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Near perfection

Fri, Feb 15th, 2013
Posted in All Sports

Head and (big) shoulders above all. Chatfield's Jayme LaPlante rises up over Kingsland's Marcus Plaehn. LaPlante was a young man on a pedestal, scoring 19 in the Gophers 66-55 win over the Knights.

One point, just one lousy point; it was the margin of loss for the Chatfield Gopher wrestling team in their only defeat of the season. It happened at the first big team tournament of the year (Farmington) on December 1st to (then AA 5th ranked, now 4th ranked) New Prague 32-31. Ever since that, Joel Viss’ Gophers have been lights out in duals (and individual tournaments). They entered their triangular with Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Lake City boasting a #7 ranking in Class A and seven ranked wrestlers. They dispatched with the Tigers without too much fuss, building a 26-0 lead, prevailing 44-23. Then it was Z-M, the defending section champion who, as a 5-seed, upset the top-seeded Gophers last season. Chatfield built a 15-6 lead, courtesy of a TF from Jared Goldsmith (#7 at 106), a pin from Hank Friederichs (#5 at 120), and an 18-7 MD from A.J. Riley (#4 at 126). Then things got competitive. At 132, Tye Bentz and Devin Manzy wrestled to OT. Manzy got a takedown to secure the 9-7-decision for Z-M. The Gophers then ran off three straight big decision wins. Harvey Friederichs (#3 at 132) downed Mitchell Watkins (#6) at 138, getting a single-leg takedown in the third for the 3-1 victory. Alex Haffner (#5 at 138) led 4-1 (one period), 8-5 (two periods), and 11-7 to beat Cody Heitman (#5) at 145. Ryan Meeker (#9 at 145) capped the run at 152, cinching the match with a 3rd period throw (6-3 win). It gave the Gophers a 24-9 lead. Two Cougar pins later, and the team score was ever so close at 24-21. But then Cody Bly (182) won a 6-1 decision. Justin Viss (#8 at 195) followed with a pin. At that point (leading 33-21), and having won eight of 12 matches (tie-breaker), Chatfield had the dual wrapped up. However, Jacob Bleess (220) left no doubt with a 6-4 win. Via a final of 36-27, Chatfield extracted a little revenge on Z-M, and secured the #1 seed in the Section 1A team-wrestling meet. They moved their dual record to 27-1. For the triangular, Goldsmith (3-0 D, 15-0 TF), Hank F. (16-1 TF, pin), Riley (5-1 D, 18-7 MD), Harvey F. (pin, 3-1 D), Bly (pin, 6-1 D), Viss (forfeit, pin), and Bleess (forfeit, 6-4 D) all went 2-0.

Gophers Unfazed

At times, the Kingsland Knight boys have had trouble scoring this season. They are young, without a Tanner Lange-like go to guy. The problems they’re facing when it comes to putting points on the scoreboard will likely be, at least somewhat, remedied next year when almost the entire team returns. But for one night, for one half, in Spring Valley, against rival Chatfield, the Knights had a pair of go-to guys. Junior Jordan Meskill was quick-triggered and keen-eyed from behind the 3-point line. The 5’11” junior hit all five three-pointers he fired up, which accounted for all 15 of his points. Freshmen teammate Quinn Larson similarly went off. The 6’0” guard was a shot-taker and shot-maker. He too scored 15 points in the 2nd half alone. With the way those two played, and the way the Knights shot in the second 18-minutes (15-27 total FG’s including 7-10 from distance), one would’ve logically guessed they more than whittled into the Gophers 27-15 halftime lead. To the contrary, the explosion barely fazed Chatfield. The Gophers shot just as well (17-29 total, 3-6 from deep). The most Kingsland chipped into Chat’s 12-point halftime lead was getting it down to nine. The Gophers main offensive focal point was 6’3” forward Jayme LaPlante. LaPlante was game-high with 19 points (on 9-12 FG’s). However, Chatfield got four players into double figures. Jake Neis had 13 and 9 rebounds. His backcourt mate Reid Danielson had 12 points, 5 steals, and a badly missed dunk attempt (he gets an A for his all-out effort). Mitch Irish added 10 points and 9 rebounds. The Gophers completed the season sweep of Kingsland with a 66-55 victory. Larson led Kingsland with 18. Meskill had his 15. Marshall Oeltjen added 10 points and 9 rebounds. Chatfield began the game up 8-2 and never trailed. The Knights scored 40 points and the Gophers 39 in the second half.

