A Blog Retrospective

March 26

We have all been sequestered for a couple of weeks now by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It appears quite likely this will last for at least another month, probably much longer.  That limits one’s abilities to do any cub reporting.  So, I figured, it might by fun to drift back into the archives to see what I could see.  This was a favorite based on blog comments received in late October 2008  . . .  

[According to this week’s Newsweek:  ” A study finds that men with average bodies [or slightly below average?] are as appealing as men with six-packs.  And it was published in Body Image, not the Journal of Things I’d Always Hoped Were True.”  Pass the doughnuts, please!  (Originally posted on June 1, 2010.)]

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Because Alexandria is relatively small in size but has a national footprint, we often come upon “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” scenarios.  From December 2, 2007:

Our niece, Jessica, brother Chris and Janet’s oldest daughter, recently moved to Eden Prairie from the State of Virginia, where she was born and raised.  Jessica got married this summer.  Her husband, Colin, got a job with Channel 9 in Eden Prairie.  She is very much a hot weather person like her father.  She hates the cold and snow of Eden Prairie.  She wants to move to Miami.  [Follow-up: Colin and Jessica wasted no time in moving back to Virginia as soon as they could . . . ]

Alexandria’s Jefferson High School (JHS) is 50 years old, and we dearly want to replace it.  Jessica’s uncle, me, loves winter and thinks it’s the prettiest time of year.  A new winter snowfall even makes JHS look good.  We go to JHS in the winter to see concerts as part of the Central Lakes Concert Association (CLCA) series.  We sit with Larry and Laura McCoy at the concerts.  The McCoys bought the Obert house in Victoria Heights from the Oberts in the 1960’s.  They still live there.  Today we told the McCoys the Jessica story.  Larry said his brother was Eden Prairie’s school superintendent, until he retired 5 years ago.  In that position, he hired Bud Grant’s son, Mike, to be the Eden Prairie football coach.  Eden Prairie just finished an undefeated season and won the state class 5A football title.  Larry’s brother also taught Paul Donley, Executive Director, Alexandria Area Education Foundation, how to ski.  Mike Grant’s sister (Bud’s daughter) once taught in the Alexandria school system. [Follow up:  JHS was subsequently demolished and replaced by Alexandria Area High School in 2014.  The CLCA has been replaced in our lives by the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra.  The McCoys subsequently moved to downsize their lives; then Laura died last December.  Eden Prairie is still a football power.  Paul Donley died three years ago.  I don’t know what happened with Bud Grant’s daughter . . . ]

Larry McCoy also mentioned that he recently went to Charles Krump’s funeral.  Charles taught in the Alexandria school system for 41 years.  His obituary mentioned that his brother and sister-in-law live in Loveland, Colorado.  Our Aunt Pearl and Uncle Ted have lived in Loveland for many years.  I e-mailed the Krump obituary to them.  Aunt Pearl responded almost immediately that she has known Joan Krump for years.  They met on a golf course and she is a pretty good golfer.  [Follow-up:  Uncle Ted died in 2013; we went to Aunt Pearl’s 90th birthday in Loveland two years ago . . . ]

We want to take Jessica and Colin to an Alexandria girls hockey game at Breck on December 22.  We hope an introduction to Minnesota’s beautiful winter sport will help change Jessica’s feelings about Eden Prairie.  Breck is a private school located in Golden Valley, a neighboring city to Eden Prairie.  Kathy Sherry Skadsberg is a member of Golden Valley Country Club (GVCC).  Kathy grew up in Victoria Heights, just across the street from the house previously occupied by the Oberts and now occupied by the McCoys.  Kathy has invited the Obert family, et al, to have lunch at GVCC prior to the Breck-Alex hockey game.  [Follow-up:  Kathy is now the proud grandma of a freshman girl basketball player, a starter for Hopkins, the No. 1 team in the state . . . ]

This getting too weird, even for me.

Subsequent comment:  Love your life, can I come and live with you?  Such a positive spin on winter.  You really are a writer of extraordinary skill, made me even reconsider my feelings about winter…not.  ~  Beth

December 6, 2007:  Yup, had to drive the biddies [that would be the supervisor and my mother] around yesterday for their various doctor appointments.  Of course, Mom had to say that she was going to direct me to the clinic (like I don’t know the way – she and Ruthie both have this thing that they know secret ways to get places that nobody else knows!).  So, I played along – “turn here, turn here” – well, on her last “turn here,” I knew she was off by a couple blocks but went along with it.  It was a sneaky way through an alley – except we had to drive through the alley for several blocks – ha!  Then she went in to the doctor first – when she was done, Ruth was already in to see her doctor, but stuck her head out to tell us to go.  It was time for Mom’s errands!  So, we went to Pete’s, then Trumm Drug (“I always do business with the locals!”), where she asked me to go in to pick up her “one” prescription – well, of course, they had “two” ready for her, so I had to go back out and ask her if she wanted them both – she went “hrumpf, hrumpf, hrumpf” and went in herself to see what the deal was – the 2nd one was a prescription she didn’t need till next week, so she gave them the business, and just got the one – I asked why she didn’t get the 2nd as long as she was there, and the response was, “Well, I don’t need it till next week!,” and then on to the vet’s to get Suki’s medicine and where we got a message that Ruthie was ready to be picked up at the clinic.  So we went back and got Ruthie, drove Mom home, went back into town for our meeting about the golf course clubhouse,  and finally drove back home where I hit myself over the head with a large mallet and went to bed.  ~ Me

