Top 10 Area Football Rankings for Minnesota (Week 1)

Mahnomen has plenty of reason for pride with the longest active winning streak in the state heading into the 2014 season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Another year, another set of weekly football rankings.

Here’s a preseason look at the top 10 Minnesota high school football teams in the Forum coverage area with the best chance to win a state title in 2014. Football opens this week in Minnesota, but no local teams play.

Mahnomen was No. 1 every week last season and proved why with the only state championship in the area. They begin the 2014 season where they’ve always been.

 

 

1. Mahnomen

Last season: 14-0, Class 1A state champions

Next up: at Pine River-Backus, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Tom Pavek led Mahnomen to a state title as a sophomore. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The longest active winning streak in Minnesota high school football belongs to Mahnomen. The Indians have won 28 straight games and two straight state Class 1A state titles.

Mahnomen loses running backs Trevor Haugo, Bob Bjorge and Austin Reitan to graduation. They also lose Kal Handyside, who was big on both the offensive and defensive lines, and Nathan Hansen, who was a threat through the air and at defensive back. Hansen started every game in the 28-game winning streak for Mahnomen.

The Indians bring back quarterback Tom Pavek, who is just a junior, and running back Kody Lefebvre, along with Levi Liebl, Kurt Francis, Anthony Sanchez and Gabe Large, who man both offensive and defensive lines.

Until they prove otherwise, the Indians will be No. 1.

 

2. Hawley

Last season: 10-2, Lost in Class 2A state semifinals 41-21 to Chatfield

Next up: at No. 6 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Ben Ellefson does everything for Hawley. Can he bring them their first state title? Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley was loaded with juniors last season. The loss of running back Chris Buttke to graduation hurts, as does not having a home field, but the Nuggets return quarterback Jordan Harms, tight end/quarterback/linebacker Ben Ellefson, running back Dillon Omberg and tight end/linebacker/defensive end Dawson Tusow. Nuggets take a big hit losing offensive and defensive lineman Logan Alm, who is out 6-8 weeks, but he could be back come playoff time.

The Nuggets have talent everywhere and Ellefson has a lot of it. Ellefson had 34 receptions for 613 yards and nine touchdowns, 48 carries for 347 yards and seven touchdowns and had 46 tackles, four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery at linebacker for the Nuggets last season. He earned all-section and conference MVP honors, along with scholarships to Wyoming, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Army, New Mexico and Fordham.

Ellefson is headed to North Dakota State next season, but he’ll try to get Hawley its first non co-op team title in school history before he heads off to college.

 

3. Underwood

Last season: 10-4, Lost in Class 9-man state championship to Grand Meadow 28-6

Next up: at Ortonville, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Noah Thompson (right) led the entire state in rushing. He’s back to lead Underwood. Photo by Davide Samson/Forum

Underwood surprised everyone last season. The Rockets lost their starting running back to a torn ACL in a scrimmage before the season began and lost two of their first three games. They made it to the Class 9-man state title game as a No. 3 seed in their section.

Noah Thompson literally picked up the starting running back position and ran with it. He was the leading rusher in the state, finishing with 2,069 yards on the ground. For that, he was not named to any AP All-State teams or even the Minnesota Coaches Association All-State Class 9-man team. He got an honorable mention from the coaches association.

The Rockets are hoping that angered Thompson a bit because he’s back to run behind linemen Dan Anderson and Joe Onstad. If Underwood has Thompson and 6-foot-3, 223-pound Matt Biegler both taking carries, their run game could be the scariest in Class 9-man. Biegler also has the hands to be a receiving option and the size to play on either line.

The Rockets lose starting quarterback Adam Creek, center/linebacker and leading tackler Max Kollar, lineman Leroy Hauge, tight end/defensive end Aaron Thompson and linebacker AJ Montgomery.

The Rockets and Thompson are no longer off radars. We’ll see how they answer.

 

4. Moorhead

Last season: 7-4, Lost in Class 5A, Section 8 championship to Sartell-St. Stephen 24-19

Next up: at Alexandria, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Jade Lawrence returns after rushing for 827 yards and nine touchdowns on 122 attempts in 2013. Michael Vosburg/Forum

Trailing 24-7 with 8:59 left in the section championship, Moorhead made an incredible comeback that fell just short.

The Spuds were within striking distance of its third section title in a row, but an interception by Sartell in their own end zone with the Spuds down five clinched it.

Good thing for the Spuds they return a lot of players who played in that game and still remember the sting.

Moorhead coach Kevin Feeney has been in the Class 5A, Section 8 title game all four seasons with the Spuds with two wins. He’s never had returning starters on the offensive line. This season he has three in Brady Emerson, Brandon Bundgaard and Ethan Marquart.

