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

The boys rankings stay the same and the girls rankings add Detroit Lakes and knock out Breckenridge in this week’s area basketball rankings for Minnesota.

 

BOYS

1. Fergus Falls (18-2)

Last week: 57-49 win at Alexandria; 51-48 win at Bemidji.

Next up: host Willmar (5-16), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Fergus Falls freshman Matt Johnson (defending) hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Otters a 51-48 win over Bemidji. Photo by Will Benson/Echo Press

Fergus Falls freshman Matt Johnson (defending) hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Otters a 51-48 win over Bemidji. Photo by Will Benson/Echo Press

Fergus Falls beat Alexandria on the road to justify its top spot in Class 3A, Section 8 and then avoided an upset to section foe Bemidji via a Matt Johnson 3-pointer at the buzzer, after trailing 44-34 with four minutes to go.

Two big section wins on the road for the Otters. Just as they’ve done all season, the Otters spread the wealth. Harrison Christensen and Nathan Rund had 16 against Alexandria and Rund had 23 points and Christensen had 13 against Bemidji.

 

2. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (18-0)

Last week: 75-56 win at home over Hancock; 88-78 win at home over Fargo Oak Grove; 80-56 win at home over Brandon-Evansville

Next up: host Ashby (0-20), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; vs. Hawley (3-16) at Fargo Civic Center, Saturday, 5:45 p.m., host Minnewaska Area (15-4), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

The Comets showed they have other weapons not named Chris Tungseth, as Sean McGuire had 23 points in the win over Hancock. Tungseth had 12 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists against Hancock and then dropped 31 points on Fargo Oak Grove in a shootout and 20 points on Brandon-Evansville.

The Grovers hit 15 3-pointers and the Comets still found a way to win.

Comets have a good challenge against a 15-4 Class 2A team in Minnewaska Area coming.

 

3. Perham (16-3)

Last week: 46-42 loss at Barnesville; 64-60 win at home over Breckenridge.

Next up: host Detroit Lakes (14-5), Thursday, 6 p.m.; vs. Fargo Oak Grove (6-8) at Fargo Civic Center, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Perham dropped its first section game to Barnesville. Time to see how the Yellowjackets respond. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Perham dropped its first section game to Barnesville. Time to see how the Yellowjackets respond. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Just when it seemed as though Perham was slowly running away with Class 2A, Section 8, Barnesville came in and disrupted things, handing the Yellowjackets their first section loss.

The Yellowjackets are still the front runners in the section, but Staples-Motley, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Barnesville and Breckenridge now have a blueprint on how to beat them.

Breckenridge hit a 3-pointer with 18.4 seconds remaining to cut the Perham lead to 62-60 this week, but the Yellowjackets snuck out with a win thanks in large part to 10 missed free throws for the Cowboys.

The section seems to be gaining on Perham.

 

4. Lake Park-Audubon (18-4)

Last week: 70-55 win at Mahnomen. 

Next up: host Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (14-7), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Park Christian (8-12), Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Mitch Hall had 18 points for LP-A against Mahnomen. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Mitch Hall had 18 points for LP-A against Mahnomen. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The win over Mahnomen makes it 14 straight, heading into a big matchup with Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal.

Another huge night for Jesse Bergh against Mahnomen, as the 6-10 junior finished with 23 points and 24 rebounds, while Mitch Hall added 18 points and Lane Ulmer had 17.

 

5. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (16-4)

Last week: 55-21 win at Pelican Rapids; 71-55 win at home over Waubun. 

Next up: at Staples-Motley (12-7), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (14-7), Monday, 7:30 p.m.; at Pequot Lakes, Tuesday (12-9), 7:30 p.m.

D-G-F's Blake Kragnes (right) had a monster double-double against Waubun with 13 points and 20 rebounds. Photo by David Samson/Forum

D-G-F’s Blake Kragnes (right) had a monster double-double against Waubun with 13 points and 20 rebounds. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Big game at Staples-Motley on Thursday for the Rebels, as the Cardinals could be the team to sit between them and a chance at Perham in the section championship.

Tuesday’s win over Waubun showed how dangerous D-G-F can be. They trailed 37-31 at half with their arguably two best players having two points combined in Kyle Rothschadl and Blake Kragnes. The fact the Rebels were within six shows how deep they are and the fact Rothschadl finished with 15 points and Kragnes finished with 13 points and 20 rebounds shows the Rebels can adjust.

All five starters were in double figures with Ethan Edeen netting 14, Cole Tahran adding 11 and Gunnar Payne finishing with 10. Five wins in a row for the Rebels.

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (17-0)

Last week: 64-57 win at Moorhead; 60-47 win at home over Thief River Falls.

Next up: at Pequot Lakes (16-1), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; host Pelican Rapids (12-6), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Anna Smith (left) continues to prove she can go against bigger girls down low. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Anna Smith (left) continues to prove she can go against bigger girls down low. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

The Class 2A Rebels handled Class 4A Moorhead on the road. They handled then Class 3A’s No. 5-ranked Thief River Falls. Now, the Rebels get to see how they hold up against one of the best teams in Class 2A in 16-1 Pequot Lakes.

Only three undefeated girls basketball teams in the state.

The Rebels just continue to find a way to win. They trailed Moorhead by one with 2 minutes 11, seconds to go and closed the game on a 9-1 run on the road. Against Thief River Falls, the Rebels went nearly 10 minutes without scoring, yet, still won.

Against Moorhead, it was Alyson Brenna and Anna Smith. Against Thief River Falls, it was Ally Reno and Natalie Steichen. They press, they can shoot and Smith continues to prove she can fight down low against anyone alongside jumpers Frannie Mercil and Faith Anderson.

 

2. Ada-Borup (15-2)

Last week: 71-31 win at home over Climax-Fisher; 55-54 loss at Win-E-Mac.

Next up: at Park Christian (5-11), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Northern Cass (7-11), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Waubun (14-4), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Ada-Borup has lost two games by a combined two points to teams combined 35-2, with one of those teams being a class above the Cougars.

The loss to Win-E-Mac snapped a 15-game winning streak and a 72-game conference winning streak that dates back to 2011 for Ada-Borup.

The Cougars have won four straight section championships, but they look somewhat human.

 

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

Last week: 66-45 win at Hancock; 85-42 win at home over Ashby.

Next up: at Ortonville (12-6), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Confidence continues to grow for the Warriors, especially seeing Ada-Borup lose. The Warriors have two losses to two teams that are a combined 33-1.

One of those losses was to D-G-F by 11, which Ada-Borup lost to by one in overtime, so that’s the slight tiebreaker between the two.

Currently, W-H-N is higher in the QRF, but it’s hard to bet against the defending champs until proven otherwise.

 

4. Detroit Lakes (13-6)

Last week: 51-46 loss at Thief River Falls; 62-57 win at Perham; 63-60 win in double overtime at Pequot Lakes.

Next up: at Alexandria (13-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Grace Swenson (ball) had 22 points in a huge double overtime win for Detroit Lakes over Pequot Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Grace Swenson (ball) had 22 points in a huge double-overtime win for Detroit Lakes over Pequot Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The Lakers are a weird team in Class 3A. They got beat by Class 2A D-G-F 63-57, which is understandable as the Rebels are 17-0, and then lost big 55-40 and 59-40 to two of the top teams in Class 3A in Pequot Lakes and Albany.

So that was a fine time to write them off. Then, they lose by five to then Class 3A’s No. 5-ranked Thief River Falls on the road and it’s safe to say Detroit Lakes can’t win the big game.

Then, they follow barely getting by Class 2A 11-8 Perham 62-57 by being the first team in the state to beat Pequot Lakes 63-60 in double overtime.

The Lakers have another chance to prove themselves with Alexandria. Currently, Thief River Falls, Alexandria and Sauk Rapids-Rice are ahead of them in Class 3A, Section 8. The Lakers lost by 14 and five to TRF, beat Alexandria 56-51 to open the season and will not play Sauk Rapids-Rice in the regular season.

 

5. Pelican Rapids (12-6)

Last week: 63-25 win at home over Wadena-Deer Creek; 65-58 loss at home to Thief River Falls.

Next up: host Ashby (3-14), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Frazee (8-9), Friday, 6 p.m.; at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (17-0), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Pelican Rapids senior Mackenzie Korf had 23 points, seven steals and five assists in a win over Wadena-Deer Creek. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Pelican Rapids senior Mackenzie Korf had 23 points, seven steals and five assists in a win over Wadena-Deer Creek. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The good news is Pelican Rapids stuck with one of the best Class 3A teams in the state in Thief River Falls. The bad news is Class 2A, Section 8 rival D-G-F beat that TRF team by 13.

Vikings have a good chance to prove the section isn’t D-G-F’s yet with a game against the Rebels on Tuesday.

 

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 boys and girls basketball rankings (Jan. 27)

Lake Park-Audubon enters the boys rankings thanks to 13 straight wins and the girls rankings stay the same.

Here’s the area high school boys and girls basketball rankings for Minnesota.

 

BOYS

1. Fergus Falls (16-2)

Last week: 70-68 win at home over Brainerd; 81-59 win at home over Sartell-St. Stephen.

Next up: at Alexandria (11-5), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Bemidji (7-10), Saturday, 3 p.m.; at St. Cloud Tech (9-10), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Fergus Falls had a big win over Brainerd last week. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Fergus Falls had a big win over Brainerd last week. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Nothing has seemingly made the Otters stumble. With the news of their coach resigning after an alleged DWI breaking the Class 3A Otters knocked off then 16-3 Class 4A Brainerd 70-68 behind 26 points from Nathan Rund. This came three days after the Otters suffered their first section loss.

