Led by a strong senior nucleus, the Pelican Rapids boys’ basketball team is looking to improve on a 19-9 record from last season and push to the top of the Heart O’Lakes Conference in 2021.
“We have a lot of experience coming back from last season as we return four starters and nine players that earned a varsity letter,” Vikings head coach John Gullingsrud said. “We will be led by our three returning all-conference players in McHale (Korf), Logan (Fahje) and Jayden (Rutherford), who all averaged double figures in scoring last season. All three are talented offensive players and we will rely on them to carry the load for us in their senior season.”
Also added to the mix will be senior center Liam Sytsma, which Gullingsrud expects to anchor the team in the paint defensively and grab rebounds.
“We have plenty of options to go along with these four and it will be fun to watch the competition in practice to see who is willing to step up and earn some varsity playing time,” Gullingsrud said.
Pelican Rapids will need to look to its depth to fill varsity minutes left by graduates Logan Petznick, Kirby Nelson and David Johnston. Seniors Justin VerDorn (guard), Weston Funk (forward), junior Brayden Ecker (forward), sophomores Hunter Williams (forward), Tanner Tollerud (forward) and freshman Timmy Guler (guard) will all vye for court time this season.
Gullingsrud boiled the team’s success this season down to a few key elements. “As with all teams, staying healthy will be a key to the season. The conference and section will be very competitive this year and for us to be in the mix of both, we will need to be significantly better defensively.”
Gullingsrud has identified Perham as the team to beat in conference play, while Perham, Fergus Falls and East Grand Forks will be the favorites in Section 8AA.
Gullingsrud will be assisted by Adam Johnson, Derrick Nelson and Andy Johnson this season.