He also has Jade Lawrence, who rushed for 827 yards and nine touchdowns on 121 carries and hauled in 21 receptions for 211 yards in 2013. The Spuds will miss Brett Lawrence’s size at receiver and will have to replace quarterback Tyler Eidsness.

The Spuds lost 31 seniors going into last season and were supposed to have growing pains. Instead they were five points short of state for the third straight season with a bunch of new guys starting. Now, they are back with experience.

 

5. Verndale

Last season: 9-2, Lost in Class 9-man, Section 4 championship to Underwood 13-12

Next up: at Hancock, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Dillon Card returns to lead Verndale at quarterback. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The section title game was a nightmare for Verndale. The Pirates blew a 12-point second-half lead and gave up the tying touchdown with no time remaining and lost with the extra point.

It was this extra point at the end of regulation that ended Verndale’s season in a 13-12 loss to Underwood with state on the line. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Quarterback Dillon Card returns with that on his shoulders. His shoulders can handle it as the 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior rushed for 1,278 yards and 20 touchdowns and threw for 801 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. On defense, he had 69 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries. If that doesn’t scare you, he had a 45-1 wrestling season in which he finished third in the state at 220 pounds.

Card is one of 15 returning seniors to the team. They all have a giant chip on their shoulders after that Underwood loss.

 

6. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Last season: 8-3, Lost in Class 3A state quarterfinals to New London-Spicer 56-30

Next up: host No. 2 Hawley, 7 p.m., Friday

Brandon Wayne will try to carry the load for D-G-F’s running game with Chad Johnson having graduated. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton coach Anthony Soderberg said he has no plans of trying to replace graduated running back Chad Johnson. Johnson broke the school record with 1,668 yards rushing on 224 attempts for the Rebels last season. He was the conference offensive back of the year, team captain and team MVP.

He does, however, plan to reconstruct Johnson with a couple players in senior running backs Joe Flatt (564 rushing yards on 69 attempts), Brandon Wayne (618 yards on 97 attempts) and Alex Matthews behind returning offensive linemen Ben Knutson, Mark Steichen, Chase Schumann and tight end Tyler Oberg.

The Rebels also have eight starters back on defense and Soderberg said the only real position they don’t have a lot of experience is at quarterback. That job will go to junior Blake Kragnes.

The towns of Dilworth, Glyndon and Felton haven’t seen back-to-back trips to state since 1988-89.

 

7. Otter Tail Central

Last season: 9-2, Lost in Class 2A, Section 6 championship game to Holdingford 32-14

Next up: host Upsala-Swanville, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Nick Trosdahl (44) will lead the rushing attack of Ottertail Central in 2014. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Bulldogs return three starters in their backfield, but only return one starter on the offensive and defensive lines. They have to replace Dan Marso (LB), Andrew Smith (QB/RB/FS), Jake Trosdahl (RB/OLB) and Tyler Ukkelberg (TE/DE), all of which were starters for the last three years.

That’s the bad news. Good news is they return Nick Trosdahl, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and was the leading tackler in 2013, Micah Rogness, who is a three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines, and Tony Ukkelberg, who has already spent some time at quarterback, throwing for 526 yards last season.

The Bulldogs will look for Tony Ukkelberg to take over the quarterback position and Cody Seedorf, who rushed for 488 yards last season, to help out Nick Trosdahl at running back. Andrew VanErp will be Tony Ukkelberg’s big receiver option on offensive and led the team in interceptions last season on defense.

 

8. Frazee

Last season: 7-3, Lost in Class 2A, Section 8 semifinal to Barnesville 41-0

Next up: host Park Rapids, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Frazee returns its top three rushers in Hesston Bachman, who rushed for over 1,200 yards last season, Tanner Bachmann and Austin Torma. Hesston Bachman will move to quarterback where Tanner Bachmann is the best returning wide receiver as well.

Garrett Malstrom and Roger Thorp are animals on defense for Frazee. In eight games, Malstrom had 107 tackles, 4.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss and one forced fumble at linebacker. Thorp is a two-way starter on both lines and had 33 tackles and 0.5 sacks last season on defense. Malstrom will also see time at fullback.

Frazee only had seven seniors on last year’s team. The Hornets have not been to state since 1990.

 

9. Breckenridge

Last season: 7-3, Lost in the Class 2A, Section 6 semifinals to Otter Tail Central 22-19

Next up: host Wahpeton, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Breckenridge loses it’s leading rusher in Parker Busse, but return quarterback Nathan Blaufuss and big receiving option Nathan Lorenz at tight end.