The Otters followed the win over Brainerd with an 81-59 win over Sartell behind 20 points from Harrison Christensen.

Time to see how the Otters handle the challenge of three straight road games.

 

2. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (15-0)

Last week: 65-55 win at Underwood; 91-78 win at home over Breckenridge.

Next up: host Hancock (10-4), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Fargo Oak Grove (5-6), Saturday, 5:30 p.m.; host Brandon-Evansville (8-7), Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Chris Tungseth scored a single-game school record 44 points in Hillcrest’s 91-78 win over Breckenridge. The Comets are just one of four remaining boys basketball teams in the state who are undefeated.

Tungseth is averaging 25.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.9 steals and shooting 51 percent from the field for the Comets, including hitting 70 shots from 3-point land.

 

3. Perham (15-2)

Last week: 67-62 win at Pequot Lakes; 64-29 win at Pelican Rapids.

Next up: at Barnesville (12-5), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Breckenridge (11-5), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Aaron Soldberg (ball) has been a big reason to Perham's 15-2 start. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Aaron Soldberg (ball) has been a big reason to Perham’s 15-2 start. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Reid Moser is getting better every game, scoring 34 in the win over Pequot Lakes and 24 in the win over Pelican Rapids. 

Yellowjackets have a pretty firm grip on Class 2A, Section 8. It could get stronger with wins over Barnesville and Breckenridge.

 

4. Lake Park-Audubon (17-4)

Last week: 54-36 win at home over Win-E-Mac; 59-58 win at Bagley.

Next up: at Mahnomen (4-11), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

LP-A's Jesse Burgh is averaging a double-double this season for the Raiders. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

LP-A’s Jesse Burgh is averaging a double-double this season for the Raiders. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Enough ignoring the Raiders. They’ve won 13 in a row behind 6-foot-10 junior Jesse Bergh, who is averaging a double-double with more than 21 points and 11 rebounds a game.

The Raiders could give the Comets fits in 6A South.

 

5. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (14-4)

Last week: 79-62 win at home over Hawley; 73-36 win at home over Crookston.

Next up: at Pelican Rapids (1-16), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Waubun (13-3), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

D-G-F's Kyle Rothschadl (right) has been huge this season for the Rebels. Photo by David Samson/Forum

D-G-F’s Kyle Rothschadl (right) has been huge this season for the Rebels. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Blake Kragnes had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Kyle Rothschadl had 17 points to lead D-G-F by Crookston. Those two have been the keys for the Rebels.

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (15-0)

Last week: 54-31 win at Frazee; 52-26 win at Hawley.

Next up: at Moorhead (11-6), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Thief River Falls, Monday (14-1), 7:30 p.m.

Contributions from people like D-G-F's Frannie Mercil (left) is why D-G-F is undefeated. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Contributions from people like D-G-F’s Frannie Mercil (left) is why D-G-F is undefeated. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Class 2A Rebels aren’t messing around, heading to Class 4A Moorhead and hosting Class 3A Thief River Falls, who are a combined 25-7.

A matchup between D-G-F’s Alyson Brenna/Natalie Steichen and Sam Haiby/Brooke Tonsfeldt should be a solid battle.

Both the Spuds and the Prowlers are a good threat to D-G-F’s undefeated season.

 

2. Ada-Borup (14-1)

Last week: 64-41 win at Fertile-Beltrami; 61-39 win at home over Red Lake Falls; 84-27 win at home over Mahnomen.

Next up: host Climax-Fisher (6-9), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Win-E-Mac (16-2), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Very good test coming up for Ada-Borup in the form of 16-2 Win-E-Mac on the road. No team has come close to the Cougars in their 14-game winning streak except Pelican Rapids, which still lost by eight.

 

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

Last week: 46-43 win vs. Canby; 52-26 win at home over West Central Area.

Next up: at Hancock (7-7), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Ashby (3-12), 7:30 p.m.

Warriors have won six straight and are 9-0 in section play. They are coming off a big win over a West Central Area team that was supposed to give them some trouble in sub-section playoffs.

The Warriors have a 10-point win over Battle Lake and a 26-point win over West Central Area. Those are two of the three teams that could compete with the Warriors in the subsection. Brandon-Evansville, who is coming up on the schedule, is the other team.

 

4. Breckenridge (10-2)

Last week: 61-38 win at Hawley; 59-52 win at Barnesville.

Next up: vs. Wahpeton (7-5) at NDSCS, Saturday, 5:15 p.m.; at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (2-12), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Big win for the Cowgirls on the road at Barnesville. They had four in double digits in scoring with Ally Christensen having 12, Tierza Engen netting 10, Kenzie LeNoue getting 10 and Katie Fredericksen adding 14.

 

5. Pelican Rapids (11-5)

Last week: 54-46 win at Barnesville; 53-42 win at home over Perham.

Next up: host Wadena-Deer Creek (2-11), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Thief River Falls (14-1), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Another week, another big game for Pelican Rapids senior Mackenzie Korf. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Another week, another big game for Pelican Rapids senior Mackenzie Korf. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Kaylie Isaman had 17 points and eight rebounds in a win over Barnesville and Mackenzie Korf had 20 points in a win over Perham for the Vikings.

Two big section wins for the Vikings to try to separate themselves from the pack.

 

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 boys and girls basketball rankings (Jan. 20)

Some shuffling at the bottom of the rankings, but the top three stays the same on both sides.

Here’s the area rankings for high school basketball in Minnesota.

 

BOYS

1. Fergus Falls (14-2)

Last week: 72-60 win at home over Rocori; 59-38 win over Sisseton (S.D.) at Sioux Falls; 72-60 loss at Sauk Rapids-Rice.

Next week: host Brainerd (16-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Sartell-St. Stephen (2-13), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Fergus Falls dropped its first section game this week against Sauk Rapids-Rice. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Fergus Falls dropped its first section game this week against Sauk Rapids-Rice. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Four players in double digits against a good Rocori team and three against Sisseton. Otters continue to show they have options around the court, all of whom can hit a 3-pointer.

The loss to Sauk Rapids-Rice wasn’t good, as that’s a section team the Otters could be running into in the postseason. They were down 15 in the second half and rallied to get within two, but it wasn’t enough. The shots weren’t falling, as Fergus shot 31 percent from the field.

The Otters could be eyeing back-to-back losses for the first time this season with Class 4A 16-2 Brainerd coming to Fergus Falls.

 

2. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (13-0)

Last week: 92-41 win at home over Rothsay; 71-43 win at Wheaton-Herman-Norcross; 81-61 win over Parkers Prairie.

Next up: at Underwood (7-5), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; host Breckenridge (10-4), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Chris Tungseth continues to lead the Comets along with Kyler Newman and Sean McGuire, but players like Sam Isaac and Tommy Thompson are gaining more confidence each game.

McGuire had 22 against Parkers Prairie, while Tungseth had 19 and Thompson had 17.

The Comets are a dangerous team right now and very close to becoming the top team in the area.

 

3. Perham (15-2)

Last week: 67-56 win at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton; 92-25 win at Hill City; 53-37 loss at the University of Minnesota-Duluth against Esko

Next up: at Pequot Lakes (10-6), Thursday, 5:45 p.m; at Pelican Rapids (1-15), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Perham's Reid Moser had a game-high 21 points in Perham's win over D-G-F. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Perham’s Reid Moser had a game-high 21 points in Perham’s win over D-G-F. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Reid Moser dropped 21 points in a big win at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton to give Perham a firm grip on Class 2A, Section 8.

After rolling Hill City, Perham got a bit of a eye opener as to where the Yellowjackets sit in Class 2A with a 16-point loss to Esko.

 

4. West Central Area (10-5)

Last week: 52-39 loss at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle; 73-67 loss at home to Browerville-Eagle Valley.

Next up: at St. John’s Prep (8-7), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (5-10), Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Hard to believe a team loses both games in a week and they move up in the rankings, but there’s a bit of a disparity between the top three and No. 4 and No. 5.

Area teams simply aren’t jumping out with big wins to prove they can contend with the top three.

The Knights were down one starter, Isaiah Westby, to an ankle injury and lost another starter, Rylee Peterson, with foul trouble in the loss to Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. They then lost by six to one of the best teams in Class 1A.

Knights can compete with the best, but whether they can beat the best is yet to be seen.

 

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

Last week: 67-56 loss at home to Perham; 84-45 win over Frazee.

Next up: host Hawley (2-14), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Crookston (6-9), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

D-G-F's Blake Kragnes (right) led the Rebels with 15 points against Perham. Photo by David Samson/Forum

D-G-F’s Blake Kragnes (right) led the Rebels with 15 points against Perham. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton got a bit of an eye opener in its 11-point loss to Perham. Right now, Perham has a firm grip on the section, but D-G-F has a chance to change that.

The Rebels answered back-to-back losses with a convincing win over Frazee. The Rebels have their eyes on the Yellowjackets, but they’re disciplined enough to know that’s down the road.

The Rebels close the season against the Yellowjackets. If all plays out, the teams should play for a third time in the playoffs.

Until the Rebels prove otherwise, the section belongs to Perham.

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (13-0)

Last week: 77-41 win at home over Perham; 89-78 win at Park Rapids; 63-57 win at Detroit Lakes.

