Thunder lower the boom in opener

PINGREE, N.D. -- Brett Thielges and the Medina-Pingree-Buchanan Thunder girls basketball team cleared what they hope will be the first of many hurdles this season on the court.Thielges has taken over as head coach of the Thunder after three seaso...

Halle Uehran (5) of Medina-Pingree-Buchanan, looks around Midkota's Victoria Vollmer during action at Tuesday night's game in Pingree. JOHN M. STEINER | THE SUN

PINGREE, N.D. - Brett Thielges and the Medina-Pingree-Buchanan Thunder girls basketball team cleared what they hope will be the first of many hurdles this season on the court.
Thielges has taken over as head coach of the Thunder after three seasons holding the clipboard for the Barnes County North girls basketball team. Thielges guided the Bison to a record of 12-11 last season, and he inherits a Thunder program that won 15 games a year ago and qualified for the Region 3 tournament.
M-P-B has brought all but one player back that contributed to that success, and Thielges is hoping the meshing process between the new coach and his team will be a productive one.
The Thunder topped the Midkota Mustangs 63-35 on opening night in Pingree on Tuesday.
“Obviously we saw a lot of good things. We tried to work a lot of different combinations tonight, trying to get a feel for who works well together and who doesn’t work well together,” Thielges said. “The starting five is probably to-be-determined almost every game. But when you have the depth we have, you have the luxury of doing that.”
Thielges went with a pair of seniors, a sophomore, a freshman and an eighth-grader to start Tuesday’s game, and it didn’t take long for the Thunder to strike on what can be considered a great first game offensively.
The Thunder forced the young Mustangs into 18 first-half turnovers, and leapt ahead 22-6 after the first period and 39-19 at the half. Four Thunder players hit double figures in scoring in the game, led by Amanda Allen and Madi Moldenhauer with 11 points each.
Allen, a freshman guard, started and hit a trio of 3-pointers in the contest. Senior guard Brooke Krapp also connected twice from long range and scored 10.
“I thought offensively we did a very good job of moving the basketball against the zone,” Thielges said. “But when (Midkota) went man-to-man we did a little too much of trying to force it into our posts and not getting through our offense, and that’s something we’re obviously going to have to work on.”
Longtime Midkota coach Mike Monson is directing the Midkota girls this season. The Mustangs won just four games last year, but that team included just one senior and no juniors, which means plenty of varsity minutes have returned.
Junior guard Jade Boote hit a trey and scored a team-high 11 for the Mustangs. Boote is the team’s leading returning scorer.
“It’s a matter of them just understanding that teams will do certain things to you and you have to adjust to them. If you don’t, you’re done,” Monson said. “We came out the first quarter and we did OK, but then (M-P-B) put pressure on the perimeter and we felt obliged to just stand there.
“We didn’t move, and if you don’t move you’re not going to get much over them.”
But Monson and the Mustangs did provide a fight at times, especially in the second half, which should give Midkota some momentum to build on. Returning to the team after missing nearly all of last season to a knee injury is junior McKenna Frappier, and 5-foot-8 eighth grader Mariah Topp logged plenty of quality minutes on Tuesday.
Frappier and Topp each scored five.
“(Frappier has) come to practice to learn, and generally when something gets taken away from kids they take it less for granted,” Monson said. “Can she play better? Yeah, I think she can, but that’s going to be a work in progress and hopefully we can get that out of her.
“(Topp) has some game savvy. She knows the game and she can kind of see a play ahead, which you wish every player had,” Monson added. “We think we can get better and we’re going to try to do that, but it’s going to take some work.”
The Thunder face a tall task on Friday when they play at LaMoure-Litchville-Marion. The Loboes were picked as the No. 1 team in the 2015-16 Miss Hoopster, after winning Region 3 and placing third at state last season.
“We’ve got a really young, tough region,” Thielges said. “It’s an early region matchup. But it’s a big one, and I think we just need to know how we match up against one of the best teams in the region.
“We’ll take it for what it’s worth. We’ll learn from the things we did wrong and did right tonight, and hopefully we’ll carry it on over into Friday.”

Medina-Pingree-Buchanan 63, Midkota 35
Midkota 6 19 28 35
M-P-B 22 39 51 63
M-K - Jade Boote 11, McKenna Frappier 5, Jakenda Short 5, Mariah Topp 5, Joslyn Hoyt 3, Victoria Vollmer 3, Taylor Sabinash 3. Totals: 12 FG, 9-16 FT, 19 fouls, 34 turnovers. Three-pointers: Hoyt 1, Boote 1.
M-P-B - Amanda Allen 11, Madi Moldenhauer 11, Brooke Krapp 10, Lauren Moser 10, Jordan Thomas 9, Jaycee Moldenhauer 4, Megan Moser 4, Halle Uehran 2, Jadyn Pollert 2. Totals: 21 FG, 16-21 FT, 19 fouls, 20 turnovers. Three-pointers: Allen 3, Krapp 2.
Records: M-P-B 1-0; Midkota 0-1.
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