Emmer adds a spark for Delano girls basketball surge

Tiger boys cruise to more victories



Katie Emmer was a little distracted the night prior to her Delano girls basketball team facing traditionally strong New London-Spicer Friday.

It was not known if Emmer would play after suffering a sprained pinky finger in practice Thursday. X-rays showed she could play with a metal brace, but officials at the game said she could not play with the brace.

“Nothing was going to stop me,” said Emmer about her determination not to miss any more games. She missed three games early in the season with a badly bruised knee cap.

Emmer took off the finger brace and played with a soft wrap on the little finger on her shooting hand. As usual of late, the senior provided a spark for the Tigers, scoring 18 points in the 66-57 loss to a strong team.

“Katie lit a fire for the team and has become the spark we need in various situations in recent games,” said coach Amy Gould. “She is tough, attacks hard on offense, does not back down from any defensive assignment and she rips down rebounds among the trees.”

Katie Emmer has added a recent spark for the Delano girls basketball team. She passes up court, watched by Alex Wittinger. (Photo by Bill Nord)
Katie Emmer has added a recent spark for the Delano girls basketball team. She passes up court, watched by Alex Wittinger. (Photo by Bill Nord)

Earlier in the week Emmer led the offense with 17 points in a 55-52 victory over Holy Family. Alex Wittinger scored 16 points with 12 rebounds.

“When all your focus is on playing to win the game you don’t think about the pain,” said Emmer. “Our focus now is to play six games in 14 days, working for a 15-win season, something that has not happened around here in a while.”

Emmer is one of three seniors on a young Tiger team. She recalls as a sophomore being intimidated on varsity, but remembers how the seniors accepted her. Now she tries to help younger players feel welcome and tries to make it fun.

The senior still has a goal of playing at the state tournament in both basketball and fastpitch softball. Emmer already has played in the state volleyball tourney as a sophomore.

Until the last four minutes of the game against NLS, Delano was able to slow down Taylor Thunstedt, who averages 33 points a game and scored 50 in one game the week prior.

“We held her to 12 points in the first half when she did not make a 3-point shot,” said Gould. “Thunstedt found her teammates with spectacular assists. We led with five and a half minutes to play when Thundstedt scored 11 points in the final three minutes, draining three 3’s to go with a 2-pointer.”

Wittinger came alive in the second half, scoring 15 or her 19 points and plus pulled down 16 rebounds. Bria Barfnecht added nine points.

Delano is home to Litchfield Thursday, Jan. 31, home against Zimmerman Saturday, Feb. 2, at Orono Tuesday, Feb. 5 and home to Mound-Westonka Thursday, Feb. 7.


Boys basketball

Delano had three boys basketball players score at least 20 points in the 81-61 win over New London-Spicer. Dalton Pulis had 15 points in the first half, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Zach Checkal led with 25 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals. Toby Hanson had 21 points and 10 assists. He also held a player who scored 31 points against Holy Family to just two points. Damon Longstreet added 12 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Earlier in the week the Tigers rolled over Holy Family 93-56 despite getting down 11-0 at the start.

Pulis had a great first half scoring 19 of his 27 points. Checkal scored 16 points of his 27 in the second half. He also recorded a rare triple double with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Hanson added 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Longstreet had 10 points and five rebounds.

After playing at Litchfield Friday, Feb. 1, Delano has home games against Orono Tuesday, Feb. 5 and against Mound-Westonka Thursday, Feb. 7. MW is the only team to have defeated the Tigers this season.


Contact David Pedersen at [email protected]