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?

The BIG Weekend (Part 5)

February 8

So, around and amidst all the ball games . . . 

[We missed Josie at the winery on this day as she was sandwiched between the girls hockey game and the boys basketball game.  So, here’s a shout out . . . ]

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[And one of our favorite songs by her written by a fellow Minnesotan . . . ]

[After the girls hockey game but before the boys basketball I was able to make a cameo appearance here.  The Super was able to stay longer . . . ]

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[CLSO board member Jim and Jan Pence were co-hosting and recommended we give this a try . . . ]

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[So we did . . . ]

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[And we liked it . . . ]

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[It drew a smile from the Super . . . ]

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[The aforementioned Jim Pence, with Jan in the lower left corner . . . ]

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[If you buy season tickets, you can go to every concert!  BTW, do either of you play a string instrument?]

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[Violinist, Lesley Donahue, with a soon to have 3rd daughter on the left; the next day’s concert narrator, Kevin Lee, on the right . . . ]

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[Thanks again to the Garden Bar on 6th!]

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February 9

After the quarterly wine pick up party at Carlos Creek Winery, it was on to the CLSO concert at the AAHS Performing Arts Center . . . ]

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[After the pre-performance maestro’s notes, flutist Deb Mercier took the stage to introduce her children’s book “Catching the Waves: The Science of Sound” to go along with the performance . . . ]

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[Deb Mercier with her book (Echo Press photo) . . . ]

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[The book was illustrated by Faythe Mills and is available at Cherry Street books (Echo Press photo)  . . . ]

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[The CLSO . . . ]

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[The CLSO audience . . . ]

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[We concluded the evening with a lively book club discussion of “Guns, Germs, and Steel”.]

I can’t listen to that much Wagner.  I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.  ~  Woody Allen

Up Next:  Boys basketball

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

The BIG Weekend (Part 3)

February 8

After the girls basketball game, a short break for a nosh and I was off to the opening game of the girls hockey section 8AA tournament . . . 

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[These two teams split their regular season games.  I think the consensus among those who know such things (well, the 2 or 3 that I know) was that the Icebreakers should have been the #4 seed . . . ]

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[OK, captain of the visiting team, call the flip of the coin . . . ]

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[The crack KXRA radio crew was on hand for the game . . . ]

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[DMac and BCun ready at the mics . . . ]

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[Showing complete teamliness, all the helmets are aligned in the same direction . . . ]

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[Oh yeah, they didn’t have to have a coin toss at the beginning . . . ]

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[The Cardinal line from the top:  Anna Doherty (5), Kaci Trosvig (25) and Lauren Maras (27) . . . ]

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[Two photos . . . ]

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[And I still can’t get the number of the Cardinal speeding into the Icebreakers’ zone . . . ]

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[That’s Makenna Aure (17) on the left (and probably in two above photos) with Hanley Block (28), as the two of them take on the entire St. Cloud team . . . ]

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[And the two of them are trying to control the puck behind the net . . . ]

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[There it is on the left!  Lauren appears to be on it . . . ]

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[Kaci tries to keep the puck in the zone . . . ]

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[Makenna, one on three . . . ]

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[Marki Oberg (10) follows a shop attempt . . . ]

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[A 3rd line with Micah Summer (8), Meg Shercliffe (5), and Peyton Boesl (6).  Reise Waldorf (16) is on defense . . . ]

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[Micah to Reise . . . ]

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[Hanley’s on with Meg . . . ]

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[Jordan O’Kane (1) was terrific in goal and all through the last games . . . ]

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[Kaci’s back in on offense . . . ]

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[Ella Westlund (19) has joined the fray . . . ]

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[Kaci begins to circle to . . . ]

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[Get to the front of the net . . . ]

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[A good first period with the Cards having a slight advantage . . . ]

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[A good crowd was on hand . . . ]

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[Jordan repairs to her game-time den . . . ]

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[You pass it to me, I’ll pass to her . . . ]

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[She’ll pass it back to me and I’ll put it in the goal . . . ]

