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Coach Zimmer proud of girls in State Class B...

Kenmare Honkers head girls basketball coach Mike Zimmer looked stunned immediately following the opening round loss to Wilton-Wing.

3/09/21 (Tue)

Kenmare Honkers head girls basketball coach Mike Zimmer looked stunned immediately following the opening round loss to Wilton-Wing.

His hope was to win that first game and looking at game film, the Honkers could have pulled it out.

They did a good job defensively of containing the Miners’ Hailey Quam, according to Zimmer. He said Brenna Stroklund, Megan Zimmer and to a lesser extent Kate Zimmer, kept Quam off the glass well, but she still managed to get four offensive rebounds against the Honkers.

But as it so often does in a state tournament, the game came down to the last couple of minutes.

“They had a couple of open threes,” Zimmer said. “We missed a couple of threes and they made a couple and that was the difference.”

But throughout the three-game tournament, Zimmer was proud of how his girls; a young and shorter team played.

“They were three hard games and I’m proud of how hard they played,” he said. “Our shooting percentage wasn’t high enough to be there, but I was happy with the effort.”

As most Honkers fans already know, this team has a bright future in North Dakota Class B girls basketball. With two sophomores, a junior and an eighth grader being major contributors to this team, other teams in Region 8 should get used to saying Kenmare Honkers for the next two or three years at least.

“We’ve got a bright future,” Zimmer said. “We got a lot out of our three seniors, but the future looks promising.”

Those three seniors are Sierra Skar, Megan Zimmer and Logan Redding.

Zimmer doesn’t look at this tournament as one win and two losses. He looks at it as a stepping stone for next year and beyond.

“We’ve got to get back to the gym, get into some spring tournaments and get to know each other,” he said. “Sure we wanted to do better, but this is a competitive bunch.”

So competitive in fact, that he spoke of sophomore Madison Melin who came off the bench on numerous occasions to pull down some rebounds despite an injury.

“Honestly, that was one of the most gutty performances I’ve ever seen out of Maddie,” Zimmer said. “With her ankle injury, she was willing to do anything to play and contribute to the team.”

In the consolation championship loss to Langdon, Zimmer said the Cardinals were a very physical team, which again, in his mind was a test.

“We’re going to have to get more physical,” he said. “With the loss of our three most physical players, we’ll have to get tough.”

Still, he called it a fantastic year and the Honkers had equaled the best record in the state with Grafton, at 25-2.

“Another motivation was they wanted to finish higher than the ‘88 boys team that me and Lenny (Rodin) played on,” he said. “We finished sixth.”

The tournament did have two shining moments for the Honkers in addition to their consolation semifinal win over Glenburn.

Stroklund was named to the All-Tournament team after she averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds per game, and Kate Zimmer scored her 1,000th point in the opening round loss to Wilton.

Zimmer didn’t tell his daughter until after the tournament that she had hit a major milestone in her scoring career. He wanted her to stay focused on the team.

He was hoping she would have hit the mark in the Region 8 championship against Trenton, but finished that game with 996.

“I told Kate you may not get all easy shots that you’re used to getting,” he said. “She had to earn every bucket.”

Both girls are sophomores.

“There’s an old saying, we can accomplish great things as long as nobody cares who gets the credit,” Zimmer said. “Everybody has some role and their all needed. We’ll win or lose as a team.”

Despite the successes, the team was limited to three of it’s five lowest scoring games of the season, including the 47-40 win over Glenburn.

“If we would have shot as usual, things might have been different,” Zimmer said. “Defense got us to the state tournament and that explains the low scores. But we have to shoot quicker.”

Still, he was very happy with how the season turned out. One of the best things he could have hoped for was to get his three seniors to play in a state tournament.

“This is my third year and we’re getting better every year,” he said. “It was just us and Langdon that made both tournaments (state Class B volleyball). That’s quite a feat.” ... 

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