And, again the comments (of course, I only share the good stuff):  Tom — this is HILARIOUS!!!! I laughed out loud until the tears rolled down my cheeks. I hear ya!!! Every step of the way.  I got the blow by blow from Mom last night about her days’ activities including the two prescriptions (I thought the same thing — why not pick it up while it was ready and there —- No, they have to STORE it with her name on it until she decides she wants to pick it up.  She is a pistol — no doubt about it.  She said the doctor told her she would live to be 100.  I told her a week ago to have him check her throat. She said “Why?” I said because you have a hoarse and scratchy sounding voice and sometimes you lose your voice.  Again, she went into denial and said “My God, all of my children take way more pills than I take. And furthermore, my throat doesn’t hurt.”  I said “It doesn’t matter if your throat doesn’t hurt (remember, when she had the tumor she said her throat didn’t hurt then). I just hope there isn’t another tumor growing.  Then I asked her last night if the doctor checked her KNEE (Cam said she favors one knee and walks really slow). She said “No!!” I asked why she didn’t have the doctor check it since she favors one leg (she paused, obviously wondering where I got the inside scoop) and said “There’s nothing wrong with my knee — the doctor said I would live to be 100!!”  Go go driving biddies around.  I can just picture all of you in the car and the biddies barking out directions. tee hee  ~ Gretch

Tom:  Thanks for sharing, I just love your mom stories, what a character. ~ Beth

[Amidst a little ditty from Annie, Bruce, and Mikko . . . ]

October 27-28, 2008:  A Compendium of Responses (and who doesn’t like a good compendium?) regarding my efforts at meteorology.  They could prove to be useful someday as part of an insanity defense [Editor’s note:  Though the following comments were not solicited, they were not unexpected.  There are several of you yet to be heard from – those that when they see such a softball lobbed up there, swing from the heels to hit it out of the park.  They will be added to the compendium as received. – Cub Reporter]:

–  “You are NUTSO!!!  Love your e-mails . . . as usual.”

–  “I would much prefer to hear from Ruthie.  You are not now nor ever have been a CUB.”

–  “Our whole family enjoyed the report!”  [Maybe should have advised to hide the women and children?]

–  “We were kinda hoping Ruthie would join you on this one.”  [I’m sensing a trend!]

–   “You are right – you have no shame!!  No offense, but we are glad we are in Arizona.  Thanks for the update.”

–  “I think the “snow” is up your nose!!”  [Did you catch that, Mr. Prosecutor?]

–  “I’m concerned about your mental health.”  [Very useful!]

–  “I can see the shoes . . . but it really would be better without the trunks . . . the trunks they’re for woossssies.”  [Love the prurient interest!!]

–  “I love it when you frolic!!!! LOL”

–  “You wear shorts in the shower?  (You wouldn’t fit into your white ice cream man suit anymore . . .)  [Do I detect prurient interest?]

–  “I think the cold has done something to his brain ;)”  [Useful.]

–  “That was just too cute . . .”

–  “You have gone over the top as our Cub Reporter . . . what fun!”

–  “Good grief, my friend.  Get a warm stocking hat on your head.  Long underwear wouldn’t be such a bad idea, either.”  [Thanks, Mom.]

– “OMG!!! That is AWESOME!!!  Love it!”  [OK, family.]

–  “Cub Reporter, time for the long pants.”

–  “It’s sad to see senility affect one so young.  Hope a hot toddy helped reduce the damage.”  [That one will help!]

–  “You may be zoftig, but you’ve still got great legs!”  [OK, that was from me.]

–   “I’d be surprised if the Nanner doesn’t nail you.”  [Follow-up: We lost the Nanner last year . . . ]

–  “I like the frolicking better than the obscene almost nude pose which made my stomach turn.  You look so athletic when you romp through the yard it makes me want to run the treadmill and get in shape, but on second thought, I will pour a 2nd cup of coffee and mull over the sports section.  Thanks again for the updates, keep them coming.”

–  “I love it!!!!  Please tell Tom how much I appreciate him and his Christmas cards.  This is wonderful and I’ve forwarded to everyone I know.  [Editor’s note:  Ooops!]  He may be up for the short documentary spot at the Academy Awards if he’s not careful.”  [Not from my agent – honest!  However, the latest Washington Post/NBC poll does indicate that these views reflect those of the vast majority of Americans!]

–  “I have suspected for some time that you have spent too much time in the sun . . However, I have changed my mind.  I love it when you frolic!”  [Occasionally my agent.]

–  “Please make Minnesota snow “blue” for us next week.”

–  “I loved the frolicking.”

–  “You Minnesotans are nuts! :-)”

–  “You are scaring me into re-evaluating my travel wardrobe for next week.”

–  “You were always unique but this is disgusting!  People have been put in a  straight jacket for such behavior.”   [Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!]

–  “Aside from Penn State and the Phils, you’re the most entertaining thing  happening . . . way more fun than Joe the Plumber.”

family isolation

Hawkeye Pierce (M*A*S*H, 1975, “Dear Ma”) : What a unique device, the human tush. An architectural wonder, one of a kind… actually two of a kind. Designed to support our weight for a lifetime of sitting it also has the subtlety to do the samba. And when attached to certain members of the female species at a time when light summer dresses are worn can cause some of us to drive our cars straight up a lamppost.

Up Next:  You can go home again . . .

