Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Feb. 18)

Boys rankings stay the same, but Hillcrest gets within striking distance of Battle Lake and Moorhead tops Detroit Lakes.

On the girls side, the top two teams squared off with Ada-Borup proving why the Cougars are the best girls basketball team in the area.

Here are your area Minnesota high school boys and girls basketball rankings for the week of Feb. 18.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (24-1)

Last week: 66-48 win at Henning; 85-82 win at home over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

Next up: host Barnesville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Petric VanErp led the way for Battle Lake in a big win over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Petric VanErp led the way for Battle Lake in a big win over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Battle Lake will head into the postseason with a grip on 6A, after beating Hillcrest twice in the regular season. Things become a tad more interesting considering Battle Lake beat Hillcrest 54-34 earlier in the season and only beat the Comets by three on Tuesday.

Outside of a loss to Maranatha Christian, the closest margin was 15 in the 23 Battle Lake wins. Hillcrest now has gotten the closest with a three-point loss.

The Battlers are healthy with Tony Ukkelberg fully back. He had 21 against Hillcrest, Petric VanErp had 23 and Andrew VanErp and Nick Trosdahl each had 16.

 

2. Hawley (19-3)

Last week: 65-35 win at home over Verndale; 58-48 win at home over Perham; 84-53 win at Pelican Rapids

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

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

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

Big win for Hawley over Perham, considering Perham is sporting two new players from Class 4A St. Cloud Tech transfers junior Max and freshman Mitch Plombon.

With the Plombons, Perham rolled one of the top 8AA North teams in Crosby-Ironton 46-30 on Monday, so the Yellowjackets are nothing to sleep on. Then again, they lost to Frazee 45-44 for the first time in two decades.

The Nuggets have won 12 in a row and big man Ben Ellefson just became the 26th player in Minnesota high school boys basketball history to have over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career.

Against Perham, it was Ellefson with 19 points and seven rebounds and Dillon Omberg with 17 points that led the Nuggets. Hawley has size, weapons and is full of seniors.

Next stop should be state for the first time since 2000. First step was locking up the No. 1 seed in 8AA South and the Nuggets did just that.

 

3. Moorhead (19-5)

Last week: 73-63 win at Alexandria; 52-46 win at home over Detroit Lakes

Next up: postseason

Matt Bye (ball) had a big night to fuel a comeback for Moorhead against Detroit Lakes on Tuesday. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Matt Bye (ball) had a big night to fuel a comeback for Moorhead against Detroit Lakes on Tuesday. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Moorhead looks to have a No. 2 seed locked up for the 8AAAA tournament, meaning they’ll open the playoffs at home. Spuds are 8-1 in the section with their only loss coming 70-59 to St. Michael Albertville, which will most likely be the No. 1 seed.

Spuds will most likely have Rogers in the section semifinals, a team they beat 66-50 in the regular season.

If things go according to plan, Spuds should have St. Cloud Tech in the first round, a team they beat 79-37 on Jan. 9.

 

4. Detroit Lakes (21-4)

Last week: 69-68 win in overtime at Grand Rapids; 52-46 loss at Moorhead

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

Leading scorer Christian Hedstrom returned for DL after missing two games because of a concussion. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

Leading scorer Christian Hedstrom returned for DL after missing two games because of a concussion. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

The good news for the Lakers is they got their leading scorer Christian Hedstrom back after a concussion.

Hedstrom missed the second half of the game against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton that the Lakers squeaked out a 51-49 win, missed a 54-46 loss to a Thief River Falls team the Lakers beat 78-58 with him and a 69-68 overtime win over an 11-14 Grand Rapids team.

Clearly, the Lakers need Hedstrom. They close the season against the only 8AAA team with a better QRF ranking than them.

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (19-4)

Last week: 70-49 win at home over Underwood; 69-26 win at home over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross; 85-82 loss at Battle Lake

Next up: at Minnewaska Area, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Hillcrest gets the No. 2 seed in 6A North despite going 15-2 in the section with their only losses coming to Battle Lake, which was 16-0 in 6A.

