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Athletics and Activities Update February 5th

Girls’ Varsity Basketball

Coach Bryan Backes & Henry Smith, Jr.

The’Johnnie’ girls’ basketball team had their most challenging week of the season, playing 3 games against the toughest opponents on this year’s schedule. If that wasn’t enough, flu, colds and other ailments made their way to the team. Despite it all the team had a lot of fun competing and continued to grow together.

The girls’ continue to improve in their various roles on the team such as:
Ball handlers: A’ishah Smith ’18; Valeria Woodard ’21; Reid ’19 and Jaedyn Nydeen ’22
Rebounders: Justine Meyer ’20, Hana May ’21, Irene Jiang ’21 and Sydnee Wick ’21

Varsity games scoring highlights:  Paynesville      Onamia      Hinckley-Finlayson

Valayeria Woodard ’21                             16                 16                         DP

Justine Meyer ’20                                       7                  20                         17

A’ishah Smith ’18                                       4                     8                           0
Reid Nydeen ’19                                        4                     3                           2
Irene Jiang ’21                                           1                      0                          2
JaedynNydeen ’22                                     0                     0                          2

The week also featured two ‘JV’ level games giving many girls playing basketball for the first time this season. Extended game action at the ‘JV’ level includes: Cindy Deng ’19, Christine Xu ’19, Carol Viera de Magahlhaes ’20, Amethyst Zeng ’20, Ruanan Li ’21, Angel Wang ’21, Kora Welch ’21, Sydnee Wick ’21, Sylva Bohannon ’23, Kate McGee ’23, and Nora Miller ’23.

Boys’ Basketball

Coach Michael Moen

The SJP Boys’ Basketball team had another busy schedule last week with games versus Holdingford, Browerville and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.

Monday had the Johnnies hosting the Huskers from Holdingford. After trading baskets early, the Huskers’ aggressive defense really kicked in, forcing the Johnnies into several turnovers to start the second half. The Huskers were able to jump out to a sizable lead that proved to be to great to overcome. Nick Foss ’18 led the way for the Johnnies with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Tuesday the boys took the long bus ride to face off with the Tigers from Browerville. Hard-nosed defense by the Johnnies really frustrated the Tigers’ shooters and our boys were in control for most of the game. Unfortunately, the Tigers were able to make a run with just a couple of minutes left in the game to pull ahead by 2. Strong free-throw shooting by the Tigers sealed the win for them as time expired. Nick Foss had another incredible performance by dropping 26 points. Kevin Stark-Haws ’18 and Alton Mies ’21 both added 9 points to the cause.

The JV squad put in a great effort and lost a very close game against the Tigers. Mekan Mamedov ’20 was hot from outside, hitting 6 three pointers in the second half and finishing with 24 points on the night.

The final game of the week had the Johnnies hosting the Thunder from Long Prairie-Grey Eagle in what turned out to be the best “team” game that the Johnnies have put forth so far this season. The Johnnies controlled the game from the opening tip off and never looked back. Strong defense and rebounding frustrated the opponents and helped boost the boys to a 20-point lead at half. A gutsy second half performance by the Thunder’s best player shaved the lead to 11 before the Johnnies took back control to end the game up by 19. A balanced scoring night had the Johnnies with four players in double digits, led by Derek Steichen ’19 with 20 and Henry Smith ’18 with 13.

The JV squad put in a tremendous effort to secure an overtime victory against the Thunder. Drew Richter ’18 led the way in scoring with 15 while Kamso Onyemeh ’18 was a rebounding and defensive machine.

There are no games scheduled this week due to Interim, but the boys will be busy again the following week with three games on the schedule including tough rematches against Royalton and Swanville.

Nordic Skiing

Coach Bob Ellenbecker

The Nordic Ski Season concluded last week with the Granite Ridge Conference Championships; both for high school and middle school skiers.

The high school meet was held Tuesday at Mora Vasaloppet Nordic Center. Skiing in the Varsity Pursuit Race for the girls were Sabrina Wuolu ’20, Sabella Akre ’21,Beca Muntifering ’21, Catie Sikes ’21 and Margeaux Wenner ’21. For the boys were Sawyer Engholm ’20 Will Pittelko ’20, Sam Hoover ’22 and Will Taft ’22. This is the first time in a couple of years that we participated in the conference race and the first time in many years that we had complete varsity teams (at least four skiers) for both boys and girls! A big thank you to these skiers for their efforts!

The Middle School meet was held on Thursday at Riverside Park in Saint Cloud in frigid weather! A real credit to the team that we can now compete with the toughest schools in the conference like Mora and Cathedral!

Results from the boys’ grades 6 and 7 race:

Nick Hansen ’24 was our top finisher coming in 8th place with Oscar Cheeley ’23 close behind in 10th, Kane Bauman in 11th, Zach Meyer ’24 in 13th, George Vedder ’23 in 16th and Cameron Thompson ’23 in 17th place.

Boys grades 8 and 9:

Will Taft ’22 had his best race of the year finishing an impressive 4th with Sam Hoover ’22 nipping at his heels in 5th. Sam Meyer ’23 was just a short distance back in 8th and Luke Pittelko ’22 rounded out an impressive Prep performance with 11th place.