STATE (of things*)

March 11

And then COVID-19 broke up the game.  As we drove to Minneapolis for the opening round games of the girls state basketball tournament, I had a pretty strong feeling the tournament would not be completed.  (DYK, it is exactly a 274-mile round trip from north Alexandria to the U of M campus, exiting town by way of West Union and returning by why of Two Guys Pizza.)  While nothing had been called off yet, I was sure the boys tournament the following week would be cancelled.  The girls did play the 1st and 2nd rounds (in classes 3A and 4A), but then all the championships were cancelled.  Alex lost to the No. 2 seeded Becker Bulldogs in a very close game (the game we attended), and then beat Red Wing in the consolation round (the consolation championship game was then cancelled).  The boys section titles were completed (Alex lost by 2 to No. 1 seed St. Cloud Apollo, a really good game I watched streamed before a limited crowd), but then their state tournament was cancelled.  Now that I’m in the late autumn or early winter of my years, I really don’t pay much attention to sports anymore.  I don’t follow the pros at all, only follow the Gophers at the collegiate level, and prefer high school sports to all.  But when they’re all gone, it really limits your TV options.  I had settled in at home ready for a girls class A semifinal game between Minneota and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown when the word game down – all games at every level in every sport were called off . . . 

[Loni Anderson greets all guests in every room of the Graduate Hotel, two blocks from Williams Arena on the U of M campus . . . ]

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[The Super greets every guest at happy hour . . . ]

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[When you now live in a small city, the view from a 4th floor is awesome . . . ]

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[A campus view from the hotel . . . ]

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[Halsey Hall, even more famous than Loni, was also in the room . . . ]

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[Lest you weren’t sure, we’re in Williams Arena now . . . ]

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[You can’t tell the players without a program . . . ]

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[This will be explained anon . . . ]

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[This is explanation No. 1 . . . ]

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[I wanted to see Paige Bueckers play live and in person.  I have seen videos of several of her games.  The No. 1 player in the country did not disappoint (Strib photo) . . . ]

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[This is explanation No. 2 (Strib photo) . . . ]

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[OK, here’s the further explanation.  Taylor Woodson (20) is a 5’11” freshman starter for Hopkins.  This photo is up for Strib photo of the year.  Taylor’s grandma is in the photo above from the early ’60’s (re me: yes, that was a fake tie, with the ever popular corduroy suit).  “Grandma” Kathy was my classmate and across the street neighbor growing up in Victoria Heights in Alex . . . ]

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[Kathy and Taylor (photo from the Woodson family archive) . . . ]

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[Continuing from the program . . . ]

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[And now to the games (finally?).  We started in Williams Arena where Hopkins would extend their 60-something game two-year winning streak against Cambridge-Isanti . . . ]

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[Here Ms. Bueckers launches a two-hand pass to a teammate (or to the old guys in the stair well) during warm-ups . . . ]

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[Here’s Taylor rebounding in warm-ups . . . ]

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[Here I was trying to get a shot of my look-a-like to her right but Paige got in the way . . . ]

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[And here she totally blots him out . . . ]

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[Hopkins line-up is all Division 1 talent.  I don’t know how they determine such things, but they are ranked in the top 4 in the country . . . ]

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[One can hardly believe Taylor is only a freshman . . . ]

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[And Paige not only has all the skills, but she’s 6′ tall as well . . . ]

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[At center for Hopkins is Maya Nnaji, a 6’4″ sophomore.  Needless to say, she’s on everybody’s recruiting list.  Her brother was just named Pac 12 freshman of the year at Arizona . . . ]

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[And away we go . . . ]

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[The Cambridge center is only 6′ tall, but she gave it a go and had a pretty good game offensively.  On the defensive end though, nobody on her team could match up against Maya . . . ]

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[The freshman Taylor (20) and senior Paige (1) clicked all year.  Paige always has a knack for finding Taylor open underneath . . . ]

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[When she has all 3 defenders concentrating on her, Paige will give a little flip pass to Taylor for a lay-up . . . ]

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[KK Adams (22) is the only Hopkins starter not near or above 6′ tall.  She’s the 3-point shooter . . . ]

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[Maya already has all the tools and is a good free throw shooter . . . ]

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[Paige following through on one of her rare shots in the game . . . ]

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[Taylor, who runs track, and Paige often out on the break together . . . ]

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[Paige looking to cut behind Taylot . . . ]

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[And here it looks like she has a short dribble to the right for a hoop . . . ]

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[But she back passed to KK for the shot . . . ]

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[It was 54 – 24 at the half.  If it was any consolation for Cambridge, that happens to a lot of teams.  Hopkins won handily.  Paige only had 7 points, I believe, as she only took 4 shots preferring to get assists instead . . . ]

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[From there, the Super, Kathy, and I moved over to the adjoining Maturi Pavillion for the Cardinals game.  This is where the Gopher volleyball, wrestling, and gymnatics teams compete.  This is the first time I had been in here since 1968 – when I was going to the U this is where the hockey team played . . . ]

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[The Cardinals came on the floor for their game while game two was still ongoing . . . ]

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[Simley was then scheduled to play DeLaSalle, the winner of game one . . . ]

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[The Cards warmed up at our end of the court.  Coming in, we saw two ex-Cardinal roundballers – McKenzie Duwenhoeger, now at the U on the track team; and Macy Hatlestad, now playing basketball for St. Thomas.  I asked both if they would suit up again for the Cards . . . ]

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[Changed off the telephoto lens so I could shoot the whole arena, and you can see where we were sitting . . . ]

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[The Becker student section on the far side all in white . . . ]

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[From my vantage at the top of the stairs, I could see all the Alexandria movers and shakers come in . . . ]

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[And my game-to-game hero . . . ]

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[The Amazing Mr. Ripley at his courtside station . . . ]

