The Wildcats were seeded second and our Tigers third. Really that's a negligible difference.
Most importantly, coach Mark Torgerson's Tigers showed they indeed had the potential to turn back the 'Cats. This we learned on February 26. On that very recent date, the Tigers practically had victory in hand against NL-Spicer. We led by four points with 18 seconds left in regulation. Then with five seconds left, the Wildcats needed a prayer. Joey Dreier hit a '3' to tie the score and force overtime.
What if the ball had clanged off? The 'Cats seized their new opportunity and went on to excel in overtime of that 2/26 game played here at MAHS. The game was so recent, Tiger fans had to feel heartened, if not a little deflated too, coming out of that night and knowing beyond any doubt, their team could be competitive vs. New London-Spicer.
"Just wait until we get a rematch," they might've said. Well, we certainly got our chance on Monday, March 11. As the world awaited a new Pope, coach Torgerson's crew took the floor at St. John's, presumably savoring this rematch against the Wildcats.
The game was to have been played Saturday. The weather turned ugly that day. A combination of rain, snow and ice spelled "yuck." Not only that, travel was risky. The travel conditions had not returned completely back to normal for the Monday re-scheduling.
We have had to deal with patches of snow and ice on the road. KFGO Radio taught me a term for this: "blow-ice." Whatever, it's slippery and a bit rough. The MACA fans who made the trip to St. John's Monday were a hardy bunch. They deserved to see a better game than what unfolded.
Is it possible the New London-Spicer coaching staff learned more from the February 26 game than the MACA coaches?
I could be blunt in describing how the Tigers began this contest in a sub-par way, but let me quote instead Rand Middleton of the Willmar newspaper: "The New London-Spicer Wildcats came out of their corner unleashing roundhouse rights to knock Morris/Chokio-Alberta out of the post-season on Monday night at Sexton Arena."
I would suggest the Wildcats threw a few good left punches also.
I'm not sure about the boxing analogy. I got criticized some in my print media career for turning to analogies a little too often. Our family dentist even criticized me publicly for this once, as part of a missive that suggested he had a little too much caffeine that morning. We changed dentists.
The Tigers were clearly on the canvas by halftime Monday. They were down 44-23, looking nothing like the team that played NL-Spicer into overtime on February 26.
Chad Schmeising is the NL-S coach. He was worried his team wouldn't be ready for a Monday game. What a totally unfounded worry. His squad made nine of 12 three-point tries and was 28 of 47 in total field goals. In freethrows: 11 of 18.
Aaron Ruter made four 3-pointers. Dreier came through with three and Brett Olson had two.
Ruter led the NL-S charge in scoring with 22 points.
Schmeising was quoted saying "it was a fun game for us."
The subdued MACA fans had to be concerned with making the long drive home after dark with roads at less than 100 per cent.
Coach Torgerson characterized the NL-S three-point attempts as "open." Why were they so open? He also said of the Wildcats "they out-hustled us." Why? Maybe the Tigers needed some caffeine.
"Credit them," Torgerson said of the victorious foe. Well, OK. But maybe MACA fans ought to wonder why their team's cause couldn't have been a little more inspired or sharp.
The Tigers executed well in fashioning a 19-7 season record coming into this night. According to the Willmar newspaper, NL-Spicer was just a .500 team (14-14) coming out of Monday. Can that be right?
I mustn't overlook the final score - it was 76-49.
The 27-point difference is hard to fathom given the complexion of the game played on February 26. Sports fans always have the prerogative of speculating on the "why" of such things. In the past, I have gotten in some trouble by never completely excluding the coaching staff from such judgment. I'm not so aware of what the political complexion is like today, in 2013, regarding such things. Maybe it's OK in ol' Motown now. But I feel a little defensive.
I would argue "it's just sports." Why not just talk freely?
The Tigers conclude the season at 19-8. Some of the losses were to high-powered foes like Alexandria and Litchfield.
I'll repeat what I wrote a year or so ago on this site: MACA athletics are a fundamentally solid system. However, there seems to be a nagging problem with teams never able to surprise on the "up" side in post-season. The post-season almost seems anticlimactic. I assure you it isn't, for NL-Spicer who ended our girls season as well as the boys.
It would be nice to see some true "March madness" infuse Tiger athletics.
Apparently there are lots of seniors leaving the boys athletic scene after this year. This might have been "our year" to do something truly significant. Instead, I guess we just sort of marked time, at least judging by the tournaments. If the parents are happy, we should all be happy, I guess.
Keep in mind we have state of the art athletic facilities in ol' Motown.
Let's do our last stat report for 2012-13: The Tigers were just two of 21 in three-point shooting Monday. Wince. Jacob Torgerson had both of the makes. The Tigers were 19 of 62 in total field goals and nine of eleven in freethrows.
Nic Vipond led in scoring with 13 points. Logan Manska scored ten points and Austin Dierks eight. Torgerson and John Tiernan each added six points to the mix. Then we have Chandler Erickson with four and Tyler Henrichs with two. (Note: Thanks to coach Torgerson posting stats on Maxpreps, I'm able to correct an error from the West Central Tribune.)
Dierks led in rebounds with eight followed by Vipond with five. Erickson produced five assists. Manska and Tom Holland each had three steals.
The season is done. Let's look forward to a belated spring now, with no more "blow-ice."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org