Girls basketball: Agates drop first game to Hilltoppers

Two Harbors will next play Duluth Denfeld on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Lake Superior Conference Day in Cloquet

Two Harbors won its first three games of the season, but ran into a buzz saw when they traveled to Duluth Marshall Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Gianna Kneepkens scored 33 points as the Hilltoppers cruised to an 86-22 win over the Agates.

Duluth Marshall jumped out to a 52-9 halftime lead. Two Harbors head coach Dan Lillegaard said his team may have been a little nervous facing off against the 2019 Section 7AA runner-up.

“I think we kind of came in a little intimidated,” Lillegaard said. “We didn’t play like we did the last three.”

Karly Holm led Two Harbors with seven points.


In the first three games of the season, the Agate defense has been the team’s strong start. The Agates topped Carlton 60-52 on Dec. 3 and Cook County 43-34 on Friday, Dec. 6. Two Harbors also rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit at Ely to win 52-47 in overtime Saturday, Dec. 7.

Laila Monroe (15) of Marshall School and Rosie Cruikshank (35) of Two Harbors compete for a rebound during Tuesday's game at the Marshall School Gymnasium in Duluth. (Clint Austin /

While Lillegaard is in his first year as head coach, he has been with the program for more than five years and knows his team and what they do well.

“We’re not a great shooting team. We have to create our offense elsewhere and our pressure defense has been what’s been doing it,” he said. “We have nine seniors on the team and I’ve been coaching them since they were in seventh grade. I know them well and I know what they can do well and it has always been defense with them. We’re very athletic, we can run in the transition and get turnovers.”

Lillegaard knows the team must improve its shooting over the remainder of the season, but was happy with the way came out in the first three games. There was plenty for the Agates to build on and the team knows what it needs to do to win.

“All you can tell the kids is to forget about it and move on to the next one,” Lillegaard said. “The first three games they did what they needed to do to win. It wasn’t pretty all of the time, but they did it.”

Two Harbors (3-1) is scheduled to play Duluth Denfeld at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Lake Superior Conference Day in Cloquet.

Laura Erickson (15) of Two Harbors controls the ball during Tuesday's game at the Marshall School Gymnasium in Duluth. (Clint Austin /


Two Harbors 9-13—22

Duluth Marshall 52-36—86

Two Harbors — Karly Holm 7, Isabelle Tokvam 1, Laura Erickson 5, Elise Poe-Johnson 2, Emily Olson 2, Tricia Osbakken 4, Jillian Hooper 1. Totals 9 2-6 22.

3-point goals — Holm, Erickson.

Duluth Marshall — Grace Kirk 12, Ada Skafte 5, Gianna Kneepkens 33, Merlea Mrozik 12, Laila Monroe 7, Dasia Starks 15, Hinano Kurokawa 2. Totals 36 7-12 86.

3-point goals — Kneepkens 2, Mrozik 3, Starks, Skafte.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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