Saints walk off in opener against Baldwin-Woodville
Lose against Prescott the next day
St. Croix Falls 3, Baldwin-Woodville 2
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
ST. CROIX FALLS – Junior Brock Peters wasn’t expected to play during the Saints boys baseball opener last Friday, April 11, but the absence of the team’s third basemen had coach Brian Jacobson shifting several players into different positions to fill the roster. Peters played first base and did a nice job for the Saints, but a key hit to left center in the bottom of the seventh ended up being the winning moment of the game.
“We’ve really got a bunch of interchangeable parts,” said Jacobson, who was pleased his kids didn’t get down on themselves and stayed in the game until the end despite their hitting being mostly silent on the night.
“That’s what I was really pleased with tonight. I didn’t see anyone get discouraged. Good vibe in the dugout. I really liked that.”
The Saints were trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh when junior Kyle Koshiol reached on an error on a fly to right. A sacrifice bunt by Mitchell Gjovig helped move Koshiol to third, and a walk put runners at the corners with nobody out. A passed ball put the runners in scoring position, and Peters lined a hard fly ball to left center field, which was dropped by the left fielder, helping two runners score and end the game.
“You never know in baseball,” Jacobson said.
It was a solid start to the year for sophomore right-hander Brady Leahy, who allowed just the two runs, one unearned, while getting good defense and several strikeouts in the game. He pitched four scoreless innings before a walk and error put two runners on for Baldwin-Woodville in the top of the fifth. With two outs, an RBI single put Baldwin-Woodville up 1-0, but Leahy quickly ended the inning on a strikeout.
The Saints tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Koshiol singled and was moved to second on a well-placed bunt by Gjovig. Sophomore Brendan Sheehan hit an RBI single to center to tie the game. Baldwin-Woodville took the lead in the top of the sixth before coming behind to win in the seventh.
Prescott 5, St. Croix Falls 3
ST. CROIX FALLS – The Saints hosted Prescott on Saturday, April 12, but fell short in a game that went into extra innings. St. Croix Falls scored one run in the second inning after Kyle Koshiol walked and later scored on a passed ball. Mitchell Gjovig also singled in the inning.
The Saints scored a pair of runs in the sixth with help from a leadoff single by Brady Leahy, and an RBI triple from Jake Jacobson, who later scored on a ground ball by Koshial.
Jacobson pitched seven innings for the Saints with six strikeouts, two walks and three runs, two-earned. Three runs came in the bottom of the seventh for Prescott, who ended up winning the game in the eighth with an RBI double. Leahy, Jacobson, Gjovig and Brendan Sheehan had one hit apiece.
Jake Johnson pitched the final frame for the Saints, allowing the two earned runs with one strikeout in six batters faced.
McDonell Central 12, St. Croix Falls 1
ST. CROIX FALLS – McDonell Central pounded out eight hits in five innings to top St. Croix Falls during a tournament in St. Croix Falls on Saturday, April 12. The Saints got five hits with two from Jake Jacobson, and one each from Kyle Koshiol, Mitchell Gjovig and Tyler Henk. McDonell Central scored four runs in the first inning, one in the second and seven in the third. Gjovig went just over two innings on the mound with seven hits allowed and six walks. Brennan McPherson pitched two innings with three strikeouts, allowing two hits and no walks.
Amery 17, Unity 5
MAUSTON – The Eagles baseball team kicked off the season with a 3-1/2-hour drive to Mauston on Thursday, April 10. The team played their first game of the day against Amery as the Warriors capitalized on good hitting a several errors by Unity. Despite giving up three runs in the first inning, the Eagles got an RBI triple from Connor Olson in their first at bat. Hunter Fjorden and Olson each had two hits in the loss.
Somerset 6, Unity 3
MAUSTON – Unity was unable to overcome a strong fifth inning by Somerset during a game played at Mauston on Thursday, April 10.
The Eagles scored one run in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. Brett Nelson and Phillip Sorensen each singled in the inning along with Dylan Ruck. Unity also tacked on another two runs in the sixth inning as Connor Olson connected on double, but that was all for Unity.
Golfers getting the itch to get outdoors
Grantsburg looks to be strong this season
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
LEADER LAND – Area boys golfers will be looking to hit the links as soon as Tuesday, April 22, on the Grantsburg Golf Course if current weather conditions improve. For the Grantsburg golfers, the match can’t come soon enough as many predict the Pirates to go after the conference title this spring and possibly earn a trip to the state tournament.
In his fourth season as head coach, Tom Hullander also feels the team has a shot at winning the conference. The team graduated two varsity seniors but gain back two more golfers with varsity experience, who have matched talents with last year’s team, which won a regional championship in 2013.
“The biggest strength of the team is that they all love playing and practicing. This will help them formulate good habits. We have a few great leaders,” Hullander said.
Top players returning this season include Lars Thoreson and Jordan Knutson, who were both all-conference golfers, and Knutson was the area’s top medalist as a freshman.
“He should only get better,” Hullander said.
As with any team there’s always room for improvement, but Hullander feels one of the biggest weaknesses is the depth of the team, and he’s not just talking about Grantsburg.
