Area high school notebook: Spoilers, Tommies hitting their stride at the right time

Timing is everything. At the end of January, following a loss to Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg, Thompson's record was barely above .500 at 9-7. Earlier in January, Grafton was sitting with a 7-4 record. Now the teams are one win away from ...

Timing is everything.

At the end of January, following a loss to Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg, Thompson's record was barely above .500 at 9-7. Earlier in January, Grafton was sitting with a 7-4 record. Now the teams are one win away from a berth in next week's North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball tournament in Minot.

Thompson meets Grafton in the Region 2 championship game tonight, following the 6 p.m. third-place game between North Border and Fordville-Lankin/Park River, at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Thompson, which hasn't lost in February, is 17-7 and on an eight-game winning streak. Grafton has won 10 of its last 11 to improve to 17-5.

"We play a lot of sophomores," Spoilers coach Laurie Sieben said. "With repetitions and game experience, you get better. And we played a tough schedule -- you hope that pays off. It takes time."

Said Thompson coach Jason Brend: "We felt we had the talent to make a run. We've developed chemistry and everybody is accepting their roles."


The teams have similarities. Both prefer fast-paced games and use pressure defense. Neither has an abundance of size. Both rely on balance.

In five postseason games, Thompson has had six players have double-figure scoring games, Jennifer Hegg, Karleigh Weber, Samantha Brorby, Taylor Broyles, McKenna DeMoe and Whitney Sponsler. In four postseason games, Grafton has received consistent double-figure scoring from Samantha DeSautel, Hanna Thompson, Brooke Gaustad and Cassie Thompson.

Both teams have their leaders -- DeSautel and Gaustad for the Spoilers, Sponsler and Broyles for the Tommies.

And both have down-the-stretch momentum. "We're both coming together at the right time," Brend said. "Things just started to click."

Wrestlers bid for Section 8 titles

Thief River Falls won the Section 8AA dual wrestling championship last Saturday. From experience, Prowlers coach Kenny Geiser knows that makes it easier for his wrestlers heading into the section individual tournaments.

On Friday and Saturday, the 8AA tournament will be held in Cass Lake, while the 8A tournament will be in Glyndon. The top two placers in each weight class qualify for state.

"All our kids know they're going to the state tournament," said Geiser, whose Prowlers have been in the 8AA dual final five straight seasons, winning the championship twice. "Kids on other teams have to get there on their own now.


"It takes pressure off our kids. That can be good or bad. Some kids perform worse under the pressure of having to qualify individually; some perform better. It depends on the kid. Some kids are more motivated to get to state individually. Some will take the individual tournament now as icing on the cake."

Crookston coach Chad Hitchen, whose team was 8A runner-up, knows anything can happen at the section individual meet. He has first-hand experience -- two years ago, the Pirates' Jamie Reese took the No. 6 seed into the section, wound up finishing second, and went on to finish sixth at state.

"The individual tournament comes down to who has the most heart," Hitchen said. "Anybody can come in and have a great day. There's probably a little more pressure on the 3-4-5 seeds because they know they're facing at least two tough matches to get to state. The top two seeds should have a little easier draws, but they still have to come out and wrestle."

While seeding for the section tournaments hasn't been done, several area wrestlers have top-eight spots in final state rankings. They include:

Thief River Falls (AA) -- Jacoby Bergeron, first, 112 pounds; Kyle LeDuc, third, 135; Chaz Abrahamson, fifth, 125; Sam Twistol, eighth, 112; Nick Cervantes, eighth, 285; Crookston (A) -- Javier Portillo, third, 130; Anthony Caputo, third, 145; Mariano Portillo, sixth, 135; Brody Davidson, seventh, 215; Greenbush-Middle River-Badger (A) -- Isaac Novacek, first, 103; Alex Yeager, first, 285; Skyler Price, fourth, 125; Cole Christianson, sixth, 215; Fosston-Bagley (AA) -- Andrew Juve, eighth, 189; Mahnomen-Waubun (A) -- William Hunt, fifth, 171; Garret Hoffner, sixth, 125; Caleb Lanoue, seventh, 152.

Lunsetter to lead Storm football

Jamie Lunsetter is stepping into a position that carries high expectations.

The 32-year-old has been named head football coach at Stephen-Argyle High School. The Storm are defending Minnesota 9-man state champions and have won state titles in six of the past seven seasons. He succeeds Mark Kroulik, who recently resigned from the position.


"It will be pretty tough to improve on a state championship team," Lunsetter said. "I hope to keep the expectations, and the work ethic of the kids, to where it's been and to keep doing what we've been doing."

Lunsetter, a Grygla-Gatzke High School graduate, has been a Stephen-Argyle assistant football coach since 2003.

"Obviously, there are high expectations here," Lunsetter said. "That's a good thing -- it keeps us all motivated. I don't look at that as pressure; I think it's more of a challenge. But it's easy (to take the coaching position) in that the foundation has been laid for success."

Bakke, Pearson, Holte reach 1,000

Three area basketball players reached the 1,000-point milestone for their careers in the past week.

n Clearbrook-Gonvick senior Brennan Bakke surpassed 1,000 points when he scored 44 in a 103-97 loss to Cass Lake-Bena on Friday. It was the second 40-point game of the season for the versatile Bakke, who averages 25.6 points and 8.5 rebounds and has hit 52 three-point shots.

"Brennan's 6-2 with long arms," C-G coach Dan Lindom said. "He's a tough matchup. He's a very good 3-point shooter. If teams put a small guy on him, he can shoot the three over him. If they put a bigger kid on him, Brennan can beat them off the dribble and get to the basket."

n Warroad senior Miranda Pearson scored 25 against Bagley on Saturday, giving her 1,017 points. The 5-10 Pearson averages 20.5 points and 8.3 rebounds and is a 68 percent shooter from the field.


"Miranda is very athletic," Warroad coach Dick Merriman said. "She gets almost of her points inside. She's not a big post player. But she's pretty quick and she jumps really well."

n Brady Holte of Norman County West surpassed 1,000 points when he scored 22 on Friday against Mahnomen, giving the 5-10 senior guard 1,010 points.

"Brady is a good 3-point shooter," NCW coach Ron Ohren said. "But he's more of a stop-and-pop guy. He's a slasher who likes to pull up for 8- to 10-foot jump shots. He's very accurate from that range. He's pretty smooth."


North Star senior Tanner Komrosky scored the 1,500th point of his basketball career Saturday. . . . Thief River Falls wrestlers Chaz Abrahamson and Mike Dyrdal recently registered their 100th career wins. . . . Ashley Feldman recently became Lake of the Woods' career girls basketball scoring leader. Feldman is at 1,289 points. The previous record of 1,245 points was held by 2007 graduate Carlie Waibel. . . . Harvey junior Maggie Lorenz scored the 1,000th point of her career in the District 7 basketball championship game. . . . Thief River Falls has named Courtney Skjerven its head baseball coach and Brett Johnson its head softball coach.

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