WARRIORS ATHLETE OF WEEK: Senior post is glue that bonds Brainerd together
Marcus Comstock isn’t flashy on the basketball court, but all he does, game in and game out, is help the Brainerd Warriors win.
Unbeaten Brainerd has been doing a lot of winning this season. The 6-foot-4 senior has been a huge contributor, leading the team in one statistical category and ranking second in three others.
“Marcus is the glue to our team,” Warriors coach Scott Stanfield said. “He’s an intelligent player. He’s constantly talking to the other kids, when we’re on defense and what defense we should be in. He just does everything. He’s a coach’s dream.
“He’s a relentless worker, and that rubs off on our team. We don’t have a lot of size in the post — we’ve got Marcus, Jagar (Hanson) and Jacob (Blong) — and because of that Marcus knows he’s got to play a lot of minutes. He’s in great condition. He never gets tired. He can run all day.”
Comstock makes his home around the basket, especially in games like Tuesday’s 71-53 win against Fergus Falls and an 80-71 win at Rocori last Saturday. At Rocori, he erupted for a career-high 27 points, making 11 of 14 field goals, and 5 of 6 free throws. He added six rebounds and two steals.
“I think a lot of it was we started to hit threes and (Rocori) had to come out,” Comstock said of his big game. “That allowed me to get into the lane and keep driving on them.”
The victory was only the third time Brainerd has won at Rocori in 20 years. Comstock said the Warriors used that statistic as motivation.
“We just wanted to keep the streak going,” he said. “We wanted to keep proving we’re as good as our record shows.”
Brainerd is 12-0 for the first time in 52 years. Comstock said that fact is in the back of players’ minds, but the team just wants to get to state.
“We knew we had some talent,” Comstock said. “We worked a lot in the spring, summer and fall getting better. We knew we had the potential to do this. To see it come to fruition has been a great joy for all of us.
“It’s been a great season. I can’t imagine a better one so far.”
Comstock couldn’t have played much better so far. He leads the team in field goal shooting (61 percent).
“I worked on that in the offseason,” he said. “In-season, you have to balance that with playing defense and the sets we have to be able to run.”
He ranks second in scoring (13.7 points per game), free throw shooting (68 percent) and rebounding (5.7). He scores many of his points on drives to the hoop, second chances in the paint and on free throws after being fouled and crashing to the court. Comstock also contributes on defense, often guarding the opposition’s top post player.
“We know that (assistant) coach (Jeff) Ramey emphasizes defense a lot,” Comstock said. “He wants us to get a lot of charges. If we meet his goals, we’re pretty sure we’ll get the win.”
Other notable efforts:
■ Jack Sauer, basketball, scored 24 points against Fergus Falls.
■ Sara Wennerstrand, girls hockey, made 29 saves in a shutout against River Lakes.
■ Cole Smith, boys hockey, had a goal and four assists against River Lakes.
■ Josh McKeag and Justin Kuglin, swimming, each won two events and were on a winning relay against Fergus Falls.
■ Kyle Helmberger, boys hockey, made 26 saves in a shutout against Roseau.
■ Zean Baker, Nordic skiing, won the boys race in the Little Falls Invite.
■ Luke Boran (152) and James Weiss (285), wrestling, won titles at the Elk River tournament.
■ Savannah Stone, Alpine skiing, won the morning race in the MLK Invite at Giants Ridge.
MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.