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Chris Murphy, Published December 20 2013

D-G-F hands No. 3 Pelican Rapids first loss in boys basketball

GLYNDON, Minn. – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton senior center Brock Stalboerger was wearing a bright blue Christmas sweater vest he bought from the thrift store with pride, as he walked out of the Rebels locker room Friday night.

Normally, in the high school world, Stalboerger may have a friendly joke or two made at his expense. Friday, after scoring 12 points and hauling in 13 rebounds to help D-G-F hand Minnesota Class 2A, No. 3-ranked Pelican Rapids its first boys basketball loss of the season 53-41, Stalboerger was untouchable.

“We figured we could be the best, so why not show we were the best and beat the top team in our sec-tion,” Stalboerger said. “This is a huge win.”

D-G-F (4-3) never trailed in the game, opening with an 18-9 run and pushing it to 22-11 in the first half. Pelican Rapids guard Ryan Bruggeman came in averaging 24.6 points on 55 percent shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, 8.8 assists and five steals a game in the Vikings’ first six wins of the season. Friday, two free throws with 5 minutes, 31 seconds to go in the half served as his only points of the half.

“We keyed in on Bruggeman,” Stalboerger said. “We were covering gaps when he drove and the lane. We were making the other four guys that play with Bruggeman try to beat us.”

Despite having eight turnovers and shooting zero free throws, D-G-F took a 26-17 lead into the break.

“We keyed in on Bruggeman and then we just boxed out and got rebounds,” said D-G-F senior guard Zach Nelson, who finished with 12 points. “We were really attacking the rim, getting to the basket and hitting our layups. This is a huge win, especially coming off of a loss to Hawley. It really boosts our energy to get better.”

Mason Bjerke’s jumper midway through the second half put D-G-F up 36-24, but Pelican Rapids came back with two 3-pointers from Bruggeman, one 3 from Tyler Honrud, and a layup from Nathan Sillerud to cut the lead to 36-35. The Rebels pushed it to 40-35, but Bruggeman came back with a steal and a layup to cut it back to 40-37. The Rebels had the final answer, closing the game on a 13-4 run.

“It was a huge win for our club,” D-G-F coach Mike Clark said. “We come out every night and sometimes they don’t believe. They found out how good they can play as a team, and they fought their hearts out.”

Outside of a 56-55 win at then No. 1-ranked Perham, Pelican Rapids came into Friday’s game defeating teams by an average of over 25 points. D-G-F came with a box that wasn’t wrapped for Christmas for the Vikings on Friday. It was the box-and-one defense.

“This was the first time we’d seen the box-and-one,” Pelican Rapids coach Doug Bruggeman said. “We adjusted fine to it, but we just didn’t make the plays we needed to in it. We got down a little bit and weren’t able to play our game.”

P (6-1): Bruggeman 5 2-3 14, Mackner 1 0-1 2, Haugen 3 0-0 6, Gorton 4 4-4 13, Sillerud 1 0-2 2, Honrud 1 1-2 4. Totals 15 7-13 41.

D (4-3): Matthews 3 4-4 10, Nelson 4 4-6 12, Bjerke 4 1-3 9, Stalboerger 6 0-0 12, Jacobson 1 0-0 2, Schumann 3 2-2 8. Totals 21 10-14 53.

Halftime: D 26, P 17. 3-pointers: Bruggeman 2, Honrud 1. Total fouls: D 18, P 11. Rebounds: D 40 (Stalboerger 13), P 23 (Sillerud, Bruggeman 7).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548