Girls basketball: Parkers Prairie moves to 3-0 with 52-38 win over B-E

Parkers Prairie is now 3-0 after a solid defensive showing against Brandon-Evansville. Both teams' head coaches are in their first seasons with the programs and both have seen progress from their teams so far this season.

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Parkers Prairie's Cora Johnson puts up a shot during a game against Brandon-Evansville on Dec. 6, 2022. Parkers Prairie won the game 52-38.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press
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PARKERS PRAIRIE - The Parkers Prairie girls basketball team continued its solid start to the 2022-23 season under new head coach Hunter Haggenmiller with a 52-38 win over the Brandon-Evansville Chargers on Tuesday.

“I think our girls played good energy overall and did a nice job controlling the entire game,” Haggenmiller said. “We got out to that good start and felt comfortable.”

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Parkers Prairie's Joey McKeown (22) and B-E's Claire Boesl fight for possession of lose ball during a game on Dec. 6, 2022. Parkers Prairie won the game, 52-38.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

The Chargers trailed by seven points with four minutes left, but the Panthers closed the game out well to win by 14.

“It was great to see the fans out here, and it’ll be a fun season ahead,” Haggenmiller said.

The Panthers came into the game with wins over Bertha-Hewitt (56-31) and Verndale (57-35).


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Parkers Prairie's Abbi Ruckheim blocks a shot during a game against Brandon-Evansville on Dec. 6, 2022.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

In the second half of Tuesday’s game, the Chargers made some defensive adjustments to keep themselves within arm's reach down the stretch.

“We’re getting beat in our man-to-man defense, so we decided to switch to a zone defense,” B-E head coach Steve Schreiber said. “It took away the penetration they had against us. It allowed us to kind of negate their offense, but we didn't score much, either. We got to the four-minute mark down seven, and we can't sit in the zone at that point. We had to get out of it a little bit. That allowed them to run, and we had the same issues we had the first half where they penetrated pretty hard on us, and we couldn't get stoppage of the ball.”

Haggenmiller has taken over the Parkers Prairie program after current athletic director John Noga retired from his position as the girls head coach last spring. Noga left as one of the best girls coaches in the state.

“It’s been interesting, and it’s a challenge for sure,” Haggenmiller said. “The girls have been awesome with me sliding into this position. I think the goal is every day to get a little bit better. I’m kind of dipping in the waters after someone who's been here for a long time. I take it one day at a time and do what I can. Having John still here is a big help for me. Any question I ever have, he's there for me, so I appreciate that. There are big shoes to fill, but at the same time, he's supporting me 100 percent. So that makes me feel comfortable and confident that way too.”

Haggenmiller is in his first year working for the school district. Haggenmiller went to school in Parkers Prairie and graduated in 2018.

Schreiber is in his first season with the B-E team and has seen some good things in the early going.

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B-E girls basketball head coach Steve Schreiber smiles and applauds at a game on Dec. 6, 2022, against Parkers Prairie.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

“The nice thing is, these girls are willing to put the work in and work their butts off,” Schreiber said. “We are still working on getting my system in. We’ve still got some work to do, but it feels like we take a baby step forward in every game. I guess that's maybe what it's like; as a first-year coach, it's been a while since I've done it. It just feels like we're not completely where we can be yet. I think that's going to come as we continue to work and continue with the timing.”

Parkers Prairie’s Avery Benzinger finished with a double-double, 14 points, and 11 rebounds. She was also very active on the defensive end, coming up with six steals. She was tied with Abbi Ruckheim with a game-high 14 points.


“We can be aggressive with the ball,” Haggenmiller said. “We like the run and gun. I think with not having a huge size difference between guards and forwards, we're just ready to move.”

B-E’s Kylee Dingwall had a double-double on the night as well, with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sydney Schaefer also cracked double figures with 10 points.

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B-E's Kylee Dingwall puts up a shot during a game on Dec. 6, 2022, against Parkers Prairie. Dingwall had a double-double, 13 points and 10 rebounds in B-E's 52-38 loss.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

The Chargers have been battling the flu recently, but they are working to be back at full strength.

B-E has its first home game of the season on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.

“We're just going to try and make improvements again on our defense,” Schreiber said. “We're going to spend time working on getting low and containing the ball. Hopefully, we can make a little improvement and take a step forward. My goal isn't to win the games in December; we want to win the games in February. Hillcrest will allow us an opportunity to take what we've learned from here, and maybe what we didn't do well here, and hopefully flip that switch.”

Parkers Prairie is back at home against Battle Lakes on Thursday at 7:15 p.m

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B-E's Sydney Schaefer puts up a three-pointer during a game against Parkers Prairie on Dec. 6, 2022. Schaefer had 10 points in B-E's 52-38 loss.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

“Our goal this year is to get better every game and be prepared at the end of February for the section tournament,” Haggenmiller said. “We see things from every game and every practice that we need to work on, and it's about continuing to get 1 percent better every day.”

PARKERS PRAIRIE PLAYER STATS - Cora Johnson - 5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, Ellie Koep - 5 points, 5 rebounds, 2 deflections, 1 block; Evalynn Grinager - 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 deflection, 1 steal; Johahna McKeown - 4 points, 1 assist, 1 deflection; Alyssa Revering - 1 deflection, 2 steals; Avery Benzinger - 14 points, 11 rebounds, 1 deflection, 6 steals; Abbi Ruckheim - 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 deflections


BRANDON-EVANSVILLE PLAYER STATS - Grace Otto - 4 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 deflections, 1 steal; Skylar Bitzan - 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 deflections, 2 steals; Sydney Schaefer - 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 deflections, 3 steals; Emmalee Brethorst - 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 deflection, 1 steal; Kylee Dingwall - 13 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 deflections, 3 steals, Madison Anderson - 6 points, 1 rebound, 2 deflections; Kayla Bitzan-Anderson, 1 point, 2 rebounds, 1 deflection

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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