Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Uses Stifling Defense to Stomp Wolverines

In their final Pheasant Conference matchup of the year, #3 Wheaton/Herman-Norcross (25-0) crushed Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (5-18) by a final score of 64-21.

The two sides traded buckets in the early minutes of the first, as CGB found efficient shots in the paint. However, the Warriors crippling defense quickly refocused, as the Warriors lept out to a double digit advantage over the Wolverines. Junior guard Anna Rinke provided great floor spacing, burying two early threes (3 overall) on her way to an 11 point night. Senior forward Hannah Gail also canned a pair of threes, and this spacing gave junior guard Emma Schmidt plenty of room to attack off the dribble and distribute. Junior center Briona Edwards also took advantage of the spacing, finishing with 14 points on 70% shooting. Junior forward Madisyn Braaten had a big impact on the Warriors’ first half offensive onslaught, picking up all four of her assists in the first 5 minutes.

Leading 43-16 coming out of the locker room, the Warriors focused in on defense, clamping down on CGB’s offense to hold the Wolverines to a stunning 5 second half points. Haley Johnson and Scout Cronen ran the offense to perfection to close out the game, and combined for 3 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Senior sniper Tina Fuentes knocked down a pair of threes in the half, along with sound defense. For the Wolverines, junior forward Callie Vold was the focal point of the offense, leading the team with 9 points.

With the win, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross remains the only undefeated Class A MSHSL girl’s basketball team.

Final: Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 64, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 21

By The Numbers:

WHN 64

Points: Schmidt 18

Rebounds: Schmidt 11

Assists: Schmidt 6

Steals: Schmidt 5

Blocks: Gail 1, Edwards 1, Fuentes 1

CGB 21

Points: Vold 9

Stats Taken Courtesy of Thomas Breach. Photo of Graceville gym taken by Thomas Breach. © Thomas Breach 2017.


Defense, Rebounding Doom Warriors in Clash with Hornets

In a battle between two 6A squads, the Hornets hot shooting propelled 5-15 Henning past 1-19 Wheaton/Herman-Norcross, 75-50.

In the first half, the Hornets took advantage of WHN’s struggles with closing out by using a strong dribble drive attack. Sophomore guard Sam Fisher had 14 points in the half, primarily off up pull up jumpers and catch and shoot threes. The majority of the first half Henning points in the paint came on second chance opportunities, as sophomore forwards Adam Lange and Jacob Quam had a combined 9 points in the half off of offensive rebounds. WHN had just 6 defensive rebounds in the half, and were lead by Nelson Schmidt, Isaac Wilson, and Zach Stueve with 4 points a piece.

In the second half, Henning went right back to their offensive attack, as Fisher picked up another 11 points to give him the game-high total of 25. Junior guard Bryce Rach found his jumper as well, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the second half. The Warriors lack of floor spacing in the game (1 of 13 from three) continued to haunt them, as Henning was able to comfortably load up the post with sagging defense that denied WHN any room to drive into the paint, along with shutting down passing lanes to Wilson (6-7 shooting, 12 points).

The Warriors shot just 38% in the game, and pulled down only 22 boards (10 defensive).

Final: Henning 75, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 50.

By The Numbers:

WHN 50

Points: Wilson 12

Rebounds: Schmidt 7 (5 offensive)

Assists: Eric Berger 4, Schmidt 4

Steals: Schmidt 2

Blocks: Matt Thielen 2, Stueve 2

HEN 75

Points: S. Fisher 25

Stats taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Image of Henning gym taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach 2017

Scintillating Start Propels #3 WHN Past Ortonville


That’s how many of their first 11 shots Wheaton/Herman-Norcross knocked down to open Friday’s game against Ortonville.

That incredible number helped sparked a 20-2 run to open the game for the WHN Warriors.

The Warriors went to the low post early and often, feeding junior center Briona Edwards. She buried her first 6 shots in the first 5 minutes. This opened up space for stellar junior guard Emma Schmidt, as she made her first 5 shots, including 3 threes. Ortonville couldn’t get anything going on offense, as the Warrior defense picked up 9 first half steals and held the Trojans to just 31% shooting. The Warrior pressure defense kept the Trojans out of rhythm all game, as Ortonville struggled mightily to initiate plays outside of a basic set up to junior forward Madysen Stegner in the low post. The Warriors shot an insane 64% in the first half, assisting on 17 of their 18 makes to lead 40-16 going into the locker room.

In the second, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross slowed things down and relied on their highly efficient ball movement to open things up down low for junior forward Madi Braaten, who finished with 10 points on 5-7 shooting, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. Ortonville kept leaning on Stegner, who had 15 points in the game. Senior Trojan guard Rachel Hoernemann had 8 points and played a very solid two-way game. Sophomore guard Haley Johnson had a key role in the second for the Warriors, finishing with 4 assists running the point for the majority of the half.

