Megan Arns' talent was obvious two years ago when as an eighth-grader she was one of the first players off the bench for the Brainerd Warriors girls' basketball team.
Arns transferred to Pequot Lakes last season, became a starter and helped the Patriots to a 19-5 season.
This winter, Arns has transferred back to Brainerd and the Warriors are thrilled she has returned. The 5-foot-10 sophomore is averaging double figures in points (12.9) and rebounds (10.7) while playing staunch defense against the opposition's best post player.
Arns has had six double-doubles this season and is a big reason the Warriors are 8-2 and leading the Central Lakes Conference.
Megan Arns profile
Sport -- Girls' basketball
Year -- Sophomore
Age -- 16
Height -- 5-foot-10
Other sports -- Volleyball, softball
Favorite subject -- Mathematics
Favorite food -- Pizza
Favorite movie -- "Coyote Ugly"
Future plans -- Attend college
Parents -- Chuck and Rita Arns
"It was easier than I thought it would be because all the kids have accepted me well back here," Arns said of her return. "They're all really nice."
Warriors coach Carl Hendrickson doesn't consider Arns a new player.
"She started in our program," Hendrickson said, "so she's familiar with it. That's one thing that's helped her, being able to step right in and know what we want offensively, what we need to do defensively.
"The big difference in her from eighth grade and now is her shot is so much better. Obviously, that's something she has worked on."
Arns is sinking 55 percent of her field-goal attempts and 67 of her free throws.
"I've shot quite a bit the last couple years," Arns said.
Arns has been quite a factor on the boards, collecting 50 offensive and 57 defensive rebounds.
"You just have to get in front of them," Arns said of her rebounding prowess. "And, I've been doing weights lately. That helps."
Hendrickson said Arns has a knack for getting to the basket and establishing position.
"When a shot goes up, she's good at finding a person and blocking out," he said. "That's one of the fundamental things we talk about, but a lot of kids don't take it to heart, or they don't do that. They turn and go to the basket rather than going to a person. Megan does the opposite. She goes to the person first."
Arns' strength often enables her to contain the opposing team's top inside player.
"Megan is so strong," Hendrickson said, "and she does exactly what you tell her to do on defense. If we want to push them on the block, play the high side or jump in front, we tell her once and she does it.
"Defensively, she's kind of the one we look to help us out, to stop the other team's best post player. The other thing she realizes is if someone is quicker than her, she gives them a little space."
Arns' value to the Warriors isn't only as a scorer, rebounder and defender. She ranks second on the team in assists and steals.
"She's kind of a utility player," Hendrickson said. "Megan starts on the wing, but if we need to give Joan Ebnet a break at the point, we move Megan to the point. If we need help inside, we can drop her down inside and try to post her up.
"The thing that's unique about Megan is if we put something in, she will come up and ask, 'Which position do you want me to play?' and we say, 'All of them.' When she gets to each position, she knows where she's going."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Abby Rehberger, girls' hockey, had a hat trick vs. River Lakes.
Shaun Kennedy, diving, won the Bloomington Jefferson Invitational.
Jon Weston, boys' hockey, stopped 33 shots in a shutout vs. Bemidji.
Vince Sellnow, wrestling, won the 103-pound title at the Cambridge Invitational.
J.P. Platisha, boys' hockey, had a hat trick and three assists vs. Little Falls.
Chris Nelson, floor hockey, had a hat trick vs. Rochester.
(Athlete of the week is honored by the Brainerd Sports Boosters Club.)
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