A year after going 2-7, the Cowboys went 7-3 last season, were co-conference champions of the Heart O’ Lakes and closed the season winning five of six games, giving up 35 points – 22 of which came in the loss – during that stretch.

 

10. Waubun

Last season: 7-4, Lost in the Class 9-man, Section 6 finals to Ada-Borup 17-8

Next up: host Clearbrook-Gonvick, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Jordan Spaeth (left) is back at quarterback this season for Waubun. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Bombers return two 1,000-yard rushers in Ryan Weber and Jordan Spaeth.

Ada-Borup had won the section title five of the last six seasons. The Cougars lost their top three offensive weapons and are learning a new system under a new coach. With the Cougars seemingly down for this season, the section is up for grabs and the Bombers have the weapons to grab it.

 

 

SLEEPER

Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal

Last season: 3-6, Lost in opening round of Class 9-man, Section 6 to Park Christian 18-0

Next up: host Sacred Heart-Climax-Fisher, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Hunter Thompson (right) returns to Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal a season after leading the Titans in rushing. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Head coach Dustin Flaten says, since it’s the second year of the co-op, all the kinks are fixed. He’s got nine returning starters, including running back Hunter Thompson, who ran for nearly 1,000 yards last season. Flaten is expecting Thompson and fellow senior Patrick Busby to be two, 1,000-yard backs for the Titans this season behind returning offensive linemen Noah Stene, Mason Okke and Jordan Halvorson.

 

 

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.

The possible future of Hawley boys basketball

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

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

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

Here’s a look at Stoa’s resume:

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

- Graduated from Concordia College in 2003

Coaching experience

2003-2004
Assistant coach for Shanley girls basketball under head coach Barb Metcalf.

2004-2005
Assistant coach for Ulen-Hitterdal girls basketball under head coach Jeff Schultz.

2005-2006
Assistant coach for Ulen-Hitterdal boys basketball under head coach Jason Cresap.

2006-2007
Head boys basketball coach at Ulen-Hitterdal. 4-22 overall, 2-16 in Heart O’ Lakes Conference.

2007-2014
Head girls basketball coach at Pine City. 64-123 overall. The Dragons 18-8 season in 2009-2010 was their only season over .500 since 1988-89.

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

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

 

 

Minnesota All-Area girls and boys basketball teams

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

ALL-AREA TEAM

Tyler Ukkelberg – Battle Lake – Forward – Senior

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

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

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

 

Hunter Nickel – Park Christian – Center – Senior

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

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

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

 

Ben Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Junior

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

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

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

 

Cody Dorow – Moorhead – Guard – Junior

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

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

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

 

Ryan Bruggeman – Pelican Rapids – Guard – Senior

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

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

 

HONORABLE MENTION

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

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

Nate Lorenz – Breckenridge – Forward – Junior

Austin Rund – Fergus Falls – Forward – Senior

Daniel Nersten – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy – Forward – Senior

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

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

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

 

 

GIRLS

ALL-AREA TEAM

Monica Vega – Ada-Borup – Guard – Senior

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

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

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

 

Bailey Strand – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

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

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

 

Brianna Rasmusson – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

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

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

 

Mackenzie Korf – Pelican Rapids – Guard – Sophomore

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

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

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

 

Anna Monke – Fergus Falls – Forward – Senior

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

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

 

HONORABLE MENTION

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

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

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

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

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

Josi Tappe – Frazee – Guard – Junior

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

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

Lincoln Haiby – Pelican Rapids – Forward – Junior

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

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 13)

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

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

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

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (23-0)

This week: At Frazee Thursday

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

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

 

2. Perham (17-7)

This week: At Barnesville Thursday

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

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

 

3. Barnesville (18-4)

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

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

 

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

This week: Host Breckenridge Friday

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

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

 

5. Fertile-Beltrami (20-5)

This week: Host Kittson County Central Thursday

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

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

 

 

GIRLS

1. Fergus Falls (22-0)

This week: Host Brainerd Thursday, host Moorhead Saturday

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

 

2. Ada-Borup (21-0)

This week: At Crookston Thursday

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

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

 

3. Pelican Rapids (18-2)

This week: At Barnesville Friday, at Park Rapids Saturday

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

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

 

4. Hawley (15-6)

This week: At Breckenridge Friday

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

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

 

5. Verndale (20-3)

This week: At Sebeka Friday

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

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 12)

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

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

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

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (20-0)

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Perham (14-6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. Pelican Rapids (15-5)

This week: At Hawley Tuesday, Host Breckenridge Friday

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

5. Fertile-Beltrami (16-4)

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

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

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

 

Knocking on the door

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

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

 

 

GIRLS

1. Fergus Falls (18-0)

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

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

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

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

 

2. Ada-Borup (18-0)

This week: At Win-E-Mac Thursday

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

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

 

3. Pelican Rapids (17-1)

This week: Host Hawley Thursday

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

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

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

The Vikings become a more complete team with every game.

