Pelican Rapids once again hosted the Minnesota National Bank Holiday Classic basketball tournament on December 28-29. 

The four team boy’s tournament included the Vikings, Warroad, West Central Area, and Underwood.

In first round action, Pelican Rapids defeated the Warroad Warriors 56-47 and the West Central Area Knights defeated the Underwood Rockets 80-42. 

In the championship game, the Knights defeated the Vikings by a score of 74-57, and Warroad won the third place game over the Rockets 62-45.

“Overall this was a good two days for our boys even though we are disappointed coming up short against West Central,” head coach John Gullingsrud said. “We were trailing at the half in the first game against Warroad, but it was good to see us amp up our defensive intensity in the second half to come away with the win. We were able to create some turnovers and speed the game up which was a big key for us as we were struggling to make shots in our halfcourt offense.”  

Korf led scoring against Warroad 

McHale Korf led the offense for the Vikings against Warroad in scoring 14 points, and Eli Sytsma was also in double figures with 10. Korf completed a solid all-around game with a team high 6 assists, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals. Hayden Christenson also had 9 rebounds, while Reggie Funk and Damien Britten each had 8 in an overall good team rebounding effort. 

As a team, Pelican Rapids was 19-54 (35%) shooting overall and made 4-19 (21%) of their threes. They outrebounded the Warriors 48-39.

 West Central upends Pelican boys 

In the championship against West Central Area, the Vikings would take an early 10-7 lead before the Knights would respond with a 12-0 run and take control of the game as they went into the half with a 42-28 advantage. 

Pelican Rapids would get no closer than 10 points in the second half as West Central took the championship for the third year in a row 74-57.   

“We had small stretches of playing good basketball in this one, but overall West Central was just more consistent and disciplined on both ends of the court,” Coach Gullingsrud stated. “We didn’t defend well enough to keep the game closer as they were able to make shots to counter any small run that we had going. They are a talented team with a lot of skill on offense, so we are going to need to improve our team defense to reach the level they are currently at.”

 Britten notches best game of season

Damien Britten had his best game of the season as he led the Vikings with 15 points as he connected on 5 threes. McHale Korf and Logan Fahje were right behind him scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively. Korf and Jayden Rutherford both had a team high 4 assists, and Eli Sytsma led the rebounding effort with 7. Pelican Rapids shot 21-56 (38%) from the floor and made 9-20 (45%) threes. West Central outrebounded the Vikings 31-26. A big difference statistically in the game was at the free throw line, where the Knights made 20-24 (83%) shots and the Vikings were only 6-10 (60%).

 Doubleheader at home Jan. 10

Pelican Rapids is now 2-5 on the season and will play three games next week as they travel to Ashby on Monday night (1/7), host Frazee in a doubleheader on Thursday night (1/10), and face Battle Lake at Concordia on Saturday night (1/12) in another boys/girls doubleheader.