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[Pre-game discussion between the teams and the constabulary . . . ]

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[I assume they were asking where to eat in Dinkytown now that Vescio’s has closed . . . ]

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[And Coach Kohler may have been asking if she’d get carded at Stub & Herbs . . . ]

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[Not to worry, Mark.  I’ll be a character witness . . . ]

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[Boom!  Dynamite!  Well, that’s the Super’s favorite cheer . . . ]

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[Cheerleading is oft a hair raising experience . . . ]

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[And introducing the Cardinals:  Alayna Strand (25), 5’11” junior . . . ]

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[Ella Grove (11), 6′ senior . . . ]

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[Here with Bulldogs star of stars, Julia Bengston . . . ]

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[And the basketball sorority handshake . . . ]

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[Myah Kremer (15), 5’8″ junior . . . ]

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[Mia McGrane (5), 5’7″ senior . . . ]

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[Jaya Hatlestad (3), 5’5″ junior.  The Cards basically have 9 starters so there have been different combinations introduced all year, Ella and Mia being the two constants . . . ]

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[Alayne prepares for the opening leap . . . ]

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[And she gets it . . . ]

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[Ella gets ready for a free throw while another starter Mataya Hoelscher (23), 5’5″ junior, prepares her footwear for the next possession . . . ]

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[One of my most favoritedest shots of the day.  Ella, an automatic free throw shooter, against the white background of the Becker students.  And another starter, Lilly Horn (33), 5’10” junior, has joined the fray . . . ]

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[And readying . . . ]

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[And swish . . . ]

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[The coach’s reminder:  Steal the ball, and push, push, push . . . ]

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[So Mataya and Ella pushed . . . ]

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[Mataya and Lilly play catch while Alayna tries to establish post position . . . ]

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[Mataya cuts around a double pic from Lilly and Alayna along the baseline while Myah looks to hit her in the corner . . . ]

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[Myah here, and otherwise Mia, tried to keep an eye on Ms. Bengston, a surefire Division 1 prospect . . . ]

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[Lilly and another starter Summer Gerhardt (35), 5’10” also on defense.  The Cards played great defense the whole game (I think we were 2nd in the state in opposition scoring) holding Becker well below their season average . . . ]

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[Cards looking to break after a rebound or turnover . . . ]

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[At the half.  Becker was seeded 2nd in class 3A, which became even more apparent why when they scored 95 points in their semifinal game the next day . . . ]

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[Kathy was kind enough to join us for her alma mater’s game after we’d all been to the Hopkins game in the morning.  Fine lunch dining was a hotdog between games . . . ]

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[In the 2nd half, the Cards would be defending at our end.  This almost looks like a volleyball formation . . . ]

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[And then the scrum began . . . ]

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[The Bulldogs are built around three really good guards, now juniors, who have started together since they were freshmen.  Alex plays them every year and the games always go down to the wire . . . ]

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[Alyna hit a couple of free throws here . . . ]

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[Then Ella, ole Otto Matic . . . ]

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[And the dogfight again . . . ]

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[Adeline Kent (11), sophomore guard, hurt us with a couple 3’s in the 2nd half . . . ]

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[Very few, if any, breakaways by either team as both always hustled back . . . ]

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[We may have had a 6 point lead at one point, but the game was always close though most the time Becker had a slight lead . . . ]

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[Courtney Nuest (15) for the Bulldogs I believe had the highest 3-point shooting percentage in the state . . . ]

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[And Alayna Lindquist (14), another one of their shooting guards . . . ]

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[Back to Ella . . . ]

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[Who had a great game with 21 points and 10 rebounds . . . ]

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[I think Alayna missed ’em here . . . ]

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[Mataya (23) chasing on D here had a really good game and was the leading scorer against Red Wing in the consolation game.  Hers and Myah’s games really developed as the season went along – both have terrific speed which, of course, can’t be taught. . . ]

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[We’re winding down now . . . ]

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[The Becker center was also a good free throw shooter . . . ]

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[The Cardinal broadcasters in fine form . . . ]

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[DMac and BCun . . . ]

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[The Cards had to foul to catch up.  Becker hit 86% of their free throws in the game making it impossible to do so . . . ]

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[The Cardinal girls exceeded my preseason expectations, as did the boys team.  Both teams were really fun to watch as they play at high speed with pressure defense.  The girls will return 6 of their 9 starters; the boys return three key starters, so both teams should be able to give it a run again next year.  We’ll wrap this up with a few shots from the Echo . . . ]

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[And a congrats to coaches Wendy and Julie . . . ]

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[And to the team, as consolation co-champions (these last photos from Wendy’s FB) . . . ]

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[They say nobody is irreplaceble, but the three seniors – Mia, Ella, Summer – formed the core of this year’s team.  Congratulations and a lifetime bon voyage.]

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When I grew up, I never – I wasn’t allowed to go out.  I missed my prom because I went to an AAU tournament and all that stuff.  For me, it was basketball, basketball, basketball.  ~  J. R. Smith

Up Next:  We’re pretty much home bound for a while . . .

One Down; Two to Go

March 3

The basketball boys opened their section run.  We hope they can follow what the girls have done so far.  This was the last game of the season on Pohlig Court – we’ll be back in the fall when volleyball starts . . . 