 

4. Hawley (13-6)

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

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

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

 

5. Verndale (16-3)

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

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

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

 

Knocking on the door

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

 

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 11)

Dan Marso (ball) is one of many options Battle Lakes has. The Battlers are 18-0 and show no signs of slowing down. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

No change in the boys rankings with Battle Lake standing tall at No. 1.

On the girls side, Hawley reenters the rankings at No. 5 and Verndale jumps up a spot with Barnesville falling out.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (18-0)

This week: Host Henning Friday, At Concordia College (Moorhead) vs Pelican Rapids Saturday

Battle Lake beat a 10-6 C-G-B team 94-59, Brandon-Evansville 67-25 and Underwood 83-46. It’s almost getting too easy for the Battlers.

The Battlers are one of two remaining undefeated teams in the state and their 40.5 average points against is the best in Minnesota.

It’s a big week for the Battlers with 12-7 Henning and Class 2A Pelican Rapids (14-4).

 

2. Perham (14-5)

This week: Host Hawley Friday

Nick Bahls had 20 points in a win for Class 2A Perham over Class 3A Detroit Lakes on Saturday. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Perham blew a big lead over Fergus Falls, but it’s hard to fault the Class 2A Yellowjackets for losing to the Class 3A Otters by three. Perham answered with a 51-36 win over Breckenridge and a 63-49 over Class 3A Detroit Lakes (12-6).

Perham is 10-2 in section play and 6-2 in the Heart O’ Lakes Conference, tied with Barnesville for the top spot. 

 

3. Barnesville (13-3)

This week: At Breckenridge Thursday, host Rothsay Friday, at Frazee Saturday

Leading scorer Michael Strand (right) is back for Barnesville. The Trojans have won 10 in a row, seven of which came without Strand. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Two points is what separates Barnesville from Perham, as the Yellowjackets won 66-64 in overtime in the only meeting. The Feb. 20 rematch could have the HOL conference on the line.

Barnesville has won 10 in row, seven without its leading scorer Michael Strand. Strand is back and helped lead the Trojans over Hawley in overtime.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (15-1)

This week: At Hancock Friday

The Warriors are 15-1 overall and 10-1 in their section. It looks like Section 6A South will come down to W-H-N and Battle Lake.

Wheaton has not been to state since 1921 and will have to overcome a 71-32 loss to Battle Lake earlier in the season to get there.

 

5. Fertile-Beltrami (15-3)

This week: At Waubun Friday, at Grand Forks Showcase Saturday

Fertile-Beltrami is 10-2 in section play and winners of five straight, including a 73-62 win over Ada-Borup (11-6) Monday in which five Falcons scored in double digits, including Charlie Duckstad’s double-double.

Two of the three losses are to Northern Freeze, which sits atop Section 8A West, 70-59 and Red Lake, which sits atop Section 8A East, 61-55. No escaping those two come postseason.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Fergus Falls (16-0)

This week: Host Rocori Thursday, host Thief River Falls Saturday

Fergus Falls looks pretty unstoppable currently. With options everywhere, including Kathryn Sawtell (right) off the bench. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum.

Outside of a 62-51 win over Alexandria, no team has come within 20 points of Fergus Falls this season. Add Staples-Motley (77-48) and St. Cloud Apollo (75-20) as the latest to fall to the Otters.

Biggest challenge for the Otters comes Saturday against Thief River Falls (17-1). It will be No. 1 vs. No. 7 in Class 3A.

 

2. Ada-Borup (15-0)

This week: Host Hillsboro-Central Valley (N.D.) Thursday, host Mahnomen Friday

Ada-Borup is rolling behind Monica Vega, Haley Gehrtz and Haley Poehler. The Cougars are beating teams on average by more than 34 points, they are deep and they play defense.

The Cougars have 12-2 Hillsboro-Central Valley and 2-14 Mahnomen next.

 

3. Pelican Rapids (15-1)

This week: At Perham Tuesday, host Frazee Friday

Mackenzie Korf and Lincoln Haiby are all over the place for the Vikings. Korf had 19 points and 10 assists and Haiby had 14 points and eight rebounds in a 54-41 win over Perham.

Korf then had 26 points, 12 assists and six steals in a 79-59 win over Frazee and Haiby added 11 rebounds.