Next up: at Frazee (7-8), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Hawley (4-8), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Natalie Steichen has seemingly improve each game for D-G-F. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Natalie Steichen has seemingly improve each game for D-G-F. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Hard to find a more confident team than D-G-F right now, especially after knocking off a team a class above them in 11-3 Detroit Lakes on the road.

Natalie Steichen had 16 points against Detroit Lakes, 20 points and seven rebounds against Park Rapids and 15 points against Perham. The sophomore is getting better as the season goes on.

 

2. Ada-Borup (11-1)

Last week: 57-39 win at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal.

Next up: at Fertile-Beltrami (11-5), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Red Lake Falls (6-11), Monday, 7:30 p.m.; host Mahnomen (2-10), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

That’s 11 in a row for Ada-Borup behind 13 points and nine rebounds from Elizabeth Birkemeyer, 12 points from Tianna Hilde and 10 points from Emma Kroshus against Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (14-2)

Last week: 70-24 win at home over Ortonville; 69-30 win at home over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy; 69-35 win at home over Hancock.

Next up: at the University of Minnesota-Morris vs. Canby (11-3), Saturday, 1 p.m.; host West Central Area (8-4), Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Wheaton-Herman-Norcross will have to get through West Central Area and Brandon-Evansville if the Warriors want a shot at Ada-Borup for the section championship.

Big test for the Warriors on Tuesday.

 

4. Breckenridge (8-2)

Last week: 47-44 win at home over Pelican Rapids; 64-43 win at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.

Next up: at Hawley (4-8), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Barnesville (7-6), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Michelle Arnhalt hit two free throws with one second left to put the Cowgirls up 46-44 on Pelican Rapids.

If any team in the coverage area is going to beat D-G-F it’s Breckenridge or Pelican Rapids. Breckenridge lost to D-G-F by 21, however, earlier in the season.

 

5. Pelican Rapids (9-5)

Last week: 47-44 loss at Breckenridge; 44-30 win vs. Battle Lake at Concordia.

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

If Mackenzie Korf and company want to compete with D-G-F, they'll have to prove more in the section. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

If Mackenzie Korf and company want to compete with D-G-F, they’ll have to prove more in the section. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The Vikings lost on free throws in the final seconds to Breckenridge. They are still the biggest threat to top D-G-F in the area outside of Roseau, which the Forum doesn’t cover.

The Vikings lost by just eight to D-G-F earlier in the season, but they can’t hang their hat on that if they keep falling to section opponents. They have a chance to separate themselves with Barnesville and Perham coming up.

 

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 boys and girls rankings (Jan. 13)

Some shuffling in the bottom parts of the rankings, but Fergus Falls boys and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felont girls still at the top of the area basketball rankings for Minnesota.

 

BOYS

1. Fergus Falls (12-1)

Last week: lost 75-69 at St. Cloud Apollo.

Next up: host Rocori (12-3), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Sauk Rapids-Rice (9-5), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Fergus Falls dropped its first loss of the season last week. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Fergus Falls dropped its first loss of the season last week. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The Otters suffered their first loss of the season to St. Cloud Apollo. Fergus Falls trailed by 17 in the second half, but cut it to four. They would get no closer.

It was just too little too late for the Otters and it doesn’t get any easier with 12-3 Rocori up next.

It’s gut-check time for Fergus Falls.

 

2. Perham (11-1)

Last week: 65-26 win at home over Frazee; 62-32 win at Park Rapids.

Next up: at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (11-3), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Hill City (2-10), Saturday, 3 p.m.; at University of Minnesota-Duluth vs. Esko (12-2), Monday, 2:45 p.m.

Aaron Solberg (right) had a double-double against Frazee for Perham. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Aaron Solberg (right) had a double-double against Frazee for Perham. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Perham had a pair of double-doubles against Frazee with Aaron Solberg getting 15 points and 13 rebounds and Jaden Anderson adding 13 points and 10 rebounds.

May have a preview of the Class 2A, Section 8 championship at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Thursday. Rebels have been told the section is Perham’s to lose.

Only one way to prove otherwise.

 

3. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (10-0)

Last week: 91-79 win at home over Battle Lake; 87-63 win at home over Park Christian.

Next up: host Rothsay (1-10), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.; at Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (4-8), Saturday, 5:30 p.m.; host Parkers Prairie (7-6), Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

It’s becoming more and more evident that Class 1A, Section 6 belongs to the Comets after a double-digit win over Battle Lake behind 40 points from Chris Tungseth, who hit 14 of the 26 shots he took and seven 3-pointers to go along with 16 rebounds.

He followed that game with 35 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists in a win over Park Christian.

 

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

Last week: 56-42 win at home over Barnesville; 43-40 loss at Thief River Falls.

Next up: host Perham (12-1), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Frazee (1-11), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Blake Kragnes (ball) had 17 points in a big section win over Breckenridge for D-G-F. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Blake Kragnes (ball) had 17 points in a big section win over Breckenridge for D-G-F. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Blake Kragnes dropped 17 points on Breckenridge and Ethan Edeen had 13 points to lead the Rebels by Barnesville for two big sections wins.

The three losses for Class 2A D-G-F are 64-51 to Class 3A Detroit Lakes a 68-43 loss to Class 4A Stillwater and a 43-40 loss to Class 3A Thief River Falls. Two of those games were on the road and one was at Moorhead. Those three teams are a combined 29-15.

Now, the Rebels get the shot they wanted Thursday. This is their chance to prove Perham won’t be rolling through Class 2A, Section 8.

 

5. West Central Area (10-3)

Last week: 57-48 win at home over Swanville; 60-51 win at Brandon-Evansville; 67-24 win at Ashby.

Next up: at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (7-4), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Browerville-Eagle Valley (10-1), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

West Central Area's Ben Anderson had 16 points in a win over Brandon-Evansville. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

West Central Area’s Ben Anderson had 16 points in a win over Brandon-Evansville. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

The Knights followed up back-to-back losses with three straight wins. As of this moment, it would seem the Knights will meet Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in the section championship.

For now, the Knights have their eyes on one of the top-ranked teams in the state in Browerville-Eagle Valley, which beat the Knights by just five in the previous meeting.

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (10-0)

Last week: 71-50 win at home over Breckenridge; 69-31 win at home over East Grand Forks; 61-41 win at Barnesville.

Next up: host Perham (10-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Park Rapids (3-8), Monday, 7:30 p.m.; at Detroit Lakes (9-2), Tuesday, 6 p.m.

D-G-F is one of six undefeated girls basketball teams in the state. Nothing summed up the Rebels more than their win over Breckenridge.

No one could hit a shot in the first half, so Ally Reno took over and dropped 16 points and 10 rebounds in the first half to give D-G-F a 32-22 lead into halftime. Reno was held in check in the second half and so it was Alyson Brenna’s turn to take over. She dropped 20 points in the second half for a 71-50 win.

D-G-F has options and if they are all hitting at the same time then the Rebels are nearly impossible to defend.

 

2. Ada-Borup (10-1)

Last week: 52-36 win at Waubun; 66-12 win at home over Lake Park-Audubon.

Next up: at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (4-9), Friday, 6:30 p.m.

That’s 10 wins in a row for Ada-Borup, since losing the season opener to D-G-F. The closest a team has got to the Cougars is eight in Class 2A Pelican Rapids during the win streak.

Elizabeth Birkemeyer had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in Ada-Borup’s latest win over Lake Park-Audubon.

The Cougars are averaging 30.5 points against, which is second in the state.

The Ada-Borup machine continues on.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (11-2)

Last week: 49-39 win at home over Battle Lake; 47-40 loss at Fairmount-Campbell-Tintah; 64-28 win at Rosholt. 

Next up: host Ortonville (8-4), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (1-8), Saturday, 4 p.m; host Hancock (5-3), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors are 5-0 in the section and are holding teams to an average of 37.1 points a game. Can’t ask for much more from the Warriors.

 

4. Pelican Rapids (8-4)

Last week: 48-40 win at home over East Grand Forks; 66-60 win at Detroit Lakes; 49-28 win at Hawley.

Next up: at Breckenridge (6-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; vs. Battle Lake (7-5) at Concordia, Saturday, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Pelican Rapids senior Mackenzie Korf (ball) dropped 39 points on Detroit Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Pelican Rapids senior Mackenzie Korf (ball) dropped 39 points on Detroit Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Pelican Rapids lost two of three to open the season, but are 7-2 since with losses to two top-ranked Class 1A teams. They are fresh off a win over Class 3A Detroit Lakes in which senior guard Mackenzie Korf scored 39 points.

 

5. Perham (10-3)

Last week: 59-34 win at home over Hawley; 50-39 loss at Frazee.

Next up: at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (10-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Pequot Lakes (11-0), Tuesday, 5:45 p.m.

Perham's Janie Wunderlich scored a game-high 19 points in a win over Hawley. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Perham’s Janie Wunderlich scored a game-high 19 points in a win over Hawley. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Well, there’s six undefeated girls basketball teams in Minnesota and Perham gets to face two in back-to-back games.

Perham had won seven of its last eight before losing to Frazee. That’s not the best loss, but the Yellowjackets have a chance to redeem themselves this week.

 

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 boys and girls basketball rankings (Jan. 6)

Fergus Falls jumps to No. 1 in the boys rankings and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton holds strong at No. 1 for the girls in this week’s area basketball rankings.

A lot has happened over the holiday break.

