Moose country invades St. Paul

Delano flexes muscle, after deflating upset

DeLaSalle continues dominance

Wilken’s 43 powers Annandale into finals

Top BHS Knowledge Bowl team advances to region tournament

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - March 16, 2017
Rob LaPlante

Journal-Press Sports Editor Rob LaPlante may be reached
by phone at 763-682-1221 or click here to email him

Moose country invades St. Paul

MAML comes one goal short of bringing home state title

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Only three teams (Hermantown, Delano, Luverne) had more wins coming into this year’s Class A boys’ hockey state tournament than the MAML Moose.

Despite MAML’s impressive 21-6-1 record, the co-op team from Monticello, Annandale, and Maple Lake, didn’t get much respect based on what most considered a weak conference and weak section.

The lack of respect coming in didn’t seem to bother the Moose, who shocked everyone with their 3-2 quarterfinal win over No. 2 seed Delano on Wednesday, March 8 at Xcel Energy Center.

Both teams were making their first ever state appearance, but Delano (26-4-1) was the team most predicted to give No. 1 Hermantown a run.

“You don’t want to stack odds against you, but it’s always nice when you can have a little weight off your shoulders,” said MAML head coach Eric Nelson. “In all honesty, we weren’t supposed to come in here and win this game. But the players we have didn’t think it, and didn’t know it.”

In a game that was to showcase the state’s top-two leading scorers in Delano seniors Ben Meyers and Brian Halonen, it was MAML’s top line of senior Nick Zwack, junior Ben Ward, and sophomore Troy Dahlheimer that proved to be the difference makers.

Zwack, a Division-I baseball recruit at Xavier University scored twice, and Dahlheimer netted the game winner.

Zwack said afterwards that the team came in with sort of a chip on their shoulders.

“The whole state kind of wrote our section off as weak, or unable to produce a good section champion,” he said. “For us to come out of that weak section shows you can do anything if you play good playoff hockey.”

The Moose’s upset seemed to set a trend for them and the rest of the field. Three of the four top seeds in Class A – excluding Hermantown, were defeated in the quarterfinals.

Northfield, another first-time state qualifier, defeated No. 3 Mahtomedi 3-1 to set up a semifinal matchup with MAML.

After an emotional upset win over a neighboring Wright County school, it appeared MAML’s Cinderella run was about to end after falling behind 2-0 early in period two to the Raiders of Northfield.

But a late goal with a minute left in period two by Ward gave the Moose and their large fan base life. They tied the score 2-2 on senior Casey Chiodo’s power-play goal at 10:39 of period three.

The game appeared destined for overtime, but an innocent shot by Zwack from the right faceoff circle with 2.3 second left beat Northfield goalie Ryan Bielenberg, and pandemonium broke loose.

“I got the puck on its side, and I tried getting it down to the flat side,” said Zwack, on describing the game winner. “I just fired it at the net with a hope and a prayer. I had no clue how much time was left.”

Nobody was more animated after the goal than MAML’s coaching staff.

“I almost fainted,” Nelson said. “At that point, you kind of figure you’re preparing for overtime, but time-and-time again, these kids have proven that you don’t quit until the buzzer sounds. It was awesome.”

The victory setup a championship matchup with defending state champion and No. 1 ranked Hermantown (29-1-1).

Much like its matchup with Delano, the game again appeared a mismatch on paper. But with over half the building filled with crazed-Moose fans, nobody was counting out MAML’s chances given the way the tournament had gone.

Thanks to the continued strong play from junior goalie Tyler Klatt, MAML escaped the first period tied 0-0, despite being outplayed and outshot 15-1 in the opening 17 minutes.

“The first period was a shooting gallery for them – they were all over us and Tyler stood on his head,” Nelson said. “Sometimes you need a brick wall back there, and he’s been a stalwart for us all weekend.”

Ready to regroup, the Moose grabbed an early 2-0 lead scoring twice in the opening two minutes of period two. Chiodo opened the scoring 52 seconds in, and Ward scored on a breakaway at 1:53. Hermantown finally found the net past Klatt later that period on the first of two goals on the night by Tyler Watkins.

Zwack’s fourth goal of the tourney made it 3-1 for the Moose 26 seconds into period three, but Hermantown’s relentless attack resulted in the game’s final three goals.