 

4. Verndale (15-2)

This week: Host West Central Area Thursday, at Henning Friday

Verndale is 7-2 in section play and the Pirates two losses are by a combined nine points.

The Pirates have never been to state and will need to get by Borwerville if they want a chance to. Tough week with 10-4 West Central Area and 10-7 Henning on the schedule.

 

5. Hawley (11-6)

This week: Host Menahga Tuesday, host Ashby Thursday

Hawley returns to the rankings after knocking off Barnesville 53-44. The Nuggets have won five straight and are 9-2 in section play.

Four of Hawley’s six losses are to teams ranked in the AP top 10. The Class 2A Nuggets lost to Thief River Falls (No. 7 in Class 3A) 53-46, Ada-Borup (No. 3 in Class 1A) 53-43, Pelican Rapids (No. 6 in Class 2A) 59-37 and Fergus Falls (No. 1 in Class 3A) 68-27.

Outside of those four loss, the Nuggets lost to Barnesvlle 50-46 in the second game of the season and to Class 3A Detroit Lakes 51-24.

 

Knocking on the door

Detroit Lakes (12-4) – The Lakers have won eight in a row. Problem is they are 2-4 in section and are looking up at 15-1 Albany, 12-3 Alexandria, 17-1 Thief River Falls and 16-0 Fergus Falls in Section 8AAA.

 

 

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 (Week 10)

Perham got revenge for a loss earlier in the season to Pelican Rapids. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Barnesville and Perham knocked Pelican Rapids out of the boys rankings, while Battle Lake stands tall at No. 1.

On the girls side, Fergus Falls, Ada-Borup and Pelican Rapids have set up camp at the top three spots in the rankings.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (15-0)

This week: Host Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Tuesday, at Brandon for Brandon-Evansville Thursday

Battle Lake rolled through the week with an 81-29 win over Rothsay and a 79-27 win over Parkers Prairie. Dan Marso picked up career point 1,000 against Rothsay and Tyler Ukkelberg got his 1,000th point against Parkers Prairie. The Battlers had four in double digits against Rothsay and three against Parkers Prairie, with no one scoring more than 23 in either game.

The Battlers are one of two remaining undefeated teams in the state. They have another test with 9-4 C-G-B Tuesday.

 

2. Perham (12-4)

This week: At Fergus Falls Tuesday, host Breckenridge Thursday, host Detroit Lakes Saturday

Eli Beachy (right) had the task of guarding Pelican Rapids leading scorer Ryan Bruggeman. Beachy held him to seven points in the first half. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Perham took care of business, knocking off Pelican Rapids on the road 64-57, after losing at home to Pelican Rapids 56-55 earlier in the season.

Perham is at its best when everyone shows up in the box score. Tyler Glines had 18, Hunter Salathe had 17 and Nick Bahls had 16. Class 2A Perham has two Class 3A teams this week in Fergus Falls (9-7) and Detroit Lakes (10-5), along with Heart O’ Lakes Conference foe Breckenridge (3-10) this week.

 

3. Barnesville (12-3)

This week: At Hawley Thursday

Two points is what separates Barnesville from Perham, as the Yellowjackets won 66-64 in overtime in the only meeting. The Trojans have won nine in a row, including topping Pelican Rapids 58-55 in their latest win.

Even more impressive is they’ve played their last seven games without leading scorer Michael Strand. According to coach Todd Henrickson, Strand has been cleared to play and the Trojans are hoping to get him back Thursday for Hawley.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (13-1)

This week: At Rosholt (S.D.) Tuesday, at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley

The Warriors are 13-1 overall and 9-1 in their section. It looks like Section 6A South will come down to W-H-N and Battle Lake. Wheaton has not been to state since 1921.

 

5. Fertile-Beltrami (12-3)

This week: Host Mahnomen Tuesday, at Climax for Climax-Fisher Friday

Fertile-Beltrami is 8-2 in section play. Problem is the two losses are to Northern Freeze, which sits atop Section 8A West, 70-59 and Red Lake, which sits atop Section 8A East, 61-55. No escaping those two come postseason.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Fergus Falls (14-0)

This week: Host Staples-Motley Tuesday, host St. Cloud Apollo Friday

Outside of a 62-51 win over Alexandria, no team has come within 20 points of Fergus Falls this season. Add Hawley (68-27) and Willmar (67-44) as the latest to fall to the Otters.

Class 3A’s top-ranked Otters have the No. 6-ranked Class 2A team Tuesday and winless St. Cloud Apollo (0-13) Friday.