 

1. Fergus Falls (12-0)

Last week: 76-37 win at home over Hawley; 74-61 win at home over Fargo South; 66-69 win at Detroit Lakes

Next up: at St. Cloud Apollo, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Isaiah Lemke (center) hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to life Fergus Falls to a 69-66 win over Detroit Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Isaiah Lemke (center) hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to life Fergus Falls to a 69-66 win over Detroit Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The smooth basketball season for Fergus Falls just got bumpy with head coach Dave Rund crashing his car into a pond with a blood-alcohol level of more than double the legal limit. Still no word on whether Rund will return to the Fergus Falls bench, but the Otters press on.

They not only won games they should against Hawley and Fargo South, but they did so in commanding fashion. The Otters then came back with a big section win over Detroit Lakes via an Isaiah Lemke buzzer beater.

Lemke finished with 21, as did Nathan Rund in the big win over Detroit Lakes.

 

2. Perham (9-1)

Last week: 72-52 win at home over Maranatha Christian; 56-45 loss at home against Spring Grove; 64-29 win at Hawley.

Next up: host Frazee, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Park Rapids, Tuesday, 5:45 p.m.

Perham suffered its first loss of the season to one of the best Class 1A teams in the state in Spring Grove. The loss is certainly forgivable.

Perham is still the favorite in Class 2A, Section 8.

 

3. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (8-0)

Last week: 66-50 win at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal; 66-44 win at Ashby.

Next up: host Battle Lake, Friday, 7:15 p.m.; host Park Christian, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

With the win over Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, the subsection belongs to the Comets. Now, it’s time to see where they sit in the section with Battle Lake coming. Unfortunately for the Comets, they won’t get a shot at West Central Area during the regular season because they are seemingly the favorite to face the Comets in the section championship.

Regardless, Battle Lake is no pushover. Chris Tungseth dropped 30 points in the win over previously 7-1 NCE-U-H.

 

4. Detroit Lakes (10-3)

Last week: 64-54 win over Sauk Rapids-Rice, 55-50 win over Big Lake at Sauk Rapids-Rice Tournament; 69-66 loss at home to Fergus Falls. 

Next up: at Staples-Motley, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Adam Daggett (ball) dropped 18 points against Fergus Falls for Detroit Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Adam Daggett (ball) dropped 18 points against Fergus Falls for Detroit Lakes. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

For as good as Fergus Falls is, the Otters needed a 30-foot bank shot at the buzzer for a 3-point win over an inexperienced Detroit Lakes team.

It’s a tough loss, but it shows how far Detroit Lakes has come. The Lakers have a bad loss to Bemidji, but have lost to Alexandria and Detroit Lakes by a combined seven points.

This is a Detroit Lakes team that graduated 12 seniors from last season. Players like Jacob Richter, Jacob Pazdernik, Isaac Cihak and Adam Daggett will only get better as the season goes on.

 

5. West Central Area (7-3)

Last week: 70-58 loss at home to Hancock; 56-51 loss at Browerville-Eagle Valley.

Next up: host Swanville, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Brandon-Evansville, Monday, 7:30 p.m.; at Ashby, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The Knights have hit a bit of a snag after coming up with a huge win over Battle Lake. They dropped a game to Hancock they should have won if they want to be a state-caliber team and then played top-five ranked Browerville-Eagle Valley extremely close. 

The Knights have three winnable games, two against section rivals, coming up they need to get.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (7-0)

Last week: 61-50 win at home over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross; 80-53 win at home over Win-E-Mac. 

Next up: host Breckenridge, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host East Grand Forks, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.; at Barnesville, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Natalie Steichen fights not only on the basketball court, but off it with her mom's 6-year fight with cancer. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Natalie Steichen fights not only on the basketball court, but off it with her mom’s 6-year fight with cancer. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ally Reno had 18 points in the win over Wheaton and Natalie Steichen had 18 in the win over Win-E-Mac. Steichen has fought harder battles than basketball, with her mother’s six-year fight with cancer.

Rebels getting contributions from different girls on different nights.

 

2. Ada-Borup (8-1)

Last week: 62-30 win at home over Park Christian

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

Cougars have won eight straight with Morgan Miller dropping 20 points on Park Christian.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (9-1)

Last week: 61-50 loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 64-14 win over Lake Park-Audubon at D-G-F; 74-31 win at home over Parkers Prairie

Wheaton-Herman-Norcross suffered its first loss at the hands of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, which is a class above the Warriors.

It was a good vantage point into the possibility of playing Ada-Borup in the section championship. The Cougars lost to D-G-F by one in overtime, whereas the Warriors lost by 11 to D-G-F.

 

4. Breckenridge (5-1)

Last week: 39-37 win at home over Frazee.

Next up: at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Sisseton (S.D.), Monday, 6 p.m.

Cowgirls have a big one coming up to see where they sit in the section on the road at D-G-F on Thursday.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (8-1)

Last week: 45-30 win over East Grand Forks, 46-26 win over Warren-Alvarado-Oslo at East Grand Forks Tournament; 40-27 win at home over Fergus Falls

Next up: host Pelican Rapids, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Park Rapids, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Grace Swenson (right) has helped DL to five straight wins. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Grace Swenson (right) has helped DL to five straight wins. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Detroit Lakes has won five straight since losing its only game to section rivals Thief River Falls. 

It could very well come down to DL and TRF in the Class 3A, Section 8 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 boys and girls basketball rankings (Dec. 23)

Perham beats Battle Lake to move to No. 1. West Central Area beats Battle Lake to knock the Battlers out of the boys rankings and get the Knights in.

Moorhead drops out after a three-game losing streak and Barnesville gets back in for the girls basketball rankings for the area.

 

BOYS

1. Perham (7-0)

Last week: 50-42 win at Breckenridge; 77-67 at home over Battle Lake; 73-44 win at home over Crookston.

Next up: host Maranatha Christian (1-6) in Perham Tournament, Monday, 8 p.m.

Jenson Beachy (2) came up big in the two biggest games of the young season for Perham. Photo by Jason Groth/ Perham Focus

Jenson Beachy (2) came up big in the two biggest games of the young season for Perham. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Biggest week of the season for Perham and the Yellowjackets came out unscathed, beating defending section champ Breckenridge on the road and knocking off the No. 2-ranked Class 1A Battle Lake team.

Jenson Beachy dropped 28 points on Battle Lake and had 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals against Breckenridge. Reid Moser had 18 points against the Battlers and Zach Tellinghuisen had 12. Moser had 28 against Crookston, nailing eight of 17 3-pointers, while Aaron Soldberg had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Perham continues to show it has options all over the floor.

 

2. Fergus Falls (9-0)

Last week: 68-33 win at home over St. Cloud Tech; 78-46 win at home over Little Falls; 57-40 win at Willmar

Next up: Fergus Falls Invitational – Hawley (1-8), Tuesday, 6 p.m.; Fargo South (0-5), Wednesday, 8 p.m.

The St. Cloud Tech win basically summed up Fergus Falls so far this season. The Otters hit 10 of the 15 3-pointers from seven different players. There were no huge numbers for anyone, but the Otters dominated.

Little Falls was more of the same. The Otters hit 13 of the 27 3-pointers with three different players in double figures with Nathan Rund netting 17, Elijah Colbeck adding 15 and Harry Christensen adding 13.

Fergus Falls is for real.

 

3. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (6-0)

Last week: no games

Next up: at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (7-1), Tuesday, 6 p.m.

No team has stopped Hillcrest yet this season. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

No team has stopped Hillcrest yet this season. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

No team in Class 1A, Section 6 is undefeated but the Comets. Comets get a big subsection test with Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal up next at 7-1.

 

4. West Central Area  (7-1)

Last week: 58-55 win at home over Battle Lake.

Next up: host Hancock (4-3), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

West Central Area has one loss to a team a class above them in 6-2 Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta. No team had a bigger win this week than the Knights did over Battle Lake 58-55.

The win puts Class 1A, Section 6 South in the hands of the Knights. The reason they are behind Hillcrest is because they will have to get through Battle Lake if they want to get to the section championship. The Comets have an easier road.

Regardless, Isaiah Westby, Rylee Peterson and Ben Anderson have the Knights riding high.

 

5. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (7-1)

Last week: 71-31 win at East Grand Forks.

Next up: Moorhead Tournament – at Moorhead (2-8), Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Kyle Rothschadl has been one of the leaders for D-G-F this season. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Kyle Rothschadl (left) has been one of the leaders for D-G-F this season. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

The only loss for D-G-F is to Class 3A Detroit Lakes, so the Rebels keep competing with Class 2A. Ethan Edeen had 23 points against East Grand Forks, including his first career dunk.

Rebels had Spencer Ewen with 10 and three other players with nine.

It’s seeming more and more likely Class 2A, Section 8 will come down to Perham and D-G-F.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (5-0)

Last week: 76-33 win at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal.

Next up: Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Tournament – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (7-0), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Rebels continuing to take care of business with a 43-point win over NCE-U-H. A nice test is coming in 7-0 Wheaton-Herman-Norcross.

Rebels drop 76 points and their scoring leader is Alyson Brenna with 16. D-G-F is spreading the wealth.

 

2. Ada-Borup (7-1)

Last week: 92-24 win at Bagley; 55-47 win at home over Pelican Rapids.

Next up: no game until Jan. 5.

Lexi Nelson (left) had her biggest game of the season against Bagley. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Lexi Nelson (left) had her biggest game of the season against Bagley. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Everyone got on the board for Ada-Borup against Bagley, with Lexi Nelson leading the way with 19 points, while Tianna Hilde and Morgan Miller each added 12. Nelson passed the 1,500-point mark for her career against Pelican Rapids.

