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State Wrestling Tournament: What To Look For This Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/29/2012 1:23:58 PM

The tournament opens Thursday at Xcel Energy Center with team competition, and individuals will compete Friday and Saturday.

TOP-RANKED TEAMS SEEKING MORE GOLD

--Class 3A powerhouse Apple Valley has won the last six state team titles, 12 of the last 13 and 19 crowns since 1983.
--Simley is the four-time defending champion on Class 2A.
--Jackson County Central is a two-time defending state champ.

TEAMS WITH THE MOST INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS

--Class 3A: Apple Valley 13, St. Michael-Albertville 9, Albert Lea and White Bear Lake 8.
--Class 2A: Simley 12, Foley 10, Scott West 9.
--Class 1A: Kimball 10, Minneota, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and Pierz 9, Jackson County Central 8.

STATE-RECORD WINNING STREAK

--St. Cloud Apollo senior Mitch Bengston, who already owns three state championships, also owns the the longest winning streak in Minnesota history. Bengston, competing in 3A at 126 pounds, has won 176 consecutive matches. He is 40-0 this season.

THREE-TIME STATE CHAMPIONS

CLASS 3A
126/ Mitch Bengston, St. Cloud Apollo
132/ Dakota Trom, Apple Valley
160/ Brandon Kingsley, Apple Valley

TWO-TIME STATE CHAMPIONS

CLASS 2A
132/ Joey Munos, South St. Paul
145/ Jake Short, Simley
285/ Austin Goergen, Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove

CLASS 1A
152/Curt Maas, Medford

OTHER RETURNING STATE CHAMPIONS

CLASS 1A
106/ Cameron Sykora, Border West
120/ Mitch Lexvold, Kenyon-Wanamingo
120/ Isaac Novacek, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River
126/ Oakley McLain, Kenyon-Wanamingo
170/ Cooper Moore, Jackson County Central
285/ Alex Yeager, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River

CLASS 2A
113/ Kyle Gliva, Simley
120/Pedro Delao, Simley
120/Brett Stolaryzk, Stewartville
145/ Gabe Fogarty, Scott West
152/ Nick Wanzek, Simley
160/ Taylor Lewandowski, Foley
195/ Broc Berge, Kasson-Mantorville
285/ Michael Krolls, Scott West
285/ Austin Goergen, Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove

CLASS 3A
113/ Tommy Thorn, St. Michael-Albertville
126/ Sam Brancale, Eden Prairie
132/ Ben Morgan, Forest Lake
145/ Mark Hall, Apple Valley
170/ Kyle Begin, Anoka
182/ Daniel Woiwor, Apple Valley

UNDEFEATED WRESTLERS

CLASS 1A
120/ Isaac Novacek, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, 39-0
126/ Andy Poster, Royalton/Upsala, 34-0
138/ Michael Jarnot, Holdingford, 40-0
145/ Garret Hoffner, Mahnomen/Waubun, 38-0
145/ Larry Bomstad, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, 39-0
160/ Jordon Rothers, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 41-0
170/ Cooper Moore, Jackson County Central, 42-0
195/ Nathan Rose, Sibley East, 41-0
195/ Christopher Zimmer, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley/Nevis, 35-0

CLASS 2A
113/ Jarred Oftedahl, Benilde-Saint Margaret’s, 35-0
132/ Joe Munos, South Saint Paul, 41-0
170/ Garret Miller, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, 37-0
170/ Micah Barnes, Simley, 40-0
195/ Broc Berge, Kasson-Mantorville, 41-0
285/ Jesse Hein, Perham, 41-0
285/ Michael Kroells, Scott West, 41-0

CLASS 3A
126/ Mitch Bengtson, Saint Cloud Apollo, 40-0
145/ Mark Hall, Apple Valley, 35-0
195/ Clay LeVasseur, Rogers, 21-0
220/ David Johnson, Roseville, 27-0




Before Joe Mauer: His Mother Was An Outstanding Athlete, Too
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/27/2012 2:00:27 PM

If Joe Mauer believes in genetics, he thanks his lucky stars for his mom. That’s because the all-star catcher for the Minnesota Twins is not the first member of his household to achieve athletic fame. In fact, his mother was one of the pioneers of girls high school sports in Minnesota.

Teresa Tierney (now Teresa Mauer) was a co-captain of the St. Paul Central girls basketball team that was the champion of one of the first winter state tournaments in 1976. After holding a fall tourney in 1974 and a one-class winter tourney in 1975, the MSHSL went to a two-class format in 1976, with St. Paul Central winning Class 2A and Redwood Falls capturing the 1A title.

Teresa Mauer was a letter winner in basketball, volleyball and track who graduated from Central in 1976. She says she doesn’t feel like a pioneer, because she grew up as an athlete … even if high school sports for girls were new at the time.

“I grew up thinking (being involved in athletics) was normal,” she said. “I’ve talked to other ladies and they say, ‘Gosh, I was born five years or 10 years too early.’ ”

Teresa Tierney (high school photo at right), the third-oldest of nine children, was encouraged by her parents to be active and have fun in what she now calls “our little sheltered world.” She attended St. Mark’s elementary school in St. Paul, where a teacher/coach named Joe Meyer made sure girls had opportunities

“He did everything,” Teresa said. “And the neat thing was, I didn’t even realize all this until I had gotten older and served on the board of the school. We had the Catholic Athletic Assocation, and if the boys had a team, the girls had a team.

“There was always something for the girls to play and I grew up thinking that was the norm. Joe Meyer was very forward-thinking. We had intramurals on Saturday, and the older kids taught it, coached and officiated. I just grew up playing sports. My mom said, ‘Go, have fun.’ ”

When Title IX was implemented in 1972, Mauer was a ninth-grader at Ramsey Junior High. The school had limited opportunities for girls sports, or as Mauer described the format, “We practiced for two or three weeks and then had play dates. We played everybody and we had punch and cookies. I thought, ‘We need a playoff, we need to find out who the best team is.’ ”

As a sophomore she began her career at St. Paul Central. That was the school’s first year of fielding a girls basketball team and the second year of girls track and volleyball. Mauer jumped right in.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “All the coaches and teachers embraced it, they wanted all the girls to succeed.”

On the first day of basketball practice, Mauer and her friends who had attended St. Mark’s quickly caught the attention of coach Steve Studer.

“He was amazed that some of us could dribble with either hand,” she said. “Joe Meyer had taught us to shoot with our left hand if were laying it up on the left side. I look back at it now, thinking how blessed I was to grow up in that kind of program.”

Lisa Lissimore, another member of Central’s 1976 championship team and now an MSHSL associate director, remembers Mauer as “one of the most well-rounded players.

“Teresa was an excellent defensive player on that end of the floor, and once she stole the ball from you she could run a great fast break,” Lissimore said. “She was quick, she could drive to the hole or shoot from the outside and she had great court sense, she knew where everyone was on the floor. She was very unselfish.”

The 1976 Central team played an up-tempo style of basketball … at least that’s what Mauer said she remembered before recently seeing video from the 1976 tournament.