Waubun got the No. 1 seed in 6A North even though the Bombers 77.7 QRF ranking was third in 6A North to Hillcrest’s 81.6 and Park Christian’s 79.2

The Comets never did play Waubun in the regular season and Park Christian went 1-1 against the Bombers.

Regardless, Hillcrest made things very interesting. Outside of one loss, no team came within 15 of Battle Lake before Hillcrest fell to the Battlers 85-82 on Tuesday.

Chris Tungseth lost his mind on Tuesday, scoring 39 points on 14-of-22 shooting to go along with Jake Isaac’s 27 points. With those two playing like that, Hillcrest can beat anyone in 6A.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (22-0)

Last week: 80-10 win at home over Lake Park-Audubon; 55-51 win at Hawley

Next up: host Crookston, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.; vs. Win-E-Mac at Lake Park, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Still only one remaining unbeaten girls basketball team in the state and that’s Ada-Borup.

The Cougars just beat one of the best teams in Class 2A on the road without one of their starters in Morgan Miller. Haley Poehler had 16 points against Hawley.

The road gets even harder to close the regular season for the Cougars, as they take on 17-6 Crookston and 19-4 Win-E-Mac.

 

2. Hawley (18-3)

Last week: 62-41 win over Brandon-Evansville at Concordia-Moorhead; 55-51 loss at home to Ada-Borup

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

Ellefson shadow

Mira Ellefson is the key for Hawley to get to the state tournament. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Hawley dropped a tough one to the No. 1-ranked team in Class 1A, but the Nuggets have bigger fish to fry. They’ve already given Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton hope by dropping a game to the Rebels. They can’t allow that with Pelican Rapids as well.

The Nuggets are 11-1 in 8AA and have one loss to a Class 2A team.

 

3. Dilworth-Glyndon Felton (15-6)

Last week: 67-47 win at Pelican Rapids; 69-67 win at Crookston; 60-57 win at home over Breckenridge

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

Big week for the Rebels. They rolled a team they’d need to get through to get another shot at Hawley in the sub-section championship in Pelican Rapids and they showed they are contenders for the 8AA title with a 69-67 win over Crookston.

D-G-F is a better bet to beat Hawley than Wheaton-Herman-Norcross is to beat Ada-Borup.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (21-2)

Last week: 40-36 win at home over Underwood; 61-25 win at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

Next up: host Breckenridge, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Park Christian, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors didn’t deserve to drop a spot in the rankings, but with Ada-Borup getting stronger and with D-G-F having beaten Hawley before, there’s just no reason to think the Warriors will beat the Cougars in the section title game if they are to even get there.

W-H-N doesn’t play Ada-Borup in the regular season.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (16-6)

Last week: 69-38 win at home over Bemidji; 60-38 win at home over Staples-Motley

Next up: host Pequot Lakes, Saturday, 7:15 p.m.

Shay Nielsen will be big for DL down the stretch. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Shay Nielsen will be big for DL down the stretch. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

One would think 16-6 would be a good overall record, but that is good enough for sixth in 8AAA. The section holds five of the top 23 QRF rankings in Class 3A.

DL has a tough road, but they have five seniors for it.


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 (Feb. 11)

A loss for Detroit Lakes shuffles the boys rankings, while the girls rankings stay the same.

Here’s the top area boys and girls basketball teams in Minnesota for the week of Feb. 11.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (22-1)

Last week: 69-24 win at home against Underwood; 91-31 win at home against Bertha-Hewitt

Next up: at Henning, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Petric VanErp stood tall with Battle Lake losing leading scorer Tony Ukkelberg for a few games, but Ukkelberg is back. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Leading scorer Tony Ukkelberg is back after a flu and the Battlers won by 45 and 60 points.

They’ve won 14 straight and have a date with Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday. Currently, 6A belongs to the Battlers, seeing as they beat Hillcrest – a team they will most likely see in the section championship game – by 20 earlier in the season.

Another double-digit beating of the Comets and the Battlers become almost a lock to go to state.

