Battlers on a roll [UPDATED]Published 11:06am Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Updated 8:25am Thursday, March 8, 2012
That’s how many games the Battle Lake Battlers boys basketball team has left in its 2011-12 season. They are 23-0, after defeating Bertha-Hewitt 69-58 on Tuesday in Hewitt. It was the Battlers’ 12th road victory of the season. They will face Pelican Rapids, which has won 15 straight contests on Friday, in their regular-season finale.
BL won their first game of the season versus Henning, 58-41, and then defeated every in-state team — and one from North Dakota (Hankinson) — on its way to a perfect season thus far.
The Battlers are led by seniors Zach Wilkie, Aaron Butler and Alex Ukkelberg, who has been in contact with a few college coaches this season. Ukkelberg isn’t sure where he’ll attend college.
The Battlers have secured the Little Eight Conference title for the second year in a row, and they will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Section 6A Tourney.
“This year is obviously going very well for us,” said Ukkelberg.
The Battlers lost three senior starters to graduation from last year, and players were unsure if they could improve on their 22-5 record from 2010-11. But Battle Lake has grown together, even without the services of guard Marty Charest, who broke his leg before the season even started.
“We really have come together as a team and learned how to play together,” said Ukkelberg. “The highlight of our season so far has been how we have been able to grow as a team and improve since the beginning of the season.”
The Batter seniors are backed up by sophomores Dan Marso, Tyler Ukkelberg, along with juniors, Kyle Klintworth and Alec Mattson.
“Our newcomers have done a good job of working hard and getting better. It’s been fun to see,” said Dan Peterka, Battlers’ coach, who is 196-100 in 13 years at the helm for the Battlers. “This season is going well. We’re working really hard at practice, and getting after them. It is a great group to work with.”
Peterka has said Battle Lake is focusing on playing their best basketball at the end of the season. Alex Ukkelberg agrees.
“We are very much looking forward to the playoffs,” he said. “It will be fun to see what happens. Our goals for the last weeks of the season are to play our best ball we can and hopefully have that carry over into the playoffs.”