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[Senior Carrson Jones (11) . . . ]

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[Senior Ethan Patience (14) . . . ]

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[Sophomore Kristen Hoskins (21) . . . ]

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[Sophomore Eric Hedstrom (22) . . . ]

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[Junior Colton Roderick (35) . . . ]

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[Eric jumps the jump v. the Lakers center . . . ]

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[The Cards jump started everything . . . ]

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[They played a textbook first half, beginning here with Eric hitting what I think was the first shot of the game . . . ]

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[The girls team, who play for their section title on the 5th, were there for support . . . ]

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[It seems they know all the cheers . . . ]

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[And of course stand for the whole game (when they should be resting?) . . . ]

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[I think the kid in the Pelican jersey works at the Y on Saturday mornings . . . ]

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[Meanwhile, back at the game . . . ]

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[The Cards defense generated many turnovers, and they scored on lay ups, short jumpers, and 3’s putting the Lakers in a deep early hole . . . ]

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[A couple minutes into the game it was all over except for the final score . . . ]

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[The coach’s message likely was, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”]

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[A shout out to assistant coach Ty Granning, on the right, who coaches the girl throwers in track and they will tell you he is the reason why they are the best in the state at shot and discuss . . . ]

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[Carrson got off to a quick start in the scoring business . . . ]

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[Half time score – note the Cardinal scoring balance.  Our ability to share the ball, and to make free throws, should make us a tough out . . . ]

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[At the half, the Amazing Mr. Ripley has also discovered the girls basketball team . . . ]

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[This shot features the three seniors:  Ella Grove in the white No. 4 Alex shirt, Summer Gerhardt directly behind her, and Mia McGrane, 2nd to Summer’s right . . . ]

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[And featuring Mr. Ripley . . . ]

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[Ooops, and a final . . . ]

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[Thanks again to the multi-talented Mr. Hinrichs, who puts down the mic at halftime . . ]

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[Mr. Ripley discovered more girl basketball players an aisle over.  I recognize juniors Lilly Horn and Alayna Strand, from l-r  . . . ]

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[Meanwhile back at the game . . . ]

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[Carrson at the line in the 2nd half.  As a team, the Cards made 14 of 15 free throws in the 1st half . . . ]

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[The ball, upper right.  The 2nd half was just playing out the game . . . ]

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[Kristen’s been hitting 3’s lately because the defense has to back off so far to prevent him from driving . . . ]

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[At 6’5″, Colton also drives to the lane for lay ups or teardrops . . . ]

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[In fact, all three guards prefer to score from in the lane . . . ]

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[Colton here, also similarly done by Kristen or Carrson . . . ]

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[And . . . it drops . . . ]

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[And here Carrson looks for a driving lane . . . ]

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[A solid win.  Next up we go to Bemidji to play the Lumberjacks in the semi-finals  on the 6th . . . ]

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We have a bunch of great outside shooters. Unfortunately, all our games are played indoors.  ~  Weldon Drew (New Mexico State coach)

Up Next:  A state tournament would be nice?

The Quest for State

February 29

The end of the season is nigh.  There’s light at the end of the flashlight . . . 

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[The refs have the pre-game discussion with the captains.  Then they went on to create a bit of heartburn in the section where I was sitting, which just happened to include the Cardinal moms.  It happens . . . ]

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[I offer my apologies for uttering some unkind words in their direction.  It’s just that in a tournament game, a team shouldn’t have half its starters in foul trouble in the first three minutes of the game . . . ]

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[Ella Grove, our leading scorer, sat out almost all of the 1st half with two fouls . . . ]

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[Mia McGrane similarly . . . ]

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[Coach Kohler visits with the Lakers coach, who must have worked some late season magic with his team . . . ]

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[My photo of Cardinal broadcasters DMac and BCun somehow focused on Solveig and Wayne (my high school principal) Elton in the background . . . ]

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[Have I made you nervous about the outcome yet?]

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[Here’s the thing:  We played DL twice this year and beat them 54-30 and 54-27; Bemidji, the section’s 2nd seed, also beat DL by 30 during the regular season . . . but at the end of the regular season DL beat the Lumberjacks by one point . . . ]

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[Something was happening as the very young Lakers went on to push us in this game.  Their towering 6′ sophomore center got the tap on the Cardinals’ Alyana Strand (25) to start the game . . . ]

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[Duck!!]

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[Mia (5) chases the Laker guards in pressing mode . . . ]

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[Aided at the center line by Mataya Hoelscher (23).  Mataya is one of our 9 starters, and I think had her best game . . . ]

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[Here ‘Taya launches a ‘3’ . . . ]

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[Myah Kremer (15) and Ella (11) in full-court press mode.  Ella may have picked up one of her early fouls here for “standing too close” . . . ]

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[A hidden Card made a baseline move here.  The other photographer obviously had a better vantage on the action . . . ]

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[Let’s join hands and do-si-do.  Out front are Summer Gerhardt (35) and Jaya Hatlestad (3), more of the 9 starters . . . ]

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[Summer appears to be pointing at the Lakers No. 53.  As well she should have, because that freshman was 4-for-4 on 3-point shots . . . ]

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[Myah also had one of her best games.  As I recall she was perfect from the free throw line.  She and Mataya have grown into their roles as speed dribblers to help break any pressure.  Cate Bloom (21) in rebound position is another of the 9 starters.  Other than for Ella and Mia, the other 7 seem to get about equal amounts of PT . . . ]

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[Mataya has also been solid on her free throws . . . ]

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[Since we’re now going in the other direction, you may correctly assume we’re in the 2nd half.  And now the Cards had a well-rested Ella, and she made sure the team was going to expand on their too close 35-33 halftime lead . . . ]

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[And to the surprise of at least me, she scored her 1,000th career point along the way, which led to a celebratory stoppage of play . . . ]

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[I think it cool that on the next shot the camera auto-focused on the clapping hands . . . ]

