PREP BASKETBALL: Warroad junior scores team-high 18 points to key 71-70 win

Warroad guards Tommy Vilayphone and Kobe Ratsavongsy-Sivixay were honored with medals Tuesday afternoon as part of the all-tournament team at the Hugo's Holiday Classic in East Grand Forks.

istock photo

Warroad guards Tommy Vilayphone and Kobe Ratsavongsy-Sivixay were honored with medals Tuesday afternoon as part of the all-tournament team at the Hugo’s Holiday Classic in East Grand Forks.

Overlooked teammate Clay Heppner didn’t take home any honors around his neck, but his surprising big scoring output gave the Warriors a victory against Crookston.

The 5-foot-9 junior guard scored a team-high 18 points to lift Warroad to a 71-70 win over Crookston in the Senior High gymnasium.

The Pirates (4-8 overall) came out in a defense designed to stop Vilayphone and Ratsavongsy-Sivixay, allowing Heppner to find soft spots in the zone defense.

“We put a lot of attention on (Vilayphone and Ratsavongsy-Sivixay),” Crookston coach Greg Garman said. “(Heppner) didn’t want to shoot early. They got him to shoot, and he knocked them down.


“We wanted to let other guys beat us and evidently they did.”

In a back-and-forth second half, Heppner gave Warroad the lead for good with a floater in traffic for a 67-65 lead with 40 seconds remaining.

“I’ve been practicing that shot for a while,” Heppner said. “I haven’t got many layups up against bigger players, but I’m glad that one fell for me.”

Crookston had a chance to tie the game in the final moments. Chris Wavra, who finished with a game-high 23 points missed a contested 3-pointer, which was tipped in underneath by teammate Matt Garmen at the buzzer for the final margin.

It was a breakout game for Heppner, who had been held scoreless in Warroad’s loss to East Grand Forks Senior High on Monday.

After Heppner’s 18 points, Ratsavongsy-Sivixay had 16, Vilayphone had 14 and bulky post Lucas Garbe added 13.

“It really helped with having two guys who have made so many shots,” Heppner said. “It’s opening everything else up for us.”

Said Warroad coach Vichita Ounchith: “We needed (Heppner) to shoot with confidence and just let it go. We had a feeling they’d key on (Vilayphone and Ratsavongsy-Sivixay). We were able to run an offense that worked against the zone. Our guards were able to find open shots and also distribute to other guys.”


Crookston, which led by as many as 12 points in the first half, was paced by Wavra (23 points), 6-foot-4 center Luke Froeber (14) and freshman forward Nick Garmen (13).

EGF Senior High 67,

Climax-Fisher 47

Cole Hammargren and Aaron Havis combined for 34 points to lead East Grand Forks Senior High to a big win over Climax-Fisher.

Hammargren, a 6-foot-3 left-handed senior guard, scored a game-high 21 points, while Havis, a 6-2 junior forward, added 13.

Senior High’s Edmond Jones added a season-high nine points.

“Cole is always going to be steady for us, but Edmond getting rebounds and putbacks really helps us,” Senior High coach Travis Lindgren said.

Climax-Fisher 5-8 junior guard Pelon Pruneda, who finished with 11 points, hit a 3-pointer with 9 minutes, 40 seconds left in the game to cut Senior High’s lead to 41-35.


Senior High, which improved to 5-6, answered with an 11-0 run, which featured seven points by Jones.

“We didn’t make a lot of changes,” Lindgren said. “Sometimes it’s as simple as the ball going in the basket a little bit more.”

The Knights (0-9 overall) also received a team-high 15 points from Matt Knutson, a 5-9 sophomore guard.


Detroit Lakes 45,
EGF Senior High 30

Detroit Lakes’ big second half was instrumental in its win over East Grand Forks Senior High in the girls division of the  Hugo’s Holiday Classic on Tuesday.

Senior High led 22-20 at halftime, but the Lakers responded by outscoring the Wave 25-8 in the final half.

Leading the way for the Lakers was Grace Swenson who notched 20 points.

Rylee Skyberg led the Green Wave with 11 points, followed by Natalie Carlstrom who put up eight.

Senior High coach Jay Frydenlund was pleased with his team’s defense.

“We held a good team to 45 points,” said Frydenlund. “Offensively we played well in the first half, but in the second half we went cold.”

Senior High will play Hawley in Wednesday’s third-place game.

Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 52,

Hawley 48

The Ponies received 14 points from Taylor Mortimer and 12 from Paige Pederson in beating Hawley.

W-A-O led throughout and a defensive switch helped keep the Ponies in charge.

“We started in a man defense but then went to a 2-3 zone and that seemed to help,” said W-A-O coach Dennis Carpenter.

The Ponies improved to 2-5.

W-A-O will play Detroit Lakes in Wednesday’s title game.

“We’ll have to neutralize their two big girls,” said Carpenter. “Our biggest girls is 5-10 and they have two 6-1 girls who do a good job.”

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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