Viking girls take first round, then lose semifinal in sections

By Victoria Dahlin —

Haley Huset scored eight points in the section quarterfinal against Duluth Denfeld and five in the semifinal at Grand Rapids. Photos by Victoria Dahlin

A loss in the Section 7AAA semifinal versus Grand Rapids put an end to the North Branch girls basketball season after they defeated Duluth Denfeld in the quarters.

The #3 seeded Vikings hosted the #6 seed Hunters on March 8, a day later than scheduled due to Wednesday’s snowstorm, in a hard fought battle.

North Branch was up 30-23 at the half, but Duluth Denfeld came back to score the first 10 points in the second half, taking a three point lead. The Vikings were unrelenting and regained the lead, holding on for a 54-48 victory.

“I thought Kallie Grote stepped it up offensively and got us going hitting a couple of three’s and had 10 first half points,” said Coach Dan Schindler. “Eighth grader Courtney Selbitschka also played really well and gave us some great minutes against their pressure defense. With our leading scorer Sarah Lekson hurting with sore ribs, I thought our other girls really stepped it up. Annette Olson and Cassedy Coleman did a nice job defensively and Haley Huset ran our offense. I give a lot of credit to Sarah for playing at all, as she was playing in pain. But she wanted to be in there and did a nice job for us in limited minutes. It was a nice overall team effort and all our hard work this season paid off.”

Last Friday the team traveled to face #2 seed Grand Rapids in the section semifinals, playing a very competitive game. The Thunderhawks took an early 12-4 lead before increasing it to 14. The Vikings would not give in and hit outside shots to cut the Thunderhawks lead to 34-27 at the half. In the end, Grand Rapids prevailed for the 59-44 victory.

“Overall I was pleased with our play,” said Coach Schindler. “We just ran into a hot team. Their size definitely gave us trouble as we had to shoot mostly from the outside. Overall we really battled and we made seven three-pointers to match them. The girls gave it everything they had, and as a coach that is all that I can ask. It was a fun season and I think we improved each month. We certainly will miss our three seniors, Kallie, Erin and Cassedy, as they have been great leaders for us this year and have been very dedicated to our program the past four years. I would like to thank them for working so hard for our program. We gained much needed experience this year and if the rest of the players get in the gym this summer and keep improving we should be in great shape next year.

Kallie Grote led the team in scoring in both section games, scoring 16 points versus Duluth Denfeld and 11 at Grand Rapids.

“I would like the thank the parents and fans for their support all year. I am very fortunate to be able to coach these girls, have great assistant coaches, and have parents who support our team. I would like to thank the press for covering our girls basketball team all season. The only thing I regret is that the season is over. I already am looking forward to next year’s team and building on what we accomplished this year,” he added.


The North Branch girls basketball team ended the 2011-12 season seventh in the North Suburban Conference with a 6-10 conference and a 16-12 overall record.


NB girls basketball

vs. Duluth Denfeld


Kallie Grote 16 pts

Sarah Lekson 10 pts

Courtney Selbitschka 9 pts

Haley Huset 8 pts

Annette Olson 7 pts

Cassedy Coleman 2 pts

Erin Reber 2 pts

@ Grand Rapids

Kallie Grote 11 pts

Sarah Lekson 10 pts

Courtney Selbitschka 6 pts

Haley Huset 5 pts

Emily Trunk 4 pts

Cassedy Coleman 4 pts

Erin Reber 2 pts

Annette Olson 2 pts

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