“We were a running team. We had Lisa, Linda Roberts and Deb Krengel, who were great rebounders. Lisa and Rita Burch would run downcourt, I was passing it to them and it was ‘layup, bingo, here we go.’ I watch that video and I think, ‘Holy crap, we were slow.’ ”

Central defeated Benilde-St. Margaret’s 49-47 to win the state championship at Met Center. That victory gave Central a 17-3 record and erased the taste of their third defeat that season.

“We beat them by exactly the same score they had beaten us earlier in the season at a Christmas tournament,” said Mauer (pictured with son Joe). “I remember sitting in the locker room after that loss and thinking. ‘This season is in the dump.’ We went on a tear and I don’t think we lost a game after that.”

The girls state basketball tournament was new in 1976, as were sports for girls overall.

“Everything was so new but exciting with women’s sports,” Central coach Steve Studer said. “Getting to the tourney was a dream come true. … Walking into the Met Center with over 10,000 people was sure a surprise.

“I think we all might have been a wee bit in shock because of the newness. I know I turned down a radio interview because I was so nervous.”

Teresa Mauer said her favorite sport in high school was whatever sport she was playing at the time (Joe Mauer told me the same thing when he was at Cretin-Derham Hall High School). Before Central started a girls softball program, she tried out for the baseball team in the spring of her senior year.

“Track for me was an individual sport and I liked the team aspect,” she said. Mauer was cut during baseball tryouts “and I deserved it because I was awful. I ended up running track. The next year they started softball, so my younger sisters got to play softball but I never did.”

One of her younger sisters, Jean, was named Minnesota’s Miss Basketball in 1979, was an all-state basketball and volleyball player and was the first woman inducted into Creighton University’s sports Hall of Fame.

Mauer, who was inducted into the Central High School athletic Hall of Fame in 1997, attended The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and was a member of the basketball and volleyball teams there. She also coached grade school and junior high teams as well as the junior varsity volleyball team at St. Bernard’s High School in St. Paul.

Her opportunities to coach grew limited with the birth of her three sons and their participation in athletics. “I remember having Joe with me at JV volleyball when he was little, running around the gym and chasing volleyballs,” she said.

Like her teammates, Mauer reflects on her high school career with pride. They not only did great things while representing their school, they also went on to lead successful lives.

“The thing I am most proud of,” said Studer, “is that all of our team went on to graduate from college and be truly productive citizens and parents working with young people.”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 297
*Miles John has driven: 6,439

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



North St. Paul’s Julia Stedman Wins 2A All-Around
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/25/2012 11:43:18 PM

Click here to read about the Class 2A individual gymnastics competition



Hailey Brinkman Completes Melrose’s Big Weekend; Wins 1A All-Around
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/25/2012 7:07:34 PM

Click here to read about the Class 1A individual gymnastics competition



Winning And Losing … And Learning Important Lessons
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/25/2012 6:41:42 PM

The storylines were everywhere Saturday at Xcel Energy Center...

We saw history, with Breck and South St. Paul playing the first multiple-overtime championship game in girls hockey annals before Breck won the Class 1A title in the second overtime. It was the Mustangs’ first title in five trips to state and South St. Paul’s second consecutive runner-up finish.

We saw a big record fall. Warroad junior Lisa Marvin had a hat trick and an assist as the Warriors beat Red Wing 5-2 in the 1A third-place game. That gave her 34 points in state tournament games, breaking the record of 32 set by Roseville’s Ronda Curtin in 1999.

We saw the arrival of young stars in both the scoring and stopping categories. South St. Paul ninth-grade goaltender Sydney Conley was named to the all-tournament team after an astounding three-game run, and Breck can give credit for its victory Saturday to another pair of freshmen. Alexandra Wallin scored one goal for the Mustangs and classmate Leah Schwartzman scored the other two, including the gold-medal clincher at 10:55 of the second overtime.

But look a little deeper and listen a little harder, and you find messages that go beyond who won and who lost, beyond the color of the medals and the words on the trophies.

Let’s go back a day. South St. Paul defeated Warroad 4-2 in Friday’s semifinals. After the game had ended and the Packers had exited their locker room, I noticed what had been written on the white board in the locker room:

--“Nothing worth having is ever going to come easily.”

--“In life, we have to work hard for things we want.”

--“Today, don’t run from the challenge! Meet it head on!”

--“EMBRACE this moment.You will never get it back!”

I posted a photo of that white board on the MSHSL Facebook page Friday night, and the response was resounding. Comments were posted that included “I’m in!” and “Wonderful!”

The words on the board came from South St. Paul coach Dave Palmquist, who is one of the veterans in his business. Dave has been the Packers coach from the beginning, leading them to a state-record 12 state tournaments, winning four championships with three runner-up finishes.

He’s also the father of one of the players (daughter Abby is a sophomore) and he’s among the majority of our coaches – no matter the sport -- who absolutely get it, who understand what’s most important.

“I tip my hat to South St. Paul,” said Breck coach Chris Peterson. “Dave Palmquist, I’ve known him for years and he’s a fantastic coach and he runs a great program. It’s one of those games when you’re glad to be on the victorious side, but you also have to feel for them. They played a really, really good game and they’re a great hockey team. It’s just a shame to see kids in tears afterwards, tears of joy and tears of sadness.”

After the Packers left the ice following their heartbreaking defeat (Sydney Conley is pictured here), Palmquist told the media how he felt about his team.

“We fell a little short, but boy am I proud of them,” he said. “And this kid to my left, she’s an unbelievable player.”

Sitting to his left was senior Sam LaShomb, whose third-period goal sent the game into overtime. Her high school career has now ended without a state title. But in the midst of it all, she came to the interview room and talked about how it felt to come so close and finish second-best for the second year in a row.

“We told everyone to leave everything they had out there,” she said. “It was constantly, ‘Never give up. Never give up.’ And I don’t think we ever gave up.

“I feel like we worked too hard to get let down like this. We gave it everything we had and we couldn’t ask for anything else. If you could ask somebody to give more, we couldn’t.”

Friday’s victory over the two-time defending state champs from Warroad had taken the Packers to new heights. A year ago, the score in the championship game was a crushing blow: Warroad 5, South St. Paul 1. But finally, after Friday’s game, here was their chance to win a state title. And through regulation, overtime and into a second overtime Saturday, they gave it everything they could and did not win.

“Twenty-fours hours ago it was such a different feel,” Palmquist said. “We wanted this one so bad and we knew it was right there for us. The loss is one thing but you think about the relationships, the seniors that are going to be gone. That’s tough for the girls. Our kids are going to miss these seniors a lot.”

And then the coach’s words reflected some of those lessons and messages that had been written in the locker room a day earlier. Lessons about giving your all, doing your best, never backing down from a challenge … and what those lessons teach.

Before Dave and Abby Palmquist left their house Saturday morning, father and daughter talked about how fortunate they were. About how some teams never get to the state tournament even once, and here they were; Abby’s third trip to the big show.

