Championship game nothing new for Sauk Centre girls basketball team

Championship game nothing new for Sauk Centre girls basketball team

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Championship game nothing new for Sauk Centre girls basketball team

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SAUK CENTRE

The Sauk Centre girls basketball team isn’t new to this.

The Mainstreeters are back in a section championship for the fifth straight year when they take on New London-Spicer in the Section 6-2A final at 6 p.m. on Friday at St. Cloud State’s Halenbeck Hall.

Sauk Centre has been to the Class 2A state tournament four years in a row.

This year’s team is a little different, however.

The Mainstreeters don’t have one dominant player like they’ve had in the past in Kali Peschel or Macy Weller. Peschel is playing for Division I Iowa and Weller is with the St. Cloud State volleyball program.

“We’ve been blessed with some great players in the past few years,” Sauk Centre head coach Scott Bergman said. “We’ve always had one player that was hard to stop. We’re different this year in that we don’t have that type of player and we have really good balance.

“We’ve got five girls who have all scored a little more than 200 points. You can’t focus on one or two girls with us. Nobody is blowing up and getting 20 a night.”

The Mainstreeters beat Staples-Motley 52-38 on Tuesday night in the North Sub-Section 6-2A championship game.

Junior guard Madison Moritz led Sauk Centre in that victory with 13 points and five rebounds while Julie Bushard added 12 points and seven boards and Ali Peterson chipped in 11 points.

Peterson leads the team in scoring at about 12 points a game. The 5-foot-7 senior guard has been impressed with how everybody on her team has contributed this season.

“We’ve all picked up the slack this year from not having that one dominant player,” Peterson said. “Everybody knows their roles and what they have to do. Everybody really contributes on the defensive end. On offense, we have really good outside shooting. We take a lot of pride in shooting well from beyond the arc.”

Sauk Centre (22-5) will have to try and slow down New London-Spicer (23-5) 5-8 senior guard Taylor Thunstedt, who is headed to play at North Dakota State next season. She’s scored well over 2,000 points in her five years on varsity.

“Taylor is one of the best players in the entire state,” Bergman said. “We’re going to guard her by committee. She’s a phenomenal shooter with tremendous range. She’s good with the ball in her hands and can beat you off the dribble.”

Peterson is hoping the Mainstreeters can make it back to state. Sauk Centre lost to Minneapolis Washburn in the first round of state last season.

“We’re really excited to have the opportunity again,” Peterson said. “It’s an incredible feeling to make it this far. We’ve always won this section game, but it might be tougher this year. It’s going to be a good game.”

Annandale faces off against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted in the second game at Halenbeck on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. tilt for the Section 5-2A championship.

Section 8-3A

You’d think with the No. 1-ranked team in the state, you wouldn’t have too many concerns. Fergus Falls head coach Brad Strand has several. The Otters (27-1) play No. 7 Albany (26-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday at MSU-Moorhead for the Section 8-3A title.

“Albany is a good-shooting team,” Strand said. “When you can hit a bunch of threes like they can, you are never out of the game. If we don’t shoot and they do, we can be blown out.”

Strand calls Albany “very athletic and very scrappy. They’re quick and athletic. We’re going to have our hands full.”

Fergus Falls has three players who already have accepted college scholarships: guard Bailey Strand (North Dakota), who is the coach’s daughter, forward Anna Monke (Minnesota-Duluth) and point guard Brianna Rasmussen (North Dakota State for volleyball).

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