“The biggest problem is that there are getting to be fewer players going out for golf, so the pool of talented players is getting less. This is a common problem for schools in our area that have declining enrollments and competing sports to choose from.”
As for the Unity Eagles, who have dominated the conference in recent years under sixth-year head coach Larry Stencil, they have a decent-sized team this season. Stencil said that Grantsburg is a heavy favorite, but the Eagles also bring some talent back, and several kids will be fighting for a shot on varsity.
“Great feeling to get the clubs out of storage. It is a sign of spring. Each team has a new make-up of players. Each player has talent to bring to the course,” Stencil said.
There are three varsity players returning to the team, and they worked hard last summer to improve. Letter winners include senior Cole Hansen and juniors Jordan Lowe and Ben Traynor. Hansen and Lowe each earned West Lakeland Conference honors last season, and Traynor missed by just two points.
Seven others will be hoping to earn a spot on the remaining lineup, which includes seniors Eric Smith, Tanner Bjornson and Tucker Olson, juniors Tanner Amhrien and Connolly Helms, and sophomores Marcus Qualle and Gaven Ouellette.
“The weather has not allowed us to hit full shots and shake the cobwebs out on the short game. The indoor hitting has progressed to where we need to get outdoors. Everyone is anxious to get out and are anticipating a competitive year. We are going to take it one shot, one match at a time and see where it leads,” Stencil said.
The Luck/Frederic golf team is under the direction of coach Rick Giller again this season, who is in his 24th season of coaching. Giller said the team will be quite young this season, but he hopes to get better by the year’s end. Last season, senior Jordan Bazey was the only L/F golfer to reach sectionals, and as a team they finished seventh overall in the sectional standings.
The St. Croix Falls golf team ended up finishing last in the Division 2 regionals last season, but with only one senior on that team, along with three juniors and a sophomore, the Saints could be a team to watch under head coach Shawn Gudmunsen.
Another team to watch for is the Siren Dragon boys golf team, who will be under the direction of a new head coach, Jensen Anderson. He replaces longtime head coach Brian Webster.
“I have some big shoes to fill following Brian Webster as the Siren golf coach. Hope we do our best and have fun doing it,” Anderson said.
In 2013 the Dragons placed sixth overall in Division 3, and Jake Swenson earned a spot at sectionals. He was the lone senior on a young team.
The team has just six golfers on the roster so all will be key in team scoring. They include Jade Merrill, Jared Emery, Neil Oustigoff, Alexi Gloodt, Emily Howe and Mackenzie Brown.
Anderson said he’s a rookie coach who is still trying to figure things out and hopes to get out on the course soon to see how his players stack up and what skills they’ll need to work on. Much of their time, like other schools, has been spent indoors.
“Golf is such a mental game, I hope to instill in in my players the thought that they are their biggest opponent. If they can stay out of their own heads and just play golf they will shoot low and have good meets,” Anderson said.
Lakeland softball conference getting more competitive
Grantsburg coach Don Bjelland hopes for a return to madtown along with the rest of his seniors. Bjelland is shown discussing strategy with pitcher Macy Hanson and catcher Wendy Roberts in a recent game against Turtle Lake/Clayton, where the Pirates won 10-0 in five innings. – Photos by Scott Hoffman
Grantsburg fastpitch hopes to make another return to Madison
Scott Hoffman|Staff writer
GRANTSBURG – It’s a family affair in Grantsburg softball. With four sets of sisters on this year’s team, there’s lots of rivalries, but in reality that’s what makes a team good. Head coach Don Bjelland leads another talented and deep squad in an ever-tightening conference that continues to improve.
Most of the pitching and catching duties will fall on seniors right-handed ace Macy Hanson and sure-handed catcher Wendy Roberts. To say the Pirates are deep in the bullpen would be an understatement. Sophomore Livi Tucker continues to improve, and with junior Kelsey Fiedler and freshmen Cassidy Lee, Jordan McKenzie and Hallie Jensen, the Pirates will be dominant for years to come.
Now comes the conundrum of replacing arguably the best middle infield in the state. No one can replace a shortstop like Sam Schwieger or second baseman like Kylie Pewe, but so far the Pirates have been able to reload with the next-best player up, and from the looks of things that will continue.
With Tucker handling short and McKenzie getting some reps at second, senior slugger Hope Tucker will anchor third, and Harlei Hennesey will move from the outfield to first. Brook Roufs returns to left field, speedster Katie Miller center and one of the Jensen girls (Briena or Hallie) will more than likely play right field.
The Luck/Frederic softball team has a new coach this season, Megan Challoner, who is the physical and health education teacher at Luck High School. Challoner is taking over the helm from longtime coach Erin Hansford, but understands the system, as she’s been an assistant with the team the previous two seasons.
Luck/Frederic had a pretty good run in the playoffs despite not getting much of a season to prepare for it due to the weather. They won in a walk-off during the opening round of the playoffs but met Grantsburg in the next round, where they hung around through seven innings before losing in a walk-off home run by the Pirates.
This season, L/F returns eight of their nine varsity players according to Challoner, which could make for a very competitive team this season.
