Breckenridge Seniors step up in overtime wins
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
Round five of Breck Sports Talk's Athletes of the Week is complete. There was two standout performances that separated these players from the pack, both resulting in huge wins for their respective teams.
Jonah Christensen (Basketball) - Christensen has a knack for stepping up in crunch time, which he did once again in a 79-74 overtime win at Pelican Rapids. The senior post scored some tough baskets near the end of regulation and during the extra period, willing Breckenridge to its second OT win this season. Remember, it was Christensen's buzzer-beater that ultimately helped Breckenridge win its first OT thriller earlier this season against Barnesville. Those two wins have Breckenridge near the top of Section 8AA.
Jared Aamold (Hockey) - Aamold has been a stabilizing presence for the Breckenridge-Wahpeton Blades during a down year for the program. He saved a whopping 48 shots in the Blades' first victory of the season, a 3-2 overtime win over Park Rapids. The senior has shown resiliency on the ice following what was a fantastic season for him on the football field.
senior leaders come up clutch in section showdown
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
For the second consecutive season, Breckenridge has defeated Pelican Rapids in overtime. The Cowboys claimed a 79-74 win on the Vikings’ home court Friday, improving to 7-3 (6-1 8AA) and maintaining the top record in Section 8AA and Heart O' Lakes Conference play as we enter the second half of the regular season.
The tenacious trio of Cooper Yaggie, Jonah Christensen, and Anthony Conzemius combined for 53 points and 31 rebounds. Junior Perez came on late for 12 points, looking confident in the Cowboy victory.
The Vikings raced out to a 10-2 lead, but Yaggie got it going for Breckenridge with a floater and a tough drive to the rack on a 6-0 personal run to make it a 10-8 game. Yaggie finished with 23 points in the contest, while also grabbing eight rebounds and two steals. The senior was ultra efficient, going 8-of-14 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.
In a half with over 25 personal fouls called, Breckenridge took a 36-33 lead. The Cowboys have struggled from the stripe this year, but made 23-of-33 on Friday — good for a 70% rate. Pelican Rapids made just 17-of-35 free throws in the game.
Yaggie struck quickly in the second half, scoring twice in the first 30 seconds as Breckenridge grabbed its largest lead at 42-33. Logan Fahje took that personal, scoring five of his own to reclaim the lead at 45-44 with 11:48 remaining.
Jayden Rutherford would give his team the lead again at the six-minute mark with a three, but Alex Ohm stepped into one of his own as the battle raged on. Ohm was a key contributor on the glass, pulling down five rebounds and playing pesky defense down the stretch. He also led Breckenridge with four assists.
Christensen buckled down and went to work in crunch time. He buried a corner three, then buried his man underneath for an and-one that gave Breckenridge a 61-59 lead with less than four minutes to go. The dynamic post scored 18 points with 10 rebounds, while deflecting multiple Pelican Rapids passes on defense.
With less than a minute left, Christensen put his defender in the spin cycle and tickled the twine with a hook shot that gave Breckenridge a 68-66 lead. The Vikings threw up a wayward three and Yaggie laid out on the floor for the loose ball rebound as the Breckenridge bench called timeout with 23.5 seconds left.
Pelican would get one last possession in the half. They struggled to find a look as time ticked away, but the basketball wound up rolling to the corner into the hands of McHale Korf, who hoisted up a three and was fouled by a group of Cowboys. He missed the front end, but sank his next two free throws to force overtime.
A consistent facilitator for others, Perez can sometimes go unnoticed in his role of floor general --- not in this one. He started OT with one of his five steals in the game, advancing the basketball to Conzemius for a transition two. Then, the 5’7” lightning bolt drove to the rim and used it for protection, finishing on the opposite side away from the Viking bigs.
Tanner Tollerud hit a clutch three with 90 seconds left in OT, but Christensen took Pelican Rapids’ last breath with a pair of free throws that made the score 74-71, a lead Breckenridge wouldn’t relinquish. When the smoke settled, Yaggie was dribbling the ball around the perimeter as the Vikings chased him unsuccessfully and the clock hit zero for a 79-74 Cowboy win.
Conzemius finished with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. He was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and recorded five deflections. Sebastian Anderson scored seven points with three steals.
Breckenridge currently sits third in the section QRF rankings, narrowly trailing Perham and Fergus Falls. The Cowboys hit the road Tuesday for a matchup with a formidable East Grand Forks (6-5) team at 6:00 p.m. Breckenridge plays 7-of-8 remaining games away from home.