“These kids can look back and say, ‘What an awesome time we had,’ " Dave said. "To play in two state title games back to back is a pretty special thing and I hope that these kids know that. As we said in the locker room, there are going to be other disappointments in life, and if this is as tough of one as they have, they’re going to be pretty fortunate.

“I know they’re hurt. I know we all hurt today. But they’ll be able to look back and know that they gave it everything they had. And that’s what they’re going to be asked out of life, just give it everything they have, every single day.”

MINNETONKA REPEATS AS CLASS 2A CHAMPION

Young players also played a key role in Minnetonka’s 3-0 victory over Roseville in Saturday night’s Class 2A championship game. Holly Korn scored in the first period and Diana Drayer got a goal in the third; both are sophomores. Junior Laura Bowman scored the final goal into an empty net as the game ended.

Minnetonka goaltender Sydney Rossman, a junior, stopped 23 shots as the Skippers repeated as state champs.

CONSOLATION BRACKET

--Chisago Lakes defeated New Ulm 4-0 to finish fifth in 1A.

--Edina held off Lakeville North 1-0 in the 2A third-place game.

--Roseau beat Mounds View 3-1 in the 2A fifth-place game.

HERB BROOKS AWARD

--Red Wing senior Cori Fairbanks, who was profiled here Friday, received the Class 1A Herb Brooks Award. According the Herb Brooks Foundation, the award “is to be given to the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks.” Cori is pictured with Dan Brooks, Herb's son.

--In Class 2A, the award went to Sydney Helmbrecht of Grand Rapids/Greenway.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS

Class 1A: Jamie Dobosenki, Megan Lushanko, Chisago Lakes; Nicole Schammel, Paige Haley, Red Wing; Kayla Gardner, Lisa Marvin, Lynn Astrup, Warroad; Kate Schipper, Milica McMillen, Breck; Emily Reibert, Sam LaShomb, Sydney Conley, South St. Paul.

Class 2A: Alexis Joyce, Cassie Alexander, Dani Sadek, Lakeville North; Adelle Murphy, Hanna Brodt, Kate Flug, Lee Stecklein, Roseville; Amy Petersen, Laura Bowman, Sidney Morin, Sydney Baldwin, Sydney Rossman, Minnetonka.

--Photo galleries from the state hockey tournament can be seen on the MSHSL Facebook page.

--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 15 for the tournament, 15 for the winter tournaments.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 297
*Miles John has driven: 6,439

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Championship Saturday: A Record Has Fallen
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/25/2012 12:30:17 PM

Hello from the press box at Xcel Energy Center, where the state champions of girls hockey will be decided today.

Warroad junior Lisa Marvin had a hat trick and an assist as the Warriors beat Red Wing 5-2 in the Class 1A third-place game. That gave her 34 points in state tournament games, breaking the record of 32 set by Roseville’s Ronda Curtin in 1999.

Chisago Lakes defeated New Ulm 4-0 to finish fifth in 1A.

Breck and South St. Paul are meeting in the 1A title game and in tonight's 2A championship game it will be Minnetonka vs. Roseville.

This is one of the busiest days of the prep sports year, with the state gymnastics meet taking place, individual wrestling section tournaments, boys hockey section tournaments, etc.

I'm Tweeting updates from the state tourneys and action around the state; follow MSHSLjohn on Twitter.

--Diet Coke Count: 0 for the day, 11 for the tournament, 11 for the winter tournaments.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 297
*Miles John has driven: 6,439

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Melrose Takes 1A Gymnastics Team Title; First Since 1995
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/25/2012 12:28:57 AM


Click here to read about the 1A gymnastics team competition



Roseville Sneaks Past Northfield, Wins 2A Gymnastics Championship
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/25/2012 12:26:39 AM

Click here to read about the 2A gymnastics team competition



Red Wing’s Cori Fairbanks: A Comeback, A Goal And A Happy Ending
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/24/2012 5:36:37 PM

The most remarkable line from the scoresheet of Friday’s second Class 1A girls state hockey semifinal game read like this: “2nd 05:32 REDW EV Fairbanks, Cori.”

That line of code described the period, time and even-strength status of a goal scored by Red Wing’s Cori Fairbanks during the Wingers’ 8-4 loss to top-seeded Breck. But it said much more than that, because of where Fairbanks had come from.

Two years ago, in the third game of the regular season and the Wingers’ home opener, the sophomore was tripped and went into the boards head-first. She broke the C6 and C7 vertebrae in her neck, as well as several ribs. It was bad. Early on, there were fears that she might be paralyzed.

“It was really scary,” she told me Friday at Xcel Energy Center. “No one knew what was going to happen, we didn’t know the outcome of it.”

Thankfully, she recovered but for a time her future in hockey was uncertain. You can’t blame a young player for being scared after experiencing something like that, and when Cori – now a senior – was cleared to play a year after being injured, she had second thoughts.

“I didn’t think I wanted to play again,” she said. “I was scared. My teammates talked me into it. I didn’t want it to happen again. I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, how it happened. But it still made me nervous, and my family was nervous, too.”

Red Wing coach Scott Haley said, “I give her a ton of credit. She loves this team, and her family and everyone has been really supportive.”

When Benilde-St. Margaret’s player Jack Jablonski was paralyzed during a hockey game this season, it brought back lots of memories for Cori. She posted a message on Jack’s CaringBridge website; “I told him that it happens to people all the time and he can get through it,” she said.

Cori rejoined the team halfway through last season, a season which ended with the Wingers getting to the state tournament . They lost to Eveleth-Gilbert in the quarterfinals before winning two games and finishing fifth. She scored what proved to be the winning goal in a 5-4 fifth-place victory over Hutchinson at Ridder Arena.

“It’s just been tremendous,” Haley said. “Last year I credited her for being the reason we made it to the state tournament. This year she’s just been a rock. She’s my captain and she’s the captain that I have do all my dirty work. She lives across the street, too, so she has double-duty with me at the rink.”

Cori’s goal Friday at Xcel Energy Center drew Red Wing within 5-3 of Breck.

“It was amazing,” she said of the feeling. “Even though we were down, I felt like that was the point where I thought we could come back up.”

The Winger were unable to do so. But in the long run, Cori sure came back.

“Here’s the thing with Cori,” Haley said. “Any time she does something, we’re happy. Because she’s that kind of kid. Those are the kids who are special to you.”

--The scoring star of the tournament so far is Breck junior Kate Schipper. She had a hat trick in the quarterfinals against Chisago Lakes and scored four goals against Red Wing.

IN OTHER GAMES

--South St. Paul defeated two-time defending state champ Warroad in the other Class 1A semifinal. Emily Reibert scored twice for the Packers, who will meet Breck in the title game at noon Saturday. One of the day’s young stars was South St. Paul freshman goaltender Sydney Conley, who made 17 saves.

----In the 2A semifinals, Roseville and Minnetonka advanced to Saturday’s title game.

Roseville defeated Edina 4-1 with Kate Flug scoring two goals, just as she did in Friday’s quarterfinals vs. Grand Rapids/Greenway. Erika Allen made 18 saves for Roseville and Edina goalie Maddie Dahl had 20 stops.