“We have a strong conference. I believe we need to play our best every game,” Challoner said. – Marty Seeger
St. Croix Falls
Given a bit more time to play last year, the Saints may not have ended it without a win, but that’s likely to change this year as the team brings back a strong junior class and a group of athletes eager to improve. The Saints also have an incoming freshman pitcher this season, named Katie Kopp, who should be a big addition to the team. Last season, their catcher was asked to take on the role, despite having spent much of her career behind the plate.
The Saints have roughly 24 athletes under coach Clayton Hanson, who said the team is working with fewer numbers. They have two senior starters Mackenzie Christensen and Emily Lutz, who moved in from Clayton.
“Our fielding has gotten progressively better. Our errors per game went down, from the first year it was like five, and then it went to three,” Hanson said.
During their season opener against Cumberland, the team had just two.
Hanson also noted that he has two juniors as captains, and the team is receptive to their roles as leaders. More importantly, all of the girls are willing to get better and take on any role they’re asked to do.
“We actually have some depth. I’ve got a lot of depth at second base this year, but I’m asking a lot of girls to step up this year and fill some holes, and I’ve had some of the sophomores and freshmen kind of move around a little bit, and they’re just jumping right into it, they’re excited,” Hanson said. “And these girls are very coachable. It’s so nice having girls that are receptive.” – Marty Seeger
The Eagles softball team finished with an even 5-5 record in the conference during a shorter than usual season, and a winning record overall, finishing near the middle of the pack among the eight teams in the West Lakeland. They had a few notable wins last year including a 6-4 win over Shell Lake, a state qualifier, but ended up losing in the first round to a solid Luck/Frederic team, in a heartbreaking walk-off loss.
The Eagles have three key seniors coming back in Sierra Thomfohrda, Carly Ince and Cass Hanson. Other returning starters include Whitney Rock, Gabrielle Foeller, Hannah Wagner and Erika Priebe. Coach Shaun Fisher noted that all of the girls gained varsity experience last year.
“We have a large, fairly talented group of freshmen that will come in and give us valuable time as well,” Fisher said, adding that he’s confident the team should be able to surprise some teams this season. He has been seeing daily improvements and a team that has the willingness to learn and improve.
“I am excited to see our athletes continue to improve. We have a great mix of young ladies that are learning how to win. There is a good core of athletes here that continues to gain confidence in themselves and the team. It is fun to be a part of,” Fisher said. – Marty Seeger
The Webster/Siren Storm softball team finished with just one victory last season but are set to forge ahead with young talent this year under third-year head coach Ashley Close and assistant coach Tina Karsten.
Close said the team has two returning senior starters, Ashley Dietmeier and Jessica Strabel, and expects both to provide strong leadership.
“They can take command on the field with leadership and athletic ability,” Close said.
As for the young talent, Close said she is intrigued to see who shines and says they all have the drive to succeed. So far, one of the biggest strengths of the team has been hitting.
“We have been focusing a lot on our batting, we are really connecting with the ball well,” Close said. “As of this second, our weaknesses … we’ve been inside and its difficult to get real game situations on a basketball court.”
Close expects Grantsburg once again to compete for a conference title, but believes all schools have a chance, especially if the season is shortened as much as it was last year.
“Grantsburg is always a great contender, they work hard all year and it pays off. This year with the weather again, it gives anyone a fighting chance. It’s really how motivated and hard the girls work inside a gym, preparing them for a game, that will make the difference.” – Marty Seeger
Eagles get by Abbotsford in double overtime
Unity 36, Abbotsford 32
Marty Seeger |Staff writer
SPOONER – Thunderous cheers, applause and emotion spilled out onto the court after a suspense-filled section semifinal-win for the Eagle boys basketball team, and their fans. Much of that emotion however, was feelings of relief, as Abbotsford crept back into the game late in the fourth quarter, eventually sending the game into double overtime. With the win, Unity will take on Mondovi Saturday, March 8, in New Richmond at 1 p.m., for a chance to go to the state tournament.
After a bit of a sluggish start for both teams and a 6-6 tie after the first quarter, the Eagles took control, using a smothering defense against a Falcons team capable of putting up big numbers from beyond the arc. They also had a dominating inside presence, with three Falcons starters measuring 6 foot, 4 inches, 6-5, and 6-6, but Unity was able to fight through it.
"I thought first half, our defense was phenomenal," said Eagles coach Shaun Fisher. "We were all over the place and we had a lot of pressure on the ball, and caused some turnovers. We should have been able to convert, and finish on a couple, but overall I think we set a tone early that if they're going to score they're going to earn it."
The second quarter was the Eagles most impressive showing of the night despite Abbotsford quickly taking a 10-6 lead. Unity senior guard Zac Johnson buried a 3-pointer and drew the foul. He completed a 4-point play to tie the game and despite an answer from Falcons leading scorer, Eric English, who was held to 13 points, the Eagles maintained control. Dylan Ruck and Logan Bader scored on Abbotsford turnovers, which plagued the Falcons throughout the night as they totaled 23, due in part to solid defensive play from Unity. With a 14-12 lead, Justin Bradley connected for three, and Bader scored on a put-back on a miss from Oliver Raboin, and the Eagles led 19-12 with 45 seconds to go in the first half. After another turnover by the Falcons, the Eagles used the remaining 30 seconds for a final shot and Bader connected on a short jumper at the buzzer to give Unity a 21-12 halftime lead.