We did not have any skiers in the girls’ grades 6 and 7 but in grades 8 and 9 Clare Duffy ’21 led the way in a very tough field with a 14th place finish, Holly Hansen ’22 was 17th and Beca Muntifering ’21 was close behind in 18th place.

Great job everyone – a nice way to finish the season!

Knowledge Bowl

Coaches Charles Miller and Jen Daiker

The Knowledge Bowl team boarded the bus on a cold Saturday morning for the long drive to North Branch this week. About 90 teams were in attendance for this themed meet, a perennial favorite of the team. The themes this year were “Super Bowl”, “Math & Science”, “Connections” (a very creative round where each question started with the answer from the previous question), and “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” (the round of all 5th grade KB questions). It was a wild meet with lots of ups, downs, and surprises. In the end, 4 SJP teams were recognized. In the JV, team A Miranda Curnutt ’20, Will Pitelko ’20, Sami Severnak ’20, and AndrienneGefre ’21 took 2nd place and team B Carlos Borgert ’20, Claire Kissela ’20, Luc Westling ’20, Liam Rogers ’21 took 4th.

Despite a strong showing by Team A in room 1 in 3 of 4 rounds, including beating the 1st place team in three rounds, a strong team from Buffalo was able to outscore us in the Math & Science round enough to squeak out a 1-point win. In the Varsity, a generally low written round left a hill to climb for all 4 teams, but two made it up to the prized “Little Debby Snack Podium”, with team 2 Gabe Curnutt ’18, Cullin Egge ’18, Zander Haws ’18 and Gabe Woodard ’18 finishing 6th and team 1 Christian Brenny ’18, Jack Rogers ’18, Tina Chen ’19, and Caitlin Skahen ’19 finishing in 7th.

The coaches were again delighted to have a reader approach them and complement our team on their sportsmanship and camaraderie. Up next for the team is a shorter bus ride to Sartell on Saturday, where the field could be over 100 teams for the first time this season.

Girls’ Middle School Basketball

Coach Mary Jo Leighton & Pat Bechtold

The Middle School girls played their hearts out on Friday against Upsala. With only 6 healthy players (Sam Roseboom ’23 out with injury and Kylie Christensen ’23 not feeling well) all the girls needed to play without much rest.

Nora Miller ’23 led the team with 6 points.  She also had some key defensive plays with steals and rebounding. Jaedyn Nydeen, our only 8th grader, took charge at point and contributed 5 points.  Jaden Perry ’23 and Kate McGee ’23 also had plenty of opportunity to run the plays as points with Jaden adding 2 points to our total.  She also had several rebounds and a few steals to ruffle the opponents. Kate kept up with her aggressive defense keeping Upsala on guard the whole game. The remaining two, Clara Schleper ’23 and Sylva Bohannon ’23, played tough under the basket with rebounding and shutting down the scoring of Upsala.  Clara added 4 points while Sylva grabbed several rebounds!  Although we came up short in OT, the girls showed great improvement in their second MS game. This week the middle school team has a home meet on Thursday against Swanville.

Girls’ Hockey

Coach Amanda Monkman

The River-Lakes ‘Stars’ hosted Willmar in a Central Lakes Conference match up Thursday night at the Richmond Arena. It was such an exciting game! SJP Senior Goalie Jordyn Tomaszewiski, (still with a heavily taped knee) was in the nets and played well-making 36 saves. Included in this effort was preventing the Cardinals from scoring when they had a 5 on 3 power play. The fans held their breath as she saved several break-aways in an overtime period to keep the game tied at 2-2.

The Stars head out to St Paul, to St Paul United Monday night in their last regular season game.

River Lakes received the number 3 seed for section 6A tourament which begins on Thursday, February 8. The Stars will host Northern Lakes at the Richmond Arena that evening 7:00pm start. The winner of that game will advance and play on Tuesday, February 13.

Good luck Jordyn and the Stars!


Coach Glenn Holt

On Friday and Saturday, Team USSB from St. John’s Prep (Martin Nelson ’21, Lucy Cheeley ’21, Sam Craft ’22, Kai Martinson ’22, Tori Grandy ’23, and Sophia Kapoor ’24) competed at the MN State VEX tournament held at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.

After immediately passing their robot through inspection on Friday, USSB worked to improve their autonomous code prior to their first match.  The hard work resulted in an autonomous win in Match 1, which was ultimately replayed due to VEX control technical difficulties.  They unfortunately lost the re-match 65-60.

Saturday morning began with a second loss 67-54, but both were well-played, tight matches.  USSB won their third match handily 80-32, but lost 66-59 in a close battle against a very good Mankato West team.  The afternoon began well with an exciting 80-75 win pairing SJP with a strong Mankato East team against another strong Mankato West team.  Now 2-3, Team USSB ran into the buzz-saw known as “Betaversion 2.0” from Mankato East.  The eventual state champions, they defeated SJP in this match 105-69.  USSB’s final qualifying match did not go well for them or their alliance partner and they lost to a strong pairing of teams from northern MN 95-32.

USSB ended the tournament 2-5, against tough competition.  This year’s state tournament fielded a much higher number of elite robots than last, and it was a pleasure to watch Prep’s team stand with them, both technically on the field as well as a disciplined, sportsmanlike team in the pit.  Keep in mind that the two oldest members of this team are just 9th graders — a sign of good things to come!