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[Congratulations to Ella on a terrific high school career . . . ]

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[I think it all caught her by surprise too . . . ]

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[Oh-oh, 53 appears open for a ‘3’.  The Cards could never fully pull away because the Lakers kept hitting 3’s to close the gap . . . ]

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[35 could make them too.  Nice looking stroke here.  The whole Laker team will be back next year . . . ]

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[Here’s Summer, who like her teammates was clutch down the stretch.  Free throw shooting should be an asset for us down the line . . . ]

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[Mia too . . . ]

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[To paraphrase Paul Wellstone, we all do better when we press together.  When the Cards really get after it, the loyal opposition will be in trouble.  But even with 9 starters, it’s hard to keep that intensity for the entire game . . . ]

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[Here’s an example.  The Lakers freshman point guard, No. 1, is now very good and will get better, but she’s headed for trouble here . . . ]

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[Mataya and Mia have her pinned between the sideline and the centerline . . . ]

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[HELPPPP!]

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[Ella closed out her big night with another 20 point plus game . . . ]

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[And Myah finished strong as well . . . ]

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[The Lakers put a scare into us, but now it’s on to Detroit Lakes to play Bemidji for the section championship on Thursday, March 5 . . . ]

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[But let’s celebrate this win first . . . ]

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[To show it is a team game!  🙂 ]

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[Now let’s take it to state . . . ]

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The grass is always greener where you water it.  ~  Unknown

Up Next:  A basketball game, likely

As the Games Dwindle Down . . .

The winter sports season is coming to an end.  Soon it will be time for springtime weather postponents of softball and baseball games . . . 

February 24

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[The penultimate boys basketball game v. Little Falls . . . ]

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[I’m displaying a few shots from the JV game . . . ]

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[As we look forward to who will be playing . . . ]

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[In next year’s varsity games . . . ]

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[The JV won as noted below . . . ]

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[The varsity also won 73 – 63, made odd by the fact that a Flyers player made 8 3-pointers and the team combined made several more . . . ]

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[Looking for future Cardinal height, the “tall” player on the left is a 6’4″ 8th grader and the “tall” player on the right is a 6’7″ sophomore.  Both likely to grow some more?]

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[He is a teacher, a coach, a PA announcer, and former candidate for the Minnesota senate . . . ]

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[This should be his next campaign featured photo . . . ]

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February 25

[A day of rest, as the Super enjoys another beautiful sunny day with a good read . . . ]

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February 27

[The section final, the fourth straight year between the Cards and the Crusaders . . . ]

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[I don’t do distance driving at night anymore, but a true hockey fan from Ashby said he’d pick me up.  He’s the same age as I am . . . ]

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[Why yes, these are your Cardinals warming up in the MAC in St. Cloud in road jerseys that are new this year . . . ]

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[And the Cards brought a good fan base with them . . . ]

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[The captains meet at center ice to discuss the loss of the Press Bar and Parlor in downtown St. Cloud . . . ]

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[The Crusaders appeared to be Mellow Yellow, but they may be the best team in the state . . . ]

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[The Cardinals brought their own musical support . . . ]

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[Though they got stuck in a far corner . . . ]

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[Card fan base is ready for action . . . ]

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[Well-behaved for a hockey group . . . ]

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[Cards practice the wheel route before the opening face-off . . . ]

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[Our band played the Anthem . . . ]

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[The Cards are looking spiffy . . . ]

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[And we’re off . . . ]

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[The Crusaders showed their wares . . . ]

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[Within a minute getting their first goal . . . ]

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[A shortly thereafter another goal.  It was clear from the beginning that the Crusaders are a superior team, and they ended with an 8 – 1 victory.  We stayed until the end of the second period, mostly to watch the speed and skills of our opposition.  It was a good year for the Cards, but as Coach Resch said after the game, St. Paul Cathedral is a Class 2A equivalent team and should be competing at that level . . . ]

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[Coming home late in the evening, I took my first trip down Broadway since the devastating fire . . . ]

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February 28

[The final regular season game against the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm and senior night . . . ]

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[Again, a few clips from the JV game to assess next year’s possibilities . . . ]

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[Featured here is Will Heydt (32), because we were sitting with his grandparents.  If, as rumored, the Cardinal football team features a two-back backfield next fall, Will is likely to be paired with incumbent Nolan Morical . . . ]

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[No. 3 is Grayson Grove, a 6’4″ 8th-grader, and brother of Ella, star of the girls’ team . . . ]

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[Ball, exiting stage left . . . ]

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[Grayson heads upcourt . . . ]

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[And here, mostly “covered” by No. 2, a/k/a The Mane, as I enviously dubbed him . . . ]

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[Both the JV and B teams . . . ]

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[Came away with roughly 10-point wins . . . ]

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[For the varsity game, the seniors are first introduced . . . ]

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[With the girls team in the front row in the background . . . ]

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[Pre-game discussion likely about the lovely weather we’ve been having . . . ]

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[The Boy Tenor took up on residence on the far side . . . ]

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[Though we tried to wave him over, he subsequently fell victim to the students down front standing on their seats the whole game and moved higher up . . . ]

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[The girls team was prepping for their next game two days hence . . . ]

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[And having a good time doing such . . . ]

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[OK, they have the next game . . . ]

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[Boys saddle up . . . ]

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[All for one and one for all . . . ]

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[And we’re off.  Absent a true center, 6’3″ Ethan jumps for us . . . ]

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[And the taller Storm center got it.  He would score his 1,000th point in this game with a brief celebratory stoppage of action . . . ]

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[Colton Roderick (35), our key and tallest player all year . . . ]

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[Although an excellent foul shooter, I believe he missed 1 of 2 here . . . ]

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[Then Kristen Hoskins (21), who made this game his show . . . ]

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[He who coulda been.  Treyton Thompson would have been the Cards 6’11” junior center this year . . . ]

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[But he went to a prep school to polish his skills . . . ]

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[He was home here (obviously) and joined the halftime crowd attempting to make a halfcourt shot . . . ]

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[At least he has already committed to the Gophers . . . ]

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[Still needs to eat a lot of pizza, as he remains very much on the slender side . . . ]

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[The other half of the girls team one bench over . . . ]

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[None of them tried the halftime halfcourt shot?]

