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Tim Bergland summed it up best: "Here we go again." For the third straight year, and the seventh time in the last nine seasons, Bergland's Thief River Falls boys hockey team plays Warroad in the Section 8A championship. The teams meet at 7 tonight in Thief River Falls, with the winner advancing to the Minnesota state tournament. Warroad has beaten the Prowlers in four of the last six section finals. Routinely, the games are close -- Warroad's 4-1 win in the 2005 final was the biggest margin of victory. Last season, Warroad won 2-0; the season before, it was 3-2.
Wrestling talk at Bergeron family get-togethers has moved up a generation. The Bergeron name was synonymous with quality wrestling in the 1970s and '80s. Six brothers wrestled while at Oklee High School. Now the Bergeron name has spread throughout Section 8, with cousins Jacoby Bergeron of Thief River Falls, Ryan Bergeron of Greenbush-Middle River-Badger and Blake Bergeron of Crookston all headed to this week's state wrestling tournament in the Twin Cities. "We can fill a room with wrestling talk when we get together," said G-MR-B coach Todd Bergeron, Ryan's father.
CANDO, N.D. -- North Star is undefeated, ranked first in North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball and heading to the Class B state tournament for the second time in three seasons. All that only partially takes the sting out of the end of the last season. The Bearcats also were undefeated and ranked first in the state last season until losing the Region 4 championship game 66-65 in overtime to Carrington. North Star watched as Carrington went on to win the state championship. "I don't know if you can ever make up for that game," North Star sophomore guard Jake Hagler said.
The offensive performance wasn't one of the better ones for Grafton on Thursday. "We missed a lot of bunnies," Grafton junior guard Jake Hanson said. "But we're happy. We're going to state." The Spoilers earned their second berth in the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament with defense. Grafton held Cavalier to a season low in points in beating the Tornadoes 40-34 in the Region 2 championship game at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. "If we wanted to win, it had to go this way, slugging it out in a defensive battle," said Hanson, who paced Grafton with 15 points.
High-scoring Cavalier averages 71.2 points a game and has been held to fewer than 60 points in a game only four times this season. Two of those games were against Grafton. And that sets up tonight's Region 2 boys high school basketball tournament championship game at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Cavalier, 20-3 and the defending region champion, meets Grafton, 18-5, with a berth in next week's Class B state tournament on the line. Cavalier can shut down teams, as it has a 49.4 defensive average.
Mike Paulson didn't quite reach his defensive goal. The Hatton-Northwood junior knew he'd be guarding Midway-Minto's Philip Schanilec, who averages 31.3 points, in the first round of the North Dakota Class B Region 2 boys basketball tournament at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Schanilec topped his average with 35 points, but Paulson's 33 led Hatton-Northwood to a 78-72 win Monday. "Coach told me I'd guard Schanilec," Paulson said. "He's one of the top scorers in the state. I was hoping to keep him around 20.
WARROAD, Minn. -- Big hockey tournaments have become commonplace for Layla Marvin and Karley Sylvester. The Warroad High School seniors were standouts on Warriors teams that won last season's Minnesota Class A girls state hockey tournament and finished second in the 2009 state tournament. This winter, they were teammates on the United States team that won the gold medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World U18 Championship in Sweden. Now they're heading back to another big tournament.
Point No. 2,000 of Philip Schanilec's career came on a free throw late in the third quarter. On this night, however, the most memorable scoring for the Midway-Minto senior came later, a 3-point play with 5.3 seconds remaining. The play rallied Midway-Minto from a two-point deficit to a 60-59 win against North Border that qualified the Mustangs for the Region 2 boys basketball tournament, which begins today at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. "The 3-point play was definitely the most important play," Schanilec said. "We don't play in the regional if we don't get those points.
OKLEE, Minn. -- The picture of Aaron Chaput on Red Lake County Central High School's version of a wall of fame has been an inspiration for Michaela Casavan. The pictures of several former RLCC standouts hang above a trophy case in the entry way to the school's gymnasium, recognizing them for athletic achievements.