In the final game of the day, there was no scoring until the final minutes of regulation and Minnetonka defeated Lakeville North 2-1 in overtime. Freshman Riley Tousignant broke the scoreless tie for Lakeville North with 3:57 to play in regulation and Sidney Morin tied it for the Skippers with 20 seconds to go. In overtime, the winning goal was scored by Amy Petersen with 1:39 left in the eight-minute period.

THE WOOGER

I was on a lot of various sports beats during my days as a newspaper reporter. One of the best jobs was covering the Gophers men’s hockey team when Doug Woog was the coach. I have fond memories of spending time with Woog, so I smiled Friday when I heard one of the South St. Paul players say, “Wooger!”

I was inside the room where the media interviews coaches and players after games. The Woog Alert – Doug is a South St. Paul native -- was sounded in the corridor, where a few Packers were waiting for their postgame interrogation. I slipped out of the interview room, shook hands with the coach and told him how great it was to see him. He said he'd be back for Saturday's title game.

THE VOICE

I was standing one step behind the Breck bench, shooting a few photos, as the Mustangs and Wingers were being introduced by public-address legend Dave Wright. Breck coach Chris Peterson said to me, “I love being in games when Dave Wright is doing the PA!”

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

--The day’s best band moment: The musicians from South St. Paul playing the Chicken Dance and the student section dancing along.

--The day’s best mascot: The Mustang from Breck.

--Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 11 for the tournament, 11 for the winter tournaments.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 297
*Miles John has driven: 6,397

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Here We Go! Girls State Hockey And Gymnastics Take Center Stage
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/24/2012 11:20:00 AM

It’s a big day of state tournaments in Minnesota. We continue the girls hockey tournament at Xcel Energy Center with the semifinal games in Class 1A and 2A, and the state gymnastics meet begins its two-day run at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.

Here’s the hockey schedule…

Class 1A
11 a.m./ #2 seed Warroad vs. #3 seed South St. Paul
1 p.m./ #1 seed Breck vs. #4 seed Red Wing

Class 2A
6 p.m./ #2 seed Roseville vs. #3 seed Edina
8 p.m./ #1 seed Minnetonka vs. #4 seed Lakeville North

In gymnastics, team competition will be held today and individual competition will be on tap Saturday. Class 1A teams are competing today beginning at 11 a.m. and the 2A teams go at 6 p.m.

The hockey games are being televised by Channel 45 while the hockey and gymnastics action is being streamed online at www.prep45.com

It’s going to be a great day!

--Diet Coke Count: 0 for the day, 8 for the tournament, 8 for the winter tournaments.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 297
*Miles John has driven: 6,397

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



The Numbers Add Up, And So Do The Memories
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/23/2012 11:38:19 AM

There are some crucial numbers to crunch in the wake of the first two games of the Class 2A girls state hockey tournament on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center: 16:32 … and 00:17 … and 16:45. Those were the times of the afternoon’s most important goals, and the most important goal that wasn’t a goal came in the final minute of play.

Add it up and the first two games of the 2A quarterfinals were everything you could ask for and more as Roseville defeated Grand Rapids/Greenway 3-1 and Edina held off Mounds View 3-2. The Raiders and Hornets will face off in Friday’s semifinals at 6 p.m.

Grand Rapids/Greenway held a 1-0 lead over Roseville after one period and the score looked to stay the same through two periods. But that’s where the number 16:32 enters our discussion. Roseville’s Lee Stecklein scored unassisted at 16:32 (that means 28 seconds were on the clock) to tie the score; and 17 seconds into the third period a goal by Kate Flug put the Raiders ahead 2-1. Flug finished the scoring late in the third period to wrap up the win.

“It was game-changing, I think,” Stecklein said of her goal. “After the goal we all kind of took a deep breath and really knew we could start playing our game.”

Flug said, “After Lee’s goal our team really got that momentum and decided we needed to pick up our momentum for the third period. I think getting ahead of them sort of lowered their confidence and it upped our team. I think it was a really good thing.”

The Raiders knew that putting the Lightning away was not going to be easy. Grand Rapids/Greenway won its Section 7 semifinal in two overtimes and the section title game in four overtimes. So clearly, the larger the lead the better. Roseville coach Vic Brodt understood this.

“If they had said, ‘If we can play Roseville in overtime, would we take it?’ I think they would say absolutely,” Brodt said. “That’s kind of what it felt like; this could be an overtime game. So that goal in the last minute of the second period, and the one in the first minute of the third period, were a big relief.”

In the second game, 16:45 was the big set of digits for Edina. Sarah Nielsen scored with 15 seconds to go in the second period, giving the Hornets a 3-1 lead over Mounds View. Lindsey Wolter scored at the 15:42 mark of the third period to make it Edina 3, Mustangs 2. And then …

The goal that wasn’t came on a shot by Mounds View’s Maddie Peake in the final minute. She closed in on Edina goaltender Maddie Dahl and shoved the puck underneath Dahl … and through her pads, or so it appeared. It certainly appeared that way to Peake, who raised her arms in celebration. But the red light never turned red and the officials never gave the goal signal.

“I still believe that I saw something there,” said Peake, meaning she believes she saw the puck inch past the goal line. “I can’t blame it on the camera angle or anything. I should have buried it harder so I knew for sure. I still think I saw something.”

Replay officials are always watching for such things from the press box, and they will alert the on-ice officials if they want to review a play. That did not happen in this instance.

“We were down 3-1 with very little time left and bam, we got that one,” Mustangs coach Pete Aus said of Wolter’s goal. “I’m disappointed that last one didn’t go, because we sure made it exciting.”

EVENING GAMES

--Top-seeded Minnetonka showed that it is worthy of that spot in the bracket, defeating Eagan 4-1. The Skippers were outshot 25-21 but goaltender Sydney Rossman made 24 saves. Minnetonka scored three third-period goals to break open a close game.

--No. 4 seed Lakeville North will play Minnetonka in Friday’s 8 p.m. semifinal. The Panthers defeated Roseau 5-0, with Ashley Kloncz scoring three goals.

UNIFORM CODE

Roseville wore – shall we say? – interesting uniforms Thursday. The Raiders wore white jerseys, white breezers and white socks, making for a slightly off-kilter appearance.

“We couldn’t afford white helmets,” joked Brodt. “It’s kind of funny. We’ve had them for two years, and that was maybe the fourth time we wore them. It was just kind of something fun and something different, and maybe the other team will worry about our pants and then we’ll take care of business out there. Grand Rapids wasn’t fazed by our white pants at all.”

MAKING MEMORIES

After the loss to Edina, Mounds View’s Aus talked about the messages he gave his players before the tournament began.

“We said this a couple times: make a memory. And we made a memory getting here,” Aus said. “And the other message was give everything you’ve got to give.”

Memories are always part of any state tournament, and they can happen at any time. Before Thursday’s night session began, a wonderful memory was made on the ice by teenagers in street clothes.

