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LP-A’s Bartunek plays ball in Hawaii

When Lidgerwood (N.D.) Public School athletic director Mark Wisnewski brought together a group of 13 area girls’ basketball players to play in Hawaii this past month, Audubon’s Bailee Bartunek was among them.

“It was so much fun,” said Bartunek, who will be a senior at Lake Park-Audubon High School this fall.

She made the trip to Oahu with her mother, Lori, and grandmother, Phyllis Lentz.

Bartunek plays as both a post and forward, “depending what team I’m playing on,” and had the opportunity to play both positions during her stay in Hawaii — despite suffering an injury in her first game of the “Flying Hawaiian” summer tournament.

“I got injured in the second half of the first game, and they thought I had a concussion, so I couldn’t play the rest of the first day,” she said.

Despite that initial setback, Bartunek’s weeklong stay on the island of Oahu was a memorable one.

“It was really fun,” she said. “All the girls were super nice.”

But that didn’t stop them from being aggressive on the court.

“We played really competitive basketball,” Bartunek said. “Once we started, we played hard, because we were there to win it.”

And win it they did. This was the fourth straight year that Wisnewski coached his “Frozen Chosen” squad to the title in Hawaii.

The team, which was chosen by Wisnewski from some of the top basketball talent in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, breezed through the tournament by winning all five of their games by at least 10 points.

The Frozen Chosen let everyone know they were a force to be reckoned with in their 47-13 opening round victory over host school LeJardin Academy. It was a balanced scoring effort as well, with 12 of the 13 team members getting their names on the scoreboard. Fallyn Freije of Edmore, N.D., led the team with 13 points, while Lexi Zieske of Arthur, N.D., and Karleigh Weber of Thompson, N.D., each contributed five points apiece.

In game two, Wisnewski’s team took on Team North Dakota, earning a 48-25 win after a tightly contested first half. Again, balanced scoring played a major role, as 10 players got on the scoreboard, with no one player scoring more than 7 points.

In their final game of the first day, the Frozen Chosen dominated a Midwest squad from Nebraska and Kansas with a 53-26 victory. Freije once again led the team with 12 points, while Sierra Senske finished with 9 and Weber contributed 7 points.

On day two, in the semi-finals, the Frozen Chosen took on a group of Oahu All-Stars in their moist closely contested game.

Trailing 9-8 at halftime, Wisnewski’s team rebounded with its best half of play on both ends of the floor, outscoring the Islanders 23-10 after intermission to claim the 31-19 win. Fallyn Freije was once again the top scorer, with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but Bartunek also had a strong showing with 5 points, equaling the total of Fallyn’s sister Ashtin Freije.

The title game was a rematch with Team North Dakota, and the Frozen Chosen came up big once again with a 37-27 victory. In this game, nobody reached double figures on the scoreboard, but nine different players on the team contributed to the point total.

“What a selfless team,” Coach Wisnewski said. “They all put their egos aside, and that was very apparent from the beginning. Right from the very first practice it all clicked.

“The best thing we did was putting these 13 girls together, and that was certainly reflected not only in the way they trusted each other on the floor, but also in the dynamics of them traveling together and having a ton of fun in the company of each other. They really meshed as a group.”

Bartunek agreed with her coach’s assessment.

“I will definitely stay in touch with the majority of the girls on the team,” she said. “I still talk to them almost every day.”

Though she played plenty of basketball, Bartunek said, she also got to have some fun in the sun as well.

“We went on tours, did some surfing and did lots of stuff as a team,” she said. “It was really a lot of fun.”

Some of the places that the team visited included Pearl Harbor, the North Shore and Pali lookout, the Dole pineapple plantation, and the famous Aloha Stadium swap meet, where they got some shopping in.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454