Girls Basketball: Pillager’s Ewald improving

Pillager's Juliana Ewald takes the ball up the court during a game against Staples-Motley this season. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Juliana Ewald is prepping for her sophomore year.

The Pillager guard, who was named to the All-Dispatch team last season, averaged 14.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as a freshman.

Ewald spent the summer playing 15U AAU basketball with the Minnesota Stars based out of Bloomington and was featured as one of the biggest stock risers in the Summer Jam tournament in Shakopee.

According to a Prep Hoops article, Ewald showed “quick feet and nice handles” as well as being “a terrific outside shooter.”

Ewald proved she was a great shooter last season with Pillager shooting 39% from 3-point range.


“It really raises my confidence,” she said of her good games during AAU. “I guess there are just more eyes on me so it makes me push myself harder.”

One of the goals for Ewald during the AAU season was to work on her defense.

“My defense has gotten really good,” she said. “We are a quick team so I’ve gotten better at that — getting up and down the court fast. You always have to bring your ‘A’ game.”

Even though college is a few years away for Ewald, she has aspirations to play basketball at the next level.

“I have plans to play in college,” she said. “I think being on an AAU team, there are a lot more coaches who get to see you play. I go to a smaller school so it’s kind of hard to get out there.”

Playing for a team based out of the cities she traveled roughly 270 miles round trip just for practice.

“Sometimes I don’t feel like going,” she said. “I sit in the car longer than I play, but it’s worth it. We drove over 9,000 miles for practices.”

AAU had a different feel with COVID-19. Teams were not allowed to stay in the gym to watch other teams and masks were required when not playing.


“It was really different,” She said. “It was a blessing to get out on the court and play at least. It was quieter in the gym at times and it was just hard because we couldn’t stay in the gym to watch other teams play so you didn’t really know who you were up against.”

Besides being on the court, playing AAU has given Ewald a chance to bond with girls from different schools and areas.

“In between games, we are just hanging out as a team,” she said. “We would play games, we played some outdoor games, too.”

Ewald’s excited for a winter basketball season — if there is one.

“We have more girls coming up from the younger grades,” she said of her Pillager Huskies. “We only lost one senior, so I’m excited to play with them again.”

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

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