The Minnetonka team posed together as photos were snapped. The smiles were huge and everlasting, no matter what was to come.

COMING UP FRIDAY

The Friday schedule will begin with the Class 1A semifinals. Warroad and South St. Paul will play at 11 a.m., followed by Breck vs. Red Wing at 1 p.m. The 2A semifinals will be played at 6 p.m. (Roseville vs. Edina) and 8 p.m. (between the winners of Thursday night’s games).

The semifinals in both classes will be televised by Channel 45, as will Saturday’s state championship games. They also will be streamed live on the internet at www.prep45.com.

--A neat improvement to the MSHSL home page debuted Thursday morning. As you look to the right side of www.mshsl.org, you’ll see direct feeds from our Twitter and Facebook pages.

--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 8 for the tournament, 8 for the winter tournaments.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 297
*Miles John has driven: 6,355

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Girls State Hockey: Detroit Lakes Coach There From Beginning
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/22/2012 2:24:11 PM

Gretchen Norby remembers when the girls hockey program at Detroit Lakes High School got off the ground. She talked about that first season -- which was 12 years ago – in a quiet corridor at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday after the Lakers’ first game in a state tournament.

Norby was a freshman player during that first year and now she is the Lakers’ first-year head coach. So if anybody understands what it takes to get from there to here, it’s Norby.

“It’s surreal to be there at the start of the program and now be here as a coach,” she said. “It’s special for me and I’m honored to be part of this team.”

Things didn’t exactly work in Detroit Lakes’ favor during the Class 1A state quarterfinals. The Lakers were defeated by second-seeded Warroad 13-1 in what can safely be called a drubbing. But Norby and senior Brianna Seebold (who scored the Lakers’ goal) didn’t have any problems being cordial during the postgame media session.

“When we went out there, we were a little shocked,” Seebold said, managing to smile. There was plenty of shock to go around. Warroad scored four goals in the first period and nine in the second before the Lakers won the third period by a score of 1-0.

“We played tough teams,” Norby said. “That didn’t prepare us for today.”

Warroad moves into Friday’s semifinals against South St. Paul. Detroit Lakes will head to Ridder Arena and face New Ulm in Thursday’s consolation bracket.

The Lakers came to state with a record of 12-15, so their loss to powerful Warroad (now 23-4-1) was no surprise. Norby knew what could happen.

“Not to downplay our team or anything, but I think I was being realistic going into this game today,” she said. “We had done our homework on Warroad, we knew what they have. So really my goal for these girls, and I said this, was to enjoy this week. Take this experience, play your hearts out. … it’s the state tournament, take it for all it’s worth.”

Despite the defeat, the smiles told the story.

SOMETHING’S MISSING FOR SOUTH ST. PAUL

When the South St. Paul Packers won the Section 4 championship, something was different during the postgame awards ceremony. When they left the ice after defeating New Ulm 12-1 in Wednesday’s state quarterfinals, again something was different.

Mike Funk was not there. The South St. Paul activities director died on Jan. 29 after suffering complications from an aortic aneurysm in mid-December. Funk, a former hockey coach at St. Thomas Academy, had been with the South St. Paul school district for 20 years.

“It’s very different,” Packers coach Dave Palmquist said after Wednesday’s game. “Mike was a hockey guy and he would have been the first guy to greet us as we came off the ice. It is a different feeling this year. A year ago he was putting the medals around the kids’ necks after the section final and shaking our hands and he was always right there for us. He was a good friend and it is a big loss.”

ONE YEAR LATER, A REMATCH

In last year’s Class 1A state championship game, Warroad defeated South St. Paul 5-1. The Packers held a 1-0 lead before Warroad scored five times in the third period.

Packers senior Sam LaShomb, who had four goals against New Ulm and will play collegiately at North Dakota, remembered last season’s title game as she talked about the semifinal rematch with the Warriors that will be played at 11 a.m. Friday.

“Thinking back, you don’t ever want to lose a state championship like that. We came out and got the first goal and we were all psyched.

“I think this year we have a lot better chance. It’s not going to be a miracle this year. If you see us in the championship game, it won’t be, ‘How the heck did that happen.’ It will be, ‘It’s South St. Paul.’ ”

The teams have met once this season, with Warroad beating the Packers 5-0 in the Kaposia holiday tournament in South St. Paul.

IN OTHER GAMES…

--Top-seeded Breck was tested by Chisago Lakes before advancing with a 7-3 victory. Chisago Lakes led 3-2 at 8:12 of the second period before the Mustangs scored the final five goals of the game.

The prettiest goal of the tourney’s opening day was by Breck senior Milica McMillen. She went left-right-left, leaving defenders in her wake and banging the puck home to tie it 3-3.

“I just wanted to try and get the momentum back,” said McMillen, who has signed with the University of Minnesota. “I saw the opening, shot it and it went in.”

--The day’s last 1A quarterfinal went to overtime before we had a decision. Red Wing defeated Hutchinson 6-5 on a goal by Nicole Schammel – her fourth of the game – at 3:53 of overtime. The Wingers and Breck will meet in Friday’s semifinals.

FRIENDS OLD AND NEW

New Ulm is making its fourth consecutive appearance in the Class 1A state tournament. That means many of the Eagles are accustomed to the sights and sounds of the Xcel Energy Center, as well as the people they see every year at this time.

One of those people is Marty Manley, a member of the Xcel Energy Center staff who helps keep things running smoothly in the locker room areas as teams arrive, prepare, play and depart.

As the New Ulm girls milled around in a corridor Wednesday morning long before their game against South St. Paul, they spotted Marty. Several Eagles shouted, “Hi Marty!” One girl – clearly making her first visit to the tournament -- said, “Hi Marty! I’m new!”

Marty gave her a fist bump.

RECORDS FALL

In Warroad’s 13-1 victory over Detroit Lakes, several state tournament records fell. The 14 total goals was a record, as was the Warriors’ 13 goals and its nine goal in the second period.

--Further updates will be posted here during the evening session…

--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 4 for the tournament, 4 for the winter tournaments.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 289
*Miles John has driven: 6,313

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Lessons Learned: Perham Yellowjackets Look Back And Look Ahead
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/20/2012 1:13:10 PM

PERHAM – As the regular season winds down to its final days, there is a sense of familiarity inside the Perham boys basketball team. The Yellowjackets know the drill: It's time to prepare well for what’s to come.

A year ago, the Yellowjackets were the team that everybody knew about because of Zach Gabbard. Gabbard, then a junior, collapsed with cardiac problems during a January game and nearly died. He was a source of inspiration as Perham went to the state tournament for the first time and brought home a Class 2A championship. Zach is now back in uniform, although a lack of strength means his playing time is limited.

Perham takes a 19-2 record into Tuesday night’s game at Pequot Lakes. A year ago at this time they were 19-1; last season they lost at Pelican Rapids in late January and didn’t lose again. This season they have split two games with Pelican Rapids and lost to Ellsworth in a holiday tournament.

The question, then: Can they do it again? Can they win another state championship?