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[And almost as Lauren closes in on it . . . ]

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[Makenna races in.  And when she races, she races . . . ]

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[Kaci on her backhand – I’ve seen her score with that shot but not this time . . . ]

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[Kaci races behind the net, Anna races in front of it . . . ]

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[Pile up in aisle 3 . . . ]

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[Anna with puck in the right circle . . . ]

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[Lauren, with 3 of her closest Icebreaker friends . . . ]

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[Kaci and Lauren . . . ]

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[And my shot of Mayson Toft (14) . . . ]

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[As she circles the net with Micah in front . . . ]

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[The Icebreaker goalie smothers the puck with Meg and Marki in the neighborhood . . . ]

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[And that pair was then joined by Kaci . . . ]

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[We have a plethora of Cards in front of the goal, the fans behind the glass are cheering, but the ref is waving his arms as Anna approaches him perplexed . . . ]

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[Anna had just put in a beautiful shot from the right circle, to be the first goal of the game, but the ref called it off, signalling a Cardinal had been in the crease . . . ]

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[So, Makenna decided she give it the ole college try . . . ]

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[Past defenders and into the offensive zone . . . ]

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[Away she goes . . . ]

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[Hanley, Micah, and Kaci tussle behind the goal . . . ]

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[Kaci chases after it with Lauren out front . . . ]

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[Then Lauren chased it around the boards . . . ]

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[Back and forth, with Meg this time . . . ]

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[After two periods, yet to be a score . . . ]

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[GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!  A beautiful straight on long shot by Mayson . . . ]

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[With only 7 minutes left in the game, it seemed that one goal might hold up . . . ]

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[But the Icebreakers tied it up 3 minutes later.  Makenna, Hanley, and Marki tried a late rush to pull it out . . . ]

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[But the game ended in a tie – exciting from start to finish . . . ]

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[In the first overtime, Kaci was on the doorstep . . . ]

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[With friends Anna and Lauren right there with her, the puck nevertheless snuck out the back door . . . ]

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[So they all turned to find it . . . ]

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[Mayson, Lauren, and Anna skate past a sprawling goalie . . . ]

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[Who seems none the worse for wear . . . ]

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[Whoa, the Lauren, Kaci, Anna with another shot at it . . . ]

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[But again, the puck escapes . . . ]

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[Ohhhh, a near miss . . . ]

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[Marki, Meg, and Anna, as Marki appears to have encountered a wrestling move . . . ]

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[And here we are again!]

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[Lauren chases down the rascal, as Hanley and Ella take up scoring positions . . . ]

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[Hanley says when they go high, I go low . . . ]

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[The 8-minute first overtime ended without a winner.  They Zambonied the ice before the start of the 2nd OT period, a full 17 minute one . . . ]

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[At this point the team is thinking pizza and Coke . . . ]

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[But they have to take care of business first . . . ]

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[And they did.  Less than 3 minutes in period 5, Anna scored the game winner!  It seemed fitting since she lost a goal earlier in the game . . . ]

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[The celebration begins . . . ]

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[The mosh pile begins . . . ]

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[One hated to see anyone lose this game.  It was well played by both teams . . . ]

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[THE AGONY OF DEFEAT.  This is my favorite photo of the entire weekend . . . ]

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[Wow . . . ]

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[Good game, good game, good game, nice game, good game, good game.  And it was . . . ]

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[The Cards would lose the section semi-final at Brainerd/Little Falls the following Tuesday.  A last minute goal after the Cards had gone empty net made the final 3 – 1.  A good showing in their first season in class AA.  Brainerd graduates 10 seniors; the Cards have most everybody back (as does St. Cloud).  Wait till next year . . . ]

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We get nose jobs all the time in the NHL, and we don’t even have to go to the hospital.  ~  Brad Park

Up Next:  Boys basketball

The BIG Weekend (Part 2)

February 8

The Breakdown Winter Lakes Classic has become an annual affair drawing very good girls and boys baketball teams from around the state.  There were seven games that ran pretty much all day . . . 

