Joe Brown is a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Prior to becoming regional editor, he was the sports editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle from 2012-2018. He also worked as the sports editor for the Marshall Independent (2010-2012) and as a sports/news clerk for the St. Cloud Times (2008-2009). He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication.
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For a team that typically gets off to quick starts, it was jarring for the Red Wing girls' basketball team to be down 16-11 to Rochester John Marshall eight minutes into Tuesday's Big Nine Conference contest. Heads were down. Shoulders were slumped. So instead of coaching up the Xs and Os during halftime, Wingers head coach Jesse Nelson preached body language in hopes of elevating the squad.
Defending Northfield’s Grace Touchette at the top of the 3-point line against, Lindsay Reps took her chances, knowing the rest of the Red Wing squad would have her back if she missed on a steal. “You just have to take risks and hope your team would help you out if you get beat,” Reps said. Fortunately, Reps’ risk paid off as she stole the ball from Touchette and scored a layup with 18 seconds to go in Friday’s Big Nine Conference match-up at Sonju Gymnasium.
With two wins from Ben Schaffer, a come-from-behind win from Patrick Beech and a pair of relay victories, the Red Wing boys' swimming and diving team managed to secure a 101-85 Big Nine Conference victory over Austin Thursday at Twin Bluff Middle School. After a grueling practice Wednesday to go with Thursday's victory, the Wingers are hoping momentum is on their side when they're back in the pool this weekend with another trip to True Team state on the line.
ST. PAUL – Trying to stop a piece of vulcanized rubber is plenty tough for any hockey goaltender. But trying to do that job with the sun shining, bright glare off the ice and the smell of bonfire in the air, that was an entirely unique experience for Red Wing goalie Tyler McGrath. But it was an experience McGrath and the rest of the Red Wing girls' hockey team were plenty excited for when the team found out at the start of the year they would face Moorhead at the seventh annual St. Paul Winter Classic at the North Dale Rec Center in Como Park.
PINE ISLAND – In the Section 1AA standings, Pine Island wants to stand out from the pack. With teams like Rochester Lourdes, St. Charles, Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Plainview-Elgin-Millville all lumped together behind Lake City and Caledonia among the section's top teams, the Panthers wanted a net a standout win Thursday night at home against Lourdes. But the Eagles' defense and 3-point shooting left Pine Island in a tizzy as part of a 66-58 Hiawatha Valley League win on the Panthers' home court.
KENYON – Two of the Hiawatha Valley League's premier players took the court Monday with Kenyon-Wanamingo's Mara Quam and Kasson-Mantorville's Kristin Scott. And the duo did not disappoint as Scott scored 36 points and 12 rebounds, and Quam with 33 points. What Monday's conference match-up ultimately came down to was the effort of the other players on offense. And that's where the KoMets gained the advantage.
Ellynn Braunreiter helped make Red Wing’s return home into a block party. Thirty-one days after the Winger girls’ basketball team’s last home game, back on Dec. 6, the team returned home to face Big Nine Conference foe Faribault on Friday night. And with Braunreiter tallying seven blocks along with a strong defensive effort by the team as a whole, Red Wing secured a 43-39 victory over the Falcons at Sonju Gymnasium.
CANNON FALLS – The past two years were unkind to Zumbrota-Mazeppa. In 2014-15, the Cougars got just one win, followed by seven wins in 2015-16. Following Thursday's 58-46 Hiawatha Valley League victory over Cannon Falls, Z-M already has surpassed that two-year total at 9-1. After years of futility, the Cougars appreciate being the ones to deliver the lumps to other teams now.
RANDOLPH – Through the first eight games of the season, the Randolph girls' basketball team was having trouble with its identity through a 4-4 stretch. But now, following a 58-27 home Southeast Conference victory over Glenville-Emmons on Tuesday, the Rockets are rolling with a four-game win streak. “It's been fun,” said Randolph junior forward Hannah Neil. “We are finally starting to play as a team with all the different ages.”
With the team anxious to end a four-game losing skid, there’s a delicate balance for Red Wing boys’ basketball coach Drew Olinger to maintain. While the players are anxious to make plays in order to stop the struggles, playing hero ball can be detrimental if it strays away from the game plan. “It’s a hard place to be because it sometimes sounds like ‘Don’t hustle’ or ‘Don’t work in transition’ or ‘Don’t be aggressive,’” Olinger said. “We want those things but it’s making sure we have our teammates’ back and the teammates can help them in the correct situations.”