Talking before a game last week, coach Dave Cresap rephrased the question. “Do we have the makings? Yeah, we can beat anybody. But a lot of teams can beat us, too.”

As last season ended and eyes began turning toward 2011-12, there was plenty of reason for optimism around town. Of the seven individuals who played in the state championship game against Rochester Lourdes, the only senior was guard Nick Topkin. But two hammers have dropped: Forward Sam Stratton, who was named to the all-tournament team at state as a junior last season, is now playing basketball at Fargo North after a family move, and junior guard Jordan Hein was lost for the season to an injury in December. Without those two, as well as Gabbard, the Yellowjackets know the road can be rocky. But here they are at 19-2. So far, so good.

“We were thinking, ‘We’re going to have to have some kids step up,’ ” Cresap said. “To be where we’re at right now, the one word I use to describe these kids is I’m proud. I’m proud of what they’ve done. They’ve bought into our system, they’re reaching out to get to their goals, and all their goals are still within reach.

“Goal number one is to win the (Heart O’Lakes) conference championship, and that’s still in reach. The goal to get to the section championship game? Still in reach. The goal of staying together as a team and not falling apart? They have done a wonderful job with that.”

The story of the 2010-11 Yellowjackets is one of the most memorable in history. It was a storybook tale that has been made into a documentary film, “For Three” (Gabbard, in center of photo at left, wears jersey number 3). Lessons learned then are paying off now.

“I think the main thing we learned is that the first thing you have to do is always believe in yourself and never give up,” said senior captain Jordan Bruhn. “You’re not going to do certain things in life without the help of others, and we became a really close family last year. I think that was the most important thing that we did to win state.”

The other captains, Mark Schumacher and coach’s son Jordan Cresap, echoed that feeling of togetherness.

“That cohesiveness we built last year really helped, and that adversity we faced last year has really helped us,” Schumacher said.

“We really became close last year after Zach collapsed and I think that’s a testament to our team and how well we work together, both on and off the court,” Cresap said.

Of course, the Yellowjackets are fully aware that life -- and basketball – can be full of surprises. The loss of Gabbard – as well as his return -- is Exhibit No. 1 in that category, and Perham’s run to last year’s title may be Exhibit No. 2. All this means that the team knows to expect the unexpected, be prepared for anything and play every game like it’s their last.

“The kids have to live in the moment,” Cresap said. “They’ve got to play for that present moment.”

Bruhn said, “Once playoffs start we’re going to have to look at each other and say, ‘This could be it. This could the last time we ever play together.’ It’s going to be scary and sad.”

Gabbard has gone from being a starter before his ailment to a bench player now. He says his strength is 80 percent back to normal; Dave Cresap puts that figure closer to 65 percent. But Zach is back in uniform, back with his teammates, and that’s what matters.

“Basketball was my life and still is,” he said. “Just being back on the court, warming up with the team, it means a lot.”

One of the surprises of Gabbard’s return to health was the return of his voice. When he left a Twin Cities rehabilitation hospital and rejoined his team at last year’s state tournament, he could speak in little more than a whisper and his voice remained raspy through the summer and into the new school year. But while cheering at a volleyball match last fall, his voice returned in full force.

“I started yelling and then boom, my voice was back,” said Zach, who is thinking of attending Minnesota State-Moorhead and majoring in elementary education. “It was so weird. No one had heard my voice for a while.”

Zach inspires his teammates, and his mere presence is a reminder of what’s truly important.

“You think, ‘What if it had happened to me?,” Schumacher said. “ ‘Would I be able to come back and do all this?’ None of us wanted it to happen but it happened and all of us cope with it the best we can. We know how lucky we are to still have him here and we’re able to talk to him and go to class with him. You don’t take it for granted when you see him.”

So Zach is back, the season is nearing the final stretch and the Yellowjackets are preparing for a journey that will hopefully end with another trip to state.

“Like we say to the players, we’re not going to surprise anyone this time of the year,” Dave Cresap said. “We need to pay attention to the details, do the little things, defend and rebound.”

The only certainty is that the end will come … maybe early in the section playoffs, maybe in the section final, maybe at the state tournament, maybe with the Yellowjackets holding another championship trophy. When that time comes, Cresap knows what he hopes to see.

“At some point it’s going to end and they have to enjoy every moment of this and cherish what they’ve had," he said. "Hopefully they can walk away from the program thinking, ‘We had fun, we played smart, we played together and we did all those little things that are necessary to have a good season.’ ”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 281
*Miles John has driven: 6,271

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Wrestling, Coaching, Officiating, Legislating: Bob Dettmer Is Committed
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/15/2012 5:26:30 PM

Bob Dettmer’s life is filled with accomplishments and service. He is a retired teacher, retired wrestling coach, former active duty soldier and Army Reservist who served in Kuwait. Currently he serves as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

But Dettmer has a job on the side that is very close to his heart: he is a wrestling official. He puts a whistle around his neck a couple of days a week and goes to the mat.

“I enjoy the sport, and I think when a coach retires from coaching he should still be part of the program,” Dettmer said between matches during a triangular at Cretin-Derham Hall High School.

Dettmer, 60, is as fit and trim as he was when he won a national wrestling championship at Bemidji State University in 1971. He retired as a physical education teacher and head wrestling coach at Forest Lake High School in 2008 and since then has devoted his time to the Legislature. He is unaware of any other legislators who also work as high school sports officials. But plenty of people at the State Capitol know about his side job.

Before leaving the House floor around 4 p.m. and driving directly to Cretin-Derham Hall for the first match at 4:30, Dettmer – a Republican from District 52A -- had a quick chat with House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Majority Leader Matt Dean.

“I told the speaker and the majority leader, ‘Hey, I hope we get through these bills so I can get over here in time,’ ” Dettmer said. “Luckily we did.”

Dettmer’s career record during his 32 years as a wrestling coach is 399-144-2. He coached multiple individual state champions and his 1993 Forest Lake team won the Class 2A state title. He began to work as an official immediately after ending his coaching career, and every year since then he also has worked at one of the matside tables during the state wrestling tournament.

He recently learned that he had been selected to work as an official during this year’s state tourney at Xcel Eenergy Center. A notification letter had been sent from the MSHSL to his home, and Dettmer was sitting in the House chamber when he got the news via a text from his wife, Colleen.

“I kind of jumped out of my seat,” he said.

He will work matches during the first day of the tournament, which is the team competition. The action will begin at 9 a.m. and Dettmer’s shift should end around 3 p.m. The House will be in session beginning an hour later, “so I’ll be able to scoot right over to the Capitol,” he said.

That day, March 1, is Dettmer’s birthday as well as Colleen’s. She will be on hand to watch her husband.

“That’s the one thing about my birthday,” he said, “it’s always been during the wrestling state tournament or national tournament or whatever it was during college.”

Dettmer was an official in the 1970s and 1980s but had to give it up because of family, coaching and military commitments. He said every coach in every sport would be wise to do some officiating, and officials should do some coaching.