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[The Card girls drew the unenviable task of taking on the 2nd ranked, and last year’s state runners-up with the same team, Becker Bulldogs with a 21 – 2 record . . . ]

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[The Amazing Mr. Ripley, attender and photographer of all Cardinal games . . . ]

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[An ancient form of warm-up yoga?]

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[Alayna Strand (25) jumped for the Cards . . . ]

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[I believe it was a double swing and a miss . . . ]

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[On the court for the Cardinals are:  Alayna, Ella Grove (11), Mia McGrane (5), and Lilly Horn (33) . . . ]

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[Becker made a splash on the basketball scene 2 years ago with 3 very good freshmen guards.  The Cards have beaten the Bulldogs each of the last two years in very close games.  But now, those 3 freshmen are all juniors and likely all D1 prospects . . . ]

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[Cards retreat fast on defense as the Bulldogs push the ball as we do . . . ]

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[In the player turnstile of the Cardinals, Mataya Hoelscher (23) and Summer Gerhardt (35) are on the court . . . ]

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[As is Myah Kremer (15) . . . ]

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[And here Mia, Myah, and Mataya – the Cardinals basically have 9 starters . . . ]

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[Jaya Hatlestad (3) brings it up (hey, Alex alums, that’s our old high school principal Wayne Elton sitting in the background . . . ]

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[Alayna puts up a runner . . . ]

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[The Bulldogs came out on fire, everybody was hitting 3’s.  The Cards were stuck in a whirlwind from which there appeared to be no escape . . . ]

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[The Cards have been in a bit of a mid-season lull, but in the 2nd half they got there mojo back and threw a scare into the Bulldogs . . . ]

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[Here Mia starts a drive to the basket . . . ]

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[Found Jaya in the corner who I believe hit the 3 here . . . ]

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[Aggressive offense lead to Becker fouls . . . ]

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[Mia is a good free throw shooter . . . ]

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[And the team re-discovered that our leading scorer Ella could score in the paint . . . ]

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[Was that a “swish”?]

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[Mataya, though slight in stature, has track speed and had a terrific 2nd half . . . ]

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[She made some shots and was good from the line . . . ]

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[And our defense really stepped it up.  Mia, in particular, can steal the hubcaps off a moving vehicle . . . ]

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[Mia and Cate Bloom (21) (behind Mia) are trying to slow down . . . ]

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[The Bulldogs’ star of stars is Julia Bengtson (20).  When the Cards would get within a possession of tying for the lead, Bengtson would calmly hit another ‘3’.  I hope the Gophers have their eyes on her . . . ]

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[When the Cards had to hard press at the end, here Cate and Myah would double team Bengstson.  She would often get the ball anyway and make the free throws . . . ]

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[Photos that best describe the Cardinals modus operandi . . . ]

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[There are always players waiting at the scorer’s table ready to come in on the next stoppage of play (Ella, Lilly, Jaya, Coach Kohler) . . . ]

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[The final score reflects some late free throws by the Bulldogs, but a good comeback by the Cardinals that I hope they can carry forward . . . ]

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Believe that the loose ball that you are chasing has your name written on it.  ~  Mike Krzyzewski

Up Next:  Girls hockey

 

The BIG Weekend (Part 1)

