Strong second half lifts Vikes over Hawley

The Pelican Rapids boys basketball team had two home games at the Al Siegle Activities Center last week as they hosted Crookston Feb. 8 and Hawley on Feb. 11.

The Vikings came away with two wins which puts their overall record at 5-3 on the season and 3-3 in the Heart O’ Lakes conference.

Against the Pirates, Pelican Rapids took control early in the game and led 39-27 at the half. The Vikings held Crookston to seven second half points as they posted a 70-34 win.

“We were very pleased with our second half effort on defense as we came out and just played disciplined and solid on that end which really made it difficult for Crookston to get any good looks at the basket,” head coach John Gullingsrud said. “We were also had very balanced scoring on offense as unselfish play and making the extra pass led to open shots for us which we were able to convert on. Overall this was a good team effort from our guys.”

Sophomores Ian Fahje and Hunter Williams led the Vikings in scoring as both players had 12 points. Jayden Rutherford and Liam Sytsma each chipped in 9 points and Brayden Ecker also had 8. 

Logan Fahje had a team high 10 rebounds, while Ian was right behind him with 9. 

McHale Korf and Ecker each had 5 assists and 2 steals to lead in those categories. Ecker completed his well rounded game with 5 blocks and Sytsma also had 4. 

As a team, Pelican Rapids shot 29-49 (59%) overall from the field and made 5-14 (36%) of their threes. They dominated the rebounding battle as well as they outrebounded Crookston 43-22.

The Vikings looked to follow up Monday night’s win by getting back on track in the HOL conference race as they hosted Hawley Feb. 11. 

Pelican Rapids held an early ten point lead in the first half, but the Nuggets cut it to two at the half as they trailed 27-25. As was the case on Monday, the Vikings defense stepped up in the second half as they held Hawley to 16 second half points and went on to post a 58-41 victory. 

“Neither team shot the ball well tonight and a key for us in the win was crashing the offensive glass and coming away with 13 offensive rebounds to get us some second looks at the basket,” coach Gullingsrud stated. “Defensively we made some strides in the right direction this week and we will need to keep improving on that end and find some consistency as we head into the second half of our schedule.”

Three players reach double figures in scoring for the Vikings led by Liam Sytsma with 13 points. Brayden Ecker chipped in with 12 and Tanner Tollerud had 11. Hunter Williams had a team high 9 rebounds with 5 on the offensive end, McHale Korf grabbed 6 rebounds and Logan Fahje and Ecker both had 5. Korf led the Vikings with 10 assists and 3 steals, with Tollerud and Fahje also each getting 3 steals. 

Pelican Rapids made 23-56 (41%) of their shots overall and 6-22 (27%) of their threes. The Vikings edged out the Nuggets in the rebounding category 35-32.

Pelican boys host Barnesville, Breck
Pelican Rapids boys basketball will host two Heart O’ Lakes Conference games this week,
Barnesville is here Tuesday, February 16 and conference leading Breckenridge arrives Friday, February 19.