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Callie Ronkowski is the defending North Dakota girls high school tennis singles champion. That status doesn't guarantee the junior the No. 1 spot in the Grand Forks Red River singles lineup, however. Freshman Samantha Anderson beat Ronkowski in a tournament this winter. Seventh-grader Mimi Yunker has pushed Anderson in matches.
Rich Danielson got a lesson in history in the days leading up to the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament. Several coaches from Region 2 called Danielson to congratulate him for winning the region title and wishing Danielson and his Dakota Prairie team good luck at state. That's also when the region's tradition was brought up. "One of the coaches brought up the history and told us to keep up the Region 2 first-round success at state," Danielson said.
A growing competitive disparity between large and small Class B schools was one reason why the North Dakota High School Activities Association's board of directors proposed a three-class system earlier this winter. Results of the recent Class B boys and girls high school basketball tournaments refute that point. In both the boys and girls state tournaments, six of the eight qualifiers would be in the small-school B division in the proposed three-class system.
After graduating from Grand Forks St. James High School in 1969, Phil Meyer went on to have a stellar football career at North Dakota State. Meyer was a starting offensive lineman on a Bison team that won an NCAA Division II national football title. In comparison to some of his high school basketball-playing counterparts in Greater Grand Forks in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, Meyer downplays his own athletic achievements. His was the era of the likes of Glenn Hansen, Kurt Knoff, Reed Monson and Bill Jackson. "Those people went on to have such big athletic careers," Meyer said.
Grand Forks St. James went out with a blaze of glory. The Grand Forks parochial school closed at the end of the 1968-69 school year. That winter, St. James also played in the North Dakota Class A boys basketball tournament's championship game for the first and only time in the school's history. Phil Meyer, a starting center and a senior on that team, calls it a bittersweet ending. "There's always the last game for high school seniors," Meyer said. "But it's not always the last game for a school.
Hockey is Virg Foss' first love. The opportunity to cover UND hockey for the Grand Forks Herald is what brought him to North Dakota in 1969. But Foss discovered that hockey wasn't the only sport in town. When he called his friends at the LaCrosse (Wis.) Tribune, the newspaper where Foss previously had worked, he raved about basketball. "I'd call my friends and tell them I'd never seen a place that had such great high school basketball," Foss said.
MINOT -- Dakota Prairie ran out of fourth-quarter comebacks. Linton certainly didn't run out of offense. The Lions ran past Dakota Prairie 82-63 on Saturday in the championship game of the North Dakota Class B boys high school basketball tournament. The point total was the highest by a team in the state championship game since Newburg beat Belfield 94-77 in the 1986 final. Linton went 26-0, and did it with a lineup in which veteran coach Dan Carr rotated 11 players in and out of the lineup regularly. "It's a great luxury," Carr said of the Lions depth.
MINOT -- What's with the fourth quarter? Gus Kueber just smiled at the question and shook his head. "I don't how we're doing it. It's getting to be a habit," the Dakota Prairie High School senior said. "I can't believe it happened again. I'd rather get the lead and cruise. But that's not happening." Instead, Dakota Prairie outscored Berthold Lewis & Clark 23-4 in the fourth quarter Thursday, rallying to a 65-52 win in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota state Class B boys high school basketball tournament.
MINOT -- The recurring talk at North Star High School's basketball practices this week has been about the physical style of North Sargent. Seeing was believing. North Sargent dominated around the basket. The Bobcats held a 46-22 advantage on the boards and senior frontcourters Tysen Hansen and Ryan Drevlow combined for 38 points in beating North Star 75-64 on Thursday in the North Dakota Class B boys state basketball tournament quarterfinals. "We were told how physical they are," 6-foot-7 North Star sophomore Grant Lindahl said.
Warren-Alvarado-Oslo is a big offensive production on the basketball court. The Ponies average 73.9 points a game and have scored 75 or more 17 times this season. With a berth in the Minnesota Class A boys high school basketball tournament on the line, however, W-A-O coach Todd Mortimer wouldn't mind seeing more of a defensive-oriented game. The Ponies meet defending Section 8A champion Cass Lake-Bena at 7 p.m. Friday in Thief River Falls' Ralph Engelstad Arena in the 8A title game.