K-M's Ostfeld scores, with help from friends and foe

A pair of season-ending injuries kept Larissa Ostfeldfrom having the type of high school basketball career she wanted.

The Kasson-Mantorville senior missed the bulk of last season with a broken hand, and a knee injury and surgery in August have sidelined her all of this season.

But Ostfeld stuck with her team as a captain, and last week she got into a game briefly and made the first — and last — field goal of her abridged varsity career.

Ostfeld was given "a very limited release" from her doctor to participate in K-M's Senior Night game Feb. 18 against Byron. K-M coach Ryan Haraldsonexplained Ostfeld's situation to Byron coach Chad Rolandson, and the teams conspired to get Ostfeld her shot attempt.

Rolandson had his team play soft zone defense on K-M's opening possession and that allowed Ostfeld to attempt an uncontested three-pointer; she drilled it, and was promptly subbed out.


"The place went crazy when the shot went in," Haraldson related. "It was a storybook ending to her injury-filled career, and it was something none of us involved will forget."

K-M went on to win the game, 69-53.

"When I talked to Chad (Rolandson) before the game, he was all for getting Larissa that shot attempt. That showed unbelievable sportsmanship from our conference rival," Haraldson added.

Ostfeld is an academic all-stater with a 3.9 GPA. Haraldson and her teammates appreciated that she stuck with the team despite not being able to play.

"Our team goal from the beginning of the season was to have Larissa step on the floor," the coach said. "She has worked so hard to rehab and has been such an inspiration to the program. She was at every practice and helped as an assistant coach during every game.

"We just had to get her in a game."

— Donny Henn



Three Rivers title on line

Plainview-Elgin-Millville can win the Three Rivers Conference boys basketball title outright tonight when two of the elite teams in Class AA meet.

P-E-M, ranked No. 1 in the state, plays at No. 8 Caledonia in the regular-season finale for both teams. P-E-M enters the game 24-1 and a perfect 19-0 in the Three Rivers. The Bulldogs defeated Caledonia 65-50 back on Jan. 18 in Plainview.

That was the only league loss for the Warriors. Caledonia is 22-3 overall and 18-1 in the Three Rivers. If Caledonia wins tonight, the Warriors would share the league title with P-E-M.

The Bulldogs feature high-scoring Cole Olstad. The 6-foot-4 senior is averaging 31.8  points a game and is closing in on 3,000 in his five-year varsity career. Josh Granis averaging 17.1 points a game for Caledonia.

P-E-M enters with a 16-game winning streak. Its lone loss was 64-60 to Osseo. Caledonia has won eight straight, but needed a last-second shot to nip Rushford-Peterson 37-36 on Tuesday night.

Tonight's game could also be a preview of the Section 1AA East title game. P-E-M enters as top seed in the eight-team field and Caledonia is the No. 2 seed. P-E-M has won the subsection and section crown the past two years, placing third in the state both seasons.

— Guy N. Limbeck


Stephens sizzles from '3'

Bobbie Stephenshas put on some three-point shooting displays this season.

The 5-foot-9 Hayfield junior guard has had games of 9-for-14 from three-point distance, 8-for-12 and 8-for-13. Tuesday night he tied the single-season Hayfield record of 90 three-point makes with former Vikings and Winona State star David Johnson.

For the season, Stephens has hit 90 of 217 three-pointers, a torrid 42-percent clip.

Stephens has certainly caught the attention and respect of his head coach, Chris Pack.

"I’ve never seen anything like it when Bobbie gets going," Pack said. "He’s got an amazingly quick release."

Stephens is averaging 13 points for Hayfield. All but 13 of his field goals have been from three-point range.

— Pat Ruff


Big year for M-C's Smith

Steve Smithhas used his 6-2, 280-pound body, a soft shooting touch, a relentless rebounding approach, and plenty of assists from teammates to have a breakout year for the Mabel-Canton boys basketball team.

The junior center is averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds. That scoring number is way up front last year, when he averaged eight points.

"Actually, I’m shocked that (Smith) has done what he has," M-C coach Doug Wyffelssaid. "But he’s got a soft touch and he finishes well around the basket. Plus, he works hard and is a team player."

His teammates are also team players. Led by Jacoby Bigalk, as well as fellow guards Dalton Stoenand Derek Curtis, they make a habit of getting their big guy the ball. Bigalk is the team’s top assist man, at seven per game.

"Steve is shooting the ball at point-blank range (thanks to his guards)," said Wyffels, whose Cougars are 7-16 overall. "Our guys get him the ball. They’re willing to play team basketball."

And Smith, who has had four games of 30 or more points, is willing to clean up any of his misses. Wyffels notes that he’s had a pile of his points on put-back baskets.

— Pat Ruff

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