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
Round four of Breck Sports Talk's Athletes of the Week features two wrestling milestones and a gritty paint performance from the girls basketball team.
Daniel Erlandson - The senior snapped an undefeated streak held by Barnesville's Brady Kroll and also earned his 75th career pin at home.
Aidan Ruddy - Ruddy's second appearance on this list comes after earning his 75th career win as he continues to improve his performances heading into the postseason.
Grace Conzemius - Conzemius bounced back from a four-point outing to score 15 points and grab nine rebounds in a tight 43-41 loss to conference leading Pelican Rapids.
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
The Breckenridge Cowgirls went wire-to-wire with no. 18 ranked Pelican Rapids on the road Friday, losing 43-41 in a potential playoff preview for Section 8AA.
Breckenridge overcame a 23-8 deficit to make this one competitive. Grace Conzemius bounced back from a four-point performance, posting 15 points and nine rebounds. Jude Held scored 14, Camryn Kaehler swatted two shots, and Carcie Materi added three assists.
The Cowgirls (6-3) travel to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Thursday, a team they beat handily at home earlier this season.
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
Breckenridge ran into a tough opponent on Friday, suffering its fist home loss of season to Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta, 77-54. The Tigers were led by Jackson Loge’s 32 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks.
Loge presented problems from the tip, stuffing two dunks and contesting several Cowboy shots near the basket. The 6’8” junior neutralized Breckenridge’s inside scoring, although Anthony Conzemius battled his way to 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
The game was competitive early, with MACA holding a 14-13 lead over the first several minutes. Things fell apart for the Cowboys as the Tigers found all the right angles on entry passes to the talented Loge, and help side defense wasn’t quick enough to stop the bruiser inside. MACA jumped out to a 27-17 halftime lead. The Tigers shot 66% from inside the arc for the game.
Conzemius held Loge scoreless through the first six minutes of the second half, before exiting with a lower body injury that caused him to limp off the court. During his absence, MACA extended the lead from 32-23 to 48-29. He returned later and appeared to be moving well.
The Cowboys have typically won the nightly rebounding battle, but MACA claimed a 40 to 35 advantage on the boards. Breckenridge was led by nine rebounds from Jonah Christensen, six from Conzemius, and five from Landon Blaufuss.
Cooper Yaggie took the fight to MACA, giving them something to think about as a defense with relentless drives to the cup. He scored 15 points, making some highly contested layups and taking some hard hits. After drawing fouls at a premium to begin the season, Yaggie hasn’t been getting to the line as much, but continues to set the tone and scratch away for much-needed scoring.
Jacob Vizenor played to the buzzer with the game out of reach, causing a deflection, a steal, and scoring five points in his limited action. Alex Ohm scored six points and Christensen led the Cowboys with three assists.
Breckenridge (6-2) heads to Perham (7-2) on Tuesday, Feb. 16th for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with the Yellowjackets at The Hive. Breckenridge won the first meeting, 59-46.
Adam Ohm hoisted 10 threes in the contest. While it wasn’t his hottest shooting performance, his three makes paced the Cowboys and kept Frazee in fighting mode behind a double-digit deficit. Breckenridge has struggled as a unit from 3-PT range all season at 26.5%. They’ve been efficient inside the arc, however, at 51.5% with the help of strong offensive rebounding efforts to boot. Ohm has connected on 41.5% of his deep shots, hitting more than two per game.
Cooper Yaggie scored 14 points despite a tough shooting night from the field and the free-throw line. He remained aggressive and gave the Hornets something to think about by driving from the perimeter and drawing contact. He added four assists and also took a charge. Anderson also recorded four assists.
No. 12 ranked Breckenridge has a quick turnaround, hosting no. 16 ranked Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
breckenridge held the jackets to 16 second-half points
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
The Breckenridge Cowgirls earned a key Section 8AA victory over the Perham Yellowjackets on Tuesday, 54-37, improving to 6-2 and remaining undefeated at home on the strength of excellent outside shooting and lockdown defense.
Scoring was scarce at first, as both teams battled to an 8-8 score through the game’s first 10 minutes, before turning things up a bit and hitting the half with Breckenridge leading 26-21. After the break, the Cowgirls tapped into their deep ball behind four three-pointers and a game-high 16 points from Carcie Materi. Jude Held also played efficiently, shooting 5-of-7 for 15 points.