In the game, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross assisted on 25 of their 28 buckets. Their ball movement was fantastic, allowing their guards to pick apart the Trojan man-to-man defense and find wide open post isos for Edwards and Braaten and open shots on the perimeter for the WHN guards.

“It was the best we’ve passed all season,” said Warriors coach Tim Gail. He sang the praises of the Warrior offense, remarking that he felt very, very good about the way they played.

WHN picked up great games from Schmidt, Edwards (18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal), and junior guard Anna Rinke (5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals). Overall, they shot 55% from the floor and 50% from three. The Warriors are now 22-0 on the year.

Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 63, Ortonville 34

By The Numbers:

WHN 63

Points: Schmidt 19

Rebounds: Schmidt 7

Assists: Schmidt 7

Steals: Schmidt 5

ORT 34

Points: Stegner 15

Rebounds: Stegner 5

Steals: Hoernermann 2, Stegner 2

Blocks: Stegner 1

Stats taken courtesy of Thomas and Michael Breach. Quote from Tim Gail recorded by Thomas Breach. Photo of Ortonville gym taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach 2017.

Cathedral Holds On to Defeat Becker in GRC Clash

One thing was certain entering the second half for St. Cloud Cathedral: despite being ahead 36-24, they needed to cut down on their turnovers and start boxing out on the defensive glass if they wanted to disallow any late rally by Becker.

Their struggles in those categories almost cost them a key win on the road.

The Crusaders of Cathedral opened the first half red-hot with four quick threes. They moved the ball very well against the Bulldogs man to man, as the drive and kick game for Cathedral worked to perfection to space out the floor. They picked up assists on each of their 13 first half makes. Abbey Medelberg started off the opening half on fire from the bench, as she buried her first 5 shots including two three point bombs. She led all players going into the break with 12 points. If there was one positive for the Bulldogs, it was that they led in two major “hustle stat” categories: forced turnovers and offensive rebounds, as they forced 12 Cathedral turnovers in the first half.

To open the second half, Becker found a much more efficient defense, incorporating a full court pressure that threw off the rhythm of the Cathedral halfcourt offense. Cathedral committed 12 second half turnovers and shot just 31% in the period. These offensive struggles allowed the Becker offense to pick up their efficiency,  leaning on junior center Madi Kerzman as she poured in 12 points in the half, largely due to her prowess on the low block and on the offensive glass. The Cathedral 2-3 zone struggled mightily to keep the Bulldogs off the offensive glass, and combined with their shooting struggles allowed Becker to bring the Cathedral lead down to two possessions. However, the Crusaders got an incredibly clutch performance from junior Kate Tomczik. The guard scored 14 of Cathedral’s 26 second half points. Down the stretch, the Crusaders were able to deny the Bulldogs anything closer than a two possession lead. The Crusaders knocked down their free throws, and seniors Julia Meyer and Morgan Prom each had big steals with less than 30 seconds to go. Cathedral’s free throws closed out the game for a final score of 62-55

Final: St. Cloud Cathedral 62, Becker 55.

By The Numbers:

CHS 62

Points: Tomczik 17

Rebounds: Meyer 9

Assists: Megan Voit 6

Steals: Tomczik 5

Blocks: Hallie Hupf 2

BEC 55

Points: Kerzman 16

Stats taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Photo of Becker gym taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach 2017.

Treinen Hits 1K in 70-51 Trojans Win Over Warriors

Along with a historic night for senior forward Nate Treinen, it was a combined team defensive effort and fantastic performance from sophomore point guard Tyson Powell that propelled the now 14-3 Ortonville Trojans over the 1-16 Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Warriors.

In the first half, Ortonville built a double digit lead on the strength of a very balanced offensive assault. They were very patient in the halfcourt offense, picking apart the Warriors’ man to man defense with a strong high-low attack on the perimeter and the low block. Tyson Powell was the first player to hit double digits, taking advantage of WHN’s slow close outs on the wings to open with two quick three balls. Nate Treinen needed 5 points to hit 1,000 on his career, and he ended up hitting it on a baseline jumper from the right side to reach the lofty total. The Warriors received a strong first half from Isaac Wilson and Hunter Johnson, as the sophomore Johnson had 7 points at the break.

To open the second half, Ortonville kept their foot on the pedal to cruise out to a 20-24 point lead, as they leaned more upon the dribble drive attack of Powell (24 points) and the post play of Treinen (11 points) and DaVonte Edwards (9 points) to finish off Wheaton/Herman-Norcross. Their patient 2-3 zone held the Warriors to 39% shooting and forced 19 WHN turnovers.