It was a different story in the second half offensively for the Eagles, who had several great looks at the basket inside but couldn't seem to get shots to fall.
"You've got to be able to finish a little bit better, but we've traditionally struggled a little bit against size inside. They were a little bit taller than us and they were thick, so that represented a lot of problems," Fisher said.
Unity continued with stingy defense throughout the third quarter, and managed to hold Abbotsford off despite only getting two tough baskets inside from Raboin. One of those shots came at the buzzer, as Unity took a 25-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles scoring troubles continued into the fourth quarter as Bader hit 1 of 2 foul shots early, and Dakota Ward went 1 for 2 from the line. Even with only two fourth-quarter baskets, Unity held a marginal lead, which continued to shrink as minutes turned to seconds.
"I don't want to say that we could have finished them off, but we could have definitely stretched it out double digits earlier. We were right on the doorstep. But give them (Abbotsford) credit, because they weren't going to give up, but it would have been nice to be able to keep that up and not basically go an extra quarter tonight," Fisher said.
Colton Voss hit a 3-pointer for the Falcons with 2:20 to go, leaving Unity with a 26-23 lead, but with 1:39 to go, the Falcons got to within one point as English hit a pair of free throws. Ward got the Eagles back to a two-point lead with 1:22 remaining, while the Falcons drew their seventh foul, sending the Eagles to the line, but a miss on the one-and-one opportunity gave the ball back to the Falcons with 30 seconds to go in regulation. With 10 seconds remaining, Abbotsford tied the game, and a Johnson shot at the buzzer fell short, sending it into overtime.
"I don't think we really went inside much in the second half, which is kind of disappointing but all that matters is the final score and we're happy with it," Fisher said.
As it was at the end of regulation, the first and second overtime frames didn't disappoint. Raboin scored the only bucket for Unity in the first overtime, and it wasn't until 1:55 to go that the Falcons tied the game. Unity again got the final look at the basket with 9.2 seconds to go, but shots by Bader and Johnson fell short, sending the game into the second overtime.
Abbotsford hit the first shot in overtime, a 3-pointer by Colton Voss. A two-point basket by Ruck, and two huge free throws from Bradley gave Unity a 33-22 lead with 1:44 to go in the game. Despite a Unity turnover, Johnson stole the ball and was quickly fouled, sending him to the line for a pair of free throws, which he made, giving Unity a 3-point lead. A 3-point opportunity by the Falcons rimmed out, and Johnson sealed the win hitting 1 of 2 from the line to end the game.
This is the third sectional semifinal for the Eagles in the previous four seasons. Two of those years, ended in the sectional finals, but the Eagles are hunting for something more this time around.
"To be in this game three out of four years is fun, but now it would be nice to finally break through and get there," Fisher said.
Luck girls advance to Siren over 'Greens
Frederic, Unity, St. Croix Falls survive opening rounds
Luck 55, Northwood 31
Greg Marsten|Staff writer
LUCK – The Luck Cardinals girls basketball squad advanced on to the second round of the WIAA Div. 5 Regional with a solid win at home against the Northwood Evergreens on Tuesday, March 4, winning 55-31.
Luck is the fourth seed in their region, and while they lost to fifth-seed Northwood earlier in January by almost two-dozen points, they turned the tables on them in the latest game, trailing for only about 30The Cards began to pull away early in the first quarter and never looked back as they gave a balanced performance with solid defense and a mixed bag of scoring.
“They were a different team from who we lost to in January,” Luck head coach Marty Messar said. “They lost a key player since. But I think the kids did a great job and keep improving.”
Luck had some turnover issues early, but recovered and became more confident as the game rolled on, and was strong on offense from the outside. They kept the ‘Greens off-balance all night, and were strong defensively inside, limiting their opponents to no more than 10 points per quarter.
Leading the Cards on offense was junior Angie Gore, who had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. On her heels was junior Jenni Holdt, who finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Senior Camille Marsten added nine points and eight rebounds and senior Whitney Petersen finished with eight points, including two from downtown.
The Cards have now won seven games in a row, and eight of nine since January, an impressive turnaround after starting the 2013-2014 campaign with a dismal 1-6 record.
“We’ve been continually improving,” Messar said proudly. “My goal as a coach is to provide positive memories down the road.”
Luck now heads up to the Dragons’ Lair at West Lakeland Conference rival Siren’s home court for the second round playoff contest, where the top-seeded Dragons enjoyed a first-round bye, but will be coming off an eight-day break.
Messar said he has been proud of how his squad has gelled in recent weeks, and noted how they have all made contributions as the season winds down.
“We’re truly a team,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of kids making contributions all season, making for a positive game.”
Luck and Siren last played on Jan. 31, with the Dragons winning by one point, 35-34. Their first contest was also a one-point Dragon win, going back to Dec. 10.