“I think you can be a better coach if you do some officiating, and I think you can be a better official if you have coached some,” he said. “The key thing is positioning. You can anticipate what’s going to happen because you’ve been there yourself.

“Your job is to keep everything safe and legal. Wrestling is a sport where if you pick somebody up, you’re responsible for bringing them down safely. There’s no punching or hitting or anything like that. It’s a tough sport.”

Dettmer is a longtime member of the Army Reserve who served on active duty in Kuwait. The Dettmer’s three children also have been involved in the military. Sons Travis and Robb, who both wrestled for their father at Forest Lake, are West Point graduates.

Travis recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan after two stints in Iraq; in fact, Bob and Travis had a reunion when both were serving in the Middle East. Travis is now stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where his wife is a JAG officer (a military attorney.

Robb, who is now in the National Guard, lives near West Point in New York, where he and his wife mentor Army cadets in a Christian-based military ministry. And the Dettmer’s daughter Krystle, who graduated from Bethel College, lives in Fort Bliss, Texas, where her husband serves in the military police.

“I wish they were closer,” Dettmer said. “We’ve got six grandkids and it would be nice to have them closer.”

Officiating in this year’s state wrestling tournament will be one of many memorable moments in Dettmer’s career, and he’s happy to share advice for people who are considering becoming officials.

“Be around a wrestling program. Even if you did wrestle but you don’t coach, find a high school in your area and see if you can go in and officiate their wrestle-offs,” he said. “Learn, get certified, do some junior high, some JV, join an association so they can set you up with matches. There are a lot of middle school and junior high matches you can do.”

As long as his health allows, Dettmer will continue to put that whistle around his neck and give back to the sport that has meant so much to him.

“As long as I can do, I will,” he said. “I enjoy it. It keeps you in contact with the coaches, and I coached against a lot of these coaches. If I was coming out of college right now, I’d go into teaching and coaching. I’d do it all over again.”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 281
*Miles John has driven: 6,271

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Revisiting A Special Basketball Team, Preparing For State Ski Meet
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/15/2012 1:34:41 AM

BIWABIK – Greetings from Giants Ridge, where the state Alpine and Nordic ski championships will be held Wednesday and Thursday. It’s about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday as I write this, having arrived here after spending eight hours in the car.

Yes, I quite possibly could be directionally challenged, because it doesn’t take eight hours to drive from the Twin Cities to Biwabik (that’s a drive of a little longer than three hours). But I took a detour through Perham for a Tuesday night boys basketball game.

I checked in with the defending Class 2A state champion Yellowjackets before their game with Frazee and shot photos during the game. I interviewed coach Dave Cresap and several players before tipoff and was in the locker room during the coach’s pregame instructions. A story is in the works.

I left the game at halftime, bound for Giants Ridge … which is more than 200 miles from Perham. I saw some deer and a raccoon or two along the way, and the roads were good. I checked in at the Giants Ridge lodge a little before 1 a.m. and the first run of Alpine skiing will begin at 10 a.m.

That leaves just enough time for a little bit of sleep zzzzzzzzzz

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 261
*Miles John has driven: 6,271

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



It’s A Game In February, And It’s A Night To Remember
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/10/2012 11:26:23 PM

One player had a big black bandage wound around his head, covering seven staples that resulted from a collision with a teammate’s teeth earlier in the week. The player on the other end of the collision had been to the dentist for repairs and was now playing with a mouthguard. One team – Eastview -- was unbeaten and the other –Lakeville North -- came in with one loss … to Eastview a month earlier. The gym was packed, the music was cranking and a cold Diet Coke was waiting for me at the scorer’s table (even though the concession stand sells Diet Pepsi).

In other words, Friday was a perfect night for basketball.

“You want to be in close games, you want to be in an atmosphere like this as much as you can,” Eastview coach Mark Gerber said.

This was a South Suburban Conference boys game with plenty of implications as the season sprints toward the playoffs. Would Eastview remain unbeaten and hang on to the No. 1 ranking in Class 4A? Would third-ranked North avenge a six-point loss to the Lightning on Jan. 10 in Lakeville? And no matter the outcome, would the two teams meet for a third time in the state tournament?

“They’re a big rival and our kids know they’re the best,” said North coach John Oxton. “When you’re number one, everybody wants to try to beat them.”

The final score was Lakeville North 57, Eastview 56. But how we got from that cold pregame Diet Coke to the final buzzer is quite a story. The soft drink came courtesy of Eastview athletic director Matt Percival, who knows how to butter up a visiting scribe. And the outcome of the game wasn’t decided until Eastview’s Joey King missed a three-point shot at the horn.

King was the guy with the bandaged head. He and fellow senior Jordan Bolger knocked noggins on Tuesday at Burnsville, with both needing treatment. King finished with a game-high 18 points, but the fact that he scored two points in the game’s final 14 minutes was important.

Eastview led by six early but North controlled most of the first half, leading by 11 points when Brett Rasmussen hit a three-point basket with 2:33 left in the half. The Panthers led 33-24 at the break, but King made noise pretty quickly in the second half.

The 6-foot-9 forward who has signed a Division I letter of intent with Drake drained an NBA three-pointer to cut North’s lead to four points with 15:50 to play, then grabbed an alley-oop pass from Darin Haugh and threw down a dunk with 14:12 left; North led by two. Haugh scored in the lane to tie it at 35 soon after, but King went to the bench with four fouls at the 11:38 mark.

Curtains for Eastview, right? Wrong. With their top scorer on the pine, the Lightning opened a six-point lead when sophomore Mark Dwyer hit a three. King returned at the 4:25 mark, made two free throws 16 seconds later and Eastview was in front 51-46 as the momentum continued swinging.

North, however, won the battle after that, outscoring Eastview 11-5. The Lightning led 56-51 with 1:38 left, but the Panthers made some devilishly outstanding plays: Ryan Saarela drove through the tall timber, spun and put up a shot that defied the laws of physics and banked in off the glass … Tyler Flack, on a similar play, drove the lane and put up a shortie that rolled around the rim, thought about it, then decided that, yes, it would drop through after all.

That put North ahead 57-56 with 2.3 seconds on the clock. The officials wanted to re-set the timer to 2.7 seconds, but the personnel at the table had some trouble doing so. The problem was solved – and the delay was ended – when Gerber leaned over the table, punched a few buttons, pulled a few switches and said the magic word. Two point seven seconds it was.

Eastview had that much time to throw a length-of-the-court pass, get off a shot, win the game, holler and celebrate. Ben Oberfeld stood with the ball in his hands, and this was an important point. Oberfeld also is 6-9, so everybody in the gym knew that Eastview Option Number One was a long pass from Oberfeld to King, who was perched 70 feet away, ready to leap, grab, turn and shoot.

He leaped, he grabbed, he turned and he shot. And he missed. Bang zoom, Lakeville North wins it.

“They had Oberfeld passing it in,” Oxton said. “So we put our two big guys on Joey and said, ‘That’s where it’s going.’ And he still caught it. That’s not real great but it worked.

