, but DL could provide some stability.

The Lakers have three returning starters, including Shay Nielsen, who averaged 17 points and nine rebounds last season. She’s headed to the University of Minnesota for shot put next season, so there’s plenty of strength in the middle. She also had 470 points last season to set the school record for points in a season.

When defenses collapse on Nielsen, the Lakers have seniors Kyley Foster and Hailey Jorgenson and junior Kyra Vagle for her to dish the ball to for jumpers.

DL has their returning points leader in Nielsen, assist/steals leader in Foster and 3-point specialist in Jorgenson, who hit 33.9 percent of her 3-pointers, back from a team that won 20 games.

 

 

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.

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball preseason rankings

The season begins with Battle Lake at the top of the area boys basketball rankings in Minnesota and Hawley at the top of the girls rankings.

Here’s why:

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake

Last season: 27-1, lost in Class 1A, Section 6 championship to Park Christian 62-59

This was the scene Battle Lake had to watch in the section championship as Park Christian celebrated going to state. Photo by David Samson/Forum

That one on the end of the record is going to sting Battle Lake for awhile. The Battlers were ranked No. 2 in Class 1A and the only undefeated team in Minnesota when Park Christian beat them by three in the section title game.

Worst part about it was Battle Lake was without starting senior shooting guard Daniel Marso and his replacement missed two free throws with 59.4 seconds to go that would have tied the game.

The Battlers lose Tyler Ukkelberg and Marso to graduation, but return three starters. Petric VanErp, Tony Ukkelberg, Andrew VanErp and Nick Trosdahl should lead the way. Battlers also have Micah Rogness for more size down low if Trosdahl isn’t enough.

 

2. Hawley

Last season: 15-11, lost in Class 2A, Section 8 subsection semifinals to Perham 66-55

Ben Ellefson was a double-double machine last season for Hawley. He returns for his senior year. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Last season was a nightmare season for Hawley. Came in highly ranked, started 4-8, had some starters quit in the middle of the season and finished 15-11.

Hawley has a new coach, size and seniors. There was just two seniors on the team last season, but eight juniors.

Ben Ellefson averaged 24.1 points and 11 rebounds last season for the Nuggets. He returns, along with seniors Jordan Harms, Dawson Tusow, Aaron Regnier, Ben Steichen and Dillon Omberg.

Expectations have been all over this senior group for football and basketball since they were sophomores. This is their last season.

 

3. Moorhead

Last season: 12-12, lost in Class 4A, Section 8 first round to St. MIchael-Albertville 75-60

Cody Dorow fell one point short of the Moorhead school record for points in a season as a junior. He returns with a lot of colleges looking at him. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Moorhead was full of juniors last season and return 70 percent of their scoring from last season.

Much of that comes from shooting guard Cody Dorow, who fell one point short of the school record for points in a season. Aaron Lien’s record was 689 points in 26 games. Dorow had 688 in 24 games. The knock on Dorow is his defense, so he decided to play football for the first time ever this season. One would imagine that toughened him up, seeing as colleges were looking at him for football after three games at wide receiver.

Around Dorow will be guard Shane Steckler, forward Matt Bye and big man Nick Weismann, all of whom saw a lot of playing time last season. This is a very experienced Spuds team with two players (Dorow, Weismann) getting a lot of attention from colleges.

 

4. Detroit Lakes

Last season: 18-9, lost in Class 3A, Section 8 first round to Fergus Falls 47-43 in overtime

Ben Hokanson gives Detroit Lakes a lot of size down low. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Season ended on a terrible note for Detroit Lakes, losing in overtime in a game the Lakers led 30-22 at halftime. Good thing there was a lot of juniors on that team to come back a season later with that memory.

As a sophomore, Ryan Cihak had 285 points. He was the leading DL scorer as a junior. He’s now a senior, as is Sam Champa, Corbin Duncan, Christian Hedstrom and Connor Johnson, all of whom saw playing time last season. In fact, 12 of the 15 players on DL’s roster are seniors.

As for size, there’s 6-foot-5, 290-pound Briton Thompson, 6-foot-5, 200-pound Trey Lyngaas and 6-foot-7 Ben Hokanson.