 

2. Hawley (18-3)

Last week: 58-44 win at Barnesville; 70-48 win at Fargo Civic Center vs. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy; 65-35 win at home over Verndale

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

It looks like Hawley will enter the Class 2A playoffs having not lost to a Class 2A team all season and winners of 13 straight unless Perham has something to say about that.

Less than 30 known players in Minnesota high school basketball history have scored more than 2,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in their career. Hawley’s Ben Ellefson will be joining that club soon.

It’s been 15 years since Hawley won a section title in boys basketball. No reason that streak shouldn’t be snapped.

 

3. Moorhead (18-5)

Last week: 65-59 win at home over Thief River Falls; 92-60 win at Willmar

Next week: at Alexandria, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; host Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Junior Matt Bye (left) has been one of the leaders for the Spuds this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Spuds close out the season against the top two teams in 8AAA and can’t afford a loss.

The Spuds have won nine straight and look to head into the playoffs rolling. One shadow over everything is the 11-point loss to St. Michael-Albertville earlier in the season.

If the Spuds make the section championship game, it’ll most likely be St. Michael-Albertville they’ll have to overcome.

St. Michael-Albertville beat the Spuds twice last season, including a loss in the Spuds’ first playoff game.

 

4. Detroit Lakes (20-3)

Last week: 53-45 win at home over Perham; 69-36 win at Park Rapids; 51-49 win at Fargo Civic Center over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton; 54-46 loss at Thief River Falls

Next up: at Grand Rapids, 5 p.m., Saturday; at Moorhead, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

If DL’s leading scorer Christian Hedstrom is out for a long period of time, a lot more will be asked of Ryan Cihak (right). Photo by Dave Walls/Forum

DL is a different team without leading scorer Christian Hedstrom. Hedstrom hit his head on the floor when he fell going up for a layup against D-G-F on Saturday and the Lakers were not the same.

D-G-F is going to be a team to be reckoned with in Class 2A next season, but that is no excuse for a 20-3 Class 3A team to struggle against the Rebels.

It’s obvious it was the loss of Hedstrom. When he left, it was 41-30 Lakers and D-G-F came storming back, even taking a lead with less than three minutes to go.

Hedstrom missed the game against TRF and the Lakers lost 54-46 to a team they beat 78-58 earlier in the season.

DL coach Robb Flint on Hedstrom’s current condition:

“He has a concussion and is still feeling effects so he can’t start his recovery until he is symptom free. We are least a week away from him being able to play. Hope to have him back by playoffs.”

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (17-3)

Last week: 70-48 loss to Hawley at Fargo Civic Center; 84-60 win at home over Ortonville

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

Can definitely excuse the Comets loss to Hawley, seeing as Hawley is one of the better Class 2A teams in the state, but it would have been nice to see a bit more fight out of the Comets.

They led 2-0 and then Hawley answered with a 20-0 run and the game was over.

Comets need to put that one behind them, as they have bigger fish to fry with Battle Lake on Tuesday. The Comets could make 6A a lot more interesting if they overcome a 20-point loss earlier in the season to the Battlers.

If not, 6A belongs to Battle Lake.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (20-0)

Last week: 83-17 win at home over Park Christian; 72-24 win at Waubun

Next week: host Lake Park-Audubon, Thursday, 6 p.m.; at Hawley, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

There is just one remaining undefeated girls basketball team in Minnesota and that’s Ada-Borup.

It’s in large part to the Cougar defense. They’ve given up more than 40 points just six times in 20 wins and are averaging 32.8 points against.

It means nothing in the long run, but the Cougars would love to knock off Class 2A Hawley.

 

2. Hawley (17-2)

Last week:54-44 win at home over Barnesville; 46-38 win at Fergus Falls

Next up: vs. Brandon-Evansville at Concordia-Moorhead, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; host Ada-Borup, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

And Hawley would love to beat Ada-Borup.

You put two coaches like Bill Gottenborg and David Smart against one another and it’ll be a battle.

It may be Class 2A vs. Class 1A and essentially not mean much standings-wise, but it matters in regards to area dominance.