Knocking off a solid Class 2A Pelican Rapids team was big for Ada-Borup.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (7-0)

Last week: 59-29 win at Richland; 50-37 win at Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta.

Next up: Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton-Tournament – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (5-0), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Biggest test of the season for Wheaton-Herman-Norcross coming up against D-G-F. Rebels beat Ada-Borup by one in overtime, so it will be a good test to see where the Warriors stand against the Cougars.

This will be the first common opponent between Ada-Borup and Wheaton.

 

4. Breckenridge (4-1)

Last week: 31-23 win at Hankinson.

Next up: host Frazee (4-4), Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.

Perham handed Breckenridge its only loss of the season behind a zone the Cowgirls couldn’t handle. Hankinson did the same, but Breckenridge was able to scrape by with a win.

Breckenridge is still a tough team to get a read on, but they have some good tests coming up with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on the horizon.

 

5. Barnesville (5-1)

Last week: 52-41 win at Crookston. 

Next up: Moorhead Tournament – Moorhead (6-4), Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Barnesville junior Peyton Boom is nearly averaging a double-double for the Trojans this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Barnesville junior Peyton Boom is nearly averaging a double-double for the Trojans this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Trojans answered their only loss of the season to Breckenridge with three straight wins.

Peyton Boom had 31 points and 11 rebounds against Crookston. She’s averaging nearly a double-double with 13.8 points and 9.7 rebounds a game.

The Barnesville-Moorhead matchup will feature two solid sophomore-junior, point guard-power forward duos with Nicole Herbranson and Boom going against Moorhead’s Sam Haiby and Brooke Tonsfeldt.

 

 

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 boys and girls basketball rankings (Dec. 16)

Battle Lake remains at the top of the boys basketball rankings with Fergus Falls making a jump and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy entering the rankings.

On the girls side, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Ada-Borup hold strong at the top and Moorhead takes a bit of a fall. Barnesville is out and Breckenridge is in.

 

1. Battle Lake (5-0)

Last week: 74-60 win at Underwood.

Next up: at Perham (4-0), Friday, 6 p.m.; at West Central Area (5-0), Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

All but 20 points for Battle Lake came from Eric VanErp (29 points) and Andrew VanErp (25). The two hit 22 of the 36 shots they took from the field.

Now the fun starts for Battle Lake. The battle for the top team in the area is Friday at Perham. Then, the battle for Class 1A, Section 6 South is Tuesday.

Time to see how Battle Lake handles the toughest week of the season so far.

 

2. Perham (4-0)

Last week: 54-36 win at home over Barnesville; 78-65 win at home over Proctor

Next up: at Breckenridge (3-2), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Battle Lake (5-0), Friday, 6 p.m.

Reid Moser came up big against Proctor for Perham. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Reid Moser came up big against Proctor for Perham. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Perham handed Barnesville its first loss of the season and now has defending section champ Breckenridge before Class 1A’s No. 3-ranked Battle Lake.

Perham pulled away late against Barnesville behind 18 points from Jaden Anderson, 15 from Zack Tellinghuisen and 14 from Jenson Beachy. Perham had five in double figures against Proctor with 20 from Beachy, 14 from Tellinghuisen, 13 from Anderson, 13 from Aaron Solberg and 18 from Reid Moser.

Perham’s biggest test of the season comes Thursday and Friday.

 

3. Fergus Falls (6-0)

Last week: 54-51 win at Brainerd; 72-54 win at home over Alexandria; 73-52 win at home over Moorhead.

Next up: host St. Cloud Tech (4-4), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Little Falls (3-4), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; at Willmar (3-3), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Fergus Falls beat a team a class above them in Class 4A’s Brainerd (5-2) on the road and took hold of Class 3A, Section 8 with a statement win over Alexandria.

The key for the Otters was the 3-pointers weren’t falling against Brainerd and they used a 16-6 run to end the game. They trailed, shots weren’t falling and they were still able to pick up a win.

The Otters turned a four-point lead at half into an 18-point win against Alexandria behind a double-double from Matt Monke and 24 points from Nathan Rund. The Otters had four players in double figures against Alexandria. The four in double digits were two juniors and two sophomores.

Otters had four in double digits against Moorhead as well in Harrison Christensen, Rund, Isaiah Lemke and Elijah Colbeck.

The big contributors for Fergus Falls are young.

 

4. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (6-0)

Last week: 102-77 win at home over Waubun; 73-63 win at Brandon-Evansville.

Next up: no game until Dec. 29

Sean McGuire (right) dropped 19 points in Tuesday's win over Brandon-Evansville for Hillcrest. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Sean McGuire (right) dropped 19 points in Tuesday’s win over Brandon-Evansville for Hillcrest. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Comets get a nice two weeks off after an impressive start to the season. Impossible to ignore them after they dropped 102 points on Waubun behind 39 from Chris Tungseth.

Win No. 400 for coach Gregg Preston was a big one, as the Comets hit 17 of the 29 3-pointers they shot against Waubun.

Win No. 401 wasn’t too easy, as Hillcrest trailed 44-37 in the second half before pulling away. The game was tied at 59-59 with 6:03 to go before the Comets close the game on a 14-4 run.

 

5. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (6-1)

Last week: 73-49 win at home over Pelican Rapids; 64-51 loss at Detroit Lakes; 70-36 win at Frazee.

Next up: at East Grand Forks (3-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Detroit Lakes' Jacob Pazdernik (right) was too much for D-G-F. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Detroit Lakes’ Jacob Pazdernik (right) was too much for D-G-F. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

D-G-F cut the Detroit Lakes lead to 30-28 in the second half, but that’s as close as they would get. It’s a loss that doesn’t mean entirely too much to the Rebels as DL is in Class 3A and the Rebels are in Class 2A. It also was the second game of a back-to-back and on the road.

Understandable the Rebels dropped that one.

 

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Detroit Lakes (7-0): Lakers have won seven straight to start the season, including two section wins.

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (4-0)

Last week: 80-72 win at Pelican Rapids.

Next up: at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (2-3), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

D-G-F is getting big help off the bench from players like Frannie Mercil (ball). Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

D-G-F is getting big help off the bench from players like Frannie Mercil (ball). Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

D-G-F held last season’s conference co-MVP Mackenzie Korf to 12 points in the 80-72 win. Minnesota State Moorhead commit Alyson Brenna dropped 26, Anna Smith had 18 and Natalie Steichen had 13 for the Rebels.

The Rebels are incredibly balanced.

 

2. Ada-Borup (5-1)

Last week: 65-43 win at home over Frazee; 60-25 win at home over Fosston

Next up: at Bagley (0-5), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Pelican Rapids (2-2), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Ada-Borup is back to rolling teams with wins of 66, 44, 27, 22 and 35 since losing to D-G-F by one in overtime to start the season.

Morgan Miller had 25 and Lexi Nelson had 18 against Frazee. Those two will be the catalysts for this Cougar team.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (5-0)

Last week: 69-38 win at Lac qui Parle Valley

Next up: at Richland (3-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta (2-4), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

The question will continue to be whether or not Wheaton-Herman-Norcross can contend with Ada-Borup because that is who the Warriors would see in the section title game.

A good test will be Dec. 28 when W-H-N travels to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton to face the one team that beat Ada-Borup this season.

 

4. Breckenridge (3-1)

Last week: 48-44 loss at home to Perham.

Next up: at Hankinson (2-1), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Frazee (2-4), Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.

 

Breckenridge has a win over Barnesville and a 13-point win over Hawley. The loss to Perham isn’t terrible, seeing as the Yellowjackets are 5-2, but the section is basically up in the air.

 

5. Moorhead (5-2)

Last week: 78-66 win at home over Bemidji; 84-55 loss to St. Michael-Albertville at home.

Next up: at Sioux Falls Washington, Friday, 7 p.m.; at Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Saturday, noon; host Fargo Davies (3-0), Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Brooke Tonsfeldt has done it all for Moorhead this season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Brooke Tonsfeldt has done it all for Moorhead this season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Moorhead is a good basketball team and could beat any team in the area. With junior Brooke Tonsfeldt and sophomore Sam Haiby, the Spuds feel they have the main parts of a winning basketball team. They’re just a few pieces away from competing.

The scoreboard says they’re still pretty far from competing. The Spuds are just in the wrong section that features arguably the best team in Class 4A in St. Michael-Albertville to go along with Elk River and Maple Grove.

These rankings are about what team has the best chance to win a state title. Considering the Spuds just got beat by 29 to a team it’d have to overcome in the section playoffs, it’s not looking good for the Spuds.

Since no teams are exactly jumping forward as contenders, the Spuds remain in the rankings.

 

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Barnesville (4-1): Barnesville will be right back in as soon as someone slips up. If Moorhead isn’t a section contender then the Trojans will be right back in. The only difference between Barnesville and Breckenridge at the moment is Breckenridge beat the Trojans.

 

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 boys and girls basketball rankings (Dec. 9)

With Fergus Falls and Barnesville topping Breckenridge and Battle Lake seemingly not missing a beat with the loss of its best returning player, the Battlers are back to No. 1 in the boys basketball rankings. Breckenridge may be out of the rankings now, but that most likely won’t last.

With Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton topping Ada-Borup to open the season, the Rebel girls are No. 1 for girls.

Here’s the area basketball rankings for Minnesota.