 

2. Ada-Borup (9-0)

This week: Host Red Lake Falls Tuesday, host Norman County West Thursday

Ada-Borup is rolling. The Cougars are beating teams on average by more than 35 points. They faced Lake Park-Audubon, who came in 9-3 overall and 7-1 in Section 6A, and the Cougars beat them by 53 to move to 8-0 in Section 6A.

 

3. Pelican Rapids (13-1)

This week: At Perham Tuesday, host Frazee Friday

Pelican Rapids sophomore guard Mackenzie Korf is averaging over 25 points a game to lead the 13-1 Vikings. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Vikings have battled the last few weeks, topping 5-5 Breckenridge 57-54 in overtime and 6-8 Crookston 59-57. Mackenzie Korf had 17 points and six assists and Lincoln Haiby added 17 points and 10 rebounds against Crookston.

 

4. Barnesville (11-2)

This week: Host Hawley Friday

Barnesville has won five straight and is 6-2 in Section 8AA

 

5. Verndale (12-2)

This week: Host Menahga Tuesday, host Ashby Thursday

Verndale is 6-2 in section. The two losses were by a combined nine points.

The Pirates have never been to state and will need to get by Borwerville if they want a chance to.

 

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 (Week 9)

The last time Perham and Pelican Rapids met, Ryan Bruggeman scored 28 points to lead the Vikings over the Yellowjackets 56-55. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Barnesville and Wheaton-Herman-Norcross enter the boys rankings with a big rematch between Perham and Pelican Rapids coming Friday that could change a lot of things.

On the girls side, Fergus Falls and Ada-Borup continue to roll.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (13-0)

This week: Host Rothsay Tuesday, at Parkers Prairie Thursday

Battle Lake has passed all their tests, so far. The Battlers have knocked off Perham and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. After Rothsay, Parkers Prairie could be a trap game with 8-3 Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley coming next Tuesday.

 

2. Pelican Rapids (10-2)

This week: At Barnesville Tuesday, host Perham Friday

The Vikings follow an 88-71 loss to 13-4 Crookston with a brutal week. They head to Barnesville to face a red-hot Trojans team that is 11-3 and have won eight straight before hosting 11-4 Perham, who has revenge on their minds for a 56-55 loss to Pelican Rapids earlier in the season.

 

3. Perham (11-4)

This week: At Pelican Rapids Friday

Perham has a bit of a tougher schedule than Pelican Rapids, but it’s hard to argue the fact the Vikings beat the Yellowjackets in their one meeting this year. Perham has a chance to change that Friday.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (12-1)

This week: Host Henning Friday

The Warriors are 12-1 and their one loss came to the best team in the area in Battle Lake. Problem is that loss was 71-32 and the sub-section title game in Class 6A will come down to those two.

Warriors will have to figure out a way to compete with Battle Lake if they want to make it to state.

 

5. Barnesville (11-3)

This week: Host Pelican Rapids Tuesday, at Breckenridge Friday

Barnesville finds itself in the same place as W-H-N. The Trojans have won eight straight and all three of their losses have come to teams ranked in these rankings.

A 72-56 loss to Pelican Rapids and a 66-64 loss to Perham in overtime are the big ones, seeing as the Trojans will have to go through those team in the section tournament.

Good news for the Trojans is those losses came eight wins ago. What better way to prove they are a different team than beating Pelican Rapids at home Tuesday.

 

Knocking on the door

Park Christian (12-3) – At 7-1 in section, the Falcons aren’t going anywhere in the rankings with the Heart O’ Lakes Conference beating up on each other. The Falcons will have to get by Ada-Borup in Section 6A North before attempting to head to state with a win over Battle Lake or Wheaton-Herman Norcross. It won’t be easy.

Fertile-Beltrami (10-3) - A loss to Northern Freeze for Fertile-Beltrami puts them at 7-2 in section and makes Section 8A West extremely interesting.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Fergus Falls (12-0)

This week: At Hawley Tuesday, at Willmar Saturday

Outside of a 62-51 win over Alexandria Friday, no team has come within 20 points of Fergus Falls this season. The Otters passed their first test, as Alexandria and Fergus Falls have played for the Class 3A, Section 8 title the last three seasons.

Brianna Rasmusson, Bailey Strand and Anna Monke continue to be tough to stop. Rasmusson had 13 points, nine assists and five rebounds, Monke had 12 points, five rebounds and five blocks and Strand had 19 points against Alexandria.

 

2. Ada-Borup (9-0)

This week: At Waubun Tuesday, host Lake Park-Audubon Thursday

Ada-Borup continues to roll, beating teams by, on average, more than 33 points a game. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum.