How Much Better?

The full question is, how much better could the Chatfield boys have played? The simple answer is, not much. The full answer is, entering their contest with St. Charles, most probably expected a tough 3-Rivers battle. The Saints, after all, entered with a better overall record, 12-8 to 11-9 (albeit Chatfield was ahead in the 3-Rivers standings). The Gophers won meeting number one in St. Chuck, 68-63, but Saint Aaron Leistikow, one of the 3-Rivers absolutely best scorers, went off for 40 points. With the 6’2” senior in the line-up, one probably couldn’t have dreamed the Gophers would do what they did in meeting two and put together runs of 10-0, 8-0, and 8-0 all in the first 12:00! They started the game up 29-7! Behind Leistikow, SC made things respectable at halftime (down 39-26). But then the best the Gophers had to offer. They began the second half scoring on 13 of their first 14 possessions. In that span, they made 13 of 17 FG’s all without a turnover. All that combined to equal a 28-10 run that made the score 67-36! It made the game absolutely academic. By a final of 79-52, Chatfield kept up their impressive play as of late and trounced St. Charles. The focal point of the Gopher’s attack was Jayme LaPlante. Unstoppable best described his play, as he made 11 of 13 FG’s for 22 points (and gets 90% credit for a two-handed in-the-half-court slam dunk). Junior teammate Jake Neis did everything (15 pts, 8 rebs, 7 assists, 6 stls). Reid Danielson and Nate Skare added 11 and 9 respectively, as the Gophers finished the game shooting a whopping 55% from the field (36-65). They were over 50% in each half. They assisted 24 of the 36 makes. Leisitkow finished with 22 for St. Charles. Junior forward Devin Decker added 11 and 5 assists.

Wire to Wire

It’s safe to say the Chatfield girls are better than Kingsland this season. In two games, the Gophers trailed for exactly zero minutes. The first meeting had Chatfield jump out to 9-0 and 25-8 leads before coasting to a 65-40 win. Meeting two wasn’t so dominating. Behind a trio of three’s in the opening minutes, the home Gophers jumped out 11-2. Mostly at the FT line, the Knights crawled back into it (down 14-9). At the half, Chatfield was up 24-13. That double-digit lead remained for the duration. Via a final of 52-34, Chatfield completed the two-game wire-to-wire sweep of the Knights. Defense and balance was the blueprint. The Knights shot under 20% for the game, and, like the first meeting, Kingsland leading scorer Cheyenne Losey (averaging 14 per) was held to just 7 points (she did have 15 rebounds). Offensively, seven of the eight Gophers to score had multiple FG’s. Sophomore PG Kirsten Keefe had a game-high 11 including three 3-pointers. She added 7 rebounds and 5 assists. MaKenzie Miller also reached double-figures with 10 (and was unofficially credited with 14 rebounds). Junior forward Marissa Bornholdt led the Knights with 10. Kingsland did play minus the services of senior G/F Jessi Kaster. The three-point shot was also critical in the game. Chatfield made 7 of 19. Kingsland was just 3 of 20.

Done In By Duhrman

No one at Fillmore Central got the memos. Grand Meadow’s girls like to start fast. Senior guard Audra Durhman can shoot. Before FC had much time to react, Durhman’s long-range exploits had the Super Larks out to a 20-7 lead. It was eerily reminiscent of what GM did to fellow Fillmore County squad, Mabel-Canton, just days earlier (they started 11-0 behind Durhman, and Autumn Thorsen’s, shooting). Try as they might, the young Falcons couldn’t make up that early deficit. They hit a couple three’s out of the second half gate to trim GM’s lead to 29-23. They ratcheted up the defensive intensity. On multiple occasions, they cut GM’s lead into single digits, only for Durhman to make a shot and stave off the run. In the end, Grand Meadow’s splendid 5’7” senior guard made 10 of 18 shots, including 5 of 9 three-pointers. She tallied a game-high 25 points that lead her squad to a 49-38 victory. Thorsen chipped in 12 points for the Larks. They got 10 rebounds apiece from starting frontcourt players Cortney Olson (4 points) and Sydney Richardson (1 point). Sophomore guard Morgan Malley was the only Falcons in double figures. She had 14. Leah Scheevel had 9 rebounds and 6 steals (3 points).

