AREA PREP NOTEBOOK: Prowlers rolling in 10-game winning streak
Thief River Falls isn’t just winning. The Prowlers’ boys basketball team is taking the drama out of its games.
Thief River Falls extended its winning streak to 10 games Tuesday with a 76-53 win against East Grand Forks Senior High. Only once in those 10 games, a 76-70 win Saturday against Princeton, has TRF’s margin of victory been by less than 11 points.
The average margin of victory has been 21.1 points.
“I figured we’d have a good team,” Prowlers coach Joe Wasfaret said. “We had a good core group coming back from last year. But I didn’t expect that we’d have some of the big wins we’ve had.”
The Prowlers average 72.8 points a game. They’ve put up big point totals for two reasons — depth and a veteran backcourt.
“It’s one of the more athletic group of kids we’ve had here in some time,” Wasfaret said. “And we have some depth.
“We always pressure fullcourt and we push the ball as often as possible. We can run, run, run because we can keep five good, fresh kids on the court all the time.”
The Prowlers are led by their trio of starting guards.
Senior Jacob Leier, who is 87 points shy of 1,000 for his career, averages 14 points and runs the offense. Junior Jacob Joppru has a team-leading 18-point average, while senior Jorde Hutton is a perimeter threat, averaging 10 points and making better than 40 percent on 3-point attempts.
“Leier is a true point guard,” Wasfaret said. “He knows the game as well as anybody I’ve coached. He’s a good outside shooter, but he gets most of his points off drives. Joppru can shoot, take it to the rack, post up — he can do anything you ask of him. He’s a tough matchup.
“We don’t go down low too often. When we do, it’s usually with our guards in mismatches.”
With its 14-2 record, the Prowlers are on course to improve on last season’s final 20-8 record.
Strong Aggies start
After 16 seasons as the Park River/Fordville-Lankin boys head basketball coach, during which the team was 228-154 and played in the 2000 state tournament, Rob Scherr switched coaching positions last season.
He moved over to become head coach of the Aggies’ girls basketball program. Park River/F-L was 8-13 in Scherr’s first season; this season the Aggies are off to a 7-3 start.
“I wasn’t looking to switch,” Scherr said. “But the opportunity was there. I looked at it as an exciting challenge.
“Last year I went in and didn’t know anything about the girls, their talent levels or what they were good at. We went through the season getting to know each other, making some switches in what we did and then we had an offseason to work together. It was a building process.”
The strength of the team has been its depth. Ten players see regular playing time.
Ashley Fontaine (10.6 ppg), Hannah Swartz (10.3 ppg) and Brogan Novak (9.3 ppg) pace the offense. But Scherr said it has been different girls on different nights making big contributions, both on offense and defense.
Close has been the Aggies’ theme. Three of the wins have been by six or fewer points; the three losses have been by a combined total of six points.
“A play here or there and we could have won all three of those games,” Scherr said. “But we’ve also won a few close games. I think we’ve learned a lot about ourselves from all of those close games, win or lose.”
Carrington wrestlers favored
Shon Horgan has no problem picking a favorite in the North Dakota Class B Region 2 wrestling field.
The dual regional will be held Saturday in Harvey. And Horgan, the Pembina County North coach, tabs defending champion Carrington as the team to beat.
“Up and down the lineup, Carrington doesn’t have a weak spot,” Horgan said. “I would say it is one of their better teams as far as quality depth. They should be favored to win state.
“We lost three or four close matches when we wrestled them early in the season. To beat them, you’d need all of those close matches to go your way, plus get a few upsets. It is a doable thing. But it would be difficult.”
The top two finishers qualify for the Class B state dual tournament. Seeded behind Carrington are Pembina County North, Central Cass, Hillsboro-Central Valley, Larimore, Mayville-Portland-CG, Grafton and Harvey-Wells County.
Horgan’s team has beaten No. 3 Central Cass in a dual as well as in two individual tournaments. “I wouldn’t call us a shoo-in to beat them if we meet,” Horgan said. “Our depth is our advantage. With eight returning state placers, we do have quality depth.”
Pembina County North sophomore wrestler Bradyn Horgan recently registered his 100th career win. . . . Hillsboro-Central Valley basketball coach Elliot Rotvold has won the 300th game of his coaching career. . . . Thief River Falls junior wrestler Noah Bernier won his 100th career match Saturday. . . . Warwick’s Antoine Motley has reached the 1,000-point mark in his basketball career. He scored 12 against Four Winds-Minnewaukan on Tuesday, giving the senior 1,010 career points. He averages 27 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists this season. . . . Kelly Kalina recently resigned as Fargo North’s football coach.