Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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The Alexandria Blizzard will play to keep its season alive tonight when Granite City comes to the Runestone Community Center at 7:10 p.m. The Lumberjacks won game one of the...
Alexandria Blizzard players couldn't be faulted if they have revenge on their mind when they drop the puck in the NA3HL West Division playoffs against Granite City on Friday. The Lumberjacks have their number over the last few years. They've ended Alexandria's season in 2013, 2014 and 2015 — albeit in some close series, including back-to-back decisive game threes. But this is a new Blizzard team. One that head coach Jeff Crouse says is ready to do whatever it takes to put together a postseason run.
The Brandon-Evansville boys basketball team wrapped up its winter season by handing out its team honors recently as senior Skyler Quinn took home the Most Important Player Award after leading the team in both scoring and rebounding. Quinn averaged a near double-double at 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds. He totaled 384 points this season to finish his career with 1,133. He added 215 rebounds, 44 steals, 39 blocks and 60 assists.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that burning restrictions in the central part of the state will begin on March 21 in areas that include Douglas County. A DNR release said that in the past few weeks, firefighters have already responded to wildfires in Central Minnesota as conditions for fire have increased.
Alexandria's Logan Doyle needed just 24 hours to commit to the men's basketball program at South Dakota State University when he got an offer from the Jackrabbits in the summer of 2012. Now more than three years later, he's as confident in that quick decision as ever. Doyle knew being with SDSU meant joining one of the best programs in the Summit League.
Ron Jacobson can walk out his back door to the boat or canoe and spend the whole day out on Lake Chippewa north of Brandon. The wildlife, the water — it brings him back every time. Taking a fish home is supposed to be the goal, but it's merely a bonus. In fact, when he pulls up a walleye or bluegill, he doesn't imagine it in a frying pan any more than he sees it as art. "I look at it and think how can I do this with a carving?" Jacobson said while discussing the features of different fish.
Any coach could lose some sleep trying to prepare for two of the top Class AA teams in the state over the course of four days, but Pat Kalpin had more on his mind to keep him up during the Section 6AA playoffs this season. Kalpin coached the Osakis girls basketball team to a win over third-ranked Albany (24-4) in the subsection semifinals on March 5. Three days later, he was on the sidelines as the Silverstreaks pushed second-ranked Sauk Centre but ultimately fell in the finals. In between there, he and his wife, Erin, welcomed their third child into the world.
The Little Eight Conference has announced its girls basketball all-league team with local schools well represented on the roster. Brandon-Evansville had three players named All-LEC in senior Elizabeth Vinson and juniors Carrigan Okerlund and Kylee Hansen. Okerlund suffered a broken arm during a game against New York Mills on Feb. 12 but joined Vinson and Hansen in playing well enough before that injury to make the all-conference team. Chargers junior Kennedy Lund was also honored as an honorable-mention selection.
Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt took a deep breath from the bench after the postgame ceremonies in Moorhead last Thursday night. The Fergus Falls boys basketball team had just accepted its section championship trophy, fresh off erasing a 10-point deficit over the final three minutes, 41 seconds. Fans started funneling onto the court to visit with players as Witt left to head down toward the locker room. Four days later, the disappointment of that loss still hadn't worn off.
Four-year-old Aiden Cichy of Minneapolis was visiting his great-grandparents near Alexandria on Feb. 5 when he got into the ice house on Lake Ida. Aiden will remember that trip as the day he caught his first walleye that will go on the wall. He was using a minnow when the walleye grabbed the bait. "Little Aiden hooked it and Grandpa helped set the hook before Aiden reeled it in," his great-grandmother, Betty Cichy, said. "The walleye took it out, and Aiden let it go and brought it back in. He said two days later, 'My arms were sore.'"