Eagles and Evergreens face off todayAfter a break of a few years, both the Solon Springs and Northwood boys and girls basketball teams will face off today in non-conference games in Minong.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
Forget the Packers and Vikings, today two local teams are renewing a decades-old rivalry.
After a break of a few years, both the Solon Springs and Northwood boys and girls basketball teams will face off today in non-conference games in Minong.
The girls lead off the night at 5:45 p.m., and the boys follow with a 7 p.m. match.
The Northwood Evergreens and Solon Springs Eagles have been rivals since the 1960s, when both teams played in the Indianhead Conference.
The Evergreens and Eagles split into different conferences in 1981, and in the past few seasons the schools have struggled to fit their annual non-conference showdown into their crowded schedules.
The boys faced off last season after one year off, but the girls have not played each other during the regular season since 2008.
The Solon Springs boys defeated Northwood last season and hold a three-game winning streak dating back to the 2008-09 season.
The last meeting between the Evergreen girls and the Eagles was in the first round of the playoffs in the 2009-10 season.
Northwood advanced to the state tournament that year for the first time in school history.
Last season, the Evergreen girls fell one victory short of a trip to the state tournament. Northwood returns all but two players from that team and is looking to put together another strong season this year.
“We lost two seniors who we’re definitely going to miss, but everyone else on the team has been improving,” said senior Sarah Benson. “I think we’re just going to get better as the season goes because there’s five seniors on the team and we all know it’s our last chance to play together, and we want to make it last as long as we can.”
For the first few weeks of the season, the Evergreens will be without Benson, who is recovering from meniscus surgery. Benson, the team’s point guard, led Northwood in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks last season while averaging 10 points per game. She also had knee surgery in her sophomore season after tearing her ACL.
“Hopefully within the next three to four weeks I’ll be completely cleared to play,” Benson said. “I’ll probably miss like the first three or so games, but I’m going to try to get back in early- or mid-December.”
“She’s gone through a lot with now the second knee injury,” said Jason Schultz head coach of the Evergreens. “Hopefully she’ll be back in the very near future. She’s still kind of hobbled by it, but we’re going to be safe to make sure she’s 100 percent healthy before she comes back.”
But Northwood won’t lack talent while waiting for Benson to return. Other returning starters are senior Morgan Block at guard and sophomore McKayla Waggoner at forward.
“She was all-conference as a freshman, so we’re going to rely on her heavily,” Schultz said.
Another sophomore, Elise Burns, gave the Evergreens good minutes off the bench last year and will take on a bigger role this season. Seniors Amber Denninger, Molly Linden and Jessica Hill add experience for the Evergreens along with junior Kaity Harwick, and sophomore Hannah Henson may see some time at guard.
“We’re definitely more experienced than we were last year,” Schultz said. “Last year’s team really had Teagen (Harings) with one year of varsity experience. … The vast majority of the team did not have that experience that we generally need down the stretch in the tournament.”
2012-13 Evergreen Girls
3. Molly Linden G 5’ 5” Sr.
5. Morgan Block G 5’ 6” Sr.
10. Jessica Hill F 5’ 8” Sr.
11. Mckayla Waggoner F 5’ 7” So.
15. Hannah Henson G 5’ 3” So.
23. Kaity Harwick G 5’ 4” Jr.
30. Elise Burns F 5’ 8” So.
32. Sarah Benson G 6’ 0” Sr.
45. Amber Denninger F 5’ 11” Sr.
The Solon Springs girls basketball team has been in rebuilding mode for several years, but this season the Eagles can boast something they haven’t seen in years: senior players.
For the first time since the 2009-10 season, Solon Springs has seniors on the roster. The two seniors, Valerie Garay and Brittney Armstrong, have been with the program since they were freshmen.
The Eagles also return five juniors from last year’s team and are hoping to build on their 6-15 record last season.
Kate Klinzing enters her second year as head coach of the Eagles. She is a 2008 graduate of Solon Springs High School.
The Solon Springs girls fell to Frederic 51-31 to open the season.
2012-13 Solon Springs Girls
1. Alicia Jensen Jr.
5. Autumn Blaylock Jr.
12. Valerie Garay Sr.
15. Rachel Grubbe Jr.
22. Alison Smith So.
23. Brittney Armstrong Sr.
24. Brianna Larson So.
25. Tylor Kruse Jr.
32. Shayla Bornholdt Jr.
Head Coach: Kate Klinzing
Assistant Coach: Mike Grubbe
Managers: Taylor Blaylock
The Eagles lost six seniors from last year’s team, three of them starters.
Among the players Solon Springs will need to replace are Kyle Vandenberghe, the team’s long-armed center, and Phil Larson, who played point guard for the Eagles for four years. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.6 rebounds last season and is the all-time leading scorer at Solon Springs with 1,367 career points.
The Eagles must also replace the perimeter shooting and defensive pressure of Cody Utyro, Corey Utyro, Trenton Wester and Mac Ohm.
Solon Spring defeated Frederic 41-35 to open the season, but the Eagles will face a determined opponent today when they travel to Minong to play the Evergreens.
Solon Spring defeated the Evergreens 59-23 last year, and holds 3-2 advantage in the last five match-ups. The Eagles are 9-4 against the Evergreens in the past decade. That steak includes a pair of playoff victories for each team.
Returning starters Trey Scheldroup and Jacob Dahlberg give the Eagles strength at the perimeter and inside, respectively. Tyler Long and Daniel Gengenbach, who played significant minutes last season, further bolster the Eagles’ inside game.
2012-13 Solon Springs Boys
00. Hunter Hendrickson G Sr.
2. Brett Missinne F Sr.
3. Trey Scheldroup G Sr.
5. Austin Khalar G Jr.
10. Austin Haskins F Sr.
15. Daniel Gengenbach F Jr.
20. Logan Long G So.
34. Jacob Dahlberg F Sr.
44. Curtis Zamzow F Jr.
45. Tyler Long F Sr.
Head Coach: Dale Rajala
Assistant Coach: Marcus Besonen
Managers: Joey Androsky, Hannah Hedberg, Mason Parker
Northwood lost two seniors from last year’s team, guards Eric Olson and Chris Olson. The Evergreens are also without Nick Murray, who now plays for the Northwestern Tigers in Maple.
Three starters return from last year’s team.
The top player back is 6-foot center Gage Harwick. He averaged 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season for Northwood.
Also returning in starting roles are Josh Downs, a 5-foot-9 guard, and Austin Meyer, a 6-foot-2 forward. Meyer is a senior and Downs is a junior. Seniors Braxton Phillips and Ben Burns also bring experience from last season along with a strong group of sophomores.
Northwood defeated Luck 49-42 Tuesday to open the season.
2012-13 Evergreen Boys
15. Brady Vig G 5’ 5” So.
20. Josh Down G 5’ 9” Sr.
21. Mason Barth G 5’ 6” So.
22. Braxton Phillips F 6’ 2” Sr.
30. Austin Meyer F 6’ 2” Sr.
32. Kacey Block G 5’ 9” So.
40. Shane Goettl F 5’ 8” So.
42. Brandon Gokey F 5’ 9” Jr.
44. Ben Burns G 6’ 0” Sr.
50. Gage Harwick C 6’ 0” Sr.