Tanner Tollerud stretches for a rebouund against Hillcrest Feb. 4. Backround right, teammate Logan Fahje; and left, McHale Korf.
Logan Fahje under the basket for the Vikings.
All hands on the ball, during this grab for a rebound Feb. 4. In the thick of it, Kirby Nelson for Pelican at left, and Hunter Williams at right--bumping up against Hillcrest players for the ball.

The Pelican Rapids boys basketball team played three games last week, and they started it out by hosting the Hillcrest Lutheran Comets on Monday night. 

After a back and forth start to the game, the Vikings started to take control late in the first half and went into halftime with a 45-28 lead. 

The Comets battled back in the second half however and cut the lead to four with eight minutes to go in the game. Pelican Rapids was able to stretch the lead back out and went on to record an 80-68 win over the Comets.

“We were pretty up and down in this game as we were not able to find a consistent rhythm on either end of the court,” head coach John Gullingsrud commented. “We played well at the end of the first half where we were very active defensively which got us out in transition on offense, but we came out flat in the second half as Hillcrest played much more aggressivey than we did and really dictated the pace of the game. Fortunately we were able to get a couple of stops on defense after they cut our lead to four to get the lead back into double digits.”

Fahje, Korf, Rutherford, Tollerud score in double digits 

Four players were in double figures scoring for the Vikings led by Logan Fahje’s 20 points. McHale Korf had 17, Jayden Rutherford 14 and Tanner Tollerud 13 as well. Korf also led the team with 6 assists and 3 steals while Fahje was the team leader with 9 rebounds. Pelican Rapids shot 31-52 (60%) overall from the field and made 2-7 (29%) threes. Hillcrest won the rebounding battle 28-24.

 Cross-county rival Hawley falls to Pelican

 Next up for the Vikings was a road contest at Heart O’ Lakes conference foe Hawley Feb. 6. 

The Nuggets jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the first four minutes of the game, but Pelican Rapids went on an 11-3 run to tie it up 16-16. The Vikings would hold the lead from that point on as they went in to halftime up 31-23 and pulled away late in the second half for a 69-48 HOL win.

 “We had a sluggish start defensively as we allowed them some wide open looks that they knocked down to get out to that lead,” Coach Gullingsrud stated. “Once we started communicating on defense and locating their shooters, we did a much better job of forcing them to take tougher shots. Offensively we struggled making shots from the perimeter but we did a nice job of attacking and finishing in the lane when our outside shots weren’t falling.”

 Jayden Rutherford led the scoring effort in this one as he had 15 points. Logan Fahje chipped in 13 points to go with 7 rebounds and 4 steals and McHale Korf had 12 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Liam Sytsma had a team high 10 rebounds and 8 points.

 The Vikings shot 27-54 (50%) from the field but only made 2-15 (13%) of their threes. They did outrebound the Nuggets 38-30.

 Defense helps lift Vikes over Park 

The Viking boys finished out the week with a Saturday game at Moorhead High School as part of the Heart O’Lakes conference day where they played the Park Christian Falcons. 

A quick 8-0 run to start the game by Pelican Rapids set the tone for the game as the Vikings never trailed. They held a 32-26 halftime lead and were able to extend that in the second half for a final margin of 66-47. 

With the three wins, the Vikings improved their overall record on the season to 14-7 and their HOL record to 5-4.

 “Overall we were pleased with the defensive effort from our guys in this game as Park Christian has two talented offensive players that can really carry them throughout the course of a game,” coach Gullingsrud said. “We made them take tough, contested shots for the most part and we needed an overall team effort to do that. We once again struggled to make shots from the perimeter, but we still were able to find ways to score in the paint when the outside shots didn’t go as we had 15 offensive rebounds which definitely helped give us more opportunities.”

Sytsma grabs season high 16 rebounds 

Four players were in double figures again led by Logan Fahje’s 19 points. Liam Sytsma had 14 points and a season high 16 rebounds as he was a force inside for the Vikings. 

McHale Korf had a great all-around game as he had 11 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Jayden Rutherford chipped in 10 points and 4 rebounds as well. As a team, the Vikings made 26-53 (49%) overall from the field and only 3-16 (19%) of their threes. They handily outrebounded the Falcons 41-26.

 The Vikings will have two home HOL conference games this week as they host Frazee on Monday night and Breckenridge on Friday night.