“Every time we play them it’s the exact same game every time; physical, getting after it. And they’re good, they’re really good. But we’re pretty good, too. That was fun.”

Gerber did not use the word “fun” during our postgame visit. Understandably, he was not pleased.

“We have experienced guys,” he said. “That’s the troubling part; you have a six-point lead with two minutes to go and we didn’t make the right plays at the end. I never would have guessed our guys would make the plays that they made at the end. That’s not them. They know exactly how to win and they didn’t make the right plays. We took the wrong shots, we dribbled into traps; stuff that these guys aren’t accustomed to doing, so I was shocked.

“But one game isn’t going to define our season at all. Our goals are set much more higher. There’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot more positive to take out of it than negative. It’s a game in February.”

Yes, it was a game in February. “Only” a game in February, some might say.

But it sure was fun.

--To see a photo gallery from the game, as well as video of the final play, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 259
*Miles John has driven: 5,837

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



State Tourneys, Basketball Reunions And A Mystery Photo
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/6/2012 3:15:52 PM

With another Super Bowl in our rearview mirror, winter state tournaments can’t be far away. In fact this week marks the start of the fun, with the State One Act Play Festival at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

Class 1A plays will be performed Thursday and 2A schools will do the same on Friday. Eight section-winning plays will be performed each day between 9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. (This photo from the 2011 festival is Bagley High School's presentation of "4 A.M." by Jonathan Dorf.)

Next week we’ll have the state ski meet (Alpine on Feb. 15, Nordic on Feb. 16) at Giants Ridge in Biwabik and the dance team state tourney on Feb. 17-18 at Target Center. Then comes a weekly run of tournaments…

Feb. 22-25/ Girls hockey at Xcel Energy Center, gymnastics at University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.

March 1-3/ Wrestling at Xcel Energy Center, boys swimming at University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

March 7-10/ Boys hockey at Xcel Energy Center.

March 14-17/ Girls basketball at Williams Arena and Target Center, adapted floor hockey at Bloomington Jefferson.

March 21-24/ Boys basketball at Williams Arena and Target Center.

And Speaking of State Basketball Tournaments…

--Past state tournament championship basketball teams are encouraged to plan reunions around this year’s tournaments. Target Center suites are available for rent; the rental fee includes 22 admission tickets. For more information and to reserve a suite, call 612-673-8344. Also a special block of rooms has been set up at the Marriott City Center hotel for teams having reunions as well as other state tournament fans. Call the Marriott at 612- 349-4000 and ask for the Basketball Centennial Room Block. These rooms will be available until Feb. 24 for the girls tournament and March 2 for the boys tournament.

--HELP! The League is busy collecting memorabilia related to our celebration of 100 years of state basketball tournaments. A contributor has dropped off several "old" photographs, but we're not sure what school they may represent. The uniform (photo) has a large "C" on the jersey, flanked on both sides by what looks like wings. Any ideas? Send information to MSHSL director if information Howard Voigt at hvoigt@mshsl.org


BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 257
*Miles John has driven: 5,827

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Correspondent Report: Ulen-Hitterdal vs. Ada-Borup Boys Basketball
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/4/2012 12:31:02 PM

Here's a story from Friday night, detailing a big game in northwestern Minnesota...

No. 6 Spartans claim season's second win over No. 10 Cougars



One Gym, One Game, A Great Band And Enthusiastic Fans
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/1/2012 1:19:11 PM

NORWOOD YOUNG AMERICA – Shortly after tipoff at Tuesday night’s boys basketball game between Mayer Lutheran and Norwood Young America, NYA coach Nat Boyer took his gaze off the game for a few seconds and looked across the court. He motioned for the NYA students to stay on their feet. After that, he didn’t have to remind the kids that their vocal chords were a vital component of the Raiders’ game plan.

The atmosphere at Norwood Young America – the district is known as Central Public Schools, also encompassing the communities of Bongards, Cologne and Hamburg – was electric for this Minnesota River Conference game. The winner would grab hold of second place in the league standings behind Watertown-Mayer and also elicit some bragging rights in the rivalry between schools that are less than 10 miles apart.

The pep band was terrific during pregame warm-ups, playing the Rocky theme song as the Raiders came running on the court. The repertoire of the band, under the direction of Adam Halpaus, also included the theme songs from Hawaii Five-O and Blazing Saddles, which warmed the musical heart of folks old enough to remember when those tunes were new. Fans bought walking tacos at the concession stand and came walking into the gym eating their walking tacos. The NYA players traded low fives with the band’s tuba player as they warmed up and some of the junior varsity basketball players – still in uniform – grabbed their instruments and took their spots with the band. The dance team put on a great halftime show.

The Norwood Young America student section was on point from start to finish, chanting and cheering, always standing. They froze in place while Raiders shot free throws, they stomped and they swayed as the home team got off to a rapid start and recorded a 69-54 victory.

“That’s what we needed to do,” said Boyer, who is in his first year at NYA after previous coaching stints at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. “We knew we had to get off to a quick start and get our crowd, our sixth man, involved. I think that’s so important in high school basketball.

“(The students) ask me, ‘Do you want us to get into it?’ That’s what I wanted to bring here when I came, was to get the crowd into it. It’s about letting these boys come out and having that support behind them. It’s their show. This is their show and that’s what I want it to be.”

The sixth man had plenty to cheer for right away. The Raiders (10-6 overall, 5-3 conference) came out pressing and running and firing off three-point shots. A typical sequence went like this: Raiders center Luke Marschall blocks a shot, the ball is fired downcourt, Reid Stacken hits a three, the NYA lead builds and the faithful go nuts.

Five players scored in double figures for NYA, led by Ryan Marschall with 17 and Tom Messner with 15. Anthony Gruenhagen had 25 for Mayer Lutheran (14-4, 5-4).

NYA’s press pestered Mayer Lutheran throughout the game, which agan was part of the plan.

“That’s the way we play,” Boyer said. “We try to put as much pressure as possible on teams and make them make mistakes. We use a defensive style that’s known nationwide as ‘thug ‘em, mug ‘em.’ We want to be tough with them and make sure they’re as uncomfortable as can be. That’s what we look for. And if we can get it going on the defensive end, that’s going to lead our offense. It’s like they say: offense wins games, defense wins championships.”

In the first meeting between the two teams, Mayer Lutheran won 60-49 in Mayer on Dec. 22. Norwood Young America didn’t have its full roster that night, and playing rapid-fire basketball while down a man is tough. But the Raiders’ complete cast was on hand for the rematch, including the sixth man.

“I can’t say enough about our sixth man,” Boyer said.

That’s OK, coach. They speak for themselves.

--To see a photo gallery from the game, as well as video of the NYA student section and pep band, go the MSHSL Facebook page.

--Knowing my affection for a certain soft drink, Boyer had a cold case of Diet Coke waiting for me at the scorer’s table. Those 24 cans made their way to MSHSL World Headquarters on Wednesday, and you can see some photos from that event on the MSHSL Facebook page, too.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 257
*Miles John has driven: 5,827

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



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