 

1. Battle Lake (4-0)

Last week: 85-61 win at home over Hancock; 71-56 win at home over Brandon-Evansville; 62-27 at Frazee; 92-57 win at Parkers Prairie

Next up: at Underwood (1-2), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.

Eric VanErp (left) has helped fill a big void with Tony Ukkelberg being hurt for Battle Lake. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Eric VanErp (left) has helped fill a big void with Tony Ukkelberg being hurt for Battle Lake. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

So much for stumbling without their best returning player. The Battlers have won their first four by 24, 15 and two by 35, three of those wins coming against section opponents.

Andrew VanErp and Eric VanErp have taken this team over. In the opener, Andrew dropped 32 points and Eric followed with 25 against Brandon-Evansville. Andrew had 30 and Eric had 24 against Parkers Prairie.

The tough thing for Battle Lake fans will be to wonder just how good this team would be with Ukkelberg.

 

2. Perham (2-0)

Last week: 59-53 win at Anoka-Ramsey over Spring Lake Park; 66-30 win at home over Pelican Rapids

Next up: host Barnesville (4-0), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Proctor (2-3), Saturday, 3 p.m.

Perham's Reid Moser is one of a few players Perham is expecting big things from this season. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Perham’s Reid Moser is one of a few players Perham is expecting big things from this season. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

That’s a big Barnesville matchup for Perham on Thursday with the Trojans coming off a big win over defending section champion Breckenridge.

Jensen Beachy and Jaden Anderson have been the big guns for Perham in the early part of the season. Beachy has scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, in the first two games and Anderson dropped 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists against Spring Lake Park and 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists against Pelican Rapids.

 

3. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (4-0)

Last week: 59-49 win at home over Lake Park-Audubon; 67-56 win at Park Christian; 67-29 win at Park Rapids; 74-57 win at Hawley

Next up: host Pelican Rapids (0-5), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Detroit Lakes (5-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Frazee (0-4), Monday, 7:30 p.m.

It was 2006 the last time D-G-F started a season 4-0. For a team that has not had double-digit wins since winning 10 in the 2010-11 season, the Rebels should be halfway there heading into a big test against Class 3A Detroit Lakes.

The Rebels have options. Blake Kragnes had 21 points and Ethan Edeen had 18 against LP-A. Against Park Christian, Kyle Rothschadl had 19 and Cole Tahran had 17. Edeen dropped 21 against Park Rapids and Kragnes had 25, Tahran had 15 and Rothschadl had 14 against Hawley.

 

4. Waubun (3-0)

Last week: 83-50 win at home over Mahnomen; 65-28 win at home over Rothsay; 65-58 win at home over Park Christian

Next up: at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (4-0), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Climax-Fisher (0-3), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Arguably Waubun’s best player Darius Woods-Steichen has been cleared to play basketball, after breaking his right hand during the football season. He’ll be in some pain, but he won’t need surgery just yet.

It isn’t just Woods-Steichen, who had 15 points against Park Christian in his first game after getting the news from doctors he could play. Dayton Makey had 20 points and 14 rebounds in the win against Mahnomen and 15 against Park Christian, while Italian exchange student Giacomo Zennaro had 16 points against Mahnomen and Peyton Syverson had 16 against Park Christian.

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy is a big matchup for Waubun.

 

5. Fergus Falls (4-0)

Last week: 83-58 win at Breckenridge; 69-55 win at Sartell-St. Stephen; 69-54 at home against Sauk Rapids-Rice; 54-51 win at Brainerd

Next up: host Alexandria (4-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; hosts Moorhead (1-3), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Fergus Falls opened the season by destroying Breckenridge by 25 and beating section foes by 14 and 15.

In the first three games the Otters had four different players in double digits in scoring between Elijah Colbeck, Matt Monke, Matt Johnson, Isaiah Lemke, Harrison Christensen and Nate Rund. Against Class 4A Brainerd, the Otters had Monke with 12, Christensen with 11, Lemke with 10 and Rund and Colbeck each had nine.

The Otters will bomb, as they hit 20 of 45 shots from the beyond the 3-point arc in the first two games. And hit five of 22 against Brainerd.

The leader of Class 3A, Section 8 will be decided when Fergus Falls hosts Alexandria.

 

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (4-0): No team has come close to the Comets, as they beat Pelican Rapids by 29, Parkers Prairie by 13, Underwood by 32 and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley by 48. Waubun is next as the biggest test in the early part of the season for the Comets.

Barnesville (4-0): Trojans already have a big win over Breckenridge. Trojans head to Perham for another big matchup.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (3-0)

Last week: 58-57 overtime win at home over Ada-Borup; 73-35 win at home over Frazee; 75-38 win at home over Hawley

Next up: at Pelican Rapids (1-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Natalie Steichen (ball) has given D-G-F a stable presence at point guard. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Natalie Steichen (ball) has given D-G-F a stable presence at point guard. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

This should come with a warning. Ada-Borup is a far bigger guarantee to get to the state tournament via its domination over its section, thus, the Cougars will be waiting for the first Rebels hiccup to take back the top spot.

But, for now, D-G-F beat Ada-Borup and they are the best girls basketball team in the area. D-G-F is good, but the reality is the Rebels have a far tougher route to the state tournament than Ada-Borup. Also, D-G-F is a class above Ada-Borup, so the loss isn’t really devastating to the Cougars.

Regardless, D-G-F just beat a team it lost to by 20 last season, so the progression of the Rebels is clear.

D-G-F is deep, seeing as they just beat Frazee 73-35 with the high scorer being Alyson Brenna with 13. Natalie Steichen was a monster in the win over Ada-Borup, dropping 27 points. Steichen is only a sophomore.

They have a good point guard, they have size, they can shoot and the Rebels have forced 62 turnovers in two games this season.

 

2. Ada-Borup (3-1)

Last week: 58-57 overtime loss at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton; 83-17 win at Red Lake County Central; 63-19 win at home over Hillsboro-Central Valley; 52-25 win at home over Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal

Next up: host Frazee (1-2), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Fosston (1-1), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Cougars lost to a very good Class 2A team by one in overtime on two free throws and a turnover with 3.3 seconds left in the first game of the season. In the grand scheme of things it means nothing, seeing as they will not see D-G-F in the Class 1A playoffs.

The hype around the game was the Cougars snapped a 32-game winning streak, which was the longest active streak in the state of Minnesota.

The Cougars answered by keeping another streak still alive by winning the next game. They have not lost back-to-back games since the state tournament in 2006. That’s 278 games without back-to-back losses.

 

3. Moorhead (4-1)

Last week: 56-46 loss at Buffalo; 70-54 win at St. Francis; 89-75 win at home over Brainerd; 73-52 win at Fergus Falls; 62-58 win at home over Fargo South

Next up: host Bemidji (1-2), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host St. Michael-Albertville (3-1), Saturday, 4 p.m.

Sam Haiby has Moorhead with four straight wins. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Sam Haiby has Moorhead with four straight wins. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

The Buffalo loss was a bad loss for the Spuds, but they answered with three dominating wins and a close win over a rival across the border in a quality Fargo South team.

Brooke Tonsfeldt and Sam Haiby are as good as advertised. They each had 24 points against Fargo South with Tonsfeldt also grabbing 11 rebounds. Haiby had 20 points and Tonsfeldt had 17 against Fergus Falls.

Tonsfeldt had 21 points and 16 rebounds and Haiby had 32 points, 11 assists, six steals and five rebounds against Brainerd. Tonsfeldt had another double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds against St. Francis, while Haiby had 17 points, six assists and four steals.

Scary to think Tonsfeldt is just a junior and Haiby a sophomore.

 

 

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

Last week: 76-49 win at home over Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg; 77-49 win at Underwood; 59-28 win at Rockford; 72-32 win at home over Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 

Next up: at Lac qui Parle Valley (2-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Parkers Prairie (3-1), Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

No one has come close to Wheaton-Herman-Norcross and the Warriors find themselves 4-0 and 2-0 in the section behind senior center Samantha Lupkes, junior forward Hannah Gail and sophomore guard Emma Schmidt.

The Warriors won’t face Ada-Borup during the season, so that cloud of whether the Warriors can compete with the Cougars won’t be answered until they possibly square off in the section championship.

 

5. Barnesville (2-1)

Last week: 57-23 win at home over Rothsay; 47-36 win at Pelican Rapids; 57-53 loss at Breckenridge 

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

Barnesville destroyed Rothsay and had a statement win over Pelican Rapids to start the season. The Trojans lost to a 3-0 Breckenridge team on the road, which is forgivable for a team that made it to the section championship last season.

Haiby and Tonsfeldt aren’t the only sophomore-junior duo to keep an eye on in the area. Junior Peyton Boom had 22 points and 13 rebounds against Rothsay with sophomore Nicole Herbranson adding 18 for Barnesville.

Herbranson had nine points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks against Pelican Rapids, while Emma Nielsen had 14 against Pelican Rapids.

 

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Breckenridge (3-0): Fresh off a big win over Barnesville and a 13-point win over Hawley, Breckenridge is showing they belong in the discussion for section competitors.

 

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 girls and boys basketball rankings

The 2015-16 Minnesota high school basketball season begins with Breckenridge on top of the boys basketball rankings for the area and Ada-Borup at No. 1 in the girls basketball rankings.