The Cards are now 13-9 overall, and finished at 7-5 in conference play. – Marty Seeger
Frederic 57, Solon Springs 32
FREDERIC – The Frederic girls basketball team held Solon Springs scoreless in the first quarter enroute to a 57-32 win during the regional playoff opener in Frederic on Tuesday, March 4. It wasn’t until early in the second quarter that the Eagles got points on the board with a 3-pointer from Autumn Blaylock, but the Vikings were just too strong defensively for Solon Springs to catch up.
“Good start to tournaments. We are hoping to go to Shell Lake and play well Friday night. It should be a good game,” said Vikings coach Troy Wink.
Frederic was led by Lara Harlander with 19 points and five steals, while Carly Gustafson added 15 points with nine rebounds. Other points totals included Ann Chenal with eight, Taylor Alseth, five, (including seven steals), Lexi Domagala and Emily Amundson each had three points, and Mimi Thomson and Makayla Arthurs each had two.
The No. 3 seeded Vikings play the regional semifinal at Shell Lake, a No. 2 seed, on Friday, March 7, beginning at 7 p.m. – Marty Seeger
St. Croix Falls 64, Ellsworth 47
ST. CROIX FALLS – The Lady Saints basketball team is headed to the next level in the WIAA playoffs after a big win over Ellsworth on Tuesday, March 4.
Jessica Rademacher had another dominating performance as she led the Saints with 29 points and 26 rebounds. She also had four assists and five steals.
Mariah Rohm scored 16 points followed by Erica Bergmann with eight, Matti Gerlach, four, Katie Kopp, McKenzie Christenson and Sophie Aguilar each had two, and Kristin Petherbridge added one point.
The Saints led 13-7 after the first quarter and 23-18 at halftime. They outscored Ellsworth 21-13 in the third quarter and scored another 20 in the fourth. St. Croix Falls had a total of 17 steals on the night, with Rademacher leading with five, and Kopp had four.
The Saints will attempt to avenge an earlier upset loss to the Spartans, as they travel to Somerset this Friday, March 7, for the regional semifinal game. The Saints are a No. 5 seed, while the Spartans have a No. 4 seed.
Cameron 65, Webster 17
CAMERON – The Webster Tiger girls had a tough draw for the first round of the WIAA regionals, losing 65-17 to Cameron on Tuesday, March 4. The Tigers finished the season 2-17 overall, and 0-10 in the West Lakeland Conference. – Marty Seeger
St. Croix Falls 47, Grantsburg 36
GRANTSBURG – The Unity girls basketball team was able to capitalize on a very bad night of ball handling by the Grantsburg Pirates and move on in the WIAA tourney, Tuesday, March 4. Sophomore Emma Moore led the Eagles with 17 points Maddie Ramich contributed a dozen more.
Cassidy Lee led the Pirates with 13 followed by Macy Hanson with 10. Hanson, Grantsburg’s only senior, will be sorely missed.
“We were fortunate to win 47-36,” said Unity coach Rory Paulsen. “Our second-half defense was a big difference for us. We gave up open looks and middle drives in the first half, and the girls really knuckled down in the second half with good closeouts and better positioning. I was happy for our sophomore forward Emma Moore who had a big night with 17 points. Our seniors once again provided great leadership in helping us seal the win.”
The Eagles will play another day as they will take their game on the road to No. 1 seeded Ladysmith, on Friday, March 7, starting at 7 p.m. Unity is the No. 5 seed in Division 4. – Scott Hoffman
Frederic and Siren to meet in regional semifinal
Vikings beat Northwood in playoff opener
Frederic 55, Northwood 43
Marty Seeger |Staff writer
FREDERIC – Things got off to a bit of a slow start for the Vikings offense during the opening round of the WIAA playoffs in Frederic on Tuesday, Feb. 25, but things got hot in a hurry as the Vikings came away with a convincing win to advance to the regional semifinal game against Siren this Friday, Feb. 28, in Siren.
The Vikings trailed 10-8 after the first quarter but played solid defense to start. Austin Kurkowski had six points in the first quarter for the Vikings and started the second quarter with a long-range shot from 3-point range. Ben Kurkowski then picked up a steal and hit the front end of a two-and-one opportunity to help ignite the crowd. Northwood regained a brief one-point lead but from that point on Frederic maintained control, slowly extending their lead to as much as eight with the help of stingy defense from Roman Poirier, who hit a 3-pointer and picked up a steal for two points, to give the Vikings a 10-point lead with just over two minutes to go. Poirier ended up leading the Vikings with 18 points on the night, and the Vikings took a 31-22 halftime lead with a boost from Austin Ennis, who hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half.
The Vikings jumped out to a 17-point lead to start the third quarter but Northwood was able to answer with a 3-pointer of their own but the Vikings continued to control the defensive side of the ball. Northwood was within 11 points early in the fourth quarter but the game never got closer than that.
Along with 18 points from Poirier, Austin Kurkowski had 14, Irric Erickson had 11, Zach Schmidt, five, Austin Ennis, four, and Greg Peterson, one.
