Mills boys heading to State
By Jeff Kolpack The Forum Basketball in New York Mills does not solely belong to Janet Karvonen anymore. The boys finally made it to the big show. The Eagles, getting 32 points and 22 rebounds from center Ryan Peeters, upset fourth-ranked Cass La...
By Jeff Kolpack
Basketball in New York Mills does not solely belong to Janet Karvonen anymore. The boys finally made it to the big show.
The Eagles, getting 32 points and 22 rebounds from center Ryan Peeters, upset fourth-ranked Cass Lake-Bena 87-68 in the Class 1A, Section 6 championship game Friday night at Memorial Auditorium.
The win puts New York Mills, 21-5, in the state tournament for the first time. The only other basketball appearances resulted in three straight girls state titles in the 1970s by Karvonen-led teams.
I feel like I won the lottery, Eagles head coach Bryan Dunrud said. Ive had more phone calls and e-mails in the last two to three days than Ive had all year. Some from people I dont even know.
Everybody in the section knew about the Panthers. The defending 6A champions scored over 100 points in each of their first three section tournament games.
But it took them over 10 minutes to reach double figures and by that time, the Eagles were sharp.
We had a tough 10, 12 minutes right off the bat, said Panthers head coach Dan Ninham. We havent scored that low in I dont know how long.
The Eagles found all kinds of openings in the Panthers gambling half-court trap defense in taking a 22-6 lead halfway through the first half. New York Mills took advantage in grabbing a 32-14 lead its biggest of the game.
The Concordia court is like 10 feet bigger than any high school and that helped us, Ryan Peeters said. We had to stay spread out and that was the key to beating it.
But the Panthers didnt flinch. They showed no signs of panic in their faces or in their defense. Several steals late in the half got them back in the game trailing 38-34 at halftime.
The closest CL-B got was one point at 47-46 four minutes into the second half. The Eagles regained their composure with a key eight-point spurt that was likely the difference in the game.
Erik Peeters and Ryan Peeters alternated inside hoops and it was 55-46. The lead stretched to 74-61 with 4:08 remaining.
Weve been told defense wins championships as long as weve been coaching, Ninham said. They beat a talented Panther team.
Guard Ted Rud added 23 points and seven assists for the Eagles. They shot 57 percent and held the Panthers to 38 percent.
We executed our press break phenomenally, Dunrud said. Give credit to our kids. We put them in the spots where we thought they would be successful but they executed.
And they earned a trip to the Twin Cities.
If you would have told me at the beginning of the season, I wouldnt have believed you, Ryan Peeters said. Cass Lake is a heck of a team.
The Eagles will now take on Osakis in the first round of the State Class A Tournament. Osakis (29-0) also is making its first state tournament appearance.
The Silverstreaks are a very well-balanced team with four players averaging in double figures in points per game: three seniors, Jacob Grundman (13.5), Wade Lang (12.5), and Kendall Proell (10.6); and sophomore Leif Nomeland (12.6). Nomeland is the leading rebounder, gathering in 10 boards per game and also gets three-plus blocks. Proell leads in assists with 8.3 per game.
The Silverstreaks' average margin of victory is 28 points. They finished the season as the No. 2 ranked team in Class A.
Pelican wins 8A title
The Vikings of Pelican Rapids (28-2) return after a two-year absence to make their fifth appearance after beating East Grand Forks 71-68 in the Section 8AA final.
They won one previous State title in 1984, and were ranked No. 2 in this year's final AP poll. The Vikings average 73.8 points per game while holding their opponents to 54.2 points. They shoot 49.7 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from behind the arc. They also average 34.6 rebounds and 20.6 assists per game.
Senior Taylor Huseby is the leading scorer for Pelican Rapids. He averages 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, and is the school's all-time leader in both categories. Senior Nathan Shulstad adds 14.1 points per game and shoots 80 percent from the free throw line.
The Benson Braves (22-4) are making their second appearance, but their first since 1964. They were not ranked in the final poll.
This season the Braves averaged 69.9 points per game and also pulled down 30.9 rebounds. They average 11.3 steals per game, and all five of their starters scored more than 180 points this season. Junior Daniel Fragodt is the team's top scorer, averaging 22.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He had two 38-point games this season. Senior Joey Fragodt is the second-leading scorer with 16.6 points per game. He also shoots 31 percent from three-point range, and holds the school record (198) for single season assists. Fragodt won the ExCEL Award as a junior and was the school's Triple A award-winner this year.
Their Class AA quarterfinal game will be played at Target Center on March 22 at 6 p.m.
Perham EB Sports Editor John George contributed to this story.