Milaca girls improving as sub-section draws near

Milaca’s girls basketball team closes the regular season Friday with a Granite Ridge Conference game at St. Cloud Cathedral.

The Wolves entered this week’s play 2-12 in GRC games and 6-16 overall and will face a big challenge at Cathedral, which is 11-3 in conference games and 16-8 overall.

Milaca Coach Dave Leom is hoping the Wolves can continue the improvement they’ve shown over the second half of the season.

“We have taken care of some major issues in turning the ball over and rebounding,” said Leom Monday. “We are out-rebounding our opponents by nearly six rebounds a game.

“We have certainly bonded as a team. Our captains and parents have done a wonderful job of making sure the girls get to know each other. Our defense is getting better every practice and every game. We always need to improve on offense and shooting – I think that is true for all teams.”

The Wolves begin play in the Section 7AA Sub-Section 1 Tournament Wednesday, Feb. 27, on the road.

“We were sitting in sixth place heading into this week,” said Leom, whose team hosted Maple Lake in a non-conference game Tuesday night. “If we stay where we’re at, we’ll probably open at Moose Lake-Willow River.”

Sub-Section quarterfinal games Feb. 27 will start at 7 p.m., with the top-four seeded teams hosting games. The meet continues Saturday, March 2.

Braham leads Sub-Section 1 with a 24-0 record while Aitkin is second with an 18-6 record. Moose Lake-Willow River was 16-8 entering play this week.

Milaca defeated St. John’s Prep 51-37 Thursday, Feb. 14, at St. John’s Prep.

Ten players broke into the scoring column for the Wolves, with senior guard Julia Putz’s 13 points leading the way. Putz also collected six rebounds.

Ninth-grade center Molly Banks added eight points and senior forward Danyell Keen had seven points and five rebounds.

On Friday, Foley stopped Milaca 53-33 at Milaca, avenging an earlier loss to the Wolves.

The Falcons charged to a 32-14 halftime lead.

Sophomore guard Ashley Cassens led Milaca with 10 points while Banks had seven points and 10 rebounds and sophomore forward Makayla Paggen had seven points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Alex Ploeger notched 11 rebounds and three points.

Sophomore center Tara Dusharm led the Falcons with 20 points and 16 rebounds.