Frederic will play at Siren beginning at 7 p.m. this Friday. The Dragons are coming off a 64-33 win over Birchwood.
Cameron 64, Webster 32
CAMERON – The Webster Tigers faced a tough test against the No. 2 seeded Cameron Comets on Tuesday, Feb. 25, during the first round of regional basketball action. The Tigers ended the year 1-16 overall but made improvements throughout the season, and are still a relatively young team who return the majority of their starters back from next season.
Seniors included Oudy Weber, Justin Matrious, and Noah Erickson.
Luck 65, Lac Courte Oreilles
LUCK – The No. 1 seeded Luck Cardinals will advance to the regional semifinals after an easy win over Lac Courte Oreilles on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The Cardinals held LCO to single digit scoring in all four quarters and led 36-12 at halftime.
Noah Mortel scored 24 points to lead Luck while Karsten Petersen added 13, Logan Hamack, 10, Taylor Hawkins, nine, Sam Nelson, three, and Nick Mattson, Casey Ekholm and Trevor Dexter each had two points.
The Cardinals now host the regional semifinal game this Friday, Feb. 28, beginning at 7 p.m., against No. 4 seeded Solon Springs. The winner advances to the regional championship game the following Saturday.
Grantsburg 67, Ladysmith 50
GRANTSBURG – Grantsburg took down a bigger Ladysmith team Tuesday, Feb. 25, starting off the WIAA tourney.
The Pirates came out fast and jumped up to an 8-0 lead before Ladysmith was able to score a basket. Grantsburg then extended that lead to the end of the first quarter leading 22 -7 and then to a comfortable 20-point lead going into the half.
Ladysmith had a tough time getting the ball to find the net while the Pirates did most of their damage from outside the 3-point line. Grantsburg’s Jordan Knutson was on fire hitting 17 of his 24 points in the first half. Followed by teammate Jacob Ohnstad with 22.
Trey Webb led the Lumberjacks with 20. The second half turned into a foul fest with both teams getting lots of opportunities from the foul line. The Pirates lost Austin Olson and eventually Ohnstad to fouls, but some hot foul shooting by Richard Schneider, who shot 9 of 10 in the final quarter, helped seal the win.
The Pirates will be traveling to Cameron this Friday, Feb. 28, for the regional semifinal game. The Pirates will hope to avenge an earlier loss to the Comets, who beat them 74-41 in late January. – Scott Hoffman
Boys basketball playoffs begin Tuesday, Feb. 25
Marty Seeger |Staff writer
LEADER LAND – The WIAA boys basketball playoffs are set to begin with the first round starting on Tuesday, Feb. 25. All games begin at 7 p.m.
In Division 5, Frederic (3) hosts Northwood (6), Lac Courte Oreilles (8) is at Luck (1), and Siren (2) hosts Birchwood (7).
In Division 4, the Unity Eagles (1) drew a first-round bye and will host either Cumberland or Flambeau at Unity High School on Friday, Feb. 28, beginning at 7 p.m. Other Division teams include Webster (7) at Cameron (2) on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and Grantsburg (3) is hosting Ladysmith (6) on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
In Division 3, St. Croix Falls (8) will host Hayward (8) on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Luck 54, Winter 9
LUCK – The Luck boys basketball team held Winter to just nine points during a nonconference game on Tuesday, Feb. 18, with the Cardinals bench getting some quality playing time, while starters saw just over a quarter of action.
Everyone got into the scoring mix as Noah Mortel had 12 points, Taylor Hawkins, nine, Karsten Petersen, eight, Austin Hamack, seven, Logan Hamack, Nick Mattson, Sam Nelson and Casey Ekholm each had three, and Trent Strapon, Trevor Dexter, and Connor McGinnity each had two.
The Cardinals have just one remaining game left in the regular season as they host Webster this Friday, Feb. 21, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Frederic 56, Northwood 41
NORTHWOOD – The Viking boys basketball picked up a 56-41 win at Northwood on Tuesday, Feb. 18, and will play just one more game during the regular season before playing Northwood once again for the WIAA playoffs, which is at Frederic on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Frederic travels to Grantsburg for their final game of the regular season beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21.
Shell Lake 44, Webster 34
WEBSTER – The Webster boys dropped a nonconference game at home against Shell Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The Tigers have just one game left in the regular season before playoffs begin. They travel to Luck on Friday, Feb. 21, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Frederic boys win over Webster
Eagles, Dragons, Cards win Tuesday games
Frederic 52, Webster 32
Marty Seeger |Staff writer
FREDERIC – Frederic hosted Webster in the lone West Lakeland Conference matchup on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Roman Poirier and Austin Kurkowski each had 14 points for the Vikings, with Kurkowski hitting four 3-pointers. Zach Schmidt and Ben Kurkowski had six points apiece, Zane Matz and Irric Erickson each had four, and Austin Ennis had two points.
The Vikings claimed control of the game early on, leading 17-8 after the first quarter. They led 41-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Webster was led by Dade McCarthy with 12 points, while Grant Preston, Shawn Stevens and Billy Cooper each had four. Oudy Weber added two points.