 

BOYS

1. Breckenridge

Last season: 21-8, lost in the Class 2A quarterfinals to Maple River 78-72

This layup at the buzzer by Ashton Hegge sent Breckenridge to the state tournament last season. The Cowboys look to get back this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

This layup at the buzzer by Ashton Hegge sent Breckenridge to the state tournament last season. The Cowboys look to get back this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Last season, Breckenridge made it to the state tournament for the first time since 1979. The Cowboys lose big man Nate Lorenz and guard Nate Blaufuss, but they return Hunter Aigner, Stevin Lipp and Ashton Hegge.

In the state quarterfinal game last season, Hegge had 17 points, five assists and four rebounds and Lipp had 14 points.

Cowboys are a big man away from being last season’s team, but with more experience.

 

2. Perham

Last season: 12-15, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 quarterfinals to Hawley 59-37

Jenson Beachy will be a big part of Perham overcoming the struggles from last season. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

Jenson Beachy will be a big part of Perham overcoming the struggles from last season. Photo by Jason Groth/Perham Focus

After five straight seasons well above the .500 mark, Perham was below .500 last season. The expectations are back for a team that was 123-27 with three trips to state and a state title in the five seasons before last season.

The Yellowjackets have a lot of experience back with Jenson Beachy, Jaden Anderson, Reid Moser and Zach Tellinghuisen. Aaron Solberg also finished last season strong.

Anderson averaged 9.8 points, three assists and 2.8 rebounds a game last season and Beachy averaged 12 points, three rebounds and 1.7 assists.

 

3. Battle Lake 

Last season: 30-3, lost in the Class 1A semifinals to Maranatha Christian 74-69

With a big injury to Tony Ukkelberg, Eric VanErp will be asked to do much more for the Battlers. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

With a big injury to Tony Ukkelberg, Eric VanErp will be asked to do much more for the Battlers. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

It sounds like Tony Ukkelberg is not going to be able to play this basketball season, which is devastating for Battle Lake. Ukkelberg had surgery after knee issues during the football season.

Ukkelberg averaged close to 17 points for Battle Lake last season, hitting 60 percent of his shots from the field and 50 percent of his 3-pointers. He led the Battlers to their first state tournament win in program history, but an ankle injury held him out of the semifinal game.

Battlers also lose Petric VanErp, who averaged 16.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals a game, and their big man in Nick Trosdahl to graduation. They also lost their sixth man to graduation in Micah Rogness.

They return starters Andrew VanErp and Eric VanErp. Battlers are going to need someone to help the two VanErps.

 

4. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 

Last season: 9-16, lost in the first round of the Class 2A, Section 8 tournament 55-53

Gunnar Payne returns along with a lot of experience on the D-G-F basketball team. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

Gunnar Payne returns along with a lot of experience on the D-G-F basketball team. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

D-G-F was one 3-pointer away from beating the team that made it to the state tournament in Breckenridge.

The Rebels lost their last six and 13 of their last 15 games. It wasn’t a pretty end. That doesn’t take away three tight games with state-bound Breckenridge during the season that ended in three losses by a combined 10 points.

D-G-F was right on the brink of huge wins throughout the season, but fell just short. The good news is they return a lot. Four seniors in Blake Kragnes, Cole Tahran, Gunnar Payne and Jay Wadeson, along with juniors Ethan Edeen, Kyle Rothschadl and Spencer Ewen.

In the playoff loss to Breckenridge, all D-G-F’s 53 points came from players back this season.

 

5. Waubun 

Last season: 23-5, lost in the Class 1A, Section 6 semifinals to Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 53-44

Waubun's Dayton Makey (left) returns for the Bombers this season. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Waubun’s Dayton Makey (left) returns for the Bombers this season. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The health of Darius Woods-Steichen is the key. He broke his hand during football season and he will be the catalyst of the basketball team. With Ukkelberg being hurt for Battle Lake, the section is up for grabs.

If Woods-Steichen is hurt for Waubun then it’s anyone’s section.

The Bombers lose Jordan Spaeth and Cole Thompson to graduation, but return Peyton Syerson, Dayton Makey and Justin Bellefuille.

 

SLEEPERS

Fergus Falls

Last season: 12-15, lost in first playoff game to Albany 75-57

The Otters have size with Matt Monke. They showed last season they could hit a lot of 3-pointers. Now, they’re hoping 6-foot-5 Monke develops inside to give them a down-low presence.

Monke led the team with 128 rebounds last season, Isaiah Lemke led the team in assists and Eiljah Colbeck was named the most improved player on the team. All three are back.

Nathan Rund was a freshman last season and he earned all-conference honors last season with Lemke getting honorable mention.

Otters have the pieces.

 

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 

Last season: 23-5, lost in the Class 1A, Section 6 championship game to Battle Lake 59-55

There’s no replacing Jake Isaac, who graduated. He averaged 21.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game for Hillcrest last season.

The Comets do have junior Reggie Undseth, who plays good defense and can score, and Chris Tungseth, who can fill it up. The Comets will need some big bodies to help down low.

If Ukkelberg is done for the season and Woods-Steichen is gone for awhile, Hillcrest could grab the section.

 

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup 

Last season: 32-0, Class 1A state champions

The three girls holding the state championship trophy have graduated. Ada-Borup will have to reload. Photo by Andy Clayton-King

The three girls holding the state championship trophy have graduated. Ada-Borup will have to reload. Photo by Andy Clayton-King

The good news for the Cougars is they won a state title with just three seniors on the team. The bad news is those three seniors were a huge reason behind the state championship.

Lexi Merkens, Miki Lee and Haley Poehler were huge parts of last season’s state championship. Merkens averaged nearly 15 points and more than five rebounds a game, while shooting 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from the 3-point line. She also averaged 3.62 assists and 2.55 steals a game.

Morgan Miller returns, as does point guard Lexi Nelson and guard Elizabeth Birkemeyer. The Cougars are a well-oiled machine.

Until they prove otherwise, they’re No. 1.

 

2. Moorhead

Last season: 15-10, lost in first playoff game to Buffalo 52-45

Sam Haiby (ball) will be the floor general for Moorhead this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Sam Haiby (ball) will be the floor general for Moorhead this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

This could be a little high for a team that has not won a playoff game since 2007, but Moorhead has a ton of talent.

It all starts with point guard Sam Haiby. As a freshman last season she averaged 20.7 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals a game. She shot 41 percent from the field and had a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Frightening to think she’s only a sophomore. Speaking of frightening, it’s hard to imagine how scary Brooke Tonsfeldt is for an opponent. She’s tall, can rebound, can shoot and is scary in volleyball when there’s a net separating the two teams. In basketball, she gets to knock people around.

Tonsfeldt is the perfect compliment to Haiby. Haiby is the quiet leader of the offense, whereas Tonsfeldt will handle the dirty work. With Tonsfeldt being a junior, there’s another year of these two together.

Along with those two, the Spuds have 5-foot-11 Brianna Carney at center. This is a Spuds team with everything. The scary thing is the team is still young.

 

3. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 

Last season: 18-8, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 quarterfinals to Pelican Rapids 60-56

D-G-F has a lot of talent returning from last season with Minnesota State Moorhead commit Alyson Brenna, Natalie Steichen, Ally Reno, Frannie Mercil, Faith Anderson and Anna Smith at center.

The Rebels graduated just three from last season. Brenna can hit a shot from anywhere, Steichen and Reno play great defense, Anderson can jump out of the building, Smith can handle the paint and Mercil does the intangibles.

They also all have experience with everyone having played at least three years of varsity basketball.

D-G-F is built to win.

 

4. Barnesville 

Last season: 15-14, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 section championship in overtime to Roseau 63-59

Barnesville's Peyton Boom was a big part of the team last season as a sophomore. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Barnesville’s Peyton Boom was a big part of the team last season as a sophomore. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Barnesville got to the section championship with a freshman and a sophomore being two of their best players in the form of freshman guard Nicole Herbranson and sophomore center Peyton Boom.

It’ll be tough to replace Alli Skogen, Rachel Solum and Megan Nielsen, but there’s a ton of talent between Herbranson and Boom.

As a freshman, Herbranson showed no fear at the point and Boom showed no fear as a sophomore in the paint. Put parts around those two aspects and the Trojans look like a contender.

 

5. Pelican Rapids

Last season: 19-9, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 semifinals to Barnesville 49-36

Mackenzie Korf had a big season following her ACL tear. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Mackenzie Korf had a big season following her ACL tear. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Hard to imagine a team with the conference co-MVP can be the third team listed from the conference, but that’s how the Heart O’ Lakes and 8AA will be this season.

Mackenzie Korf is that MVP. After an ACL tear in February of her sophomore season, Korf answered with a junior season where she averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals.

A huge loss will be Lincoln Haiby. She was a double-double machine, averaging 14.9 points and 9.4 rebounds last season for the Vikings.

The Vikings will look to have Grace Forsgren and Hally Evenson fill Haiby’s shoes.

 

SLEEPER 

Hawley

Last season: 22-4, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 quarterfinals in overtime to Barnesville 47-43

Mira Ellefson had a big junior season last year for Hawley. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Mira Ellefson had a big junior season last year for Hawley. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Calling Hawley a sleeper is baffling, but that’s how 8AA is set up this season. Every game in the HOL is going to be a dogfight and the Nuggets lost four starters to graduation.

The Nuggets still have conference co-MVP Mira Ellefson. She averaged 18.3 points and 8.08 rebounds a game, while shooting 54 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point land. She shot 77 percent at the free-throw line and averaged 2.62 steals, 2.62 assists and a block a game.

Ellefson did everything, but she had a ton of talent around her last season. Now, she’s the star.

Players will have to emerge to fill the shoes of Jody Noreen and Olivia Olson, who graduated.