A.O.T.W. Madness

Sometimes it is easy picking Athlete of the Week. Sometimes it is hard. One is never wrong in a choice (though not every reader of the FJC sports column is always satisfied). For the week starting February 4th, three young men all made a case for the award. In Spring Valley, something happened. Quinn Larson the freshmen with plenty of potential, suddenly came of age. Maybe the reigns were taken off the shot-taking 6’0” guard. Doing so was a good thing. Over the span of three games (really 2 ½), Larson scored 18, 28, and 24 points (for a robust 23.3 PPG). Those three point totals were his three best efforts of this season, his first on varsity. His (known) high game up until that point had been 14. The 18-point effort came against Chatfield and, 15 of it came in the second half. A couple nights later, Larson again was a scoring machine, pumping in 28 at Lewiston-Altura. He hit six trifectas. The only bad news in those two games was the Knights lost both, 66-55 to the Gophers, 84-68 to the Cards. Then, at a Saturday double-header in Stewartville, Larson continued his personal streak and, finally, it reaped team dividends. Quinn’s 24 (five three-pointers) helped Kingsland upset the Tigers 71-58. The Knights are young (one senior who starts). They’ve taken their licks this season. But Larson and company will certainly have brighter team days as their careers evolve.

In Chatfield, Jayme LaPlante is the antithesis of Quinn Larson. LaPlante, the Gophers 6’3” 215-pound junior power forward mastodon, probably could take (and make) ten shots, and they wouldn’t add of to the distance of one of Larson’s long-range efforts. But why stray far from the basket when no one can stop you in close? Jayme, on the week, was just about as brilliant. He put up 19, 22, and 18 points versus Larson’s Knights, St. Charles, and Rochester-Lourdes (a nice 19.7 PPG). Save for a 22-point effort a week earlier versus Rushford-Peterson, those were LaPlante’s three best scoring efforts of the season. The impressive thing was his shooting percentage. He made 29 of 39 field goals to get those points, or a ridiculous 74%. That isn’t absolutely unstoppable (once he touches the ball), but it’s getting close. With LaPlante being the focal point of Chatfield’s attack, the Gophers have won 7 of 10. All three losses came to (well) above .500 teams Caledonia, P-E-M, and Lourdes. They aren’t going to get a top seed in Sub-Section 1AA East, but they’re going to be a tough out down the line for someone. They’ll be even tougher to eliminate in LaPlante continues to be an interior man-child.

Finally, there is Lanesboro’s Kole Ruud. The Burros are a three-pronged perimeter menace (with an improving Isaac Freese in the post), and the 5’11” junior guard is probably the most frightening. He gave Houston, Hope Lutheran, and LeRoy-Ostrander fits, scoring 24, 20, and 29 respectively (for a 24.3 PPG average) over the week of February 4th. Against the Cards, 26 of those points came in the first half. The thing about Kole is, those efforts weren’t his best of the year. Early in the season, he had a span of five straight games with 20 or more points. Currently, he’s on a tear of 20 or more points in 8 of 9 games (with the lone exception being a 19-point effort at Schaeffer Academy). He leads the Burros this season with just over 20 PPG. Unlike the Larson and LaPlante, Ruud’s team is winning as much as he is scoring. The Burros went 3-0 on the week, and are 16-4 overall on the season. At 16-1 in the SEC, they’re tied (courtesy of a February 11th win) with Spring Grove atop the league. Ruud plays different competition (than Larson and LaPlante). But his team wins and he plays big, the two main criteria as to why he gets the Athlete of the Week nod.


