My, what an assortment of talent the Wildcats displayed, as five individuals scored in double figures.
Coach Mike Dreier has guided his program to great heights in many seasons. I doubt that the raw "talent" is really that much more than what we have here in Morris Area Chokio Alberta. Dreier seems to pull the levers that make the difference. But if interviewed about this, I'm sure he'd say it was all about talent. Wink.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton is no stranger to high levels of play. But this year they clearly ended up in a back seat to the Wildcats, who are in their 16th state tournament. They're getting ready to play again on Wednesday (3/16). The site will be Mariucci Arena.
The Wildcats nudged to a 38-32 lead by halftime Thursday. They outscored TMB 34-23 in the second half. Here are the five double figures scorers: Alyssa Fredrick (17), Kabrie Weber (16), Shea Oman (13), Erin Tebben (10) and Morgan Swenson (10). Megan Thorson put in four points and Brooke Beuning two.
Can our MACA Tigers make a run at the Wildcats one of these years? I think the opportunity is there anytime. It'd be neat if we could shoot 3-pointers like the Wildcats did Thursday. It was bombs-away as Fredrick led the charge with five long-rangers. Oman and Weber each made three 3's. The team numbers in 3's were 11 of 18. The rebound leaders were Thorson (8), Tebben (7) and Swenson (6). Fredrick deftly contributed eight assists while Oman had five. Oman stole the ball three times.
The win was No. 23 of the season for those dynastic Wildcats. Coach Dreier sees balance as a prime attribute of his team.
The Panthers of TMB did not have height as an attribute. They had a young complexion, indicating of course they'll be a force to reckon with in the future. Naturally, NL-Spicer will continue as quite the force. I know that Shea Oman is only a sophomore.
Fredrick was quoted post-game saying she really didn't feel in the groove in pre-game. Such feelings can fool you, as Twins broadcaster Bert Blyleven would point out. Blyleven recalled days when he felt terrible in warm-ups only to go out and pitch solidly. The reverse scenario could also be true. Fredrick said that once she hit her first shot, she felt fine.
The TMB Panthers had a streak of 16 wins over one stretch this season. Sophomores Kaylee Kirk and Evelyn Dolan are players to watch for them. Kirk had a harvest of 19 points Thursday. Dolan scored 12. Dolan had nine rebounds against a superior (and tall) NL-Spicer front line.
TMB was to be complimented scoring as many points as they did. The Wildcats have a reputation of applying the clamps defensively. TMB's Dolan complimented the Wildcats on how their 2/3 defense collapsed really well.
TMB had no one standing taller than 5'9". The Panthers actually did well neutralizing the NL-Spicer inside game at times.
Coach Dreier said of his Wildcats: "They worked heart and soul." Coach Dreier has a son, Matt, following in his father's coaching footsteps.
Here's the TMB scoring list from Thursday: Kaylee Kirk (19), Evelyn Dolan (12), Gavvie Gervais (7), Sydney Karbo (6), Sara Stoneburg (5), Sydney Lanoue (4) and Regan Davis (2). Really? Two players with "Sydney" names spelled the same? Karbo made two 3-pointers and Kirk made one. Kirk had five assists and Dolan had five steals.
Good luck to the Wildcats in state play.
I can't keep up with the embarrassing revelations about Gophers sports: the combination of under-achieving and bloated subsidy, like dumping wheelbarrow-fulls of money for coaches on the way out. Rich Pitino can take advantage of this at some time. I recently wrote a blog post about how Jerry Kill was able to fill his saddlebags full of money after an overrated tenure here. He took a one-time hefty payment and now he's probably gone, back to Illinois where he has a new lake home (in Carbondale).
Days later we got the banner headline in the Star Tribune about "sex videos." Do I have to write about that too? Do I have to write about these generous contract provisions for Rich Pitino whose main attribute appears to be his last name? The Gophers were embarrassingly bad this past winter. Are we supposed to just accept a throwaway season like this?
The U football team was marketed and promoted in a glass-half-full way, shrewdly, by the powers-that-be at the U. Really the football Gophers had just two legitimate wins, over Illinois and Purdue, and now Illinois has Lovie Smith as head coach, so look out for them.
Is it true Tracy Claeys never played college football? Well, one advantage is that his brain didn't get scrambled by playing a high level of football, so he might outdo his rivals just based on this. I expect a big-time movement of boycotting football to begin developing. I think the Southeastern U.S. will be the sport's last bastion, and as time goes by, the sport will be increasingly associated with socioeconomically deprived people.
Basketball? Between the Gophers and Timberwolves we've had ample opportunity to yawn over the recent past. I'm not sure the Timberwolves ever recovered from their earliest years when they stressed "winning today" too much, over taking lumps and getting higher draft picks.