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Chris Murphy, Published March 05 2013

Vikings outlast Wolverines for sub-section title

MOORHEAD – After topping No. 4-seeded Frazee and top-seeded Hawley, No. 5-seeded Wadena-Deer Creek was eyeing another upset to head to the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 girls basketball title game.

But Pelican Rapids was having none of that. The No. 3-seeded Vikings held off Cinderella with a 54-44 win Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium, claiming the sub-section crown and punching a ticket to the section championship game.

“We just played defense, and we rebounded in the second half,” Pelican Rapids coach Brian Korf said. “We aren’t looking ahead at all. We are just taking this one game at a time.”

Nothing was decided after one half, as the teams went into the break tied at 22-22. A Madison Korf 3-pointer with 7 minutes, 32 seconds left gave Pelican Rapids (20-7) a lead it would not relinquish. Although Wadena-Deer Creek (18-10) towered over the Vikings in size, the Vikings found some scrappiness from girls barely above 5 feet.

“They were huge, but we’ve been dealing with that all season,” said 5-foot-3 Madison Korf. “Our defense picked up in the second half and we held them to one shot.”

Wadena-Deer Creek center Emily Miron had her way in the first half, scoring 10 points, hauling in 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. In the second half, the smaller Pelican Rapids squad outrebounded the Wolverines 20-10, including 14 rebounds combined from Madison and Mackenzie Korf and Sommer Haugrud, none of whom are taller than 5-foot-5.

“They were really big,” Mackenzie said with her eyes opening wide. “It was rough down there, but we did what we had to do. We really wanted this, and it’s just awesome.”

Wadena-Deer Creek certainly didn’t go away. After tying it at 36-36, Pelican Rapids went on a 6-0 run to separate. A Hope Theisen layup cut the lead to 42-39, but the Vikings slammed the door shut with an 8-0 run behind a jumper from Haugrud, two of Madison Korf’s 13 points and four of Mackenzie Korf’s team-high 15 points.

The Wolverines stayed with another higher seed, but seven minutes to go versus the Vikings turned into midnight for Cinderella.

“We just had a few too many turnovers and just didn’t play our best game,” Wadena-Deer Creek coach Keith Ferris said. “To have beaten a tough Frazee team and the top-seeded Hawley team was an accomplishment. It was a great run. You have to give it to this Pelican Rapids team. They came to play. We just didn’t have enough.”

Although the Vikings swear they are taking it one game at a time, a ticket to state for the first time since 2001 and the second time in program history is tempting not to wonder about and even make a guarantee about.

“We are taking it one game at a time and we are just focusing on the next game,” Madison Korf said. “When we make it, it will be awesome.”

When?

“When we make it,” Madison Korf said with a smile.

Pelican Rapids will take on Crookston at 7 p.m. Friday at Bemidji State University for a trip to state.

P (20-7): Haugrud 2 2-5 6, Mac. Korf 3 8-8 15, Mad. Korf 4 2-2 13, Weinrich 4 1-2 9, Huseby 1 0-0 2, Haiby 1 2-2 4, 2 0-0 5, Pfeifle 2 0-0 5.

W (18-10): Schissel 2 0-0 5, Theisen 5 1-2 12, Volkmann 2 2-2 7, Moenkedick 2 0-0 4, Miron 5 5-11 16.

Half: P 22, W 22: 3-point goals: Mac. Korf 1, Mad. Korf 3, Pfeifle 1, Volkmann 1, Theisen 1, Miron 1. Total fouls: P 15, W 16. Rebounds: P 35 (Huseby 7, Haugrud 6, Mac. Korf 6), W 27 (Miron 14). Turnovers: P 10, W 11.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548