Honkers begin season with 61-30 win over Panthers

Sean Williams/MDN Emma Jones (4) of Glenburn and Brenna Stroklund (21) of Kenmare battling in the post during a 61-30 win for Kenmare on Tuesday night in Glenburn.

After falling short of the Region 6 tournament by losing to Des Lacs-Burlington in a qualifying game last year, the Glenburn Panthers girls’ basketball team began their 2022-23 campaign on Tuesday when they hosted the Kenmare/Bowbells Honkers.

Marking a premier opening night matchup for the Panthers, the Honkers are coming off a state tournament appearance last year where they finished in sixth place and are looking to build off that this year.

As part of a handful of games before in-season tournament play begins later this week, the Panthers and Honkers met on the court with both teams looking to start off the season on a positive note. Following the conclusion of Tuesday night’s contest, it was the Honkers who got their first win of the season in a 61-30 final over the Panthers.

Coming out of the gates not hesitant to establish their identity were the Honkers, who fed Brenna Stroklund in the post as she picked up back-to-back buckets in the paint to start the game. Foreshadowing their approach for the rest of the opening quarter, the Honkers would use their height to their advantage.

Keeping things close were the Panthers, however, who got most of their points via the three pointer, with Valerie Stevens and Brooklyn Heinle connecting for one each. Mashae Miller of the Honkers would help her team on the defensive end, utilizing her quick hands to create turnovers and transition opportunities early on.

Moving into the end of the opening quarter, the Honkers had a 17-10 lead. Not slowing down from their early attack, 14 of those points came in the paint with Brenna Stroklund totaling 8 points.

Opening the second quarter, the Honkers would push the lead to double digits at 20-10 when Kate Zimmer and Miller connected on early free throw attempts with 7:00 minutes to go. Going back to their strong point, the combination of Taya Aufforth and Brenna Stroklund would begin piling up more points in the paint. Suddenly, the Honkers extended their lead to 26-10 with 4:43 left in the half.

Totaling 9 of their 12 points from beyond the arc, Larkyn Pletcher of the Panthers would try to stop the bleeding by connecting on a deep two. Hoping to help energize her team, DeAnna Heinze would bring strong defense and sink two from the charity stripe as the Panthers would looking to fight back.

Adding to their mostly sound first half, the Honkers started creating turnovers more frequently to end the half and were getting balanced scoring from their starters and their bench. Moving into the break, they held a 32-15 lead.

Emma Jones would pick up a pair of buckets coming out of the break, trimming the Honkers’ lead to 32-19. Aufforth would follow suit, as the pair went toe-to-toe and separated themselves from sloppy play that was an overall theme coming out of the half.

The Panthers were able to score a little more consistently in the third quarter, but they still had a large hole to climb out of as they trailed 47-23 with one quarter to go in the contest. Jones continued to be a bright spot for the team, posting 11 of their 23 points moving into the fourth quarter.

Zimmer and Madison Melin of the Honkers would sink a three pointer each to begin the fourth quarter as they looked to close out strong. On the other end of the court, the Panthers were hoping to build some momentum before heading into a busy week of action.

With the game sitting at 53-27 nearing the halfway mark of the fourth quarter, both teams would trade turnovers moving into the closing minutes. Still, the Honkers paint presence was a factor, which would prove to be too much as they took down the Panthers 61-30 to begin the season.

Brenna Stroklund led the way for the Honkers, finishing with 17 points. Trailing her for point totals was Taya Aufforth (12), Kate Zimmer (9), Mashae Miller (6), Alexa Varty (5), Anne Stroklund (4), Alexia Holter (3), Madison Melin (3), and Brea Chrest (2).

The Panthers were led by Emma Jones, who finished with 13 points. Behind her was DeAnna Heinze (5), Valerie Stevens (5), Brooklyn Heinle (3), Larkyn Pletcher (2), Ella Post (1), and Samantha Farden (1).

The Panthers will be back in action later this week as they head to Harvey for the CDNC Tournament with play beginning on Thursday. The Honkers will take on the Bishop Ryan Lions on Friday as they take part in the Minot Auditorium Shootout.


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