Unity 40, Frederic 34
FREDERIC – The Eagles picked up a win over Frederic on Monday, Feb. 10, but it didn’t come easy as the Vikings hung around for most of the game. The Eagles had a 12-11 lead after one and the game was tied at 22 at the half. It was 31-29 in favor of the Eagles through three quarters but Unity managed to escape with the win.
Unity has had several close conference games over the past week, including a 49-47 win over the Pirates.
Oliver Raboin had 10 points for Unity, Dakota Ward and Logan Bader each had 10, Zac Johnson had five and Dylan Ruck added four points.
The Vikes were led by Zach Schmidt and Austin Kurkowski with 11 points each, Irric Erickson and Roman Poirier each had four, Ben Kurkowski, three, and Greg Peterson, one.
Glenwood City 61, Frederic 52
GRANTSBURG – The Viking boys fell short against a solid Hilltoppers team on Saturday, Feb. 8. Glenwood City led 17-13 after the first quarter but the Vikings came back before the end of the first half to take a 30-26 lead.
The Vikings were shut down to just four points in the third quarter, but had a well-balanced day of scoring overall, with Roman Poirier leading with 15 points. Austin Kurkowski had 12, Zach Schmidt, 11 (five assists, three steals), Irric Erickson, six, Austin Ennis, three, Ben Kurkowski and Greg Peterson each had two, and Eric Chenal, one.
Unity 51, Clayton 31
BALSAM LAKE – The Unity boys basketball team won handily over Clayton on Tuesday, Feb. 11, taking a 19-4 lead after the first quarter and never looking back.
Unity was well balanced in scoring with Dakota Ward getting nine points, Dylan Ruck and Logan Bader each had eight, Oliver Raboin, six, Justin Bradley and Zac Johnson each had five, and Cash Hickethier, four.
Siren 71, Birchwood 35
BIRCHWOOD – The Dragon boys basketball team traveled to Birchwood Tuesday, Feb. 11, winning big with 28 points in the first eight minutes of the game according to coach Jon Ruud. By halftime the Dragons led 48-16.
David St. John had 16 first-half points and Aaron Ruud and Michael Kosloski each scored 15 in the first half.
"In the second half, we were able to work on some things defensively, and came away with a final score of 71-35. Davey St. John led all scorers with 32 points, while Michael Kosloski finished with 17 points, and Aaron Ruud with 15," coach Ruud said. "We played very good defense tonight, and anticipated things really well. Our younger players are playing with a lot of confidence, and our team is getting great leadership from our seniors Jared Emery and Davey St. John."
Northwestern 61, Grantsburg 35
GRANTSBURG – The Pirate boys hosted a tough Northwestern team on Tuesday, Feb. 11, falling 19-7 in the first quarter and 39-81 at the half.
"It wasn't an ideal opponent to have to go up against after gaining the confidence we gained on Friday night," said coach Nick Hallberg. "But we know that playing these types of teams is what makes you better."
Jacob Ohnstad and Jaeger Staeven each had 15 for Grantsburg, Richard Schneider added three and Jordan Knutson added two.
Unity girls stun Dragons
Unity 39, Siren 30
Marty Seeger |Staff writer
GRANTSBURG – With conference title hopes on the line the Lady Dragons took a step back against the Unity Eagles on Tuesday, Feb. 25, losing 39-30.
To earn at least a share of the West Lakeland title Siren will need to defeat Frederic during their final conference home game of the regular season Thursday, Feb. 27. Both St. Croix Falls and Siren are sitting at records of 9-2, with St. Croix Falls hosting Unity in their final conference game of the season, which is also on Thursday, Feb. 27.
It was the second-straight win for the Eagles who, according to Unity coach Rory Paulsen, the team was able to play better defensively.
"This was a great team victory for our kids. They all banded together and are fortunate to win over a very good Siren squad," Paulsen said. "I felt our seniors really showed great leadership when Siren would extend their pressure. Overall, I am most pleased with our defense. We held Siren to 13 first half points tonight, and Clear Lake to seven first half points on Monday."
Maddie Ramich and Emily Gross each had nine points, Emma Moore, eight, Gabrielle Foeller and Rayven Merrill each had four, Carly Ince, three, and Whitney Rock and Raelin Sorensen each had one.
SCF boys tame the Hurricanes for playoff win
St. Croix Falls 77, Hayward 69
Greg Marsten|Staff writer
ST. CROIX FALS – The St. Croix Falls Saints made a strong comeback in the second half of their first round WIAA Division 3 playoff game at home on Tuesday, Feb. 25, beating Hayward by a 77-69 final to advance on to face top-seeded Somerset this coming Friday.
The Saints trailed in both the first and second quarters, falling behind by a 41-36 margin at the half, led in part by the Hurricanes strong offensive output, primarily senior Joe Stork, who racked up 18 first-half points and finished with a game high 35 points.
But the Saints were solid in the third frame out of the locker room, and recovered well, playing a tighter defense and trying their best to contain Stork’s shooting.
The hosting Saints also were strong at the free-throw line all evening, converting 21 of 29 attempts overall and 12 of 13 attempts in the final frame, securing a lead just a few minutes into the second half.
