Girls Basketball: Warriors end regular season on high note

Brainerd's Meghan Smith breaks away for a basket Friday, Feb. 21, against St. Cloud Apollo at Brainerd High School. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The Brainerd Warriors jumped out to an early lead and never looked back defeating the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles 86-39 Friday, Feb. 21, in their regular-season finale.

Brainerd hit its first four 3-point shots to take a 14-4 lead. After a Grace Zimmerman layup the Warriors led 25-4.

“I thought we came out and played hard and loose,” Warriors head coach Troy Nelson said. “We played for each other and were cheering each other on. We talked about, before the game, we have to get our confidence back, so when we get to the playoffs on Thursday we will be ready to go.”

Brainerd forced Apollo into 16 first-half turnovers, which it turned into 23 points. Meghan Smith came off the bench for Brainerd and tallied a game-high 14 points with 10 coming in the first half.

“I was just trying not to take quick shots and just move the ball around and maybe get a drive out of it,” Smith said.


Smith got most of her points from the free throw line where she went 6-for-7. She also tallied three steals, which led to fastbreak opportunities.

“(Apollo) was just not faking at all,” Smith said. “We were just able to anticipate it and jump on it when we could.”

Fourteen different Warriors entered the score column in the victory including Iyana Pickar, Haley Pickar and Emma Tautges.

Olivia Tautges nailed the Warriors seventh 3-pointer of the first half to put the Warriors up 51-16 at the half.

Brainerd went 11-for-21 from 3-point range for 57% and nailed 56% of its field goals total.

“(Apollo) came out in a 2-3 zone and we had great ball movement,” Nelson said. “When we have good ball movement and take good shots we have been shooting well the last half of the season.”

The defense held the Eagles to 35% shooting and 1-of-13 from 3. Brainerd switched up its defense from its 1-3-1 trapping zone to man-to-man in the second half.

Erika Lane sank four 3-pointers for 12 points to continue her consistent offensive production. Grace Zimmerman and Olivia Tautges both finished with 10 points apiece.


Brainerd racked up 21 assists as a team with Ally Brzezinski tallying six.

Keiara Anderson led the Eagles with 18 points. Sa’Ronn Robinson added eight for Apollo.

The bench pitched in 43 points for Brainerd and Nelson thinks this game will help the bench’s confidence headed into playoffs.

“We all work so hard every day that it’s nice that they get to go out and show how hard they have been working,” Nelson said. “We had a lot of kids go out and play and perform well. I was really excited and happy for them.”

As it currently stands, the Warriors look slated to be the No. 6 seed in the upcoming Section 8-4A playoffs. Brainerd plays its opening-round game Thursday, Feb. 27, with its opponent to be determined. The Section 8-4A bracket will be announced Monday, Feb. 24. Seeding will be determined by coaches’ votes.

“We were looking to build our confidence up,” Nelson said. “So as we go and prepare Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of next week we are feeling good. Wherever we are seeded we have confidence we can pull out an upset and keep our season alive.”

For more photos, go to .

Apollo 16 23 -- 39
Brainerd 51 35 -- 86


Noelle Hackenmueller 4, Sa’Ronn Robinson 8, Keiara Anderson 18, Serenitie Jackson-Banks 5, Faith Thok 4. FG 17-48 (35%), FT 4-7 (57%). 3-point 1-13 (8%).

Kate Stadum 5, Myah Nelson 9, Jada Borders 5, Autumn Miles 2, Meghan Smith 14, Haley Pickar 2, Ally Brzezinski 2, Olivia Tautges 10, Emma Tautges 6, Delaney Schaeffer 2, Kylie Johnson 5, Grace Zimmerman 10, Erika Lane 12, Iyana Pickar 2. FG 32-57 (56%), FT 10-11 (91%). 3-point 12-21 (57%).

Warriors 86, St. Cloud Apollo 39

Key: Fourteen different Warriors score in the blowout win.

Conference: Brd 11-5, SCA 1-14.

Overall: Brd 14-12, SCA 1-23.


Next: Section 8-4A opening-round game 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at high seed.

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