Senior, junior players will lead Pelican girls

The 2021-22 girls’ basketball team started practice on November 15th and is coming off a very successful season. Last year’s team finished the season with an overall record of 20-2. 

The lady Vikings won the Heart O’ Lakes Conference for the third consecutive season, defeated Fergus Falls for their second consecutive Section 8AA Championship, and then came up short in the first round of State against Albany who won the state championship.

The lady Vikings graduated seven seniors from last year’s squad which included Vanassa Booth, Rachael Guler, Allie Haiby, Chloe Paulson, Anna Stephenson, Mia Stewart, and Greta Tollefson. Tollefson and Stephenson were all conference while Stephenson was all-state honorable mention and Tollefson was all-state. 

“Last year’s seniors left us a lot of holes to fill,” commented coach Brian Korf. Coach Korf will be looking for players on this year’s team to step up and fill their roles which may take a few weeks into the season. 

The Vikings lost the majority of their scoring and rebounding from last year’s team. 

“We return girls who gained some varsity basketball experience last season and a group of girls who have a good work ethic,” commented Korf.

This year’s team will be led by seniors Sophia Paulson and Tori Stephenson and juniors Kelsey Isaman, Zoe Kekeha, and Kia Nelson. Sophomores returning are Claudia Gurath, Thea Olson and Ellie Welch who will help provide depth to the Vikings. 

Young players gained varsity experience last year 

Also returning with varsity or junior varsity experience are freshman Zayla Arrow, Zaylie Arrow, Grace Backstrom, Hazel Haugrud, Sarah Haugrud, and Anna Roisum. “We will look for our freshman to contribute on the junior varsity team and add depth to the varsity team,” commented coach Korf. 

Returning starter from last year’s team is 8th grader Morgan Korf. Morgan was the point guard on last year’s team and will be continuing her same role on this year’s team. 

“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 will work to improve throughout the season

Stiff competition this year in conference, section 

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. 

“We start off the season with very good matchups, so we will see where we are at early in the season,” said coach Korf. Menahga and Frazee return the majority of their roster from last season.

The Vikings will be coached by Brian Korf, Cody Shaffer, Amanda Belz and Lance Roisum. Coaching junior high girls basketball are Maddie Abarr and Joy Miller.

 “We will need to play hard every night 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 have a successful season. 

Girls hoopsters take on Frazee at home Dec. 3

The Pelican Rapids Lady Vikings basketball season opener was against Menahga November 30. 

Fans have another opportunity to see the team at home, against Frazee, on Friday, December 3 in a Heart O’ Lakes conference game.