Jesse Jacques closed the gap to 3-2 at the 9:16 mark, and Watkins tied the score at 11:25. Neither team scored in the 8-minute sudden-death overtime session.

With a full intermission between the first and second overtime, MAML had a chance to rest up their top players, who logged a ton of ice time through all three games.

“A lot of respect for MAML for the season they had and how hard those kids played,” said Hermantown head coach Bruce Plante. “We scouted them the first two games and they played both games with two lines. To do what they did with two lines is tough, but they did it.”

Unlike regular-season and section games, state tourney games have the benefit of extra rest with the television timeouts. Nelson admitted, those were benefits in their favor.

“The TV timeouts played a huge part in our success,” Nelson said.

With limited commercial breaks in overtime, Hermantown’s depth started to take over. Samberg scored his hat-trick goal with 5:16 left in the second overtime to give the Hawks an apparent 4-3 win, but moments later, sticks, helmets, and gloves were quickly cleaned up.

“We were all celebrating in the corner and the announcer came on and said “the play is under review,” Watkins said. “All the smiles went off our faces and we went ‘uh-oh.”

The goal was waved off due to goalie interference as Hermantown’s Ryan Sandelin had made contact with Klatt in the crease.

“I wouldn’t have forgiven myself, ever, had we lost this game,” Sandelin said.

With a third overtime lurking, Dylan Samberg of the Hawks fired a rocket from the left point past Klatt with 19.4 seconds left to end it.

An exhausted Zwack and his teammates still left Xcel Energy Center with their heads high.

“It’s been something else,” Zwack said. “For us to come in as the so-called seven seed and win two games and play as good as we did is surreal to us. We’re happy with how things went overall.”

Nobody had a better view for all three games than MAML’s starting goalie, who stopped 52 of 56 shots against Hermantown, and 104 of 112 shots faced in the tournament.

“It was pretty breathtaking as soon as we got here,” Klatt said. “When we first went to the bench on Wednesday, we told ourselves that we wanted to win so we can keep playing here.” -- That they did.



Hidden beneath head coach Eric Nelson’s black MAML coat is a sweatshirt pictured with kittens on it.

“Ever since mid-January, the boys came up to me after a loss and thought we needed a little good-luck charm,” said Nelson, as he showed the media his kitten shirt. “It’s ridiculous, but I’m superstitious, and ever since that day, we’ve had good fortune with it.”



Charlie Voller of MAML was named this year’s recipient of the prestigious Herb Brooks Award, given to one player in each class whose performance at state best represented the values, characteristics, traits, and passion for the sport. Voller, along with Zwack, Ward, and Klatt were also named to the Wells Fargo All-Tournament Team.



The Moose play their home games at the Moose Sherritt Arena in Monticello, and often are referred to as Monticello. Two players on this year’s state runner-up team reside elsewhere. Ben Ward is a junior at Annandale and led the Moose in scoring with 78 points. Devon Lyons is a junior from Maple Lake who finished with 10 points.



Playing near Duluth, Hermantown senior defenseman Dylan Samberg re-enacted the 2011 NCAA Frozen-Four moment when Bulldog forward Kyle Schmidt skated to center ice and dropped down doing a series of snow angels following his game-winning overtime goal in a 3-2 championship game over Michigan.


Class A Quarterfinals

MAML 3, Delano 2

(Wednesday, March 8 at St. Paul)

Moose 0  3  0   -   3

Tigers   0  1  1   -   2

First period: No scoring.

Second period: MAML -- Nick Zwack (Troy Dahlheimer, Ben Ward) 3:33; D -- John Keranen (Gabe Halonen, Brian Halonen) 9:21; MAML -- Zwack (Ward) SH, 13:11; MAML -- Dahlheimer (Honza Stibingr, Ward) PP, 15:08.

Third period: D -- Justin Daly (Ben Meyers) 0:41.

Goalies: MAML – Tyler Klatt (win) 35 shots, 33 saves; D – Jackson Hjelle (loss) 29 shots, 26 saves; Shots: MAML – 14-9-6 – 25; D – 12-13-10 – 35. Power Plays: MAML – 1-3; D – 0-3.


