The Pelican Rapids High School girls basketball team is ready to take to the courts, with an unusual number of veteran players. The seven seniors are pictured here, from left, Vanassa Booth, Chloe Paulson, Allie Haiby, Greta Tollefson, Anna Stephenson, Rachael Guler and Mia Stewart.

“Wearing masks will be an adjustment, but we have the players who will adjust to it and keep working hard.”
Coach Brian Korf On COVID precautions

Pelican girls take home court Jan. 16, with COVID precations, limit on spectators

The 2020-21 girls’ basketball team started practice on January 4 and is coming off one of the most successful seasons in their program. 

Last year’s team finished the season with a record of 30-1. Additionally, the team won the Heart O’ Lakes Conference, earned the Section 8AA Championship, and a 1-1 record at the girls basketball state tournament 

Last March was an exciting time for the Vikings as they advanced to the Section 8AA championship game, after Maddie Guler drained a last second shot to defeat Fergus Falls and advanced to the state tournament. The Vikings lost to Waseca in the first round of the state tournament. Then, they defeated Concordia Academy in the semifinal game of the consolation bracket. With victory over Concordia Academy, the Vikings advanced to the state tournament consolation championship game but was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Three Vikes graduate

from state tourney team

Graduating from last year’s team include: Maddie Guler, Ryley Paulson and Abby Syverson. “We graduated three seniors who played key roles in our success last season,” commented coach Brian Korf. With the new season, the Vikings will be looking for others to step into their roles.

Due to COVID-19, there will be new protocols for players and fans to follow. Players will be expected to wear masks, at all times, to start the season. 

“Wearing masks will be an adjustment, but we have the players who will adjust to it and keep working hard,” said Coach Korf. 

To start the season, a maximum of 125 fans at games will be allowed.

The Vikings return the majority of their scoring and rebounding from last year’s team. “We return girls with a lot of varsity experience and girls who have a good work ethic,” commented head coach Brian Korf.

Seniors will provide 

leadership, inspiration

This year’s team includes the following seniors: Vanassa Booth, Allie Haiby, Rachael Guler, Chloe Paulson, Anna Stephenson, Mia Stewart, and Greta Tollefson, “We expect our seven seniors to provide us with leadership and energy, by contributing in a lot of different areas, to help us be successful this season,” commented Coach Korf

Juniors returning are Sophia Paulson and Tori Stephenson who will help provide depth to the Vikings. Coach Korf commented, “Sophia and Tori have made nice improvements from last season and will help provide leadership on the team.” 

Also returning with varsity or junior varsity experience are sophomores Kelsey Isaman, Zoe Kekeha, and Kia Nelson. “We will look for our sophomores to contribute on the junior varsity team and add depth to the varsity team,” commented Coach Korf.

The freshmen on the squad include Claudia Gurath, Kallie Hanson, Ashlee Mull, Thea Olson, Karma Rouleau, Ariana Villagomez, and Ellie Welch. 

“I like the progress that our players have made over the off-season by working on their basketball skills,” said Coach Korf. The Vikings look to continue their tradition of solid defense and to continue improving throughout the season.

The Heart O’ Lakes conference and section 8AA looks to be very competitive this year with a number of teams returning players from last season. 

Lady Vikings open on road, 

play at home Jan. 16

The Vikings season opener is on the road against Badger-Greenbush-Middle River this Thursday, January 14 and then host Henning on Saturday, January 16 at home. The junior varsity game starts at 2 p.m. Varsity action is at 3:30 p.m. 

“We start off the season with very tough matchups, so we will see where we are at early in the season,” said Coach Korf. BGMR advanced to the section championship last season and Henning advanced to the start tournament last season and won the first round game before the state tournament was cancelled. 

The Vikings will be coached by Brian Korf, Cody Shaffer, Amanda Belz and Lance Roisum. Coaching junior high girls basketball are Andy Rarick and Doug Bruggeman.

After coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, the Vikings will look to continue to build off the success from last season. 

“We will need to play hard every night and be prepared in order to be successful. I feel we have a group of girls who want to compete at a high level. We will need to improve playing as a team on both ends of the court,” said Coach Korf. 

Defining and accepting the roles will be a priority the next few weeks for the Vikings to be successful.