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[Meanwhile, back at the game with the school brass in the background, Colton makes a more toward the basket . . . ]

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[And likely scored or got fouled . . . ]

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[The other athletes on the floor . . . ]

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[Performed some scary stuff . . . ]

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[Erik Hedstrom (22), who had been quiet, picked up his game at the end . . . ]

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[And Kristen finished strong . . . ]

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[We won, and then earned the No. 3-seed for the sections . . . ]

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Better an “oops” than a “what if.”  ~  Hunter Thompson

Up Next: Girls basketball sections

Girls B’ball Senior Night

February 18

DEE-fense, DEE-fense, DEE-fense!!  OK, I know I’ve said it before, but it’s appropriate again.  Every year it seems like three starters graduate – and I ask Coach Kohler, “How are you going to do next year without them?”  Her response, “Oh, we’ll win 20.”  It took a tad longer this year, but the next win will be the 20th!

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[The JV built up a big 2nd half lead against the Sartell, and then withstood a good run by the Sabres to hang on for the win . . . ]

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[The last game of the regular season against a conference rival . . . ]

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[Sartell came in with an average record but had played a lot of good teams close . . . ]

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[Coach Kohler (r) chats with Sabre coach Shannon Determan, likely about post-game dining options.  Cardinal Super Fans Bud and Ruth Anderson upper right . . . ]

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[Do you have any Thai restaurants in Alex?]

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[Cardinal pre-game mingling . . . ]

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[And now, introducing the seniors . . . ]

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[Ella Grove (middle) escorted by Lilly Horn and Alayna Strand . . . ]

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[Then mom, soon to be joined by dad . . . ]

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[Summer Gerhardt . . . ]

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[Escorted by Myah Kremer and Mataya Hoelscher . . . ]

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[Mia McGrane escorted by Cate Bloom and Jaya Hatlestad.  And that also introduces the starting “9”!]

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[And with the folks . . . ]

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[I sat behind Mia’s and Ella’s moms during the game so I had to mind my P’s & Q’s . . . ]

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[And the last senior, student manager Hayden Anderson . . . ]

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[And away we go . . . ]

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[Alayna Strand (25), not a senior, jumped center . . . ]

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[As usual, the ball pachinkoed around for a bit . . . ]

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[Ella (11) appears to have settled under it and subsequently clutched it having correctly judged its flight path . . . ]

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[The Cards settled in on DEE-fense with Ella out front and Summer (35) below . . . ]

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[It’s a pleasure to watch . . . ]

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[On offense, Mia (5) is with Summer . . . ]

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[As I recall, Mia popped an early ‘3’ . . . ]

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[Ella got us rockin’ ‘n rollin’ early . . . ]

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[Excellent free throw shooter . . . ]

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[One of my favorite shots of the year . . . ]

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[Ella scoring inside against Sabre freshman guard (20) who gave it a go . . . ]

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[After a score, Ella and Mia set up the full-court press . . . ]

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[With Alayna and Mataya (23) . . . ]

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[Ella did this twice in a row on attempted inbound passes . . . ]

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[Another favorite shot . . . ]

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[Another knocked out of bounds . . . ]

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[Myah (15), Jaya (3), join Mataya in halfcourt D . . . ]

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[The Cards set the tone early, led by Ella and Mia . . . ]

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[Mia rushes to press . . . ]

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[While Ella hustles back . . . ]

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[Meeting Lilly (33) on the way.  BTW, in the right background here are the scorekeepers –  Kirk Gunderson has been doing it for 32 straight years and his daughter Janet Clipperton joined him in 2005.  They figure they have missed less than 10 games over that entire span (Echo Press story this week).  And you better be pretty quick on the scoreboard because the Cardinals put in 2 – 3 fresh players with every clock stoppage . . . ]

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[Nice to see you, Ella!]

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[Cards in halfcourt, man-to-man defense . . . ]

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[Mia trying to play a passing lane here.  When the Cards had taller guards, we’d often play a 1-3-1 zone trap, a defense that requires length . . . ]

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[Another favorite shot of Lilly making an inside move . . . ]

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[Mataya inbounding to Lilly while Ella sets a pic . . . ]

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[I got some good defense shots this game – her Alayna goes high on the press . . . ]

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[Then recovers to get back . . . ]

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[Alayna and Summer in press defense . . . ]

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[And then Alayna rushes in for help defense . . . ]

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[Trying to keep the Sabres in the backcourt . . . ]

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[At the half, not a lot of offense but a lot of defense . . . ]

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[In the 2nd half, more of the same.  Although the Sabres are young, they have long quick athletes so their defense is well ahead of their offense at this time . . . ]

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[The first half of the 2nd half only 6 points were scored, 4 by us and 2 by them.  A lot of turnovers, pass interceptions . . . well, it wasn’t good for a while . . . ]

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[The Cards finished strong as they moved to 19 – 8 on the season and will be the #1 section seed.  And to hold a pretty good class AAA and conference rival to 28 points is amazing.]