Class A Semifinals

MAML 3, Northfield 2

(Friday, March 10 at St. Paul)

Moose 0  1  2   -   3

Raiders 1  1  0   -   2

First period: N -- Jacob Halvorson (Jackson Cloud) 6:39.

Second period: N -- Conner Malecha (Nick Kvernmo) 1:36; MAML -- Ben Ward (Casey Chiodo, Nick Foldesi) 16:00.

Third period: MAML -- Chiodo (Ward, Honza Stibingr) PP, 10:39; MAML -- Nick Zwack (Charlie Voller) 16:57.

Goalies: MAML – Tyler Klatt (win) 21 shots, 19 saves; N – Ryan Bielenberg (loss) 40 shots, 37 saves. Shots: MAML – 9-16-15 – 40; N – 5-9-7 – 21. Power Plays: MAML – 1-3; N – 0-2.


Class A Finals

Hermantown 4, MAML 3, 2-OT

(Saturday, March 11 at St. Paul)

Moose 0  2  1  0  0  -   3

Hawks 0  1  2  0  1  -   4

First period: No scoring.

Second period: MAML -- Casey Chiodo (unassisted) 0:52; MAML -- Ben Ward (Nick Zwack, Charlie Voller); H -- Tyler Watkins (Dylan Samberg, Darian Gotz) 3:16.

Third period: MAML -- Nick Zwack (Ben Ward, Charlie Voller) 0:26; H -- Jesse Jacques (Dylan Kolquist, Ryan Sandelin) 9:16; H -- Watkins (Sandelin) 11:25.

First overtime: No scoring.

Second overtime: MAML -- Samberg (Parker Simmons) 16:40.

Goalies: MAML – Tyler Klatt (loss) 56 shots, 52 saves; H – Cade McEwen (win) 23 shots, 20 saves. Shots: MAML – 1-9-6-3-4 – 23; H – 15-12-11-7-11 – 56. Power Plays: MAML – 0-2; H – 0-1.


Delano flexes muscle, after deflating upset


By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

In the year of the upset, none came bigger than a first-round exit by No. 2 seed Delano in the Class A boys’ hockey state quarterfinal round on Wednesday, March 8 to the MAML Moose at Xcel Energy Center.

Monticello sophomore Troy Dahlheimer’s power-play goal with 1:52 left in period two proved to be the eventual game winner, as the heavily-favored Tigers were defeated 3-2 by unseeded MAML, a co-op team with the schools Monticello, Annandale, and Maple Lake of the Mississippi 8 conference.

Delano, ranked No. 2 at the end of the regular season, fell behind 1-0 when Monticello senior Nick Zwack opened the scoring at 3:33 of period two.

The Tigers appeared to tie the score 1-1 shortly after on senior Gabe Halonen’s redirect off a pass from senior Brian Halonen. Video replay would nullify the goal on an offside call.

“Any other game, that first goal we scored is a goal,” said senior Ben Meyers, referring to the video replay system being instituted for state tourney games only. “They made the right call, I guess, but it’s unfortunate.”

Senior John Keranen would eventually tie the score at 9:21, but the Moose cashed in with a pair of goals on special teams, starting with Zwack’s second of the game at 13:11 with the Moose shorthanded. Dahlheimer’s power-play tally at 15:08 proved to be the winner.

MAML was 1-for-3 with the man advantage, but more importantly, held Delano and its 50-percent power-play unit scoreless on three attempts.

“I think our guys were pretty focused and loose coming in,” said Delano head coach Gerrit van Bergen. “That being said, it seemed like we were fighting the puck a little bit. It was difficult for us to move pucks through all three zones, and their defensemen did a nice job of holding us up at the blue-line.”

While a major upset was brewing, Delano never panicked. Down 3-1, the Tigers cut the lead to one just 41 seconds into period three when senior Ben Meyers – the state’s leading scorer, created a turnover and sent a pass to junior Justin Daly who buried it past MAML junior goalie Tyler Klatt.

“I thought we were going to win the game when we scored there,” Meyers said.

The next shift, Delano nearly cashed in on another odd-man break, but this time Klatt had the answer, making one of his 33 saves in the contest.

Known for its quick-strike offense, the first minute had Delano players and coaches believing.

