A good [blog] is never nearly good enough but a lousy [blog] is a joy forever. – Garrison Keillor (paraphrased)
[They call it puppy love. An interesting sensation as one approaches 64. But I was nervous the morning of the big game. This team is so much fun, I want them to enjoy playing right through the state tournament.]
Yet another gorgeous day in Vacationland USA as we ventured out for the girls’ basketball section semi-finals at Halenbeck Hall on the campus of St. Cloud State University. As usual, when we got in sight of the arena, we took the wrong turn and ended up going across the river – because that is what we do. But we eventually made it there in time to see the 2nd half of the first semi-final between Fergus Falls (No. 1 seed) and Detroit Lakes (No. 4).
Our Cards (No. 2) were taking on the Sartell Sabres (No. 3). Sartell started the season 14-0, and I believe at one time were rated as high as No. 3 in the state. They feature a 6’5” center, Abigail Whitney, and two guards, Haley Guetter and Morgan Haider, who are listed on most recruiting lists. As you will note at the start of the video, our boys basketball team, fresh off their previous night’s big win over Rocori, were there under the basket (next to the band) providing fan support. Super Fans Roger, Dusty, Martin Haar, and Ruth (Helie) and Bud Anderson were also in attendance.
[Alex band and boys basketball players, under the basket.]
Sam lost the opening tip to the Sabres big center – I believe the ref balked on his toss! The first half was difficult to watch – both teams obviously were very nervous. The Cards couldn’t put the ball in the basket, and the Sabres had trouble with the Cards’ defense (but who doesn’t). The difference was, when the Sabres did get open looks, they made them. The first half ended with Sartell leading 23 – 18. It seemed we were lucky to be that close.
The 2nd half began as the 1st ended – the Sabres got a couple of looks, including a three, so Kohler (the players all call her “Kohler”) called a time out shortly into that half. THEN THE AVALANCHE HIT. I don’t believe the Sabres even got the license plate number of the bus that ran over them. When the Cards go into hyperactive super drive, they are a joy to watch. We went from 5 points down to about 10 points ahead in a matter of a few minutes. Steals, breakouts, even a 3-pointer by Alli (our only one of the game) blew the game open. Then we just spent the rest of the game maintaining that lead – the outcome after that never really seemed to be in doubt, except for . . .
We were 6 for 19 from the free throw line again. Watching, it didn’t even seem to be that “good’. We shoot with good form – they just aren’t going in. And I’m not sure if our field goal percentage was any better. But despite all that, we still beat a very good team by 10 points – 53 – 43 (Fergus beat DL by almost the identical score, 53 – 42) – because we play defense, and run, and rebound, and run, and eventually the other team cracks. The Cards had 20 steals in the game – and I believe it was reported we scored 28 points off of turnovers.
Kohler shortened her bench for this game – Whitney Gesell and Amanda Christianson provided spot relief for the starters. I don’t recall if Sam ever came out of the game – she had to stay in to mark their Whitney. Sam is quicker than their center and is able to go around and even shoot over her – she had 16 points to lead the Cards. But Whitney is so big you can’t stop her underneath as she had 16 points and 18 rebounds for the Sabres. Alli had another great game with 14 points and 15 rebounds (making it 35 in the last two games against the Sabres), Lauren also had 14 and was her usual pest self on defense, Cara was player-of –the-game with assists and I believe 6 steals, and Joie was all over the court reeking havoc. Guetter had 17 points for them – if she has a clean look at the basket, she makes it – excellent shooter.
So, now we play Fergus for the section championship @ St. John’s next Friday, the 11th, @ 6:00. Before that, however, the boys basketball team opens section play Tuesday night @ 7:00 @ Maple Grove, and the following day the boys hockey team opens play in the state tournament @ 11:00 v. Hermantown. This will probably require a Twin Cities overnight for blog staff. Here are the brackets for both (note our hockey record is not quite as impressive as the other teams – we’ve got them right where we want them!):
Because it was an afternoon game, we decided that since we could make it back home during daylight, we would enjoy our evening repast at D. Michael B’s. A toast to the team from there (such is not condoned for team members). We were delighted to discover my hero, Warren Gibson, was there. He and Rose look great and we had a nice visit. They both noted they don’t ever recall a winter like this one. Warren said he had no particular health reason for giving up his golf membership – it was just time. He is, of course, famous for his response to his doctor last summer when told he had the back of an old man – he replied, “I AM an old man!” I’m sure we can get him out to our golf leagues a few times this summer. And we should have a big birthday party for him there on July 9 when he turns 90! We can make it a double and get Martin out there too!
[The Gibsons last summer.]