Area prep notebook: Warroad's defense provides formidable obstacle for Pirates

Against every opponent not named Warroad, Crookston is averaging 5.0 goals per game this season. Against Warroad, however, the Pirates are averaging 0.5 goals a game.

Against every opponent not named Warroad, Crookston is averaging 5.0 goals per game this season. Against Warroad, however, the Pirates are averaging 0.5 goals a game.

Generating some offense is the big challenge when Crookston plays Warroad at 7 tonight in the championship game of the Minnesota Section 8A girls hockey tournament in Crookston.

Crookston, 21-5, is 0-2 against the Warriors, being outscored 10-1. That's not unusual -- the Warriors have allowed three goals in only two games this season; otherwise, they've held every opponent to two goals or less. Standout goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie has 11 shutouts, a 0.93 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage for the 23-3 Warriors, the top-ranked team in the state.

"They're stingy," Crookston co-coach Tim Persson said. "Our goal is to try to get the puck by Shelby. I don't know how; she's good.

"We had multiple scoring opportunities the first time we played, but we just didn't finish. In the second game, Shelby made the saves. And she has good players in front of her."


Shannon Kaiser paces the Pirates' offense (39 goals, 19 assists), followed by Brianna Breiland (31-26) and Jessica Broekemeier (14-25).

Defending state champion Warroad counters with plenty of offense. Lisa Marvin, Karley Sylvester, Layla Marvin and Kayla Gardner all have 25 or more goals and more than 60 points. Megan Brettingen has more than 40 points.

And then there's that defense.

"We've been tough to score against," Warroad coach David Marvin said. "Obviously, Shelby has a lot to do with it. But it starts with our forwards. We control the puck a lot, so we don't give up a lot of scoring opportunities. And we can wear teams down with our three lines."

Roseau has familiar foe

Close -- that's what Roseau coach Brian Bergstrom anticipates in the Section 8AA girls hockey championship.

The Rams play North Wright County at 8 p.m. Friday in Detroit Lakes in the section final. The teams played to a 3-3 tie this season, while Roseau beat North Wright County in overtime in last season's 8AA semifinals.

"We know they're tough," Bergstrom said. "We're very similar. They're very aggressive. They really go after the puck."


Roseau, 17-7-1, is seeking its second straight 8AA title and third in the past four seasons. Seven Rams have more than 20 points. Pacing the attack are Adelle Murphy (15 goals, 24 assists), Abby Ness (26-13), Karlie Hedlund (15-21) and Ciscely Nelson (13-20).

"We were a young team last season," Bergstrom said. "The only girl we graduated who had a significant amount of points was Amy Olson. With the kids we had coming back, we expected to do well."

Kisgen, Owens to enter hall

Former Devils Lake High School wresters James Kisgen and Scott Owens will be among the inductees Saturday into the North Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame in Fargo.

Kisgen had a 127-27 record at Devils Lake, including two state championships. He was a four-time college All-American, the first two at Bismarck State College and the final two at UND. In 2002, he was named head coach when McKendree University added wrestling as a varsity sport. Kisgen has built a McKendree program that has had four national champions, 24 top-eight national finishers and a runner-up finish in the 2008 national team tournament.

Owens was a five-team state placer, including state heavyweight titles in 1995 and 1996. He had a 147-34 record and won the state's Mr. Wrestler award in 1996. Owens was a two-time NAIA All-American at the University of Mary.

Also being inducted is Norm Kleppe, a long-time member of the coaching staff of the powerful Napoleon Class B teams. Kleppe was head wrestling coach at Lakota for two seasons.

Davidson, Hart reach 1,000


Tori Davidson of Northern Freeze and McKenzie Hart of Langdon recently reached the 1,000-point mark for their basketball careers.

- Hart scored 28 against Four Winds-Warwick-Minnewaukan on Tuesday, giving the 5-foot-8 junior 1,013 points. She averages 19.2 points and 7.2 rebounds and has made 32 treys.

"With McKenzie's size, she'd be a shooting guard on a lot of teams," Langdon coach Andy DelaBarre said. "She's a good shooter and can score off the dribble. But with our (lack of) height, we play her inside, too."

- Tom Mjelde is in his 26th season as a girls basketball coach. The Northern Freeze coach experienced a first when the 5-foot-10 Davidson, who averages 17.8 points and 8 rebounds, recently scored her 1,000th point.

"That's the first sophomore to get 1,000 that I've coached," Mjelde said. "That tells me she's a special player. We play her on the outside because she's one of the better shooters on our team. And she can score in the post with her height and nice moves."

Strand, Anderson, Grochow are national finalists

Thompson volleyball coach Lisa Strand and Griggs County Central boys cross country coach Rick Anderson are among the eight finalists in their respective sports for National High School Athletic Coaches Association's national coach of the year award.

Strand's 21 seasons as a head volleyball coach all have been at Thompson. She has a 622-150 career won-loss record. Her Tommies teams have won four Class B state titles and 14 region championships. Strand has been named Class B state coach of the year twice.


Anderson has coached cross country for 20 seasons, all at Griggs County Central. His cross country teams have won four Class B boys state championships, as well as eight regional titles. He has been chosen Class B boys cross country state coach of the year six times.

Rugby boys track coach Scott Grochow also is a finalist. Grochow has been the Panthers head coach for 16 seasons. Rugby has won two state titles and was runner-up once under Grochow, whose teams won 15 regional titles. Grochow has won two state coach of the year awards.

The winners will be announced in June during the NHSACA national convention.


Hatton senior Janna Johnson has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Jamestown College. . . . Warroad girls hockey player Megan Brettingen collected her 100th career assist, while teammate Lisa Marvin scored her 200th career point. . . . Tate Aronson of Lakota High School, Jared Vandal of Rolla-Rock Lake and Evan Schindele of Stephen-Argyle have signed letters of intent to play football at Valley City State University.

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