 

5. Breckenridge

Last season: 12-14,lost in Class 2A, Section 8 first round to Hawley 73-61

The Cowboys started last season 3-11. They closed the season winning nine of 12.

Forward Nate Lorenz surpassed 1,000 career points in the season finale and is 158 away from the school record. He’s already the school’s all-time leader in rebounds, averaging about 12 rebounds a game. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota-Crookston to play basketball.

With Lorenz and Nate Blaufuss, the Cowboys have their senior leaders. Junior guard Ashton Hegge came on strong at the end of last season, so he could be the X-factor for the Cowboys.

Season starts tough at Fergus Falls, Perham and Wahpeton and hosting Hawley and Barnesville.

 

GIRLS

1. Hawley

Last season: 21-7, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 championship to Pequot Lakes 81-64

Jody Noreen returns for her senior year at point guard for Hawley. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Hawley was one game away from the state tournament and the Nuggets had one senior.

The Nuggets return everyone, including senior point guard Jody Noreen and senior shooting guard Olivia Olson. Junior Mira Ellefson is 5-foot-10 and can be seen in the post or bringing up the ball. The Nuggets also have 6-foot senior Karyssa Hovelson.

This could be a huge season for Hawley.

 

2. Ada-Borup

Last season: 28-2, lost in the Class 1A quarterfinals to Goodhue 65-58

Miki Lee (left) returns to help Ada-Borup revamp their starting lineup. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ada-Borup has won seven section titles in the last nine seasons. The Cougars lose their ball handlers in Monica Vega and Shaina Stevenson and post Haley Gehrtz, but return starting forward Haley Poehler.

The Cougars destroyed teams last season, so everyone got playing time, meaning seniors Lexi Merkens and Miki Lee and junior Morgan Miller are ready to take over starting roles.

 

3. Pelican Rapids

Last season: 19-7, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 first round to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 75-71 in overtime

Pelican Rapids was never the same after guard Mackenzie Korf tore her ACL. She’s back for this season. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Pelican Rapids was ranked No. 9 in Class 2A and 18-2 before they lost sophomore guard Mackenzie Korf to a torn ACL. She was averaging nearly 25 points a game for the Vikings.

From there, the Vikings went 1-5 and were out in their first playoff game. Good news is Pelican Rapids had just three seniors on last season’s team and have a lot of talented post players back, mainly in senior Lincoln Haiby and junior Grace Forsgren.

 

4. New York Mills

Last season: 19-6, lost in the Class 1A, Section 6 subsection semifinals to Lake Park-Audubon 61-47

Lydia Rutten (left) and her sister Ellie will lead New York Mills this season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

New York Mills has sisters Ellie Rutten and Lydia Rutten. Ellie is a 6-foot-1 senior and Lydia is a 6-foot sophomore.

They are a tough combo to stop. Opponents are happy, after this season, half of the duo will be gone.

 

5. Verndale

Last season: 25-4, lost in the Class 1A, Section 5 subsection championship to Browerville 79-54

Verndale had just two seniors on last season’s team. The Pirates return senior Elyssa Kern, juniors Jordyn Glenz, Sarah Moenkedick and Keila Schmitz, along with sophomore Shania Glenz.

They were young last season and still went 25-4. This season, the Pirates are built to be scary and should be even scarier in two years.

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.

NDSU commit Ben Ellefson gets offer from Purdue

Ben Ellefson picked up an offer from Purdue on Friday. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley senior Ben Ellefson picked up an offer Friday from Purdue. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end and linebacker for Hawley gave a verbal commitment to North Dakota State on July 11 and said that commitment hasn’t changed.

“It doesn’t change my commitment right now,” Ellefson said.

Ellefson had offers from Air Force, Fordham, New Mexico, Wyoming and South Dakota State before committing to NDSU.

Purdue is the first offer he’s received after verballing to NDSU.

 

THE NUMBERS

Ben Ellefson finished with over 1,000 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons at Hawley Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Here are the stats for Ellefson in his junior and senior seasons at Hawley.

Games: 23

Passing: 4-for-9 for 110 yards with a touchdown and an interception

Rushing: 75 rushes, 467 yards, 11 touchdowns

Receiving: 60 catches, 1,122 yards, 15 touchdowns

Defense: 141.5 tackles, five interceptions, 4.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss


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.