The Warriors received strong games from Eric Berger, Max Donnelly, Isaac Wilson, and Hunter Johnson. Berger had 6 points, 9 boards, and 4 assists. Donnelly had 8 points, 4 boards, 5 assists, and a pair of steals. Johnson had a team-high 12 points on 50% from the floor and from three, and Wilson had 10 points on 5-7 shooting.

Final: Ortonville 70, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 51.

By The Numbers:

WHN 51

Points: Johnson 12

Rebounds: Berger 9

Assists: Donnelly 5

Steals: Nelson Schmidt 3

ORT 70

Points: Powell 24

All Stats taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Photo of Ortonville Gym taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach 2017.

LeClaire’s Crazy First Cruises Cathedral Past Zimmerman in Cruicial GRC Meeting

#4 St. Cloud Cathedral needed a big first half from a perimeter player once Zimmerman clamped down on their low post attack.

And boy, did senior Keaton LeClaire deliver.

LeClaire closed out the first half by burying 6 of his 8 threes.

The Crusaders opened the game by jumping out to a quick 7-10 point lead, but Zimmerman lept right back by leaning on center Dylan Martin, who put up 6 quick points. Zimmerman closed down the post in the early goings, forcing Cathedral to prove they can space the floor. LeClaire didn’t need much help proving that for Cathedral, racking up all 18 of his points in the first half. The Thunder went to their “big three” of Chandler Wellman, Thunder Heyer, and Dylan Martin, as the three had the first 18 points of the night for Zimmerman. Cathedral used a late run fueled by LeClaire to enter the locker room up 48-35.

The Crusaders found much more success in the low post in the second half, as junior forwards Michael Schaefer and Mitchell Plombon took the game over. The floor spacing provided by LeClaire and Jacob Stoltzenberg opened up driving lanes for Schaefer; as well as providing room for Plombon to utilize his outstanding faceup post drive game. The two finished with a combined 46 points. Schaefer led all scorers with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. Plombon added in 22 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks to earn Player of the Game. Jacob Stoltzenberg was a great contributor off the bench, providing 10 points on 2-3 from deep. Jake Pensinger had a great second half for Zimmerman, putting up a team-high 18 points, followed by Heyer’s 17, Martin’s 15, and Wellman’s 12.

By The Numbers

St. Cloud Cathedral 84, Zimmerman 72

CHS 84

Points: M. Schaefer 24

Rebounds: Plombon 16

Assists: Jangula 7

Steals: Jangula 1, Kranz 1

Blocks: Plombon 3

ZIM 72

Points: Pensinger 18

All Stats are Unofficial. Taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Image of Cathedral North Gym Scoreboard taken by Thomas Breach. © Thomas Breach.

Crusaders Suffer Heartbreaking Third Period Meltdown Against Tigers

Going into the third period down by one, #5 St. Cloud Cathedral needed to come out strong to avoid a loss to the #3 Delano Tigers.

They did exactly that, as senior forward Reagan Garden hammered a rebound past Jackson Hjelle to tie the game at 4 with 10:13 left to play.

That’s when the wheels came off for the Crusaders.

The Crusader defense finally broke down over the last 10 minutes, and senior goaltender Jake Levinski was overwhelmed by the firepower of the Delano Tigers. Gabe Halonen put one in with 6:02 remaining, and less than a minute later the state points Ben Meyers stretched the lead to 6-4 with his second goal of the night. Brian Halonen found the back of the net with 4:09 to go, effectively sealing the win for Delano. Meyers wasn’t quite finished, however, as he picked his fourth hat trick of the year with 11 ticks left on the clock.

Throughout the first two periods, the game was a back-and-fourth affair with both offenses playing very well. Defensively, it was not the same story. The Cathedral penalty kill was overwhelmed by the Delano squad that came in converting on 48.8% of their opportunities, as the Tigers found the back of the net on 3 of their 4 power play chances.

Final: #3 Delano 8, #5 St. Cloud Cathedral 4

By The Numbers:

Cathedral 4

Goals: Jake Van Halbeck, Michael Spethmann, Jackson Savoie, Garden

Assists: Van Halbeck 2, Mack Motzko 2, Matthew Wedin

Jake Levinski: 35 Saves on 43 Shots on Goal

Delano 8

Goals: Meyers 3, Kyle Ylitalo 2, Garrett Pinoniemi, G. Halonen, B. Halonen

Assists: Andrew Kruse 4, B. Halonen 3, John Keranen 2, Meyers 2, Ray Heikkila, Ylitalo, G. Halonen, Pinoniemi

Jackson Hjelle: 20 Saves on 24 Shots on Goal

All statistics and rankings courtesy of Minnesota Hockey Hub, by the © 2013 Star Tribune. Image of Alesis MultiMix taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.

