Family and sister actPublished 10:58am Thursday, February 14, 2013
Basketball is a family affair in Pelican Rapids.
When head girls basketball coach Brian Korf took the position in 2009, it came with the opportunity to coach his daughter, Madison, who was sophomore at Pelican Rapids High School. His younger daughter Mackenzie was watching their games from the stands. It would only be a matter of time until all three of them were on the court for the Vikings.
“It’s been enjoyable to be part of their journey,” said Coach Korf on coaching his daughters. “Both growing up and with basketball.”
Coach Korf, who graduated from Pelican Rapids in 1993, now has two daughters who have taken leading roles for the Vikings this season.
It has been a rare night this season for either Madison, now a senior, or Mackenzie, a freshman, not to hit double digits in scoring or tally a handful of assists.
While some may think that there would be conflicting emotions in coaching two daughters, Coach Korf keeps his focus on separating home and the basketball court. “When we’re on the court, I’m coach,” said Coach Korf. “When we’re at home, I’m dad.”
Many young siblings grow up with petty bickering and rivalry, but for the Korfs, there is nothing negative between the two. “We push each other and get after each other,” said Mackenzie. “But we’re getting better together.”
And while most older sisters might not appreciate the opportunity to have their kid sister around, Madison embraces the chance the siblings have to connect, both on and off the court. Having spent so much of their earlier years playing basketball and volleyball together, the line between friend and sister has blurred as they’ve entered high school.
“It seems like she’s my age, it doesn’t even feel like I’m older than her,” said Madison.
Coach Korf’s focus on balancing family and basketball reflects a character attitude of the entire Pelican Rapids High School, which has carried over to the close-knit chemistry the Vikings have together as a team. “We’re family first at this school,” said Coach Korf, who is also the principle at the high school. “This year I have 12 on the varsity, and those girls are all like daughters to me.”
The Korfs are also joined in their dedication to basketball by a younger brother, McHale, a fourth grade Pelican Rapids student, and a five year old sister, Morgan.
“She might end up being the best of all of us,” said Madison of her youngest sister, who has already taken to shooting baskets. McHale dedicates his time to following Minnesota sports and is always willing to offer his two sisters suggestions for improvement on the court. “He may be harder on his sisters than I am,” joked Coach Korf.
As the season comes to its final weeks, the Korfs look to cap off their successful year by adding another achievement to the family name. Madison is on pace this season to set the school’s career assist record, something her father once achieved during his years playing at Pelican Rapids. If she does pass the mark, she will likely have more than 450 assists over the past four years. It will be, as with the rest of her life in basketball, something she hopes to share with the entire family.
“It will be pretty cool if both my dad and I have gotten the record,” said Madison. “And if Mackenzie takes it over, and then my younger sister. Even my younger brother.”