The state tournament quarterfinals have not been kind to Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich. The Cardinals have been to now three straight state tournaments but have suffered first-round exits in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Can they break that trend this weekend?
The No. 1-seeded Cardinals are led by senior Callie Ronningen who averages 18.0 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.6 steals. Ronningen had a wonderful state tournament last season and earned All-State honors. She has also scored over 2,000 points in her career and has hauled down 1,132 rebounds as well. When you think of the best players in Class B, Ronningen is on that list. She’s a do-it-all type of player and can even play a little inside out. Along with Ronningen, the Cardinals get great play from senior Kaitlynn Scherr (13.2 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.2 rpg and 2.4 spg) along with sophomore Morgan Freije (12.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.1 apg and 2.1 spg).
Scherr is L-E-M’s main outside 3-point shooters and has made 44 percent from beyond the arc while Freije plays more inside with her length and soft touch around the basket. If there was an award for most improved from the 2018-19 season, I truly think Freije would be at that top of the list. The two other starters are juniors Kaylee Lowery and Lexis Olson. Lowery is a great rebounder and defensive threat for the Cardinals and averages a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game. She’s also deadly from 10-15 feet away from the basket and averages 7.5 points per game. Olson is listed as a guard but she has some size (5-foot-11), which makes her a tough matchup for the Cardinals opponents.
The Cardinals play about seven student-athletes with their starting five all averaging six points or more per contest. Head coach Rob Scherr brings two underclassmen off the bench in sophomore Marlee Hetletved and eighth-grader Jaya Henderson. Henderson was the first player off the bench for L-E-M last season as a seventh-grader and likes to play fast. Hedlevedt is one of the Cardinals 3-point threats and isn’t afraid of getting into the paint.
Interesting note: This will be the fifth consecutive state tournament that Kaitlynn Scherr has been to. She made it to state with Park River/Fordville-Lankin back when she was an eighth-grader and freshman.
State tournament prediction: The Cardinals are scoring 66.1 points per game and allow just 32.9 points per game this season. This is a great defensive team that turns their opponents mistakes into points. Rob Scherr always wants his team to push the basketball up the court and defensively he says he doesn’t want the Cardinals opponents walking the basketball up the court against his team. L-E-M is the No. 1-seed for a reason. They’ve earned that right this season and even though I think the Cardinals have one of the tougher quarterfinals matchups with Hettinger-Scranton I still think L-E-M can make it to Saturday’s state championship game. When you have talented players like Ronningen who can take over a game by herself and two players like Kaitlynn Scherr and Freije to run your offense through your team has the ability to play for a state championship. I also like the fact that they start four upperclassmen. My prediction is the Cardinals will be playing for a state title Saturday evening. The last time they won a state championship was in 2005.
Kaitlynn Scherr | Sr. | G | 5-foot-7
Lexi Olson | Jr. | G | 5-foot-10
Kaylee Lowery | Jr. | F/C | 5-foot10
Morgan Freije | So. | F | 5-foot-10
Callie Ronningen | Sr. | F/G | 5-foot-11