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
- 4 years 10 months
Even Scott Stanfield was impressed. The Brainerd Warriors head coach watched as his team played one of the more impressive halves of basketball Thursday night. Brainerd parlayed that first-half dominance into a 79-47 Central Lakes Conference blowout of the St. Cloud Tech Tigers at Brainerd High School. The Warriors shot 55 percent from the field and held Tech to 28-percent shooting in the first half. Brainerd committed only three turnovers, while forcing the Tigers into 10 first-half turnovers.
ack-to-back and short-handed isn’t a good combination. Add inexperienced and that’s what the Brainerd Warriors faced even before tip-off with Section 8-4A opponent Buffalo Friday night at Brainerd High School. Despite the litany of excuses, the Warriors battled the Bison before falling 47-36. Brainerd tied the score 25-25 early in the second half and was within striking distance until 8:10 remained. That’s when the Bison began boarding. Buffalo scored six second-chance points during a 10-4 run to build a 39-31 advantage.
Jordan Redmond is a big guy. At 6-foot-4, Redmond is the tallest player on the Pequot Lakes Patriots boys basketball team. He’s also the most experienced. Redmond is using his size and experience to pace Pequot in both statistics and leadership. He’s doing this while playing a different role himself. “We use Jordan like a point forward,” said Pequot head coach Garry Grewe. “We have another good-sized player in Travis Jacobson. Jordan can go where he wants and he sets a lot offense. He can handle the ball and we can use him inside and outside.”
Vanessa Lane is one of the area’s fastest prep athletes. How does that translate onto a basketball court? Pretty well if you ask Pequot Lakes Patriots head coach Jon Dale. “She is just so athletic,” he said. “She gets up and down the floor so quickly and that fits into the style of game we want to play. She is always one of the wings on our fast break. This year she’s really gotten better at finishing.
Jackie Caughey knows what needs to be done. Caughey is the captain and emotional leader of a young Brainerd Warriors team. Just how young? Three eighth-graders and one seventh-grader competed for the Warriors during Thursday’s 137.85-133.0 loss to the Sauk Rapids Storm at Brainerd High School. For Caughey, it’s not so much about Thursday’s outcome, but about the process.
There is an important question surrounding this year’s Brainerd Warriors. It may take time to answer, but that answer will determine the level of success this year’s Warriors enjoy. Last season, Brainerd finished 7-1, won the Central Lakes Conference and placed second in the Section 8-2A meet. Nine Warriors advanced to the state meet leading Brainerd to 22nd. Four of those state swimmers either graduated or moved out of the school district, which leads back to the question Brainerd Warriors head coach John Zemke has — Who is going to step up?
Brittany Kelley knew immediately what needed to be done. When the Pine River-Backus Tigers senior forward learned her teammate and friend, Tatum Sheley, would miss playing time because of an injury, she went to work. Kelley hit the gym. She worked on her shot and on her post moves. She hit the weight room and got stronger. But more important she worked on her teammates. She made sure they stayed confident their goal was still in reach.
ittle Falls left northern Minnesota stumpfed. For the first time in the three-year history of the Flyers’ hockey team’s northern tour, the Flyers swept Hibbing, Virginia and International Falls to open the season 3-0. One key reason — senior goalie Michael Stumpf. The four-year starter stonewalled the season’s first three opponents to the tune of 98 saves out of 100 shots. Those numbers helped Little Falls open with a 3-0 victory over Hibbing Nov. 23, a 6-1 blowout of Virginia Nov. 30 and a 5-1 win over International Falls Dec. 1.
For Jacob Blong, Thursday night almost made up for all last year. The Brainerd Warriors’ senior center suffered through injury and sickness to miss most of his junior season. If Thursday is any indication, Blong will have a successful senior campaign. Blong led the Warriors with 18 points, five coming in the overtime frame, to help the Warriors to a 62-56 season-opening victory over Section 8-4A opponent Buffalo at Brainerd High School. Blong scored the first three points of the extra frame to give Brainerd the momentum.
Dave Maras is going to have fun this season. The Brainerd Warriors head coach enters his 31st season with what might be his most unique collection of athletes. Brainerd doesn’t return a participant from last year’s state meet, but has state experience in junior Mikayla Cerney. This year’s all-arounder went to state as an eighth-grader and a freshmen. She earned All-Central Lakes Conference honorable mention last year and was voted the team’s most improved athlete. Cerney and fellow junior Lonie Anderson, who will likely perform in three events, are two key returners.