My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University.
My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
- Member for
- 7 years 5 months
Karli Skog Year: Senior School: Pequot Lakes Sport: Basketball Position: Guard Highlights: Finished with 39 points in two victories last week Karli Skog won over her first-year head coach from the start. The four-year varsity veteran for the Pequot Lakes Patriots girls basketball team welcomed Katrina Moody with open arms. The ability to get on the same page so soon has Pequot primed for a long postseason run.
Joe Alholm is a marked man. The Little Falls senior guard has attracted some strange defenses and added attention this season as the scoring leader for the Flyer boys basketball team. But when he does get the ball it usually means success.
Willmar senior guard Noah Slagter was 49 points short of reaching 2,000 career points prior to Friday's Central Lakes Conference clash at Brainerd High School. He's 23 shy now. Slagter and the Cardinals forced the Brainerd Warriors into 21 turnovers and Slagter dropped in 26 points to lead Willmar to a 66-54 victory. The four-year varsity point guard was an efficient 8 of 14 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
Gabby Rainwater's goal this season was to improve at everything she's not good at. Seems like a tall order until you hear all the things the Pine River-Backus Tigers girls basketball player is good at. First off, she's a rebounding machine. Despite being just 5-foot-8, Rainwater was third in the area last year with 9.6 rebounds per game. The rarest part of that was she had more offensive rebounds—150—than defensive rebounds—120.
Griffin Webster walked right in and made himself at home. And no one on the Staples-Motley boys basketball wants him to leave. Most of all the younger players, whom Webster has already had an impact on. "It's very important to me to give back to the game that has given me so much," Webster said. "It's taught me a lot about my character and about myself and how to handle everyday situations not just with basketball. I like to give back because in Browerville we had a really strong program with the younger kids. I remember going there in third and fourth grade and going to the gym on Saturday mornings and there would be four or five varsity players that I looked up to because I saw them the night or week before at one of their games. That really meant a lot to me so I want to give that back to the kids and inspire the younger players like those guys did for me."
Evan Storbakken has a lofty goal and he hopes his two teammates are right behind him. The Brainerd Warriors' junior has all-state on the brain when he returns to Giants Ridge for the state Nordic ski meet Thursday, Feb. 15. An all-state finish means Storbakken has to finish in the top 25 and Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson believes it is within reach.
Jake Heikkenen scored most of the goals, but there were plenty to go around Monday at Riverside Elementary in Brainerd. The senior defenseman scored four goals, including two in the first period, to lift the Brainerd Warriors to a 10-5 North Conference victory over the Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka Robins. The victory, according to Warrior head coach Todd Person, should hand Brainerd the No. 1 seed for the North come state tournament time.
Whether it's assisting on the game-winning shot or making it, Josh Doss has been making all the right plays. It was a Doss assist to teammate Ty Swenson that lifted the Pillager Huskies to a 73-70 victory over New York Mills Feb. 1. That assist helped the senior point guard finish with 22 points, 10 assists, seven steals and seven rebounds. "We kind of started off slow and it was a big conference game," Doss said. "It's been a tight (Park Region) conference race so far so I just needed to step up and have a good game. We had a lot of other guys play well, too. Ty (Swanson) hit a great shot at the end, but it was just a lot of other guys doing a lot of different things to get me opportunities and putting me in position to get those stats. It was everybody working hard and I just happened to be the guy that night I guess."
It's no secret anymore—Shyanne Loiland is a rising star on the basketball court. This offseason the Crosby-Ironton junior caught the eye of many at the Adidas-sponsored "Created to be a Champion" Elite Camp in Minneapolis. In an article written for Northstar Girls Hoops following the camp it read, "Loiland won't be a well-kept secret for long. She has a beautiful shooting motion and tremendous range and is a terrific ball-handler. She used her quick feet, long stride and nice athleticism to blow past several defenders for relatively uncontested baskets."
Few teams attempt more 3-pointers than the Brainerd Warriors, but that was the case Friday. The Sartell Sabres overplayed Brainerd's perimeter players forcing the Warriors to hit on just 6 of 23 from beyond the arc. To combat that Brainerd attacked the rim by hitting cutters and passing into the post. The result was a 66-56 Central Lakes Conference victory at Brainerd High School. "They really locked on to our outside shooters, I thought," Warriors head coach Scott Stanfield said. "They chased Chris (Karels) a lot. They were running over picks and stopping his cutting action. They were glued to him and also Joey (Sauer) so it was hard to free those guys up on the perimeter, but I think we had a lot of nice interior passes and back cuts, especially later in the game, that kind of sealed it for us."