Sports Notebook: Rebels girls hoops progressed under Kuppe’s new style

 By Matthew davis

SUN PRESS Newspapers


First-year Champlin Park girls basketball Jake Kuppe brought a new approach to the game this season.

The Rebels developed a faster-paced style of play that took time to grow into. They had their ups and downs learning the new system with a 5-3 start to the season.

“We learned to play a different style of basketball than we played last year,” Kuppe said.

A mid-season slump had the Rebels dropping to 7-7 following a three-game skid in mid January. Yet, the turned things around and went 10-4 the rest of the way as they allowed 60-plus points only twice after a 79-65 win against Armstrong on Jan. 24.

“We started really defending well at the end,” Kuppe said.

A stretch of four wins in marathon week at the end of February locked up the section’s No. 2 seed for the Rebels. It led to a run to the section final, a goal that had been in sight from the start of the season.

Senior guard and South Dakota State recruit Alexis Alexander led the Rebels in the backcourt with 13.9 points per game and made key assists throughout the season. She also hit 1,000 career points earlier in the year.

Mariya Sampson, a senior center, bounced back from injury to make an impact in the post for the season’s final stretch. Seniors Taylor Severn, Genevae Adkins, Olivia Fulton and Kelli Heytens all made an impact on the floor for the Rebels.

“Our group of seniors is going to be missed sorely,” Kuppe said. “They’re an incredible group of girls.”

The Rebels will have some strong talent slated to return next season. Hanna Cyrmble, a 6-3 sophomore, averaged 11.4 points in the paint. Freshmen guards Sydney Hilly and Allison Gerads put up 9.7 and 9.4 points per game respectively.

Former Rebel in NCAA Division II tournament

TJ Okafor, a former Champlin Park basketball standout, plays for Minnesota State-Mankato, which reached the second round of the NCAA on Sunday, March 16.

Okafor averaged 3.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game for the No. 9-ranked Mavericks (30-5). MSUM hosted the regional this year, but they fell in the second round on Sunday to Northwest Missouri State.

All-Conference awards

Girls Hockey – Hannah Goettl, Kaleigh Martinson. Honorable Mention: Sydney Peluf, Maggie Cragg, Jordan Trapp, Bri Johnson, Marjie McNamara.

Girls Alpine Skiing – Lisa Dalman, Tara Dalman

Boys Alpine Skiing – Tony Kuznick, Anson Kuznik. Honorable Mention: Cooper Johnson.

Boys Nordic Skiing – Ivan Ivens. Honorable Mention: Luke Crandall.

Girls Nordic Skiing – Shannon Wald

Notes: Hannah Goettl, the starting goalie on the Rebels girls hockey team, made All-State MGHCA honorable mention. She also received the high school girls hockey Hobey Baker award sponsored by the Minnesota Wild and Old Dutch.

Several Rebels Alpine skiers earned Academic All-State awards: Belinda Huang, Zoey Rugel, Lisa Dalman, Casey Fuher, Anson Kuznik, Adam Arnett, Zachaery Kamp and Cooper Johnson.


Contact Matthew Davis at [email protected]


Kelli Heytens of Champlin Park looks for an opening against Centennial in the Class 4A Section 5 title game. (Photo by Rich Moll –


Champlin Park guard Sydney Hilley goes up for two of her seven points against Centennial in the section title game. (Photo by Rich Moll –