It's never a picnic to play New London-Spicer in girls basketball. The Tigers of MACA had that daunting task on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The Wildcats executed smoothly at our MAHS gym. They put up 73 points compared to 54 by our Tigers. The halftime score was 39-24.
NL-Spicer upped its season record to 19-5. Coach Dale Henrich's Tigers came out of the night with the still very good 16-9 numbers.
Thoughts are focused on the post-season now. MACA can embrace bright hopes. They're set to vie against Minnewaska Area at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at the MAHS gym. On paper this is a close matchup with MACA (#4 seed) having the edge over the Lakers (#5 seed). We're in the ranks of Section 6AA.
I have become familiar with the name Taylor Thunstedt of the New London-Spicer Wildcats. She makes waves often on the basketball court. On Thursday she was a prime force helping separate the Wildcats from the Tigers on the scoreboard.
Taylor's point total was 29. She connected five times from three-point land. (It has been a while since I used the term "three-point land.")
Reilly Ness made three 3-pointers and McKenzie Peterson made one.
Megan Thorson was No. 2 on the NL-Spicer scoring list with her 14 points. Ness scored nine, followed by Ashlyn Geister (6), Peterson (3), Erin Tebben (3), Kabrie Weber (3), Alyssa Fredrick (2), Petra Lothert (2), Lauren Bratberg (1) and Morgan Swenson (1).
Geister grabbed nine rebounds. Thunstedt led in assists and steals with four and seven respectively.
The Tigers were cold in three-point shooting. Rebekah Aanerud made one '3' for MACA and that was it for the orange and black cause. The team numbers were one of 13. In total field goals the Tigers made 20 of 76. The freethrow numbers: 13 of 25.
Kayla Pring led the rebounding with her nine. Kaitlin Vogel had seven rebounds for the orange and black. Three Tigers each collected six boards: Becca Holland, Nicole Strobel and Lacee Maanum. The Holland sisters each had two assists. Correy Hickman stole the ball twice.
The MACA scoring was quite spread around. We simply needed more of it. Becca Holland with her ten points was the only double figures scorer. Three Tigers each scored six points: Pring, Vogel and Beth Holland.
Maanum put in five points followed by these three Tigers each with four: Piper Gibson, Lauren Reimers and Abbie Olson. Aanerud's three-point shot represented her only scoring on the night. Hickman, Strobel and Moira McNally each scored two points.
Boys basketball: EV-W 68, Tigers 60
One game? Is that all? This was the extent of the MACA boys' post-season experience for 2014.
It seems a shame, given the glimmers of potential the Tigers showed for high-caliber play, mixed in with the losses. They entered the tournament with the modest No. 7 seeding position. Still, fans knew this team could punch down on the accelerator.
Which Tiger team would show up for the "new" season (when everyone is 0-0)? The Tigers began the regular season on a losing skid. This would not be the norm for the 2013-14 winter, though. The Tigers showed they could take command on occasion.
How much command could they show vs. the No. 2 seed, Eden Valley-Watkins? The curtain opened for Section 6AA play on Thursday, Feb. 27. The Tigers as the lower seed had to be road warriors.
The early portion of the second half told the story. The Tigers went cold and fell to a deficit of 18 points. They then fought back, just not quite enough. That deficit got shaved down to five. In the end the host Eagles won 68-60 and could advance in 6AA.
The curtain comes down on the Morris Area Chokio Alberta season with a W/L record of 9-15.
Coach Mark Torgerson's crew entered the post-season having been idle from game action for nine days. The weather was a factor in the hiatus.
"We never quite found our complete game in this contest," coach Torgerson said.
Shooting was downbeat: 35 per cent from the field, four of 15 in 3's.
Coach Torgerson was impressed by Eagle senior guard Brett Mattice who scored 29 points. Freshman guard Reese Jansen put in 18 points for the Eagles. Junior post man Jared Streit put in 15 points.
The Tigers were dealt a setback when starting forward Nathan Anderson had to leave the game early in the first half with a shoulder injury.
Eden Valley-Watkins led 32-26 at the half. Noah Grove accounted for 18 of the Tigers' 26 first half points. The turning point seemed to be the opening of the second half, which saw EV-W go on a 12-0 run.
MACA's struggling was not for lack of good scoring opportunities, Torgerson noted. The Tigers bounced back to get within five points with 1:22 left to play. A pivotal moment arrived when MACA had an open look on a three-point shot that would have shaved the margin to two (with over a minute left).
Yes, it was a game that left Tiger fans with "what might have been" thoughts. That '3' attempt went off the back rim.
"The Eagles gained control from there," Torgerson said.
