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Award winners have been announced for NRHEG 2017-18 winter athletics.

They were, by sport:

Boys’ Baskeball

• Panther Award — Benji Lundberg

• Most Improved Player — Brady Agrimson

• Practice Player Award — Gabe Dahle

• Best Defensive Player — Jerret Utpadel

• Captains — Lundberg, Utpadel, Nathaniel Techau

• All-conference — Lundberg, Agrimson, Jacob Schuller, Jerret Utpadel; honorable mention — Techau


The 7th-grade NRHEG Panther boys finished their season with an overall record of 13-7. 

The team was 10-2 in conference games. Conference losses include a drubbing from Maple River 39-17 early in the season and a loss at USC 34-26. The Maple River loss was later avenged with a complete team effort in the second-to-last game of the season with the Panthers winning 42-36. A non-conference highlight for the season was an impromptu game versus Tri-City United. With a mix-up in scheduling the Panthers found themselves hosting the Titans halfway through practice. In their practice jerseys they ended up winning an overtime thriller 33-31 with the game coming down to free throws with no time remaining.

With an emphasis on fundamentals an all new playbook and shared playing time, the Panthers held tough in overtime this season going 4-0. There was also a stretch in the middle of the season where the Panthers were faced with six games coming down to the last possession. There's no such thing as too many learning experiences and this resilient team had its fair share.

On the season the 7th-graders scored 745 points and allowed 659. Point guard Charlie Nissen led all scorers with 242 points, averaging 12 per game. Zander Nolan was also an every game contributor totaling 161 points with just as many rebounds. Nolan started every game for the Panthers.

NRHEG boys upset by Maple River

They say it’s tough to beat a good team three times in one season.

The Maple River Eagles must be a good team. They’re in the section finals.

The season came to a disappointing end for the NRHEG boys’ basketball team Monday night with a 61-59 loss to Maple River in the sub-section finals at Minnesota-State Mankato. The top-seeded Panthers finished 24-4 while the second-seeded Eagles improved to 20-9 and advanced to Friday’s Section 2AA final against Jordan.

Maple River will enter Friday’s contest as an underdog, just as it was Monday, though the Panthers knew it would not be easy and it was not.

It was back-and-forth all night, neither team managing more than a six or eight-point lead.

Sparked by senior Benji Lundberg, the Panthers bolted to a 9-2 advantage but Maple River, led by Ethan Sindiler, trailed just 20-19 at halftime.

As Lundberg went, so went the Panthers in the second half. They were up five with eight minutes left and that’s when Mason Sohre took over. He hit back-to-back threes to put Maple River up for good and finished the night 19 of 21 from the line, including 13-for-13 in the final minutes, with 29 points.

“You tip your cap to that kid and that team,” said NRHEG coach Pat Churchill. “They made the big plays the last six minutes of the game and got the job done.”

Lundberg also got the job done, totaling 31 points while surpassing the 1,000 mark for his career.