Ada-Borup has beaten teams on average of more than 33 points a game. The Cougars are 6-0 in section play, but have a big Section 6A North game with Lake Park-Audubon (9-3 overall, 7-1 in section) coming.

 

3. Pelican Rapids (12-1)

This week: At Crookston Friday

Vikings are 9-0 in Section 8AA and their one loss came to Class 3A Detroit Lakes by one. Mackenzie Korf came through with 23 points, nine assists and seven steals in an overtime win over Breckenridge.

 

4. Verndale  (10-1)

This week: Host Sebeka Tuesday, host Upsala Thursday, at Pillager Friday

Looks like it will come down to Browerville and Verndale for Section 5A North, who the Pirates lost to 76-72 in the first game of the season. They haven’t lost since.

 

5. Barnesville (8-2)

This week: At Ashby Tuesday, host East Grand Forks Thursday, host Crookston Saturday

Trojans are 4-2 in the section, including a 15-point loss to Pelican Rapids. Going to be hard to get by the Vikings come playoff time.

 

Knocking on the door

Lake Park-Audubon (9-3): LP-A is 7-1 in section with a chance to prove they are contenders with a game against Ada-Borup coming.

 

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 (Week 7)

 

Hawley’s win over Perham made it just the 3rd time in five seasons the Yellowjackets lost back-to-back games. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley’s win over Perham proves to be the big factor in the shuffling of the boys rankings.

Barnesville drops and Verndale moves up on the girls sides

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (10-0)

This week: Host Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Friday

Battle Lake destroyed Underwood 92-33 and rolled a 7-0 Wheaton-Herman-Norcross team 71-32.

Against previously undefeated W-H-N, Tyler Ukkelberg dropped 23 points, Dan Marso had 15 and Petric VanErp had 11. Doesn’t get much easier for the Battlers, as they will host 7-2 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Friday.

Then again, they are making it look easy.

 

2. Pelican Rapids (8-1)

This week: Host Hawley Friday

The Vikings had no problem with an Ada-Borup team that had won five straight 79-53 on the road.

After two rough outings, Ryan Bruggeman dropped 24 in the win, 18 of which came in the first half. Vikings host a Hawley team that is fresh off a big win over Perham.

 

3. Park Christian (8-2)

This week: Host Bagley Friday, host Northern Freeze Saturday

Matt Moberg had 23 points and Hunter Nickel had 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Falcons by Sacred Heart 73-39. When those two are doing that, teams don’t stand a chance against the Falcons.

 

4. Fertile-Beltrami (8-1)

This week: At Sacred Heart Thursday, host Northern Freeze Saturday

Fertile-Beltrami’s 8-1 start is the team’s best start since they went 8-1 in 2006 to open the season. The 2006 team finished 23-6, losing in the section championship 68-65 in overtime to Badger-Greenbush-Middle River.

The Falcons haven’t been to state since 2001.

 

5. Perham (8-4)

This week: At Frazee Friday

Hawley handed Perham their second straight loss Tuesday. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Counting this season, Perham’s longest losing streak in the last five seasons is two, which has happened three times. The third time came in Perham’s 63-47 loss to a 4-6 Hawley team Tuesday.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Fergus Falls (8-0)

This week: Host Sartell-St. Stephen Thursday, host Sauk Rapids-Rice Saturday

Brianna Rasmusson (left) was two rebounds away from a triple-double in Fergus Falls win over Detroit Lakes. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Otters rolled Detroit Lakes 75-55. Brianna Rasmusson was two rebounds short of a triple-double with 15 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Bailey Strand had 26 points, while Anna Monke had 12 and Devonie Smith had 10.
 

2. Ada-Borup (6-0)

This week: Host Fosston Friday

Ada-Borup rolled Norman County West 74-16. Leave it to the Cougars to win 74-16 and their leader in points have 11 in Lexi Merkens. The Cougars spread the ball.

 

3. Pelican Rapids (9-0)

This week: Host Barnesville Thursday, at Detroit Lakes Friday

Mackenzie Korf had 39 points in a 71-59 win over Morris Area. Korf already broke the single-game school record for points with 41 this season. Seems as though she’s trying to beat herself, as she’s now averaging 29.11 points a game.

 

4. Verndale (8-1)

This week: At New York Mills Friday

The Pirates have won eight straight games after knocking off Bertha-Hewitt 65-51 and Henning 67-45. Jordyn Glenz had 22 points in the win over Henning.

Pirates get 6-2 New York Mills next.

 

5. Barnesville (6-1)

This week: At Pelican Rapids Thursday, host Waubun Saturday

Barnesville lost its first game of the season 58-56 to Frazee. No real time to dust themselves off, as they have Pelican Rapids next.

