Warriors Athlete of Week: A healthy Engholm a boon for Brainerd
After a career-high 31 points Brainerd's Cam Engholm was named this week's Athlete of the Week
Cam Engholm spent a year watching and learning.
And learn he did.
The Brainerd Warriors senior boys basketball player was recovering from knee surgery his entire junior season. This after starting a handful of games as a sophomore. While Engholm was limited in his physical movements, he watched, listened and gained a different point of view for the game of basketball.
“In a way, it’s difficult because you’re not out there going through the motions and running the offense and running the defense,” Warrior head coach Charlie Schoeck said. “I think one positive he took out of it was seeing it from a different perspective. More of a coaches’ perspective. He’s looking at things through our eyes. He was watching the film and watching things develop on the court as they happened. I think it was a unique experience and he made the most of it.”
Fully recovered, Engholm was having a solid season that turned into spectacular last week.
“Cam is the type of a guy, he’s a man of few words. Which isn’t always a bad thing because there are times when he speaks up, whether it’s in a huddle or practice, the guys really listen because they know if Cam is going to say something he’s going to mean it."
Engholm’s week opened with a bang as the post player scored a career-high 31 points in an 83-56 Central Lakes Conference victory over Willmar Jan. 31.
Engholm was an efficient 14-of-17 from the field (82%) and 3-of-3 from the line. He added seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks.
“My teammates just got me the ball and I was just in the right spots,” Engholm said. “I just rely on my teammates and they find me with the ball.”
Schoeck said it was old-fashioned basketball that led to Engholm’s big game — pick-and-rolls and simply just backing his opponent down and then making a strong move.
“He was a load to handle against those guys for sure,” Schoeck added.
In a one-point loss to St. Michael-Albertville, Engholm scored 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting (77%). He grabbed 12 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot.
He finished the week with an eight-point performance in a 63-57 victory over St. Cloud Apollo Feb. 4. He added five rebounds, four assists and a steal.
“It was terrible,” Engholm said about sitting out all of last year. “It’s really hard to explain. I just went to every practice and tried to get healthy and tried to get back on the court.
“It was great to get back on the court and just be around the sport again.”
For the season, Engholm is averaging 12.8 points per game (230 total points), on 64% shooting from the field. He’s added four 3-pointers to his scoring resume. He’s averaging 7.9 rebounds (143 total), 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
“The first thing to start off with when talking about him is his determination,” Schoeck said. “Missing a year of basketball, obviously, was tough, but there was nothing that was going to keep him from getting back for the summer. With the knee injury, there wasn’t a whole lot he could do during the season last year. As soon as he was cleared in the spring he started playing AAU basketball and was in the gym with us every day. He was doing everything in his power to continue to develop his game.
“His sophomore year he was more of an inside player. Kind of a garbage guy getting offensive rebounds and whatnot. We’ve seen this year, one thing he developed was his 3-point shot. He’s hit a number of those this season. It was a tough year for him to miss, but I think it made him that much more determined.”
Engholm said his biggest improvement has come on the defensive end.
“As a team, we all just want to get in the gaps and not let our guy go baseline and we just help each other,” Engholm said. “We box out and do the right things.
“My defense has been my biggest improvement and just being able to be in the right spot at the right time.”
Schoeck said Engholm is very good defensively, but he’s great at the little things like talking and being a stabilizing force behind Brainerd’s guards.
Engholm also works well with fellow senior Mitch Degen. He said Degen has great court awareness and the two have played basketball together since fourth grade. Having two strong post players is a matchup nightmare for opponents.
“On the offensive end it’s really big having two ‘bigs’ who can really handle the ball on the perimeter and who can knock down a 3-point shot,” Schoeck said. “It creates matchup problems. We always go into the game, especially with teams that have ‘traditional bigs’ and we kind of see how they’re going to guard it right away. Some teams will come out to the perimeter and that’s going to open up our back cuts and stuff away from the ball. Other teams are going to sit back on them and that will open up the 3-point shot or get another player open off a screen.”
Where Engholm’s presence back on the court has been a quiet plus has been his leadership.
“Cam is the type of a guy, he’s a man of few words,” Schoeck said. “Which isn’t always a bad thing because there are times when he speaks up, whether it’s in a huddle or practice, the guys really listen because they know if Cam is going to say something he’s going to mean it. He’s very sincere. His IQ, paired with the timing of his vocalization has been big.”
Other notable performances
Breya Sawyer, girls hockey, finished with 26 saves in a 1-0 victory over St. Cloud.
Johnny Pecarich, boys basketball, finished with 28 points, including seven 3-pointers, in a win over St. Cloud Apollo. He added 19 points against St. Michael-Albertville.
Brenna Deason, gymnastics, won the vault, beam and floor on her way to winning the all-around in a victory over Fergus Falls.
Olivia Tautges, girls basketball, finished with 18 points and six rebounds against Sauk Rapids, 13 points and 11 rebounds against Sartell and 15 points against Detroit Lakes.
Kadyn Robinson, floor hockey, finished with five goals and two assists against Rochester Century.
Ellias Knapp, boys Nordic skiing, won the classic portion of the Central Lakes Conference meet in 13:51.11.
Taite Knapp and Noah Schaeffer, boys Nordic skiing, won the sprint relay portion of the Central Lakes Conference meet in 20:26.97.
Lily Schaeffer, girls Nordic skiing, won the classic portion of the Central Lakes Conference meet in 16:01.62.
Ellie Brown, girls Nordic skiing, won the freestyle portion of the Central Lakes Conference meet in 13:28.06.
Addie Ryan and Isabelle Smith, girls Nordic skiing, won the sprint relay portion of the Central Lakes Conference meet.
Esten Hiebert, boys Alpine skiing, won the Warrior Invite in 42.25.
Calia Chaney, girls Alpine skiing, won the Warrior Invite in 44.76. She also placed first at the Detroit Mountain Invite in 42.63.
Career highlight: Scoring 31 points against Willmar
Grade-point average: 3.338
Favorite class: Novels
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Barnyard”
Favorite TV show: “Yellowstone”
Favorite website or app: Snapchat
Favorite restaurant: Grizzly’s Wood-Fired Grill and Bar
Future plans: Attend college uncertain where yet
Favorite athlete: Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum
Parents: Scott and Lindsey Engholm