02-04 > #10 in A R-P 71, M-C 44 (R-P: Charlie Krambeer 17 pts (5 of 7 three’s); 14 other Trojans scored. M-C: Noah Manning 15)

> Houston 31, Fillmore Central 61 (FC: Nick Powell 14 pts, 7 rebs; Dan Gatzke 10; 16 Falcons scored)

02-05 > Houston 33, Lanesboro 67 (L: Kole Ruud 24; Luke Rogers 18; Isaac Freese 13 pts, 9 rebs)

> D-E 33, #10 in A R-P 59 (R-P: Austin O’Hare 19 pts on 6-7 FG’s, 4-5 3’s, & 3-4 FT’s; Jorli Hauge 12; Cole Kingsley 8 pts, 6 rebs, 3 assists, 3 stls. D-E: Travis Austin 11)

> M-C 51, Spring Grove 91 (M-C: Hunter Johnson/Collin O’Bieglo 13 each. SG: Chase Grinde 26; Blaine Storlie 19. Halftime score was Lions 43, Cougars 32. FT’s: M-C 5-7, SG 23-37)

> Southland 76, FC 46 (FC: D. Gatzke 20 pts, 8 rebs; N. Powell 12 pts, 12 rebs. S: four in double figures led by new 1,000-point scorer Nick Schmitz’s 22. Falcons are 3-12 in 3-Rivers, 6-15 overall)

02-07 > Kingsland 68, Lewiston-Altura 84 (K: Q. Larson career-high 28 (six three-pointers); M. Oeltjen 10. L-A: five in double-figures led by Nate Reps’ 22 pts, 14 rebs & Josh Ehlenfeldt’s 18. Game was tied at 41 at halftime)

> Lanesboro 76, Hope Lutheran 38 (L: K. Ruud 20; Erik Peterson 18 pts, 7 assists; L. Rogers 15. HL: Jason Klug 20)

> #10 in A R-P 72, Southland 61 (R-P: C. Krambeer 19 (6 of 11 from deep); A. O’Hare 13; Cole Kingsley 11 pts, 5 assists. Trojans were on, making 26 of 44 total FG’s (59.1%) and 12 of 25 3-pointers (48%). Trojans maintain 2nd place (14-3, 18-3) in 3-Rivers behind P-E-M (13-2, 14-7) ahead of the Rebels (12-4, 15-6), Caledonia (10-5, 13-6), Chatfield (11-6, 12-10) and Lewiston-Altura (10-6, 12-8))

02-08 > LeRoy-Ostrander 54, Lanesboro 93 (L: K. Ruud 29 pts, 5 stls; L. Rogers 18 pts, 9 rebs, 6 assists; E. Peterson 16. L-O: Zach Royston 15. Seven Burros combined to make 15 trifectas. Lanes has won 8th straight. They’re (15-1, 16-4) in 2nd in the SEC-East behind Spring Grove (15-0, 17-4). Grand Meadow (11-4, 13-8) leads the West)

> Lyle/Pacelli 71, M-C 70 (M-C: Donnie Lind 16; H. Johnson/Justin Ward 14 each. L/P: David Diang 27 (go-ahead FT with 6.9 left). Cougars missed shot, and put-back, at buzzer. Athletics led by 11 at half. M-C is 4-11, 4-17)

02-09 > Chatfield 62, #9 in AA Rochester-Lourdes 66 (C: J. LaPlante 18 pts, 7 rebs; N. Skare 18 (4-8 from deep); J. Neis 9 pts, 10 assists. R-L: Jacob Schaeffer 27; Mark Pagel 20; Kyle Kapraun 11. Goph’s led 33-28 at half but fell to the 16-5 Eagles. Chatfield is 11-6, 12-10 overall. They’ve won 7 of 10 after starting year 5-7)

> Kingsland 71, Stewartville 58 (K: frosh Q. Larson 24 (five 3-pointers, 7-7 FT’s); soph’s Jacob Rindels/Isiah Bubany 13 each. S: Will Gisler 16. 3-pointers: K 11, S 3. FT’s: K 16-24, S 21-26. Knights are 4-11, 6-15)


02-04 > Houston 41, Lanesboro 52 (L: Alisa Warnes 19; Olivia Haug 10. H: Abbey Loken 19. ‘Canes won first meeting of season in overtime. The win was Lanes’ 4th in their last 5 games)

