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NOTEBOOK Home-schooled team off to fast start

The Rochester Defenders boys basketball team is off to a 6-3 start this season after taking second place at a four-team tournament in River Falls, Wis., last weekend.

The Defenders are a 12-year-old program comprised of home-schooled kids from Rochester and surrounding communities. The head coach is Gary Kadansky.

The Defenders were in the championship game of the Holiday tournament on Saturday and lost 51-44 to Good Shepherd Academy of River Falls. Grant Kadansky scored 19 points for the Defenders and Drew Kirch added 15.

The Defenders opened the tournament with a 50-42 win over Hope Christian Academy. Kadansky scored 25 and Luke Swanson added 10 points for Rochester.

Kadansky and Kirch were named to the eight-player all-tournament team.

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-- Donny Henn

dhenn@postbulletin.com

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FBAboys coach Boelter gets 450th win

With a 50-48 victory over Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Friday, Faribault Bethlehem Academy boys basketball coach Franz Boelter picked up his 450th career win.

This is Boelter's 28th year as a head boys basketball coach. He spent his first six seasons at Medford High School. His Bethlehem Academy teams have won 12 Gopher Conference championships and have played in three state tournaments (1993 Class A runner-up, 1994 Class A third place, and 2002 participant). Two of Boelter's Medford teams also won Gopher Conference championships.

Boelter is also the head volleyball coach at Bethlehem Academy. The Cardinals' volleyball team has played in four straight state championship matches, winning the Class A title this year and in 2003. He has 313 wins in 14 seasons as Bethlehem Academy's volleyball coach.

-- Craig Swalboski

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swalbo@postbulletin.com

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JM wrestlers are hungry, winning

Brad Haugen has been the Rochester John Marshall wrestling coach the last three years. He spent the first two watching incremental progress, from a four-win season in 2003-04, to five wins last year.

Well, so far this season, there has been nothing incremental about his Rockets. The competition so far hasn't been gigantic, but the win total sure has. The Rockets roar into Week 3 of their season with a glossy 8-1 record.

"I am definitely pleased," said Haugen, whose team's most notable wins have come against Mankato East and Mankato West, two schools that were expected to finish in the upper-half of the Big Nine Conference.

"We've seen improvement the last couple of years, but the hard part is that improvement doesn't always show up on the scoreboard. I felt this was the year our guys really deserved (a more winning season)."

Haugen directs all of the credit toward his wrestlers, most of whom showed up for practices of their own two weeks before the season started. That's nothing new under his leadership. But the determination and hard work he detected had a different feel this time.

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"These guys' preparation has been outstanding," said Haugen, whose team captains are Eric Bernau (140 pounds), Patrick Swayze (189), Mike Zenz (145) and Nate Redmann (125). "The guys have a different attitude about them this year. They have worked extremely hard on the not-so-fun things, like running and weight training. And those four (captains) have really risen up and taken a leadership role."

-- Pat Ruff

pruff@postbulletin.com

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Goodhue's Peterson off to a fast beginning

Josh Peterson, a speedy 5-foot-8 guard, is making the most of his senior season so far for the Goodhue boys basketball team.

Peterson is averaging 20.3 points per game, 4.5 assists and 3.5 steals in his third year on the varsity. He has a high game of 30 points for the 2-2 Wildcats.

"We run our offense through him," Wildcats coach Tony Poncelet said.

"He's pretty quick, can handle the ball and he can flat out shoot," the coach added.

Peterson helped Goodhue earn a state berth as a sophomore. Last year as a junior he shot 90 percent at the free throw line and made 40 percent of his three-pointers, a he took nearly 200. Poncelet said Peterson works on his game and shooting year around.

"He works hard to get open and we get him the ball," Poncelet said. "And he draws every team's best defender."

Peterson hopes to continue his basketball career on the college level. Poncelet said he is being recruited by several Division III schools in the Minnesota Athletic Intercollegiate Conference.

-- Guy N. Limbeck

glimbeck@postbulletin.com

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