 

 

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 (Week 6)

No movement in the rankings this week, but Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, Verndale and Ada-Borup are making things interesting on the boys side.

On the girls side, an upcoming matchup between No. 2 Ada-Borup and No. 3 Pelican Rapids could change things.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (8-0)

This week: At Underwood Friday

Dan Marso (left) is one of many weapons Battle Lake has this season. Photo by Nick Wagner

Battle Lake rolled Osakis 82-54, but the Battlers can’t overlook Underwood before hosting currently undefeated Wheaton-Herman-Norcross.

The Battlers have weapons everywhere. Against Osakis five BL players were in double digits. Nick Trosdahl had 21, Tony Ukkelberg had 20, Tyler Ukkelberg had 13 and Dan Marso and Petric VanErp each had 12.

 

2. Pelican Rapids (7-1)

This week: At Ada-Borup (Ada) Friday

The Vikings were able to hand Cavalier (N.D.) it’s first loss of the season 52-47, but they were very close to dropping their second straight game, trailing 43-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

Teams are swarming Ryan Bruggeman, as he had nine points against Cavalier. The Vikings will need to find other options and don’t have a lot of time to figure it out with Ada-Borup (6-2) and rival Hawley as their next two games.

 

3. Perham (8-3)

This week: No games

Nick Bahls (10) had 19 points for Perham against Mankato West, but it wasn’t enough. Photo by Aaron Hagen/Worthingon Daily Globe

Perham went 1-1 at the Worthington Holiday Tournament, destroying Worthington 81-52, but falling to Mankato West 60-52. Hunter Salathe had a career-high 33 points against Worthington.

Hard to fault the Class 2A Yellowjackets for falling to an 8-2 Class 3A team, however, they were outscored 28-14 in the final 11 minutes. That will be a tough loss to swallow.

 

4. Park Christian (7-2)

This week: At Sacred Heart Thursday, host Northern Freeze Saturday

Class 1A Park Christian hung with Class 5A Blaine, trailing by six at half. The Falcons ultimately lost 77-65. Another big night for Hunter Nickel with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks.

The Falcons remain 6-0 in section play.

 

5. Fertile-Beltrami (7-1)

This week: At Bagley Thursday

Hard to argue against a 7-1 record in section play.

 

Knocking on the door

Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (7-0) – The Warriors are a perfect 7-0, but what has them behind Fertile-Beltrami is they are just 3-0 in their section and have played teams with a combined record of 20-23. Big tests coming up for the Warriors in 7-1 Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Friday and 8-0 Battle Lake Tuesday.

Ada-Borup (6-2) – After losing two of their first three, the Cougars have rattled off five straight wins. It would be hard to keep them out of the rankings if they were to beat Pelican Rapids Friday. The Cougars are coming off a 65-53 win over a Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton team that beat Pelican Rapids 53-41.

Verndale (7-1) - Pirates have won six in a row and are 4-1 in section play.

 

 

GIRLS

1. FergusFalls (7-0)

This week: Host Breckenridge Saturday

Anna Monke (34) continues to lead Fergus Falls as a presence in the paint. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

No team has come within 23 points of the Otters. It’s a simple equation for which the Otters have all the pieces. Brianna Rasmusson handles the ball, Bailey Strand is the outside threat and Anna Monke does the work down low.

Strand had 23 and Monke had 20 in the Otters 69-27 win over St. Louis Park.

 

2. Ada-Borup (5-0)

This week: Host Pelican Rapids Friday

Business as usual for Ada-Borup. The Cougars are 5-0 overall and 4-0 in section play. Ranked third in AP polls in Class 1A, the Cougars have a big game against No. 10-ranked Class 2A Pelican Rapids at home Friday.

 

3. Pelican Rapids (8-0)

This week: At Ada-Borup (Ada) Friday

Going into last week, Pelican Rapids guard Mackenzie Korf had averaged over 30 points in her previous four games. That went down a bit, but she still netted 18 in a 76-43 win over Underwood and 23, along with 10 assists and nine rebounds, in a 73-67 win over Park Rapids.

Korf has scored 40 percent of the Vikings’ points this season, averaging nearly 28 points a game. She’ll face a tough defense Friday in Ada-Borup.

 

4. Barnesville (6-0)

This week: Host Rothsay Friday

Barnesville probably has Jan. 9′s game at Section 8AA rival Pelican Rapids circled on their calendar. The Trojans have to get by Rothsay and Frazee first.

 

5. Verndale (6-1)

This week: At Bertha Hewitt (Bertha) Friday

Pirates have won six in a row and are 4-1 in section play.

 

 

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.