Upset win places target on Crowe’s back

After Minot High senior Isaiah Crowe pinned Bismarck’s Tristan Hall – the state’s top-ranked heavyweight – on Thursday, he stood up and released a booming roar that brought the home crowd to its feet.

A week later, Crowe’s roar has spread from Williston to Fargo, and his upset win (read: statement win) has placed a target square on his back, Minot coach Nolan Spooner said.

“He went from being a guy who was kind of in that mix of being toward the bottom of the (state tournament) podium,” Spooner said, “to all of the sudden, now you take down the No. 1 guy and people are out looking for you.”

The Magicians host Mandan at 7 tonight before heading east for the Grand Forks Multiple on Friday and Saturday, when Crowe will certainly be tested.

He’s compiled a 22-5 record, including a string of 17 straight wins that followed a season-opening loss to then-No. 6 Dual Keck of Dickinson (whom Crowe has since beaten twice).

He collected individual titles at the New Town Tournament and the Knights of Columbus tournament in Jamestown. His streak of victories induced the realization that he could wrestle with the upper echelon of the state’s heavyweights.

He narrowly missed the podium at the state tournament last year – his first season on varsity. He began this season simply hoping to place; just end the year somewhere on the podium.

“I knew I always was a contender because of what I did after that first loss,” Crowe said. “I went 17 in a row. It just elevated my confidence.”

When energetic, Crowe can move as well as any heavyweight in the state. His endurance, and ability to wrestle on bottom, will be crucial in tight matches during the final month of the season.

“For a guy who’s 280 pounds, he’s got quick feet,” Spooner said. “He’s got good lateral movement for a guy that size.”

The question now is just how high up the state tournament podium Crowe’s nimble feet might dance.

His sights, he says, are focused on the very top step.

Word around the state is that feat wouldn’t be an upset anymore.

“It’s a goal,” Crowe said, “and an expectation.”

Knee injury sidelines Duttenhefer

A weird thing happened Tuesday.

McKale Duttenhefer learned she’ll miss two weeks with a strained right anterior cruciate ligament, but she couldn’t wipe the smile off her face.

That’s because in December 2012, she tore her that same ACL and missed the remainder of the Majettes’ basketball season. She’s relieved it didn’t happen again. Two weeks on the bench she can handle, but not another year.

“I was ecstatic,” Duttenhefer said of learning her prognosis. “My morning started off kind of crappy and then now it’s just all joy.”

Duttenhefer, averaging 12.3 points per game, tweaked her knee while pivoting on Friday in the first half of a win at Mandan. She was admitted to the emergency room and was initially diagnosed with a torn ACL, but her MRI results proved otherwise.

“Luckily I just tweaked my ACL a little bit,” Duttenhefer said. “I have to rehab for two weeks and I’ll be back 100 percent hopefully by the end of January.”

The Majettes (5-3 overall, 3-2 West Region), who are receiving votes in the state media poll, host top-ranked Century (9-0, 6-0) at 7:30 tonight at the Minot State University Dome.

No rest for the weary

A quick turnaround left the Minot boys hockey team with little time to dwell on its 5-4 overtime loss to Century on Tuesday.

The Magicians (9-4-1 overall, 7-2 West Region) play Bismarck (12-2, 7-1) at 7:30 tonight at Maysa Arena.

Minot lost to the Demons 1-0 on Dec. 20, getting outshot 31-13.

“We need to be better in our defensive zone,” junior forward Brent Williams said on Tuesday. “That time we played them down there were weren’t as tight on the defensive systems. We’ll definitely go over them in practice and we’ll have to fix that.”

Bismarck holds a 10-point stranglehold on the region standings, with Minot in second at 21 points and Century in third with 16.

“We have to come out with the points,” Williams said of tonight’s contest. “It’s definitely a big game so you can’t look past them.”

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.