“We talked as a coaching staff about the timing as to when things needed to happen,” van Bergen said. “We said if we popped one in the first three minutes, their fans are going to deflate and ours would explode. Those things happened, except they didn’t deflate. They just stuck to their defensive game.”

Delano came close on a number of close chances, including another play that had to be reviewed after Klatt had swatted a puck out of mid-air with his glove as it was crossing the goal line.

“I saw the puck go up, and I was like ‘oh shoot, I guess I should probably touch that so it doesn’t go in,’” said Klatt in the post-game press conference.

Delano outshot MAML 35-25. Junior Jackson Hjelle made 22 saves for the Tigers.



The high-powered offense fans came to expect from Delano at his year’s state tournament took place in the consolation bracket.

The Tigers finished as consolation champions (fifth place) thanks to an 8-1 win last Thursday, March 9 over No. 3 seed Mahtomedi, capped off by a 6-3 win last Friday, March 10 over No. 4 seed East Grand Forks. Both games took place at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

Silenced a bit against MAML, the big-three for Delano found success combining for 17 total points against the Zephyrs of Mahtomedi. Meyers had a goal and five assists, Brian Halonen had a hat trick and two helpers, and senior John Keranen added two goals and four assists.

The trio continued to roll combining for 11 more points in their 6-3 win over the Green Wave of East Grand Forks. Meyers had a goal and three assists, Halonen two goals and two assists, and Keranen two goals and an assist.

Delano replaced Hjelle with senior goalie Erik Peterson early in period three with the Tigers leading 4-0. The Green Wave quickly cut it to 4-3, forcing Hjelle back into the net. Delano responded with goals by Meyers, his 52nd of the season and 118th point. Hjelle would assist on an empty-net goal scored by Kyle Ylitalo.

Even though the Tigers failed to meet expectations of a much anticipated state title showdown against Hermantown, going 2-1 at state and finishing 26-4-1 overall was easily the best season in team history.

“It was a great experience, and a fun week with all of my teammates,” said Meyers, who is a Division-I recruit at Maine University. “My favorite part of the experience was being the first team from Delano to make it to state.”

Meyers went on by saying the Tigers were one of three teams in Class A to end with a win. Hermantown repeated as champs with a 4-3 double overtime win over MAML. St. Cloud Cathedral defeated Northfield 2-1 in the third-place game.

“The final two wins eased the loss to MAML a little,” Meyers said. “Ending the season on a win is something few teams do.”

The weekend was capped off by Meyers, along with senior defenseman Andrew Kruse earning a spot on the Wells Fargo All-Tournament team for Class A.

Both players also received individual recognition throughout that week with Kruse one of 10 finalists for the Reed Larson award, given to the state’s top senior defenseman. Hermantown’s Dylan Samberg won the award. Meyers was one of 10 finalists for Mr. Hockey, given to the top player in the state. Eden Prairie’s Casey Mittelstadt won that honor.

“Being a Mr. Hockey finalist, it was just an honor to represent Delano, our team, and the state of Minnesota,” Meyers said.

Meyers’ 118 points went on record as the sixth highest total in state history for one season. Ben Hanowski of Little Falls (2009) holds the mark at 135 points. 

“As a program, this was a marquee moment for us,” van Bergen said.


Class A Quarterfinals

MAML 3, Delano 2

(Wednesday, March 8 at St. Paul)

Moose 0  3  0   -   3

Tigers   0  1  1   -   2

First period: No scoring.

Second period: MAML -- Nick Zwack (Troy Dahlheimer, Ben Ward) 3:33; D -- John Keranen (Gabe Halonen, Brian Halonen) 9:21; MAML -- Zwack (Ward) SH, 13:11; MAML -- Dahlheimer (Honza Stibingr, Ward) PP, 15:08.

Third period: D -- Justin Daly (Ben Meyers) 0:41.

Goalies: MAML – Tyler Klatt (win) 35 shots, 33 saves; D – Jackson Hjelle (loss) 29 shots, 26 saves; Shots: MAML – 14-9-6 – 25; D – 12-13-10 – 35. Power Plays: MAML – 1-3; D – 0-3.


