The BIG Weekend (Part 4)

February 8

A mad dash from the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra “Thanks to You” soiree at the Garden Bar on 6th to the high school for the final game of the Breakdown Winter Lakes Classic, Alexandria boys versus Delano boys (if you couldn’t have guessed) . . . 

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[Seriously, what do they talk about here?]

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[There’s that Ripley guy again, kneeling next to Alayna Strand and Maggie Anderson from the girls basketball team . . . ]

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[Friend Don Nelson, a 6’5″ center for Wheaton in the 1950’s, said he’s never seen anything like it.  And when he lived in California he saw the Ball brothers teams play.  Delano’s starters were 6’7″, 6’7″, 6’6″, 6’6″, and the runt at 6’5″.  Of course there are several ways to measure team size.  For example, the Cardinals have six players who are 6′ tall or shorter; the Tigers have only two such players making them taller than most college teams . . . ]

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[The center jump.  The player jumping for the Cards, Erik Hedstrom (22), is 6’4″ making him shorter than anyone starting for Delano . . . ]  

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[Erik screened for Ethan Patience (14).  Ethan’s specialty is 3-point shooting, but at 6’3″ he had a hard time even trying to get a shot off against Delano’s size . . . ]

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[Yes, the Tigers are highly ranked.  And they were really good shooters, too – both 3’s and free throws.  I can’t remember them missing a free throw . . . ]

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[The long gray line of Tigers . . . ]

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[On the offensive end, the Tigers had a huge (pun intended) advantage in that they could volleyball every rebound until they finally made it go through the hoop . . . ]

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[The five Tigers in the photo are all 6’5″or taller; the 3 Cardinals in the photo are all 6′ tall or shorter . . . ]

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[The Tigers opened an early spread which continued until the Cardinals started to figure a way to attack, and to defend, their size.  Beginning here with the likes of 6’5″ Colton Roderick (35), our tallest player, getting to the free throw line . . . ]

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[The girls basketball team was there to offer – – – best wishes . . . ]

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[Kristen Hoskins (21) turned out to be our secret weapon in this game.  Open up the middle and let him go – the Tigers didn’t have anyone who could guard him . . . ]

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[A 6’7″ guy simply couldn’t stay with him when he drove to the basket . . . ]

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[Togetherness as the Cards fought themselves back into the game . . . ]

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[And nearly caught them at the half . . . ]

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[Erik led the way in scoring with his 3-point shooting.  The game was there to be had . . . ]

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[If Kristen could not score on a drive, he would pass it back out to an open shooter.  Erik can shoot a 3 anytime he wants, as far as I’m concerned . . . ]

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[Carrson Jones (11) is similar to Kristen in that he can also drive through traffic – and is probably the best passer on the team, if his teammates are ready for them. He is also a terrific defensive player with leaping ability who can guard taller players . . . ]

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[But the team really revolves around Colton being at the point of the defense.  With his 6’5″ ranginess and quickness, it makes it difficult for the other team’s guards to get plays started . . . ]

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[An all-guard huddle with the coach while Erik shoots free throws . . . ]

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[Yeah, we were excited here . . . ]

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[Colton makes it difficult out front, but there is only so much our 6′-tall players can do defensively inside against their big guys . . . ]

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[And we went cold a bit at the end . . . ]

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[The girls team maintained good humor . . . ]

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[But all we could do at the end . . . ]

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[Was foul and watch them make free throws . . . ]

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[For 3/4’s of the game, we gave it a good run.  This is the one game where we really missed our 6’11” junior center, Treyton Thompson, who is now playing for an Indiana prep school . . . ]

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In summary, it turned out to be a really fun weekend.  The girls and boys hockey teams both won; and although both the girls and boys basketball team lost, they played very well against highly ranked teams.  All four teams have had excellent seasons, although there’s likely long odds against any state tournament appearances.  The boys basketball team has been a pleasant surprise – currently first place in the conference although their 6’11” center went to play for a prep school this year.  Another highlight at the Breakdown tournament was the boys game between Perham (zero losses) and Osakis (two losses) right before the Alex – Delano game.  Those two teams packed the Alex gym, showing what their teams mean to those smaller towns.  Incidentally, Perham won (their coach’s all-time 600th win). 

A team should be an extension of a coach’s personality. My teams are arrogant and  obnoxious.  ~  Al McGuire

Up Next:  Culture stuff

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