West Central Area 62, Tigers 61
It wasn't supposed to be this close. MACA fans might have expected the Thursday game to be a tune-up. Why? The Tigers, owner of the No. 3 seed in sub-section, had beaten their foe handily in a previous game. Their foe was West Central Area.
A check of Pheasant Country Sports shows the Tigers handled WCA with relative ease on January 22, winning 60-41. That game was at our home gym. But so was Thursday's, so there was reason to expect that the comfortable feeling of playing at home, in front of so many enthusiastic orange and black boosters, would yield a similar result.
Alas, prep sports can defy prediction. Once a group of five boys take the court for the opening tipoff, their focus and drive can go so far in bringing a desired result. It was the visiting Knights of West Central Area who got their desired result Thursday. It was a stunning loss for coach Mark Torgerson's Tigers.
The Tigers entered the night with a season record of 17-7. As the No. 3 seed they had reason to expect success vs. the sixth-seeded foe, especially by taking advantage of home gym.
This 6AA-West quarter-final game had a thrilling conclusion. Not one but two overtimes were needed. Finally, Knight Colton Blasyck put up a layup at the buzzer of the second OT that made the difference. The WCA fan throng erupted in a frenzy of cheering as their Knights had turned back the proud Tigers, 62-61. Fans won't soon forget this one.
The Knights are regrouping for continued sub-section play. They'll take the "big floor" of UMM for the semis tomorrow (Saturday, March 12). There they'll take on Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, a squad that beat Staples-Motley in the quarters (69-44). In other sub-section play Thursday, it was Minnewaska Area over Osakis 69-40 and Breckenridge edging Benson 66-64.
West Central Area will play LP-GE at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, at UMM.
Blasyck was a thorn in the Tigers' side Thursday. He was team-high in scoring with 23 points.
The Knights had to mount a second half comeback as they found themselves down by ten in that half. Rally the Knights did, but Cole Riley of MACA scored to give his team a one-point edge that again put the Knights on their heels. The score stood 61-60 with 17 ticks of the clock remaining, which of course can be an eternity in hoops. Cole led the Tigers in scoring on this night with 14 points.
This was a night for WCA to show poise when down, totally undaunted by being the visitor. WCA seized the lead in those waning moments of regulation, but MACA got the score tied with a freethrow. Overtime!
WCA made a bid to end this game in the first overtime but again the Tigers made a freethrow to tie the score up just in time. Now the score is 55-all. Overtime No. 2!
The second OT ended with Blacyck making that layup as time expired, and all the wind went out of the sails of everyone associated with MACA, right at that moment. WCA had prevailed 62-61. Congrats to them.
Both the boys and girls hoops teams of MACA were eliminated in the first round of playoffs. It seems we wouldn't be doing any worse if we were still playing in the 1968 gym. (Remember that?) Heck, yours truly can remember watching some Tiger games at the old elementary auditorium. That was before girls basketball existed. (Imagine the movie "Hoosiers" - it was like that.)
The Tigers led at halftime 18-16. Looking over the game's statistics, one department that jumps out is three-pointers where the MACA numbers were 0-for-10. A donut! Making just one of those would have spelled victory.
In total field goals the Tigers made 25 of 56 tries. In freethrows: 11 of 20.
Cody Cannon and Eric Riley each scored eleven points to trail Cole Riley's 14. Alex Erickson put in nine points and Riley Arndt eight. The list is rounded out by Mac Kampmeier and his six points and Dan Tiernan with his two. Cole with his 12 rebounds led in that department too. Eric Riley set the pace in assists with five. Erickson had four steals and Cannon three.
Morris Area Chokio Alberta boys basketball closes out the season with a 17-8 record. Quite nice but hardly any consolation to cover what happened Thursday.
The West Central Area boys came out of Thursday with an 11-14 season record. Surely they're peaking at the right time.
(". . .And don't call me Shirley" - Leslie Nielsen RIP).
Now that prep basketball is done here in Motown, we can better focus on another sport, golf, where we're all supposed to reach into our pockets for our wallet or checkbook to support a "fundraiser" for the local Pomme de Terre Golf Course, to keep it going I guess. To keep it from getting plowed under.
I'll offer an opinion here that there are more worthy fundraisers (like the Morris Area School Foundation) than one to support a rich man's sport. But these are apparently not routine times in ol' Motown.
And, a question: Is this supposed "offer" from an ag group, to farm the land if acquired, totally verified? Wheeler-dealers can posture in all sorts of ways and they mean no harm by this, but if I were you I'd just leave my wallet or checkbook where it is.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org