Class A Consolation Semis

Delano 8, Mahtomedi 1

(Thursday, March 9 at Minneapolis)

Zephyrs1  0  0   -   1

Tigers   2  4  2   -   8

First period: D -- Garrett Pinoniemi (Ben Meyers) 1:57; D -- Kyle Ylitalo (John Keranen, Brian Halonen) PP, 3:50; M -- Nikolai Dulak (Charlie Bartholomew, Matt Vannelli) PP, 12:18.

Second period: D -- Keranen (Meyers) 0:24; D -- Keranen (B. Halonen, Meyers) 0:42; D -- Meyers (unassisted) SH, 10:34; D -- B. Halonen (Keranen) 11:54.

Third period: D -- B. Halonen (Meyers, Keranen) PP, 1:39; D -- B. Halonen (Meyers, Keranen) PP, 8:25.

Goalies: M – Josh Campbell (loss) 24 shots, 18 saves; M -- Bailey Huber 8 shots, 6 saves; D – Jackson Hjelle (win) 13 shots, 12 saves; Erik Peterson 7 shots, 7 saves. Shots: M – 7-6-7 – 20; D – 13-11-8 – 32. Power Plays: M – 1-4; D – 3-5.


Class A Consolation Finals

Delano 6, East Grand Forks 3

(Saturday, March 11 at Minneapolis)

Green Wave     0  0  3   -   3

Tigers   1  2  3   -   6

First period: D -- Brian Halonen (Justin Daly, Ben Meyers) 9:15.

Second period: D -- John Keranen (Meyers) 0:43; D -- Keranen (B. Halonen) 7:47.

Third period: D -- B. Halonen (Meyers, Keranen) PP, 2:36; EGF -- Cody Wolff (unassisted) 3:28; EGF -- Hunter Olson (Nick Lund) 5:56; EGF -- Casey Kallock (Olson) 13:43; D -- Meyers (B. Halonen, Andrew Kruse) 14:26; D -- Kyle Ylitalo (Jackson Hjelle) EN, 16:42.

Goalies: EGF – Tucker Brown (loss) 24 shots, 18 saves; D – Jackson Hjelle (win) 31 shots, 31 saves; Erik Peterson 7 shots, 4 saves. Shots: EGF – 13-13-12 – 38; D – 8-5-11 – 24. Power Plays: EGF – 0-6; D – 1-3.


DeLaSalle continues dominance

Five-time defending state champs end Delano’s basketball season

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

You have to go back six years to find a team in Class 3A to last defeat the DeLaSalle Islanders in any playoff game – a 61-57 loss March 18, 2011 to Columbia Heights in the Section 3-3A finals.

Since moving to Section 6-3A a season ago, Delano has twice fell victim to DeLaSalle’s current 32-game post-season winning streak, resulting in five straight Islander state titles.

The latest defeat came in an 82-62 section semifinal road loss last Saturday at DeLaSalle High School.

Unlike every other section in the state, home teams in 6-3A host the semifinal round, opposed to having it played at a neutral site.

“Last year it worked to our advantage,” said Delano head coach Terry Techam. “We were the two seed and got a semifinal home game. This year, we had to come here.”

The Islanders used their home court to their advantage, jumping to an early 13-0 lead before the Tigers scored their first points 3:55 into the opening half on a field goal by senior Mitchell Kurtz.

Too much adrenaline may have played an early factor for the slow start. Playing for the first time in DeLaSalle’s small-compact gym can often be an intimidating experience for most opposing teams, but Delano junior guard Calvin Wishart thought otherwise.

“Honestly, in an atmosphere like that, we play better,” Wishart said. “Personally, I like playing in that atmosphere, as do a lot of the guys in our locker room. It gets them going more.”

Led by 6-foot-7 senior forward Goanar Mar, a Division-I recruit of George Mason University in Virginia, the Islanders used their talent, depth, and athletic ability to jump to an early 31-8 lead.

Mar ended the night with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He was one of three guys to post double figures in scoring. Senior guard Dominic Bledsoe had 13, and junior guard Gabe Kalscheuer had 11.

Wishart pointed out DeLaSalle’s depth as to their key to success.

“In all five positions, they are athletic,” Wishart said. “We’re playing six guys, and they can go eight-deep and still be very good at every position. So yeah, it does wear you out at times.”

Just when it appeared the game may turn ugly, Wishart sparked a mini 6-0 run for the Tigers to close the gap to 31-14. The Tigers cut it to 34-20, but Wishart was nabbed for his third foul with 2:50 remaining in the half. He remained in the game, but DeLaSalle was able to extend its lead to 39-22 at halftime.

