Basketball: Hirschey, Lodge named Tigers’ players of year

PR-B's Rylie Hirschey looks to drive against Swanville on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

With a girls basketball banquet out of the question due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pine River-Backus head coach Randy Schwegel announced the awards in a video sent to the team - a team that finished the season 17-11 and fell to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the section quarterfinals.

“Seventeen wins is a good season for any team,” Schwegel said. “We played probably one of the toughest schedules in the area. We played four teams that were ranked in the top six at some time in the season.”

Rylie Hirschey was named offensive player of the year after the junior guard scored 452 points on the season. She now has 1,213 points in her career, and she earned first-team all-conference honors.

Sidney Lodge earned defensive player of the year honors by being the team’s defensive anchor on the perimeter.

“She had the toughest matchup all year long … and she did a great job night after night,” Schwegel said. “She might have even got punched once or twice in the season. If you can get the person you’re guarding a little upset like that, it means you must be doing something right.”


Lodge was also given the Tiger Award for her dependable leadership in games and at practice.

“This girl brings a smile to my face every night at practice,” Schwegel said. “She keeps things a little bit lighter at practice - and a little bit off-the-wall and goofy. She is the kind of person that you want on your team when things get a little bit monotonous. You can always count on her to break that.”

Olivia Adkins was recognized for being named to the all-conference second team, for being second in the conference in free-throw percentage (83%), and for tying a school record for 3-pointers in a game, tying 2013 graduate Tatum Sheley with eight in one game.

Freshman Ramsey Tulenchik was named rookie of the year for both the team and the conference. She led the team in 2019-20 with 245 rebounds.

Senior Emma Barchus was named the team’s hardest worker, and also earned an academic all-state award.

Sophomore Emily Hanneken was named the most improved player for the Tigers, while Claire Dahl earned the “True Teammate” award.

Letterwinners for the Tigers were Emma Barchus, Lodge, Bella Netland, Hirschey, Adkins, Rylee Norman, Jamie Johnson, Dahl, Hanneken, Hannah Barchus, Ramsey Tulenchik and manager Kate Gravelle.

The 2019-20 season was the last for Schwegel, who announced his retirement after 40 years in the district.


“I have had so much over the last 40 years,” Schwegel said. “I was able to coach the best kids in the school for a long, long time, and it has been an honor for me. There’s a culture here that you started years ago and I’m just glad I got to be a part of it … I’ve said this a million times, but I love you guys to death.”

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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