St. Croix Falls head coach Chad Hall was proud of his squad’s ability to not only control the ball in the second half, but also to capitalize on fouls and make every trip to the charity stripe count.
“That’s been our Achilles heel recently, we’ve been shooting like only 50 percent (from the line) in recent weeks, and it’s something we’ve been working on, so I’m glad we got their so many times,” Hall said.
But Hayward never rolled over, and regained the lead on a several turnovers and conversions with four minutes remaining, making the final minutes extremely close and competitive.
“I credit pretty much our whole team and our defense,” Hall said. “I think we gave up only eight points in the third quarter. That was key. But we also had several guys do a really nice job inside, especially Andrew Erickson, he had a huge game.”
The Saints spread the ball well after they got back on top, relying on several breakaways steals and steady follow-ups on first shot misses to pull ahead and stay there in the final minutes.
Hall also gave credit to the performance of several players in the end who stepped up and made sure the season didn’t end before their home crowd.
Notables for the Saints included 24 points for senior Andrew Erickson, with 19 more tallies for Lovro Kusec and another 17 for Nick Lunde. Point guard Jake Jacobson also scored in double digits with 10 points, but also added numerous assists and feeds to Kusec and Erickson inside.
“Jake Jacobson was also key, I think he’s the best point guard in the conference and just controls everything and always does the job,” Hall said. “And the guys who came in for just a few minutes really gave a good effort.”
With the win, eighth-seeded St. Croix Falls will face off against top-seeded Somerset on the road this Friday, Feb. 28, with the winner playing the next night. The Spartans had a first-round bye and will have an extra couple of days of rest in their favor.
Hall’s squad has fallen twice to the Spartans this season, but that’s something the Saint’s head coach takes to heart and does not think is all bad.
“Yeah, they are tough ... but I think it’s going to be real hard for them (Somerset) to beat us three times this year,” Hall said. “We’ve just got to run and play our game. I think it’s going to be fun.”
Lovro Kusec, No. 30, works the ball inside, preparing to feed center Andrew Erickson, No. 42, on the right for the finish. – Photos by Greg Marsten
Vikings girls win over Northwood
Siren falls to Flambeau
Frederic 59, Northwood 27
Marty Seeger |Staff writer
MINONG – Vikings coach Troy Wink described it as a "good team win" during a game at Northwood Tuesday, Feb. 18. Wink said it was a strong defensive effort from Ann Chenal and Emily Amundson, while Lara Harlander scored 18 points and Carly Gustafson chipped in 15 on the night.
The Vikings held the Evergreens to 11 points in the first half while scoring 31 of their own. Harlander had 14 first half points.
Other scorers included Chenal and Makayla Arthurs each with six, Amundson, five, Taylor Alseth and Lexi Domagala each had four, and Mimi Thomson added one.
Flambeau 47, Siren 45
SIREN – The Dragons snapped a six-game winning streak in a loss to a talented Flambeau Falcons team on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The game came down to the wire and despite the getting the last look at the basket for a tie, the shot didn't fall.
"We played out seventh game in 12 days and just ran out of legs in the fourth," said coach Ryan Karsten.
The Dragons led by as much as nine points with five minutes left in the game according to Karsten but it was another good test for the Siren as they've been tested considerably already over the past week.
"I wish we could have played them with fresher legs but that wasn't an option. We will learn from this loss and move forward over our last 3 regular season games. This loss will make us better for the playoffs. I like to have these tough games late in the season. Gets us playoff ready," Karsten said.
Caitlynn Daniels led with 15 points, Carly Good, seven, Jessica Strabel, five, Hope Peterson and Laurel Kanneberg each had four, and Zoe Emery and Emily Howe had two apiece.
Grantsburg 49, Cumberland 35
GRANTSBURG – The Pirates won their fourth-straight game against Cumberland during a home nonconference game on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The Pirates held the Beavers to just four points in the first half and never looked back, scoring 27 in the first half.
"The girls played another good game. We were able to shut down the Cumberland offense and hit shots on our end. Macy led us with 20 points and the rest of the scoring was all very balanced," said Pirates coach John Dickinsen.
Jordyn McKenzie had eight for the Pirates, Olivia Tucker, seven, Violet Ohnstad, six, and Rhiana Pochman and Cassidy Lee each had four points.
Barron 71, St. Croix Falls 48
BARRON – Gina Forehand scored 30 and Afton Kuehndorf added another 20 for the Barron Bears in a route of St. Croix Falls on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in Barron.
The Saints were led by Katie Kopp with 15 points, Jessica Rademacher, 14, Mariah Rohm, 13, Erica Bergmann, four, and Matti Gerlach, two.
Shell Lake 44, Webster 21
WEBSTER – The Tiger girls fell against Shell Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 18, during nonconference action. It was the Lakers second-straight win as both teams get set to end their regular seasons in the next week. The Tigers travel to Luck on Friday, Feb. 21, host Frederic Monday, Feb. 24, before finishing out the regular season at Hinkley-Finlayson Tuesday, Feb. 25.