Hawley has won three straight since losing to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. Nuggets are looking pretty comfortable in 8AA.

 

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

Last week: 91-48 win at home over Ortonville

Next up: host Underwood, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Monday, 6 p.m.

Wheaton is 10-0 in section play and their 85.7 QRF ranking is second to Ada-Borup’s 93.8 in 6A.

The two seemed destined for a date in the section championship game.

 

4. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (12-6)

Last week: 53-37 win over Hankinson (N.D.)

Next week: at Pelican Rapids, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Crookston, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.; host Breckenridge, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

D-G-F has a huge stretch coming up. After handing Hawley its only loss in Class 2A, the Rebels responded with a 59-55 loss to Breckenridge and a 57-51 loss to Moorhead before beating Hankinson.

Breckenridge and Pelican Rapids are teams that stand in D-G-F’s way of a rematch with Hawley in the sub-section championship and if D-G-F were to knock off Hawley again, the Rebels would most likely play Crookston.

These next three games are big tests for the Rebels.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (14-6)

Last week: 54-41 loss at home to Alexandria; 61-28 win at home to Little Falls

Next up: host Bemidji, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Staples-Motley, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Kyley Foster (left) and the Lakers just suffered a tough loss to Alexandria. The Lakers are currently limping into the playoffs. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Not a good loss to Alexandria for DL. The Lakers beat Alexandria 56-49 to open the season and lost to the Cardinals by 13 at home now at the end of the regular season.

The first Alexandria win was what DL hung its hat on with Alex in first in 8AAA. Now, the road gets tougher for DL with Alex (15-4), Thief River Falls (17-2) and Albany (16-4) all ahead of the Lakers.


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 (Feb. 4)

Boys rankings stay the same. D-G-F drops a bit in the girls rankings, after an 0-2 week.

Here’s the Minnesota area girls and boys basketball rankings for the week of Feb. 4.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (20-1)

Last week: 75-50 win at Parker Prairie; 67-34 win vs. Pelican Rapids; 65-35 win at home over Brandon-Evansville

Next up: host Underwood, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Bertha-Hewitt, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Eric VanErp had a career-high 25 points against Pelican Rapids on Saturday. Battlers are stepping up with their leading scorer out. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Battle Lake beat Parkers Prairie by 25, Pelican Rapids by 33 and Brandon-Evansville by 30 without leading scorer Tony Ukkelberg.

Ukkelberg just has a flu, so he’ll be back, but the Battlers are gaining even more confidence with Ukkelberg gone. With sophomores like Eric VanErp dropping in 25 points against Pelican Rapids, that can only help the Battlers add weapons.

They have Petric VanErp and Ukkelberg running the show, but the more the Battlers succeed with guys like Nick Trosdahl, Andrew VanErp and Eric VanErp carrying the load, the more complete of a team they are becoming.

 

2. Hawley (15-3)

Last week: 64-33 win at home over Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal; 75-54 win at Crookston; 58-44 win at Barnesville

Next up: vs. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy at Fargo Civic Center, Saturday, 5 p.m.;host Verndale, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Hawley’s Ben Ellefson (left) is closing in on his 1,000th career rebound and 2,000th career point. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

All Hawley did last week was beat the team they’ll most likely see in 8AA championship by 21 on the road.

Crookston moved to 17-2 thanks to that loss and will now be second guessing their hopes of reaching the state tournament if they are to see the Nuggets in the title game.

Hawley hasn’t been to state since 2000. All signs point to that streak ending.

 

3. Detroit Lakes (17-2)

Last week: 71-49 win at home against Park Rapids; 70-30 win at Wadena-Deer Creek

Next up: host Perham, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Park Rapids, Friday, 7:15 p.m.; vs. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at Fargo Civic Center, 1:30 p.m.; at Thief River Falls, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Christian Hedstrom is leading the Lakers in scoring this season. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Five wins in a row for the Lakers, as Detroit Lakes closes in on a No. 1 seed in 8AAA.