> M-C 27, L/P 70 (M-C: Sara Lind 11; Christy Welscher 10 pts, 8 rebs. L/P: four in double figures led by Sarah Holtz’s 17)

> R-P 44, D-E 68 (R-P: Amy Todd 14 pts, 6 rebs; Kendra Crawford 11. D-E: Megan Ihrke 14; Krista Horn 12 pts, 10 assists; Lindsey Zeitler 12; Brandi Blattner 11 pts, 13 rebs, 8 assists)

02-05 > FC 34, Southland 80 (FC: L. Scheevel 10. S: 12 girls scored. Falcons are 5-13, 5-17)

02-07 > L-A 46, Kingsland 64 (K: Lizzie Tart 10 pts, 9 rebs; Brittany Erding 10; 12 Knights scored)

> Lanesboro 35, HL 56 (L: Johanna Bearson 11. HL: Tiahia Aune 18)

> M-C 54, Schaeffer Academy 35 (M-C: C. Welscher 13 pts, 8 rebs; S. Lind 10)

> Southland 86, R-P 72 (R-P: A. Todd 21; Sierra McNamer 15; K. Crawford 14; Hope Morrison 10. S: Jana Schammel 26; Haley Kirkpatrick 24; McKenzie Kirtz 17. Trojans are 7-11, 11-11)

02-08 > Chatfield 55, St. Charles 34 (C: Brook Irish 12; M. Miller/Sidney Irish 10 each; 12 Gophers scored. Chat is 14-4, 16-6. That is 3rd in the 3-Rivers behind Southland (17-1, 20-3) and Dover-Eyota (15-3, 21-3). Caledonia (12-5, 17-6) and P-E-M (12-5, 16-6) are 4-5)

> L/P 64, M-C 30 (M-C: L. Geving 9. L/P: Cortney Walter 17; Ann Rysavy 13. Cougars are 7-9, 11-10)

> Lanesboro 37, L-O 47 (Burros are 6-10, 7-15. SG (16-0, 18-6) and L/P (14-2, 20-2) lead SEC divisions)

02-09 > Kingsland 44, Stewartville 31 (K: C. Losey 15 pts, 7 rebs, 4 assists; M. Bornholdt 10. S: Blair Honsey 12. Knights are 9-8, 12-11)


02-04 > Chatfield 50, P-E-M 22; Chatfield 67, D-E 9; P-E-M 46, D-E 25 (Jared Goldsmith (106; pin, 11-3 MD), Ty Van Sickle (113; 8-3 D, FF), Hank Friederichs (120; two pins), A.J. Riley (126; 12-0 MD, pin), Harvey Friederichs (132; two pins), Ryan Meeker (138; FF, 9-3 D), Alex Haffner (145; FF, 19-7 MD), Cody Bly (170; two pins), Sam Fryer (182; pin, 2-1 D), and Justin Viss (195; FF, pin) went 2-0)

02-05 > GMLOK 33, St. Charles 45 (Match was tied at 33 after 195, but GMLOK forfeited final two weights)

02-08 > GMLOK 35, Austin/Austin Pacelli 40; GMLOK 36, D-E 39; D-E 47, Austin/AP 26 (Versus Austin, 138-152 proved the difference as GMLOK lost all three via pin (fell behind 28-11). Versus D-E, the Eagles led 33-18 after 160. GMLOK got three straight pins to take a 36-33 lead. A Bulldog forfeit at 225 proved the difference (double FF at 285). Bren Olson (106; two pins), Blake Olson (132; FF, pin), Lucas Roe (#4 at 152, wrestled 160/170; FF, pin), Wyatt Richardson (182; FF, pin), and Blake Benson (220/195; two pins) each went 2-0)

> LARP 42, St. Charles 29 (Saints led 23-9 after 145, but LARP won 6 of the final 7 matches. Sam Riebel (120), Nick Hoff (170), and Evan Bain (285) racked up pins. McCoy Tekautz (106) and Nick Puetz (220) won 12-6 and 6-2 decisions. Tucker Speltz (152), Jordan Theede (160), and Greg Johnson (182) won via forfeit)

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