“At that point, we’re down 14,” Techam said. “There was no point in keeping him out. We had to keep going and go as long as we could.”

Sophomore guard Derek Techam kept Delano within striking distance with two early threes in the second half, but DeLaSalle kept a double-digit lead, scoring on five straight possessions.

The Tigers continued to fight back cutting the lead to 55-41 with 10 minutes to play after senior center Nick Cayler converted a 3-point play on a field goal and foul shot.

Both Cayler and Wishart would eventually foul out and DeLaSalle salted the game away at the free-throw line. The Islanders converted 20-of-29 free-throw attempts in the game. Delano was 8-of-9. Wishart ended with 18 points. Cayler had nine.

“When we got it down to 14, I thought we had them right there and our energy was good,” Wishart said. “But then a couple calls went their way. It helps when you’re leading and you get to the foul line every possession.”

DeLaSalle (23-3) plays Orono (23-5) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 16 for the Section 6-3A title. Delano finishes the season 20-8 overall, and second time in as many years their season ended with a loss to the Islanders. A year ago they were defeated 71-51 in the section finals.

“If you look at our section, the top-4 seeds (DeLaSalle, Orono, Patrick Henry, Delano) all had 20 wins,” Terry Techam said. “You could look at a lot of sections where they don’t have one 20-win team in there. This section a challenge. But there’s a reason why DeLaSalle has won five championships in a row – they are very talented.”


Section 6-3A Semifinals

DeLaSalle 82, Delano 62

(Saturday, March 11 at DeLaSalle)

Tigers        22  40  -  62

Isalanders  39  43  -  82


Tigers (62): Calvin Wishart 18; Dylan Gilmer 10; Nick Cayler 9; Derek Techam 8; Reno Bredahl 6; Mitchell Kurtz 6; Keegan O’Neill 4; Garrett Kramp 1.

Islanders (82): Goanar Mar 25; Dominic Bledsoe 13; Christian Dickson 12; Gabe Kalscheur 11; Tyrell Terry 8; Sage Booker 7; Malik Lamin 4; Rayquan Moore 2.



Wilken’s 43 powers Annandale into finals

Cardinals need 3 OTs to defeat Watertown-Mayer

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Annandale senior, Jaron Wilken, has played in the boys’ basketball state tournament every year since joining varsity his sophomore season.

His Cardinals have a shot at making state a fifth consecutive year following a thrilling 82-76 triple overtime win Tuesday night over Watertown-Mayer in the Section 5AA semifinal game at St. Michael-Albertville.

Watertown-Mayer, the No. 2 seed in the section, was dominant early. Led by senior forward Trae Berhow, a Division-I recruit of Pepperdine, scored 14 first-half points as the Royals led 32-21 at the break.

Trailing by double digits, Annandale head coach Skip Dolan said there was no room for panic.

“When you have two good teams, usually you will get their opportunities, and then they will get theirs,” Dolan said.

Doomed by a poor shooting half, Annandale, the No. 3 seed in the section, came out in the second half firing – particularly Wilken, who scored 23 of his career-high 43 points in the second half.

“We talked at half about doing this the team way – we were going to share, share, share,” Dolan said. “But every time Jarod drove the first half, I thought we ended up with a good look at the rim. I told him to get more creative and aggressive that second half for us to have a chance. Not only did he do that, but he hit some outside shots.”

The teams went back-and-forth down the stretch, but the game was tied 58-58 at the end of regulation. Wilken had the opportunity to end the game twice in the closing seconds, but missed two key free throws with 14 seconds left and a last-second three with 1.5 seconds.

The Royals started the first overtime minus two starters; senior Ben Theisen and junior Riley Alger, both had fouled out.

Watertown-Mayer senior McKinley Gehlhausen would join his teammates on the bench, fouling out with the score tied 60-60 with 1:14 left in the first overtime. The teams would eventually need a second overtime tied 62-62.

Momentum appeared to sway in Annandale’s favor when Berhow would foul out in the second OT. Berhow ended the night with 32 points.