St. Cloud Cathedral Holds Off Late Push by Becker in GRC Affair

In a classic Granite Ridge Conference matchup, the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders withstood a strong second half by the Becker Bulldogs to win 69-61.

The Crusaders came into the matchup off of a big one-point victory over Esko and looked primed for continued success, as they relied upon a highly efficient offense in the first half to enter the break up 34-20. They shot 47% from the floor and 46% from deep, as junior forward Mitchell Plombon harassed the Bulldogs all night in the post, finishing with 17 points on 50% shooting. They had 11 assists on their 14 first half makes, getting great distribution from point guards Jackson Baustian-Jangula and Andrew Weisser. However, even with the 14 point deficit, Becker looked confident going into the half, as they played well-composed basketball. The Bulldogs only allowed Cathedral to shoot one first half free throw, and they forced the Crusaders to back off a full court press that didn’t exactly hinder Becker.

In the second half, Becker leaned on their “Big Three” of Hunter McCalla, Jack Conzemius, and Lucas Dertinger to crawl back into the game. Dertinger poured in 21 points in the game, leading all scorers. The three combined for 48 of Becker’s 61 points. Cathedral’s defense struggled to finish possessions in the second, as Becker was able to get a lion’s share of efficient, open shots. After a timeout by coach Matt Meyer, Cathedral struck back by leaning on Michael Schaefer, who lead the Crusaders with 19 points and 12 rebounds, with 11 boards coming on the defensive glass. Once the Bulldogs drew the deficit to two late in the game, the comeback effort finally hit a brick wall. Schaefer and Plombon then proceeded to take over, as both hit key free throws down the stretch and Schaefer seemingly pulled down every Becker miss to close out the game.

Overall, the Crusaders relied on a steady offense to defeat the Bulldogs, finishing with 50% shooting from the floor, and hit 8 of their 11 second half free throws. Plombon and Schaefer used their size and athleticism combination to create mismatches, as the two 6’6 forwards each had success attacking the rim off the dribble. They also picked up some excellent floor spacing from Keaton LeClaire and Jacob Stoltzenberg, as each hit two three-pointers. Stoltzenberg and Nicholas Schaefer combined for all 16 bench points with 8 each.

With the win, Cathedral is now 13-3 on the year and 4-1 in the GRC, while Becker falls to 9-8 and 5-2 in the same columns.

By The Numbers:

CHS 69

Points: M. Schaefer 19

Rebounds: M. Schaefer 12

Assists: Baustian-Jangula 7

Steals: Baustian-Jangula 3

Blocks: LeClaire, Plombon 1

BEC 61

Points: Dertinger 21

Statistics should not be considered official. Taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Image of Cathedral North Gym taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.

In Cross-Class Battle, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross’ Defense Stifles Cowgirls

Bolstered by an opportunistic defense, efficient offense, and impressive performances by two juniors, Class 1A’s 3rd-Ranked Wheaton/Herman-Norcross flew past Breckenridge by a final of 63-34.

The Warriors of WHN got off to a fast start on Monday evening, at one point leading 21-4 over the Cowgirls. Their blazing speed turned Breckenridge’s pressure defense into a strength for the Warriors, as they caught the Cowgirls out of position time after time, leading to highly efficient transition buckets. The Warriors’ perimeter shooting helped space the floor for junior guard Emma Schmidt in the first half, as they shot 57% from deep going into the break. Schmidt finished with a game-high 27 points on 11-18 shooting. Breckenridge ended the first on a high note, however, as junior guard Sophie Aigner buried a three at the buzzer.

Coming out of the locker room leading 38-19, the Warriors kept the foot on the gas by turning to the low post and their pressure defense to rack up points. They had 12 steals in the second half, and junior center Briona Edwards went to work on the block against the Cowgirls’ post defense, finishing with 12 points on 6-7 shooting. Sophomore Ashtyn Kaehler had a strong second for Breckenridge, finishing with 5 points. Junior guard Anna Rinke had a productive game for the Warriors, finishing with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.

Overall, the Warriors had 19 steals in the game to go with an exceptional 47% shooting from the floor. The Warriors are now 15-0 on the season, while the Cowgirls fell to 9-6.

By The Numbers:

WHN 63

Points: Schmidt 27

Rebounds: Schmidt, Rinke 7

Assists: Rinke, Gail, Cronen 4

Steals: Schmidt, Rinke 4

Blocks: Braaten 2

BKN 34

Points: S. Aigner 7

Statistics should not be considered official. Taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Rankings courtesy of Minnesota Basketball News, a statewide basketball publication. Photo of Stanton Headset taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.