"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Another deflating end to a BBB season

I'm looking at Page B1 of the Willmar paper, which unfortunately I have to buy once in a while. There's a photo from the MACA vs. Minnewaska playoff game. Do you see any fans in the bleachers? This can sometimes be embarrassing: a high school or college basketball photo that has hardly any fans in the background (or in this case, none).
The game was played in Granite Falls. It was just a second-round tournament game, so why the heck couldn't it have been played somewhere closer to the teams involved? It's not like it's prestigious to play at game at YME. It would be more prestigious to play at a college venue like our U of M-Morris.
I think the Minnewaska fans would have been happy attending the game at UMM. But no, fans had to trek all the way south to flood country of Granite Falls, once the home of the "Kilowatts," remember? I remember when Granite Falls was a football power all by itself. In recent years the combined "YME" entity has struggled to be competitive in football. How times changed!
One thing you can always count on: Mark Torgerson coaching the MACA basketball Tigers. I often wonder if he has held the position long enough. It is my opinion that his coaching regime has trouble getting the burners lit under the players for the post-season. Is this a radical statement to make? Oh, I know it isn't, but in this town it's sometimes difficult to perceive what's real or valid. How can you criticize someone who's on the park board?
Well, our Tigers of 2015-16 may have won a fair number of games, certainly bringing some nice memories for the parents and fans, but is this good enough to bring total satisfaction? Those fans can judge by whatever standard they want. I assume they took the trouble to drive to Granite Falls - no Interstate available - Tuesday night, which is more than I did. I was in the warm comfort of our living room checking in on the score via radio - apparently not a Morris station - from time to time.
We battled 'Waska hard late in the regular season. If I remember correctly, 'Waska needed a shot at the end to put us away. Well, it wasn't so close in the re-match. It reminded me of when we took New London-Spicer to overtime at the end of the regular season 3-4 years ago, only to get killed by the Wildcats at St. John's in the post-season, on a night when travel was difficult due to a winter storm having just ended. I blogged at the time that "fans deserved to see a little better ballgame."
I have been an outlier with my sports opinions in this town for a long time. There has been a prevailing "clique" that I have never wanted to concede to. I prefer just having unvarnished vision.
I wonder if the athletic director thinks everything is going just beautifully. I think post-season success means something. If you have a player like Taylor Witt who can score 50 points in a game, you should be able to advance to the third round of the tournament, shouldn't you? We needed double-overtime to win in the first round that year, then we lost in the second round. That was the first season after my departure from the Morris newspaper.
Dennis Rettke wanted to appoint someone named Chris Baxter as head boys basketball coach once. I know because he told me.
Enough with the retrospective thoughts. The Tigers lost to the Minnewaska Lakers 69-49 Tuesday at that desolate southern town. Let me assert that there are actually safety issues posed here. The game was on a weekday, meaning that fans went through their arduous paces in a workday, then they had to get on their wheels to make the not-minor trip south - no Interstate - to Granite Falls, where the game started a little later than scheduled. I tuned in to the radio - apparently not a Morris station - at 7:45 p.m. and the lineups were being announced.
Here's my point: when the time came to return home, in the pitch dark of night, the hour was getting rather late. A fan might get drowsy at the wheel. This is unconscionable when you consider that the game could have been played at UMM or at Morris or Minnewaska. What gives?
The Tigers and Lakers played in the semis of Section 3AA-North. We got buried by 20 points. Yawn. Sigh. 'Waska fans will have to travel to Southwest State University for the sub-section finals on Saturday (a very late 8 p.m. start). Get your sleep the night before, 'Waska fans.
I think this whole arrangement is ridiculous. Look for more newspaper photos with few fans in the background. Another point to be made or question to be asked: Why did the MACA girls team play a regular season game on the same night the boys were in the tournament? This cut into the fan turnout, both ways in fact.
Yes, the Lakers shot very hot Tuesday night at our expense. Sometimes a better-coached team just shoots better, eh? MACA fans sat chagrined at halftime, looking up at a scoreboard that showed a 38-12 score. Wow! Maybe go home early, eh? Was there a fan bus?
The Willmar paper heaped all sorts of praise on Minnewaska, as if that was the whole story. Is it possible MACA went flat? Is that an acceptable alternative theory? Is it? We outscored 'Waska in the second half, 37-31, but who cares? It's too bad the MACA fans had to make this trip to see this disaster. Yes, throw a pie in my face if you want.
Four different Tigers each made one three-pointer: Mitchell Torgerson, Robert Rohloff, Cam Arndt and Eric Staebler. Staebler grabbed eleven rebounds. Jacob Zosel produced six assists. Connor Koebernick had two steals.
Here we go with scoring: Eric Staebler (13), Jacob Zosel (8), Connor Koebernick (7), Robert Rohloff (7), Cam Arndt (7), Philip Anderson (4) and Mitchell Torgerson (3).
Jake Peters and Matt McIver each scored 13 points for the winning Lakers, while Austin VerSteeg scored 12. Let's continue: Greg Helander (7), Matt Gruber (6), Michael Gruber (5), Brandon French (4), Dennis VanDyke (3), Garrett Jensen (2), Collin Richards (2) and Riley Kinney (2).
McIver and Peters each sank two 3-pointers. Michael Gruber made one. At the fore in rebounding were McIver and Peters each with six, while VerSteeg grabbed five. Matt Gruber helped lubricate the 'Waska offense with five assists. McIver had four assists. VerSteeg, the hero in the previous game played between these teams, had impact in this game too, stealing the ball three times.
Reminder: The Tigers beat Minnewaska Area 37-36 on January 7 at 'Waska.
If you look at today's (Wednesday) Willmar paper, you'll see more coverage of efforts to get the Appleton prison open again. This is totally politics. As a nation we are making a concerted effort to reduce our prison population, aren't we? How would re-opening Appleton be consistent with that? Hey, maybe Appleton could volunteer to take those prisoners from Gitmo if that facility were to close as President Obama wants. How about it? All those prisoners want to do is kick around soccer balls. Come on out to beautiful West Central Minnesota.
Reminder to all: Be sure to buy Girl Scout cookies from the local Girl Scouts. Our late dog "Sandy" was a big supporter of the Girl Scouts: He ate their cookies! I'm sure that helped him live to about 17 years of age (two weeks shy).
If Donald Trump can criticize the Pope, I can criticize Morris Area High School.
Is it true there was some sort of incident at a Hancock vs. W-H-N basketball game where a couple fans were ejected? Interesting.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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