DL went to state once from 1918 until 2011. They are eying their second appearance since 2011.

 

4. Moorhead (16-5)

Last week: 87-54 win at Bemidji; 65-47 win at Grand Rapids

Next up: host Thief River Falls, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Willmar, Saturday, 5 p.m.

Moorhead big man Nick Wiesmann has been a force down low rebounding for the Spuds this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Spuds have won seven straight and are 8-1 against 8AAAA teams.

Cody Dorow, who recently committed to Minnesota State Moorhead for basketball, is averaging 21 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists per game for the Spuds.

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (16-2)

Last week: 86-30 win at home over Rothsay; 57-46 win at Fargo Oak Grove (N.D.); 88-57 win at home over Parkers Prairie

Next up: vs. Hawley at Fargo Civic Center, Saturday, 5 p.m.

The No.3-ranked Class B team in North Dakota came in averaging 72.8 points a game. Hillcrest held the Grovers to 46 points.

Hillcrest senior Jake Isaac continues to get better as the season progresses. He dropped 27 points on Oak Grove.

The Comets will have their hands full trying to escape Park Christian in the sub-section title game and then Battle Lake in section title game.

Interesting matchup with Hawley. In the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty meaningless, but if Comets can compete with a Class 2A team like Hawley, they can compete with almost anyone in Class 1A.

 

 

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (18-0)

Last week: 84-20 win at Climax-Fisher; 73-58 win at home over Win-E-Mac

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

Biggest win of the season for Ada-Borup in its 73-58 win over defending state champion Win-E-Mac.

Senior Miki Lee had 22 points and Lexi Merkens had 16 in the win over Win-E-Mac. Cougars look unstoppable right now.

 

2. Hawley (15-2)

Last week: 59-47 win at Crookston

Next up: host Barnesville, 7:30 p.m.; at Fergus Falls, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Hawley junior Mira Ellefson picked up career point No. 1,000 on Saturday. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Biggest win of the season for Hawley in a 59-47 win at Crookston. After dropping its first Class 2A game of the season to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, the Nuggets rolled a team they would most likely face in the 8AA title game by 12 on the road.

Mira Ellefson got career point No. 1,000 and the Nuggets took a firm hold on 8AA.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (18-2)

Last week: 56-27 at home over Hancock; 61-47 win at Ashby

Next up: host Ortonville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Warriors are 9-0 in section play and have a 52-50 overtime win over a team they will most likely see in the 6A South championship.

 

4. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (11-6)

Last week: 59-55 loss at Breckenridge; 57-51 loss at home to Moorhead

Next week: at NDSCS Bonanza vs. Hankison (N.D.), 4:30 p.m.

Not a good week for D-G-F. After pulling off its biggest win of the season over Hawley, the Rebels fell to Breckenridge by four and to Moorhead at home by six.

Moorhead is forgivable because the Spuds are a good young Class 4A team, but that is a tough loss to Breckenridge.

Breckenridge is 8-8 and fifth in 8AA South. If D-G-F wants to get out of that subsection, the Rebels have to prove they can even get a shot at Hawley in the subsection title game.

Just when you think you figure out 8AA South, the subsection throws a curve.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (13-5)

Last week: 55-50 loss at Thief River Falls; 65-48 win at home over Perham

Next up: host Alexandria, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Little Falls, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

DL’s Shay Nielsen (33) is one of 40 senior girls basketball players still in the hunt for Minnesota Miss Basketball. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

8AAA remains brutal. There’s 13-5 DL, 12-4 Alexandria, 14-5 Sartell-St. Stephen, 14-4 Albany and 17-2 Thief River Falls.

DL played TRF tough on the road, falling by five in a back-and-forth game.

Shay Nielsen, a finalist for Minnesota Miss Basketball, had 20 against TRF. The Lakers showed they can play with the best in 8AAA, losing to TRF by five recently and six earlier in the season, but they have to prove they can beat the best.

They get another tough team in Alexandria, who is right behind TRF in the 8AAA standings. Lakers already beat Alex once this season.

 

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. 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.