With four backups on the floor, the Royals would still live to see a third overtime tied 69-69. Reserve forward Ethan McCleary scored six of his 10 points in the second OT for Watertown-Mayer.

“If you coach long enough, you worry that your kids see other kids foul out and they relax a bit,” Dolan said. “When my guys relax in practice, my B-squad beats them. You have to keep that same intensity up and I thought we did a pretty good job of it.”

The Cardinals finally built a two-possession lead in the third overtime and Wilken sealed the win scoring six key points from the free-throw line down the stretch. For good measure the Royals officially lost all five starters when senior Drew Thibault fouled out in the third overtime.

“Once they all fouled out, that was huge,” Wilken said. “It’s kind of hard to win when guys come in and they haven’t even played yet in the game.”

Annandale (25-4) will face No. 5 seed Breck (19-9) at 6 p.m. Friday, March 17 in the section title game played at Halenbeck Hall at St. Cloud State.


Section 5-2A Semifinals

Annandale 82

Watertown-Mayer 76

(Tuesday, March 14 at STMA)

Cardinals   21  37  4   7  13  -  82

Royals       31  26  4   7    7  -  76


Cardinals (82): Jaron Wilken 43; Nick Bieniek 14; AJ Hinz 10; Trenton Peterson 7; Leo Healy 4; Trent Peper 4.

Royals (76): Trae Berhow 32; McKinley Gehlhausen 18; Riley Alger 10; Ethan McCleary 10; Drew Thibault 4; Braxton Williams 1; Brevin Williams 1.


Top BHS Knowledge Bowl team advances to region tournament

By Doug Voerding

Staff Reporter

Buffalo High School’s top Knowledge Bowl team is heading to the region tournament.

Team One of Tyler Dirks, Sophie Lefebvre, Max Nagel, and Travis Wolden placed fourth in the large-school subregion held Wednesday, March 8 in Sartell, giving the team a spot in the region tournament.

“I was very happy that Varsity Team One was in Room 1 the whole tournament,” said coach Hanna Mahan. “For them to stay up there the whole time is really impressive, and they were the only team to do so.”

Buffalo started the meet tied for first place with Rogers after scoring 51 out of 60 in the written round. Buffalo held first place after scoring 16 in the first oral round. Although the Bison scored 14 in the second round and another 14 in the third round, the competition got tougher.

The fourth round proved to be difficult, and a score of seven dropped Buffalo to third. In the fifth round, the team earned 11 points, but was outscored by Big Lake by three points. In the end, Big Lake took third with 121 points, ahead of Buffalo by only a half-point. Buffalo scored 120.5 for a fourth-place finish. Sauk Rapids won the meet with 136.5 points with Rogers coming in second with 122.5 points.

The half-points are earned by teams in the top three rooms. Extra points are added to team scores: 1.5 points for room one, 1 point for room two, and .5 points for room three. Buffalo earned an extra 7.5 points for competing in room one the entire five oral round tournament. The extra points are added on at the end of the tournament.

It was only a half-point that kept Buffalo Team Two out of the region tournament.

The team of Ryan Dirks, Kris Hamann, Jayde Hoppe, and Josh Thielen took ninth place with a score of 104, just a half-point behind St. Cloud Tech. The top eight teams advance to the region tournament.

“Team Two had some problems with being in a loud room which threw them off a couple times, but they still did very well,” Mahan said. “They missed going to region by one question.”

Team One will now be preparing for the region tournament on Monday, March 20 in Sartell.

Mahan said that the team will be working on their usual practice techniques to prepare.

“The team knows that they are going to have to fight for top three as there are some great schools in our region,” she said. “I think knowing that they were able to stay in room one for the whole subregion tournament is a great confidence boost.”

Mahan added, “I think they are just going to have to stay focused and remember that every point counts. They are very level-headed and they do a great job of not really focusing on the points until the end. I heard from a couple of other coaches at the subregion that they (Team One) have a habit of being extremely consistent, which they truly have been, and I think that’s going to help us out a lot.”

In the Central Minnesota region, there are three sub-region tournaments. The 30 schools are divided into small, medium, and large brackets.

Eight teams from each of those three brackets compete in the region meet. At the region, those 24 teams are divided into two groups, small schools and large schools. From the region, the top three small schools and the top three large schools advance to the state tournament April 6-7 in Brainerd.