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Mick Jagger is in better shape than far too many NBA players.  It’s up in the air whether the same can be said of Keith Richards.  ~  Bill Walton

Up Next:  Whatever will be . . .

First Place!

February 11

Before this school year started, I’m pretty sure our Cardinals were considered a serious threat to make a run at the state championship.  Then our 6’11” junior center transferred to an Indiana prep school.  We wish him the best (and he’s going to be a Gopher), but suddenly the Cards went from being a team with an intiminating interior presence – to a team with no interior presence.  So, guess what.  At this late stage of the season the Cards, who I imagine are always the smaller team on the court, have an 11-2 conference record and are in first place.  Who’da thunk?

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[On this night, the Cards were hosting the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles.  Earlier this year the Eagles, as I recall, were ranked as high as #3 in class AAA.  They were killing people.  They beat the Cards at their place 82-69 (one of our 2 conference losses).  They have suffered some recent losses in the absence of some key players but were going to be at full strength for this game . . . ]

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[And like the Cards in the weekend’s Delano game, we would be looking up at a team that featured two 6’7″ players, a 6’4″, two 6’3″‘s, and a 6’2″ player who was averaging 20 points a game.  They are one of the highest scoring teams in the state . . . ]

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[Introducing Carrson Jones (11) . . . ]

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[Ethan Patience (14) . . . ]

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[Kristen Hoskins (21) . . . ]

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[Erik Hedstrom (22) . . . ]

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[Colton Roderick (35) . . . ]

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[We wanna win!!]

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[The center jump at the start of high school games has lost its cachet.  It’s almost always mistimed, swings and misses, sometimes the ball simply falls to the fall untouched where more flailing begins.  Likely because it’s only time it happens in games anymore because of the alternate possession rule . . . ]

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[And the Cards jumper, 6’4″ Erik (22), is often outheighted by 2 or 3 feet.  Here he was up against the Eagles #24, who is so tall he’s not even listed on the roster . . . ]

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[I don’t even know who won it, but the referee ducked for his own safety . . . ]

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[Then Erik had to go down and guard Thomas Diew (50), a sophomore like himself, but who is a large bodied 6’7″.  He’s a real player and unstoppable with Kevin McHale footwork when he gets the ball down low . . . ]

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[Keep in touch with him, Erik!]

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[Here’s the gist of the game, settled in early.  Colton (35), our tallest guy at 6’5″, had another great game.  His passing lane defense at the point of the team defense creates a lot of indecision for opposing guards just trying to complete passes across his path . . . ]

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[Of course, with Colton up front, our smaller guys like Kristen (listed at 5’10”?) have to guard the bigs down low.  It’s up to Colton to prevent those passes from getting there . . . ]

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[But when the ball gets down low, Colton follows it to give us some semblance of size . . . ]

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[Our three guards basically take turns bringing the ball up court . . . ]

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[Here Carrson calls out a play . . . ]

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[Here’s No-name #24 at the line . . . ]

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[Where Kristen was the lead offensive player against tall Delano, Colton had that role in this game . . . ]

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[Through a variety of shots and drives, Colton had 13 points with 5 minutes left in the half . . . ]

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[But the Eagles can score points in bunches and very quickly.  We got sloppy with some passes and they were off to the races . . . ]

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[Then the Cards demonstrated their own Clark Kellogg spurtability by scoring the first 12 points of the 2nd half.  It appeared we were on our way . . . ]

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[Here Colton down low scores on a reverse lay up . . . ]

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[Then plays that soft 3/4’s court one-man zone while the Eagles carefully bring it up . . . ]

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[Carsson at the line – the kind of game where making such was important because with their potent offense the Eagles began reeling us back in . . . ]

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[The Colton defense mostly prohibited them from making mad dashes into the offensive zone.  They were really hard to stop from scoring when they came at us with speed . . . ]

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[Here’s where Colton really excels.  It’s call the “tear drop”, a difficult shot to master which is why most players try to take it all the way to the basket where they either get their shot blocked or are called for an offensive foul . . . ]

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[The tear drop as demonstrated by a pro . . . ]

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[It takes a soft touch to make it when you’re moving at speed – I’m sure this dropped . . . ]

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[By his expression he missed this foul shot, but he makes a high percentage . . . ]

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[Go in!  Change Hoth, #23 for the Eagles, is a 6’3″ senior who is their leading scorer and great 3-point shooter.  Every time it looked like we might pull away, he’d hit a quick couple of 3’s . . . ]

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[Here Colton drives, feeds Carrson underneath . . . ]

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[Where all our guards, despite their size, are good finishers.  At one time on a break in this game Carrson got the ball, faked two different times as two tall guys leapt by him, and then layed it in  . . . ]

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[Late in the game, the Cards clung to a marginally safe lead . . . ]

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[It’s amazing the number of times Colton tips the ball on passes between the guards . . . ]

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[Gotta make ’em all now . . . ]

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[To close out the game . . . ]

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[Kristen, too . . . ]

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[He sat out a lot in this game, which was unusual?  Not feeling good?]

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[A big time win!  Colton with 27 and Chang with 23 led their respective teams.  And despite the 18 points from Diew (50), the Cards had better balance . . . ]

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[And the team was . . . ]

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[Really excited about it!]

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When Austin Peay University had a player named Fly Williams, the students would chant, “The Fly is open! Let’s go Peay!

Up Next:  Dunno, I’m kinda caught up?