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Hermantown Sports, Essentia Health in the News

By Howie Hanson

As a two-time defending Section 7AAA boys basketball champion, Hermantown almost always draws the best effort from its opponents.

Last week was no different for the Hawks, who posted three victories against elite opponents – including an 89-87 home victory over St. Francis – to improve to 17-6 overall. Hermantown also defeated Grand Rapids 88-57, in Grand Rapids, and Mound Westonka 83-74 at home.

"We had a great week last week, not just in terms of picking up the three big wins, but we took steps towards March that we needed," Hawks coach Andy Fenske said on Monday morning. "Not only did we have players step up and provide us with great reps, but we played some teams that are getting us ready for playoffs."

Hermantown will play its final three regular season games on the road: Thursday at Superior, next Monday at Chisago Lakes and Friday, Mar. 1 at Duluth East.

"Superior is another great opponent to play right before our playoff push, and we have a chance to share the (Lake Superior) conference title if we can come out of their place with a win," said Fenske. "We'll need the continued support of our seniors. Abe (Soumis, senior forward) has moved up to second all-time in career points and points in a season. Both of those records should fall, if not on Thursday, then more than likely at Chisago Lakes. He also broke the single-season rebounding record and single-season free throw record Friday night against Mound Westonka. 

"Nathan Hill has done a tremendous job at balancing his scoring at the rim, knocking down threes, and facilitating the ball as well as he has. Peyton Menzel has been our top distributor, averaging 8.4 assists per game over the last seven games all the while still being able to take guys off the dribble at any time. Brayden Lundeen had a huge week last week with 38 points, and a handful of rebounds, assists, and steals in each game as well."

The Hawks are getting dialed in to play their best ball in the playoffs, Fenske said.

"We have three tough road games coming up, but this is the type of basketball we need to get us prepared for playoff atmosphere and keep us on our toes as much as possible," Fenske added.

Hermantown has won its last six and 13 of its last 14.  



Boys Hockey – host International Falls, Section 7A quarterfinal, 6 p.m. Game Notes: The defending 7A champion Hawks (15-8-2), the top seed in 7A and ranked second in Minnesota Class 1A, are a major favorite against the Broncos (16-8-2). The teams did not meet in the regular season. Hermantown has played one of the toughest schedules by any team in Minnesota, in either Class A or Class 2A, and is backstopped by one of the state’s best senior goaltenders in Dane Callaway (1.84 goals-against and .937 saves percentage). The Hawks are allowing less than two goals per game, while scoring 3.4. Forwards William Esterbrooks and River Freeman lead in scoring with 32 and 31 points, respectively, and Freeman leads in goals with 15. Make no mistake: Hermantown, a defensive-first team, is led by Callaway and senior defensemen Drew Nelson and Weston Bohlman, junior Henry Peterson and super-sophomore A.J. Francisco. International Falls is led by junior forward Cooper Randall, who leads his team with 15 goals and 33 points. The Broncos defeated visiting Moose Lake Area 8-4 in a Section 7A play-in game Saturday, when Randall scored three goals and added a pair of assists. The Hawks will likely advance to face either Proctor or North Shore in a Section 7A semifinal Saturday at 6:05 p.m. at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton and Hibbing-Chisholm are good bets to meet in the second semifinal. The 7A final is Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Amsoil.

Girls Basketball – at Duluth East, 7 p.m. Game Notes: The Hawks (6-18) will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak against the Greyhounds (8-16). Hermantown wraps up regular season play Thursday evening at home against Duluth Denfeld. The Hawks are led by junior center Olivia Johnson, sophomore guard Bailey Hermanson and ultra-elite senior guard Bailey Zagelmeyer.


Girls Hockey – vs. Warroad, Minnesota Class 1A quarterfinal, 8 p.m. Xcel Energy Center. Game Notes: Fifth-seeded Proctor-Hermantown (18-8-2) lost to fourth-seeded Warroad (19-8-0) 2-1 in its 2023-24 regular season opener at Gardens Arena in Warroad. The Hawks cruised through the Section 7A tournament, out-scoring their three opponents 15-1, including a 4-0 championship win against Duluth Marshall. Proctor-Hermantown is led by scoring leader Izy Fairchild, a senior forward who has 24 goals and 44 points, and junior forward Jane Eckstrom (31 points, 11 goals).  


Boys Basketball – at Superior, 7:15 p.m. Game Notes: The Hawks (17-6) have won six straight but will be a slight underdog at Superior. Team scoring and rebounding leader senior forward Abe Soumis continues to lead Hermantown, and star senior guards Peyton Menzel and Nathan Hill are playing at near NBA levels.

Girls Basketball – host Duluth Denfeld, 7:15 p.m. Game Note: The Hawks will be heavily favored against the Hunters (3-20), who have lost five straight and nine of their last 10.


Girls Hockey – Minnesota Class 1A semifinal, 1 p.m. (If the Mirage win Wednesday’s quarterfinal against Warroad)


Girls Hockey – Minnesota Class 1A final, 4 p.m. (If the Mirage advance)

Boys Hockey – Section 7A semifinal, 6:05 p.m. Amsoil Arena.

Essentia Health-Hinckley Clinic opening this month

Essentia Health is opening a new clinic in Hinckley on Monday, Feb. 26.  

This is an opportunity to provide expert, compassionate care closer to home for patients in Hinckley and the surrounding communities that we are privileged to serve. Essentia’s nearby facilities include hospitals in Sandstone and Moose Lake, seamlessly connecting our patients to a higher level of care when needed.

“We are very excited to be providing another location for patients to receive high-quality care close to home,” said Sam Barney, administrator at Essentia Health-Moose Lake. “By expanding our footprint, we can better meet the health care needs of people in Hinckley and the surrounding area by providing access to our wide range of specialties.”

In the 8,000-square-foot clinic, we will have 12 exam rooms, one consult room and one procedure room. We will retain our rehabilitation services and offer family medicine and imaging lab services. Urgent care and additional specialty services are planned for the future. Initially, two family medicine physicians will be caring for patients at this location. As we expand our services and specialties, more providers will be added.

The new clinic will be located at 45 Lady Luck Dr. and will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments can be made by calling (320) 279-8600, signing into MyChart or on our website.

A community open house will be held at a later date.