February 7

This was the plan, with amendments as necessary.  It was to be a combination of sports and other cultural events.  Thursday (February 6) we graduated from the senior college winter semester and were planning on going to the girls basketball game that night.  But after coming outside after graduation dinner, we encountered an icy snow.  That put the kibosh on the game (which unfortunately has happened several times this winter).  In spite of our absence, our Cards did beat Sauk Rapids-Rice, 76 – 41 (the boys won their 8th in a row that night, 80 – 60, at Rocori).  On Friday (February 7), as reported in this post, our boys hockey hosted A No. 7 ranked Duluth Denfeld (16-5-1).  On Saturday (February 8), Alex hosted the Breakdown Winter Lakes Classic, 7 basketball games played all day long, girls and boys, all highly ranked teams.  Our girls played AAA No. 2 ranked Becker (19-2) at 11:30 am; our boys played AAA No. 7 ranked Delano (17-2) at 7:30 pm.  At 11:30 am, the Super covered for me at our monthly climate meeting while I went to the basketball game.  Josie was at the winery from 2 – 6:00 pm.  We couldn’t make it.  At 3:00 pm, our girls hockey team (seeded 3rd) hosted St. Cloud (seeded 6th) in the opening round of the section 8AA hockey tournament.  At 6:30 pm I made a cameo (the Super stayed longer) at the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra (CLSO) Thanks to You Party at the Garden Bar before I headed out for the boys basketball game.  While I will post on all the games (eventually), they were all, in the parlance of dear old dad, real pants-wetters.  On Sunday (February 9) we had the noon wine pick up party at the winery, followed by the CLSO concert, followed by book club.  Who said winters in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota aren’t exciting?

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[Duluth is 218 miles, 3 1/2 hours from Alex.  I don’t ever remember playing Denfeld before . . . ]

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[The nickname “The Hunters” and team mascot of Denfeld is named after Walter Hunting.  Hunting served as a coach to many Denfeld teams over the years . . . ]

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[As noted above, it was senior night for the Cards . . . ]

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[Leading off alphabetically was Joe Bigger (6), and his parents . . . ]

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[Shane Birkeland (25) . . . ]

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[Matthew Carlsen (26) (Matthew was also quarterback for the football team and is going to Bethel next year, which currently has a starting quarterback from Alex.  But he will play baseball and pitch in college.) . . . ]

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[Landyn James (1) . . . ]

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[(Sorry, I forgot who was on crutches) . . . ]

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[Derek Pesta (5) . . . ]

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[Andrew Revering (2) . . . ]

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[Caleb Strong (3) . . . ]

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[Sydney Wiseman, manager . . . ]

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[Round ’em for the group photo . . . ]

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[And the National Anthem . . . ]

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[1, 2, 3, go Cards! (Or words to that effect) . . . ]

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[And away we go . . . ]

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[Cardinals front line, top to bottom: Derek,  Joe Westlund (10) and Caleb . . . ]

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[Westlund (we have 3 Joes) trying to take advantage of a fallen Hunter . . . ]

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[Josiah (another Joe) Gronholz (8), from just a couple houses away from where we used to live, is having a terrific sophomore season . . . ]

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[Chasing after a Hunter . . . ]

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[The ref gives the Cardinal bench a high five . . . ]

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[Caleb is our leading scorer . . . ]

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[Which again calls into question how the game could have ever been played without face protection . . . ]

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[Ooops, sorry ’bout the stick . . . ]

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[Jacob Partington (7) joins Josiah, Joe Bigger, and Shane in the offensive zone . . . ]

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[Caleb is taking the draw here meaning Joe Westlund may have been invited to leave by a referee . . . ]

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[Westlund is a speed guy . . . ]

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[So Derek waits for him to enter the zone apace . . . ]

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[I’m going to guess that’s Caleb behind the net . . . ]

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[So, the Cards took two penalties late in the period.  The Hunters scored on the 5-on-3 advantage, and then scored again just after the 2nd penalty expired at the buzzer ending the period.  If you read the senior bios above, one of the things several players said is they would like to make fighting legal at the high school level.  That’s the big problem we old girls hockey Super Fans have always had issues with in the boys game.  It seems more about hitting (and a big hit draws a bigger roar from the fans than a goal does) than playing the game.  Too often dumb penalties lead to easy goals, and the Hunters took advantage of that in this game to essentially score 3 power play goals . . . ]

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[The 2nd period started with early pressure from the Cards . . . ]

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[Caleb launched a shot from the right circle . . . ]

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[Westlund looks for a rebound . . . ]

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[Cole Walters (29) has a first hand encounter . . . ]

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[With the Denfeld defense . . . ]

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[And at about the 10-minute mark, Derek got the Cards first goal . . . ]

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[So, let’s celebrate it . . . ]