 

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.

 

State champion contenders in Minnesota football

Here are the football teams in the area with the best chance of winning a Minnesota state title.

 

FAVORITES

Moorhead (8-0)

Section semifinals: host Sartell-St. Stephen, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Section championship?: Bemidji or Alexandria, Oct. 23, 7 p.m., at TBD

Moorhead's Devante Delbrune has a new role with the Spuds at running back. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Moorhead’s Devante Delbrune has a new role with the Spuds at running back. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

After back-to-back seasons of heartbreak in the Class 5A, Section 8 championship game, there’s no way the Spuds don’t win the section.

That isn’t the question. The question is whether they win their first state title since 1987.

In the state quarterfinals, the Spuds most likely face St. Francis, which has two losses, one of which came to St. Michael-Albertville 41-21. Moorhead beat SM-A 26-16 in Week 1.

Spuds are No. 2 in the QRF rankings and St. Francis is No. 11. If they get by St. Francis, they’d play either No. 7-ranked St. Thomas Academy, No. 5-ranked St. Paul Central, No. 12-ranked SMB or No. 16-ranked North St. Paul.

It’s very feasible the Spuds find themselves in the state championship game. That’s the only place they’d face the top-ranked team in the QRF in Spring Lake Park.

The Spuds have a defense averaging 11.1 points against and nearly four turnovers a game. They have a run game with playmakers Mike Duginski and Devante Delbrune and a senior quarterback Matt Bye.

This is what a state championship football team looks like.

 

Underwood (9-0)

Section semifinals: host Verndale, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Section championship?: Hillcrest Lutheran Academy or Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Oct. 23, 12:30 p.m., Fargodome.

The Rockets play defense and they run the ball, which is the formula to win a state title. They are giving up an average of 12.5 points a game and Coy Thorson is averaging 12.4 yards a carry.

Thorson has 1,174 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground on 95 carries for the Rockets. Dylan Kalenze has rushed for 853 yards and 14 touchdowns on 97 carries (8.8 yards a carry).

Rockets are built to win their first state title, but the section will be a beast to get through with Verndale, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley remaining. Underwood beat Verndale 24-21, Hillcrest 50-21 and C-G-B 22-14 in the regular season.

 

Mahnomen (8-0)

Section semifinals: host Fertile-Beltrami, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Section championship?: Polk County West or Fosston, Oct. 22, 5:30 p.m., Fargodome

Kody Lefebvre will need to help make up for losing quarterback Tom Pavek. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Kody Lefebvre will need to help make up for losing quarterback Tom Pavek. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

The Indians will win Class 1A, Section 8, but can they win a state title without quarterback Tom Pavek, who broke his leg in Week 7? It will be tough.

Brian Schoenborn passed his first test, throwing for 100 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 191 yards and three touchdowns in his first varsity start at quarterback. It’s hard to throw Schoenborn into this spot, but here he is.

Pavek was the QB of Mahnomen’s 2013 state championship team and last season’s team that made it to the state quarterfinals. He can’t be replaced.

Good news for Mahnomen is they have plenty of other options in the run game in Kody Lefebvre, Izaiah Asher and Jake Worms. Worms has rushed for 710 yards and 10 touchdowns on 58 carries, Asher for 484 yards and five touchdowns on 46 carries and Lefebvre 452 yards and eight touchdowns on 54 carries.

Those three are averaging 10.42 yards a carry.

 

Waubun (8-0)

Section semifinals: host Norman County West, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Section championship?: Ada-Borup or Nevis, Oct. 22, 12:30 p.m., Fargodome

Peyton Syverson looks to get redemption for Waubun in the playoffs. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Peyton Syverson looks to get redemption for Waubun in the playoffs. Photo by Robert Williams/DL Newspapers

Waubun was in this position last season and lost their first playoff game in the section semifinals.

Chip on the shoulder is not a bad thing. The Bombers should have no problem getting through Class 9-man, Section 6.

Peyton Syverson has 640 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception passing and has rushed for 969 yards and 14 touchdowns on 114 carries this season. He has weapons in Dayton Makey and Darius Woods-Steichen to throw to or hand the ball off to.

Nevis or Ada-Borup will not be an easy opponent in the section championship. The Bombers did defeat Ada-Borup 28-7 in the regular season.

Waubun has never won a state title, losing in the 2007 state championship game.

 

CONTENDERS 

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (7-1)

Section semifinals: host Aitkin, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Section championship?: Park Rapids or Pequot Lakes, Oct. 22, 8 p.m., Fargodome

Blake Kragnes gives the D-G-F offense a new wrinkle for playoffs. Photo provided to the Forum by Drew Sandberg

Quarterback Blake Kragnes gives the D-G-F offense a new wrinkle for playoffs. Photo provided to the Forum by Drew Sandberg

The Rebels are not the same team that just runs the ball and plays good defense anymore. They do both those things behind Tyler Oberg, but thanks to quarterback Blake Kragnes, teams have to respect the pass.

The old formula got D-G-F back-to-back Class 3A, Section 8 titles, but also got them rolled in the state quarterfinals. Kragnes makes the Rebels far more interesting this season in the state tournament.

The Rebels do have to get there first and Pequot Lakes will be eyeing revenge. The Rebels knocked out Pequot Lakes in the section championship the last two seasons 6-0 and 28-0.

 

Ottertail Central (8-0)

Section semifinals: host Staples-Motley, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Section championship?: Pillager or Breckenridge, Oct. 23, 5:30 p.m., Fargodome

Getting out of Class 2A, Section 6 is going to be tough. Seemingly, there’s no scenario where OTC does not run into Breckenridge in the state championship game.

The Bulldogs beat Breckenridge 20-0 in the regular season for Breckenridge’s only loss, but things tend to go out the window come playoff time. With Pelican Rapids forfeiting, OTC got a bye in the first round, which will be nice.

Quarterback Tony Ukkelberg has done everything for the Bulldogs this season. Can he get the towns of Battle Lake and Henning their first state championship since 1977?

Have to get through….

 

Breckenridge (8-1)

Section semifinals: host Pillager, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Section championship?: Staples-Motley or Ottertail Central, Oct. 23, 5:30 p.m., Fargodome

Hunter Aigner (32) has gotten the tough yards on the ground this season for Breckenridge. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Hunter Aigner (32) has gotten the tough yards on the ground this season for Breckenridge. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

The Cowboys have an offense that can beat you in so many ways with three wide receivers with good hands, speed and height in Easton Erbes, Stevin Lipp and Ashton Hegge. They have a very good quarterback in Carson Yaggie to get them the ball and a couple of running backs in Travis Miranowski and Hunter Aigner, who can run through anyone.

Problem with all of this is that offense was shut out by the OTC team the Cowboys will most likely see in the section championship.

 

Fergus Falls (7-1)

Section semifinals: host Willmar, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Section championship?: Rocori or Detroit Lakes, Oct. 23, 7 p.m., Moorhead High School

Fergus Falls quarterback Isaiah Lemke has had a big season for the Otters. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Fergus Falls quarterback Isaiah Lemke has had a big season for the Otters. Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Isaiah Lemke has complete 51 of 89 passes for 929 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception this season for Fergus Falls. He’s also rushed for 308 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Otters seemingly have a date with Detroit Lakes in the Class 4A, Section 8 championship game. They won 14-0 in Week 3 against DL, but that was behind DL turnovers.

 

SLEEPERS

Detroit Lakes (7-1)

Section semifinals: host Rocori, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Section championship?: Willmar or Fergus Falls, Oct. 23, 7 p.m., Moorhead High School

Detroit Lakes' Ben Nordmark has had a monster sophomore season. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Detroit Lakes’ Ben Nordmark has had a monster sophomore season. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Detroit Lakes has to think they can’t play worse than they did in Week 3 against Fergus Falls, a 14-0 loss behind five turnovers responsible for DL’s only loss on the season. They could see the Otters again in the section championship.

DL goes as Ben Nordmark does. He’s rushed for over 1,000 yards in this his sophomore season and the Lakers will need him to get back to the state tournament for the third time in the last four seasons.

 

Ada-Borup (8-1)

Section semifinals: at Nevis, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Section championship?: Waubun or Norman County West, Oct. 22, Fargodome

Ada-Borup’s one loss on the season is 28-7 to Waubun. The Cougars are always one kick to Dexter Pelzman away from completely changing the momentum of a football game.

Pelzman has returned five punts for touchdowns, which ties a state record, and a kick for a touchdown. He averages 41.7 yards per punt return.

If the ball touches his hands, a 28-7 game could completely change. Whether or not Waubun kicks to him is the question.

 

Barnesville (6-3)

Section semifinals: host Bagley, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Section championship?: Frazee or United North Central, Oct. 23, 8 p.m., Fargodome

Barnesville quarterback Ethan Ishaug (8) and company are finally fully healthy. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Barnesville quarterback Ethan Ishaug (8) and company are finally fully healthy. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Barnesville did not get fully healthy until late in the season and the Trojans have rattled off four straight wins, outscoring opponents 200-46 during the streak.

This is the team the Trojans envisioned heading into this season. Ethan Ishaug at quarterback with Connor Meyer, Josh and Brady Tweeton running the ball and Joey Roste causing havoc on defense.

Ishaug and Meyer also are a big part of the defense. The Trojans had injuries to all their playmakers early in the season, along with problems on both lines.

No more.

The Trojans are healthy and eyeing their first trip to state since they made it to the state championship game in 2010.

 

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.