EV-Watkins used freethrows down the stretch as an insurance policy.
We have to accept that the season is done. Again, a mere one game in the post-season doesn't seem enough and doesn't seem fair, not for this group. How about a double-elimination format? Hey, MSHSL!
The Tigers put up bricks at the start of the season, going 0-7. But in the 2014 portion of the schedule, the W/L numbers were a quite pleasing 9-7. "It shows the vast improvement this group made," Torgerson said.
We say goodbye to only one starter via graduation: senior captain Bryce Jergenson. (I remember photographing Bryce's dad at the spring "Olympics Day" of Morris Elementary School.)
"The Tigers look like a team that could contend in 2014-15," Torgerson said.
Eric Staebler was a force as the Tigers' sophomore center. Staebler became one of the few Tigers in history to average a double-double for a season. He stands 6'3". His sophomore campaign saw him pour in 482 points (20.1 ppg). He snared 28 rebounds (11.7 rpg). His rebound harvest puts him in the top five in Tiger history for a single season.
Noah Grove, a junior, was an offensive force in many games, flirting with 400 points on the season. His 392 points translated to a per-game output of 16.3.
We'll get to see Andrew Goulet again next season. He's coming off his junior campaign. Andrew plays guard and is known for defensive prowess. Also coming off their junior campaign are Nathan Anderson and C.J. Nagel, post players who rotated at a starting spot.
The Tiger 'B' team had a promising group of sophomores.
Let's review some stats from the EV-W game. Noah Grove had the hot hand as he made three 3-pointers (in nine attempts) and led the team in scoring with 31 points. Bryce Jergenson made a '3' and finished with ten points. MACA was four of 15 in 3's.
Eric Staebler was held down some and finished with eleven points. These four Tigers each scored two points: Arbach, Zosel, Nagel and Goulet.
Staebler went up to grab 13 rebounds. Jergenson had six, Goulet three, Grove two, and Arbach and Zosel one each.
Riley Biesterfeld, Arbach and Grove each blocked a shot. Zosel, Grove and Staebler each had three assists, and Biesterfeld had one. In steals it was Grove and Staebler executing three each, and Jergenson two.
State wrestling: disappointment
The MAHACA Tigers had two from their ranks vie in state. Unfortunately neither won a match. Still, the accomplishment of making state is noteworthy.
Myles Smith at 145 pounds, a senior, dropped a 12-4 major decision to Jake Berthiaume of Monticello. He was eliminated. Myles' season record: 28-12.
Travis Ostby, an up-and-coming sophomore for MAHACA, lost by fall in the opening round to Kyle Nordstrom of Simley (time of 5:33). Consolations saw Travis drop a 14-4 major decision to Noah Bernier of Thief River Falls. Travis' season record: 26-16.
Congrats to these Tigers.
"I heard the news today, oh boy"
I had time for a quick glance at the Morris newspaper Sunday at church. Another sexual assault arrest headline? Aren't these getting a little tired? Are parents having to put the Morris newspaper somewhere where their kids can't see it? Of course, a great many Morris area residents simply don't buy the paper anymore. That solves it.
How much more refreshing it is to see the Senior Perspective paper with its upbeat human interest features, no "true crime" stories, no "district court report" full of names of your neighbors for seat belt and minor speeding infractions, and no "sports section" full of game details that you aren't interested in reading, not that you aren't happy these fine sports programs exist.
You'd think the world revolved around sports, to look at the Morris newspaper. The sports section glorifies teams and kids fortunate enough to be endowed with God-given athletic talent. We're happy for these kids, of course, but the youth population of Stevens County is involved in a wide array of enriching and uplifting activities.
As for the true crime stuff, I don't know the extent we really need to read about all the details, especially when verdicts haven't yet been rendered.
The details in these sexual assault articles make me want to wince. Is this necessary? Could we just sit back and let the law enforcement wheels of Stevens County turn without so much public exposure? Anyone agree with me?
Our high school principal is sitting there worried that he might have to serve as many as 30 years in prison. I don't think the taxpayers are interested in paying Craig Peterson's room and board for the next umpteen years as he sits in prison, his "three squares a day" included of course. Society is increasingly getting skeptical of prison as a remedy anyway.
Is it true Peterson is just sitting around doing nothing? While the school scrambles? What a mess.
Maybe there's a lesson to be taken: If you're contemplating having sex with someone who isn't your spouse, draw up a "contract for sex." Each would sign. The legal community loves having "things in writing," right? This would accommodate the legal community, members of which presumably make lots of money on cases like this.
If you're the man, consider having the woman take the top position in order to protect yourself.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org