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[Shortly thereafter, the Hunters got two more goals within a minute of each.  Then another minute and a half later, Shane scored to keep the Cards relevant.  After an evenly played 2nd period, the Hunters led 4 – 2 . . . ]

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[I then committed a faux pas.  I left at the end of the 2nd period.  It was after 9:00 and it was going to be a long day the next day.  At the Y the next morning I talked to another fan who said she also left then, as did a few other folks.  So, of course, from the Cardinal Connection:  The 3rd period the Cardinals exploded for the most goals scored in a period all season. Joe Westlund scored a huge power play goal to get momentum going the Cards way.  Josiah Gronholz and Andrew Revering added 2 more helpers to their night’s scoring.  Caleb Strong tied it up with a huge goal.  Gronholz and Westlund chipping in helpers.  Derek Pesta got the game winner with Jacob Partington and Shane Birkeland getting the Apples on the goal. Josiah Gronholz got the empty net goal at 15:59 to seal the win.  Landyn James had 29 saves for the Cards in the win over the top 10 Class A Duluth Denfeld Hunters. The Cardinals are now 16-8 on the year and close out the season Tuesday night against the Sartell Sabres at the RCC.  Final Score Friday night Alexandria 6 Duluth Denfeld 4.]

Sometimes people ask, ‘Are hockey fights real?’ I say, ‘If they weren’t, I’d get in more of them.’  ~  Wayne Gretzky

Up Next:  Girls basketball

7 in a Row

February 4

I went to the game before this winning streak began.  I think the team would agree, it was not their finest hour and a half.  I waited until now for them to win me back as a fan.  They have (though they have no size or depth) – and are now 14 – 4 on the season after beating Brainerd in this game 73 – 59 . . .

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[The statutorily mandated pre-game hug . . . ]

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[After player introductions . . . ]

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[I had a bad angle for photos the first half because of standing student fans.  I could have moved, of course, but . . . Brainerd’s size and strength advantage limited my excitement for photos.  The Cards were once down as much as 9 and were fortunate to close the gap to 3 in the final seconds of the half.  As you can see on the scoreboard, Colton Roderick (35), 6’5″ junior guard (our tallest player) carried the team with 2/3’s of its points . . . ]

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[The 2nd half offensive action was at my end of the court.  With the likes of Erik Hedstrom (22), 6’4″ sophomore forward, and Carrson Jones (11), senior guard, beginning to chip in, the Cards started taking control of the game . . . ]

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[Colton continued his fine play in the 2nd half . . . ]

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[Here with a left-handed dribble through the lane . . . ]

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[For a lay up . . . ]

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[He has now scored 56 points over his last two games and has got to be picking up interest for play at the next level . . . ]

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[Carrson inbounds from the end line . . . ]

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[Ethan Patience (14), 6’3″ senior forward, launches a 3.  He didn’t have many opportunities to do so in this game against the Warriors’ size . . . ]

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[Kristen Hoskins (21), sophomore guard, along with Colton and Carrson, gives the Cards plenty of quickness and firepower from the perimeter . . . ]

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[Carsson here, but all 3 of them live to drive hard to the hoop . . . ]

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[And it appears he scored here . . . ]

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[I shot a ball into the air, it fell to earth I know not where . . . ]

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[A time out and time for congratulations as their 2nd half run opened up a comfortable lead . . . ]

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[Kristen is a player who can control the ball when you’re tryng to run clock . . . ]

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[Colton begins a top of the key move . . . ]

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[As Erik breaks for the basket . . . ]

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[Erik swished 3 3’s in the half and appears to be the team’s best long range shooter . . . ]

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[Colton and Erik play catch out front . . . ]

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[We’ll wrap up the game . . . ]

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[With Kristen making some free throws . . . ]

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[And then Colton as well . . . ]

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[We appear to be a good free throw shooting team – a handy ability in close games . . . ]

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[A nice win and an especially impressive 2nd half . . . ]

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You can say something to popes, kings and presidents, but you can’t talk to officials.  In the next war they ought to give everyone a whistle.  ~  Abe Lemmons

Up Next:  Too many games to think about . . .