Girls basketball: Braves expecting to contend for titles
Menahga is counting on veteran lineup to challenge for Park Region Conference and Section 8AA titles.
With a veteran team returning, head coach Cody Pulju is counting on the Menahga girls basketball team to contend for Park Region Conference and Section 8AA titles again this season.
The Braves went 6-2 to finish third in the conference standings behind Henning (12-0) and New York Mills (9-3) a year ago before ending a 10-4 season with a loss to Barnesville in the playoff opener. Menahga received the No. 4 seed in the South for the Section 8AA tournament as Pelican Rapids defeated Fergus Falls in the section championship game.
Returning to lead the Braves this season are seniors Amanda Lake, Lela Peterson, Allie Pfeifer, Maryn Pinoniemi, Journie Schoon and Janie Tormanen; sophomores Janelle Hendrickson, Addie Pinoniemi and Erica Tormanen; and freshmen Mackenzie Anderson and Joie Koll.
That group helped the Braves average 53.2 points a game while allowing 37.0 points a game. Menahga’s defense forced an average of 24.1 turnovers a game.
Janie Tormanen averaged 13.9 points and 8.0 rebounds a game, Pinoniemi averaged 8.8 points a game, Lake averaged 6.6 points a game, and Peterson led the team with 51 steals and 33 assists while averaging 6.2 points a game,
Looking to fill in for last year’s senior duo of Martha Peterson (9.4 ppg) and Timbr Berttunen (2.5 ppg) are junior Abby Johnson; sophomore Janelle Lehto; and freshmen Anjalie Aho, Avery Aho, Isabelle Aho, Isabelle Lake, Anna Pietila, Niina Pinoniemi, Taija Pinoniemi and Leah Weaver.
Pulju feels this group has the talent to move up in the conference standings and make a long run in the section tournament.
“We return a lot of experience from last year and we will have a great mix of seniors and underclassmen this year,” said Pulju. “As always, we will have high goals and expectations for this team this winter. We have great numbers this year and have lots of competition for playing time at the varsity level. To be successful, we will need senior leadership and underclassmen to step up to the challenge of contributing and playing big minutes at the varsity level. We are fired up to get the season rolling.”