Girls Basketball: Warriors make quick work of Sauk Rapids – Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — The Brainerd Warriors left no doubt Wednesday, Feb. 28.

As the No. 3 seed in the Section 8-4A quarterfinals, the Warriors pounced on the No. 6 seed Sauk Rapids Storm early to cruise to a 79-56 victory.

Allison Thomes led the charge for the Warriors with 19 points off the bench. Thomes sank five first-half 3-pointers to help Brainerd mount a 46-17 halftime advantage.

“We wanted to prove to Sauk Rapids and the section that we deserved the No. 3 seed and that we are coming to play and want to get to the section final,” Thomes said.

Ten different Brainerd Warriors found the scorebook in Brainerd advancing to the Section 8-4A semifinals.

“We came out focused and ready to play and got after it from the opening tip,” Warriors’ head coach Troy Nelson said. “We played good defense in that first half and our ball movement was great. We shot lights out in that first half.”

The Warriors jumped to a 15-6 lead in the first five minutes. A 15-0 run later in the first half gave Brainerd a 30-8 advantage.

The lead was 35-11 Warriors before Thomes hit three of her five 3-pointers, including one at the first-half buzzer to extend the margin to 29.

“When she is on, she is really on,” Nelson said. “In that first half, I don’t think she was hitting the rim on most of her shots. They were just pure. Having that confidence and her teammates having that confidence in her to shoot it does a lot to get the team excited and play better defense.”

Thomes felt after she hit her first two 3-pointers that the rest were going in.

“I knew I was on and was just letting it go,” Thomes said. “I didn’t care if it went in or not. I just shot it. I think it will carry over into the next game. If we work together as a team we will get good shots.”

A Brainerd player shoots the ball while a Sauk Rapids player raises her arms to try and block.

Brainerd’s Mya Tautges shoots the ball against Sauk Rapids on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Brainerd High School.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Mya Tautges chipped in 17 points with eight in the first half and nine in the second. AJ Johnson was also in double figures with 13 points.

Brainerd’s defense held the Storm to 17 first-half points and 34% shooting for the game.

Sienna Petermeier led all scorers for the Storm with 20 points.

Sauk Rapids cut the lead down to 22 in the second half, but the Warriors responded with a couple of runs to lead by 35.

Brainerd's Brook Sandberg runs and dribbles with the ball past a sauk rapids defender.

Brainerd’s Brook Sandberg pushes to the hoop against Sauk Rapids on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Brainerd High School.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Brook Sandberg added eight points and Addison Bjorklund tallied seven for the Warriors in the win. The Warriors shot 45% from the field and 36% from 3-point.

“We talked about how this was game No. 27 and we just had to come out and play,” Nelson said. “I thought the girls did a wonderful job of buying into that and playing our game. We shared the ball and got a lot of inside-out 3s.”

Brainerd is now 22-5 and plays No. 2 seed Elk River on the road at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2.

The Elks defeated the Warriors 66-46 two Saturdays ago Feb. 24. The other Section 8-4A semifinal is top-seed St. Michael-Albertville hosting No. 4 seed Sartell.

“We are excited to get a chance to go out with Elk River again and hopefully get the W this time,” Nelson said. “I think we learned some things about ourselves the first time we played them. We will make some changes and game plan for them. I think we will be ready to play and hopefully can get to the section finals.”

Thomes added: “Our defense was a little rocky the last time we played them and then we need to play as a team.”

Courtney Paulsen 10, Sienna Petermeier 20, Olivia Mohs 8, Ella Jevne 7, Lauren Schloe 7, Alexis Swanson 4. FG 18-53 (34%), FT 11-16 (69%). 3-point 9-28 (32%).

Macy Castle 5, Kylee Soens 2, Mya Tautges 17, Ana Bjorklund 2, Brook Sandberg 8, Karley Dunham 4, Addison Bjorklund 7, Allison Thomes 19, AJ Johnson 13, Cora Clough 2. FG 29-64 (45%), FT 11-18 (61%). 3-point 10-28 (36%).

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

Warriors 79, Sauk Rapids 56

Key: 10 different Warriors score in blowout of Sauk Rapids.
Overall: Brd 22-5, SR 10-17.
Next: Brainerd at Elk River 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2.

First appeared on

Leave a Comment