Camryn Kaehler led the rebounding effort with 10 in a game where the Cowgirls had to work hard for every defensive stop. They didn’t record a block and managed just six steals in the contest. Still, Breckenridge held a the 5-2 Yellowjackets to a meager 37 points. That’s the second best defensive scoring effort for coach Austin Imdieke’s team this season.
Breckenridge shot 8-of-19 from 3-PT distance. They overcame 19 turnovers by committing just seven fouls in the contest. Meanwhile, the Cowgirls shot 20 free-throws, making a dozen of them to stave off their opponent. They allowed just 16 points in the second half.
Abby Johnson scored eight points and Kaehler chipped in seven. Held led the Cowgirls with three steals and four assists.
Breckenridge has another exciting matchup set for Friday at Pelican Rapids, where they will face the 7-1 Vikings in a battle for section superiority. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.
Matt noll improves to 11-0 on the season
• By Zach Haire
The Cowboys hit the mat for three key duals this past week. Although they dropped each dual as a team, Matt Noll, Alex Martel, Aidan Ruddy, Grant Davis, Wyatt Differding, and Daniel Erlandson picked up crucial victories that will bode well for section seeding.
On Tuesday, the Cowboys traveled to Wadena for a triangular against the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines and West Central Area Knights. At 106 pounds, Matt Noll impressed as he fought hard to win an 8-6 decision against his WDC opponent. Although he dropped his match 5-0, 7th grader David Erlandson brought his fearless energy into battle at 145 pounds against his sophomore opponent. Up at 152 and 160, the tandem of Aidan Ruddy and Grant Davis showed their strength as they each notched their fifth pins of the year. The Cowboys ultimately dropped the dual 33-27 but showed many bright spots throughout the lineup.
The next dual of the night against the state ranked WCA Knights ended in defeat, 66-9. In addition to Matt Noll picking up his 10th win of the season, captains Wyatt Differding and Daniel Erlandson exhibited their strong conditioning and experience as they closed the night with 4-2 and 7-5 decision victories.
“Wyatt continues to improve with each match. He was able to battle out of some tough positions and come away with a victory," said Coach Tom Haire. "Daniel has a target on his back as one of the best wrestlers in the state. His opponents are finding ways to keep matches close. He showed a lot of heart tonight with the takedown in overtime,”
On Parents Night on Thursday, the Pelican Rapids Vikings came to town for a dual. Matt Noll continued running the table at 106 as he emerges as a top contender in the section. With his first period pin, Noll improved his record to an unblemished 11-0.
“Matt is becoming very technical in his approach to matches. He goes out with a plan and gets the job done. He’s wrestling with a lot of confidence, but is very humble about his victories off the mat,” said Coach Haire.
At 126 pounds, Alex Martel electrified the crowd as he drove his half nelson to pick up the pin. Aidan Ruddy prevailed with an 8-4 victory against a solid opponent at 152 pounds. Grant Davis tallied another pin on the year as he finished off his foe in just over a minute. Daniel Erlandson won via forfeit at 285 for his 10th win on the season. Pelican Rapids won the dual 48-27.
Junior varsity wrestlers Henry Slettedahl, David Erlandson, and Riley Kappes all wrestled well and each picked up a victory this past week.
“These three young men continue to amaze me. Not just with their wins, but how they battle in each match. They don’t win or lose. They win and learn,” said Coach Haire.
Carcie Materi, aidan ruddy, and Cooper Yaggie
• By Robert Wanek Jr.
Round three of Breck Sports Talk's Athletes of the Week features two hoopers and one wrestler. It was another packed field with plenty of options, but here are this week's winners.
Cooper Yaggie - The senior guard gave way to some great performances by his teammates and Athletes of the Week winners (Adam Ohm & Anthony Conzemius), but this week it's Yaggie's turn on the list. He's leading the Cowboys with 19.7 points per game, including 20+ point performances against Barnesville and Wahpeton.
Carcie Materi - The junior guard has been trending upward in a big way as of late. Scoring 20 points against Frazee, and adding double-digit scoring efforts against Wahpeton and Moorhead. She has been dropping dimes in the passing department, with eight assists against Wahpeton and six against class 3A Moorhead.
Aidan Ruddy - The tenacious grappler earned his fifth pin of the year at the Wadena-Deer Creek triangular, continuing his battle for favorable section seeding heading into the postseason.
Game-high scorers leave their mark on border battle