Now it's on to the semis, tonight (Tuesday). The challenge might be a little tougher this time. ACGC was the No. 6 seed. The challenge now is to face Minnewaska Area, the No. 2 seed, at 7:30 p.m.
The site is Granite Falls (YME). Why Granite Falls? Why not here in Morris at the UMM P.E. Center, or simply at the "higher seed?" I wouldn't even care if the game was played at Minnewaska. The short trip to 'Waska would ensure that the full compliment of MACA fans would be there. The longer trip to Granite Falls could cut down on the fan numbers, unless the sheer enthusiasm overcomes that. We'll see. Is there a fan bus?
Seeding positions don't necessarily mean much. Remember, Morris Area Chokio Alberta lost in the first round last year as the No. 2 seed.
The Tigers coasted in the second half Saturday, outscoring ACGC 46-41 en route to the 84-67 final. The game was played here. We own a 16-11 season record now. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City closed out its season at 11-13.
Jacob Zosel soared with his offensive capabilities, putting in 24 points. Three other Tigers reached double figures: Eric Staebler (14), Camden Arndt (13) and Philip Anderson (10). Continuing with the list we have Lukus Manska (9), Robert Rohloff (7), Connor Koebernick (5) and Taylor Carrington (2). We were 33 of 57 in field goal shooting.
Manska led the three-point shooting department with three makes from long-range in six attempts. Zosel used two 3-pointers to build up his team-best point total. Jacob was two of five in 3's. Connor Koebernick made one of his two 3-point tries. Robert Rohloff was one of two also in 3's. MACA was a proficient seven of 21 in three-point shooting. In freethrows our numbers were 11 of 17.
Zosel was eight of ten at the freethrow line. Staebler snared eleven rebounds of the team total 28. Arndt contributed nine rebounds. Philip Anderson blocked a shot. Staebler topped the assist list with five while Arndt had four. Anderson and Zosel each dished out two assists.
Colton Minnick paced the Falcons offensively, putting in 21 points. Adam Johnson had an output of 15. Gabe Eisenbacher had a double figures evening with 12, then we have Erik Belgum and Jaren Kaddatz each with six points, Jake Mueller (3), Ryan Amdahl (2) and Brendan Hedtke (2).
Kaddatz and Mueller each made one 3-pointer. Johnson pulled down eleven rebounds and Minnick pulled down five. Minnick had seven assists and Belgum executed four. Minnick and Kaddatz each had two steals.
I'll ask again: Why can't tonight's game, a semi-final round game in Section 3AA-North, be played closer to the two communities involved? Remember the glory days of our UMM P.E. Center when so many Morris fans could take in adrenalin-fueled post-season games there, boys and girls?
Remember when Wheaton came here to play in their extended heyday for girls basketball (with the likes of Sondra Weick, later to be a UMM Cougar)? Their fans could be described as a "sea of red." Remember that little novelty song their fans performed? Remember Tom Grosland as their band director? He was Eleanor Killoran's nephew. I would take photos of Tom, publish them, and then his colleagues at Wheaton would needle him about it: "You must know someone at that Morris paper. . ."
Oh, and remember those very grand and glorious days when the Hancock girls played in front of packed houses at UMM? Remember the relentless running and pressing style of those Owls under Dennis Courneya and later Jodi Holleman? Courneya reached some bumps in the road in his career and life, didn't he. We are so human an animal. Holleman had a good start coaching at Ridgewater College this past winter, but then fell into a swoon with several consecutive losses by a wide margin, and then I stopped paying attention.
The Courneya chapter in Stevens County sports history was amazing. A book should be written, other than the book written by Courneya himself. I'm not sure I would have wanted a daughter playing in that program. It was too intense, IMHO. When those girls finally graduated, they went into a world where those skills would mean nothing. Meanwhile the coach gets to build up his resume.
Hancock was divided after the criminal trial of Courneya, as I recall. A well-placed Morris source told me the reason he wasn't caught and convicted sooner was that "he won (games)." America and winning: they're synonymous, aren't they? Maybe we all need to take a deep breath.