State Tournament . . . Again?

March 14

Yes, again!  For the third weekend in a row – first, girls hockey; then, boys hockey; and finally, girls basketball!

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[The Cardinals were playing the No. 1-seed, Robbinsdale Cooper, at 10:00am Wednesday.  I no longer drive beyond a 10-mile radius of Alexandria if it’s dark – we left for the Cities on Tueday afternoon . . . ]

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[Our overnight stay for events at Williams Arena has been the Graduate Minneapolis (previously The Commons, previously the Radisson) on Washington Avenue on the U of M campus, a mere two-block walk to the arena.  Minnesota legend Loni Anderson was in our room . . . ]

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[It must be Happy Hour in the Graduate restaurant . . . ]

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[It was!]

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[The neighborhood, beginning with the lobby . . . ]

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[This is no longer the Washington Avenue of my college years (my dorms are two blocks behind this new high rise), or even a couple years ago . . . ]

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[The hotel (as the sign says) – we did run into other Alex folks staying here . . . ]

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[The Super warms herself by the fire . . . ]

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[The view from our floor – that’s the alumni center; behind it the football stadium . . . ]

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[Walk right up that street to Williams Arena . . . ]

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[Breakfast in the hotel before the game . . . ]

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[Kohler posted when the team arrived in Williams Arena . . . ]

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Oh yeah, the game!!

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[And now we’re among the early arrivals at the game, chatting with Darice Cunniff (sitting in front of the Super), the Cardinal PA announcer . . . ]

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[The storied raised floor of Williams Arena – 50 years ago I played intramural basketball on it . . . ]

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[The owner of the most wins all-time by a female Minnesota basketball coach (by tourney’s end, 579-232) – for some reason, however, the camera focused on “GOPHERSPORTS.com”?]

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[Alexandria’s mass media was on hand to broadcast the game from the upper lever . . . ]

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[The Cardinals take the floor . . . ]

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[The Cardinal band take their seats . . . ]

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[Cooper has a height advantage at coach. Kiara Buford, the Cooper coach, was a star for the Gophers in the first half of this decade . . . ]

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[A Cardinal cheerleader joins the fray . . . ]

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[Cardinal captains receive pre-game options for post-game dining . . . ]

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[Coach Kohler received a pre-game “howdy-dos” from two of last year’s team members, Kayla Feldhake and Kara Thomson . . .]

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[Suit ’em up, Wendy!]

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[The Cardinal cheerleaders were introduced – I couldn’t get them all in one shot with the telephoto lens . . . ]

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[The Cardinal team is introduced . . . ]

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[Junior center McKenzie Duwenhoegger . . . ]

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[Senior forward Courtney Gould . . . ]

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[Senior forward Emma Schmidt . . . ]

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[Sophomore guard Ella Grove . . . ]

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[Junior guard Kaye Paschka . . . ]

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[Let’s do it!!]

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[The Cards appeared relaxed . . . ]

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[The JUMP . . . ]

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[McKenzie wins it . . . ]

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[And then she drives for an inside shot . . . ]

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[Looks askew . . . ]

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[The battle for the rebound . . . ]

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[Courtney at the line, where she is, and was, very good.  The Cardinal game plan was to work the ball inside to our “bigs” to score and/or get fouled . . . ]

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[Courtney developed into a real star, the team’s leading scorer, in her senior year . . . ]

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[Here it appears we were trying to set up our favorite inbounds play, but teams seem to be onto it now.  In this case, Courtney would have faked to Emma, the inbounder, coming around the outside, then dribble the ball up the end line for a lay-up . . . ]

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[Emma wheels around the outside of the really quick Hawk defense.  Junior Emily Jones (43) and sophomore Mia McGrane (5) have joined the fray for the Cardinals – they will likely be the starters next year in Courtney’s and Emma’s roles . . . ]

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[Mia and Kaye defend the Hawk guards.  As quick as the Hawk guards were, Kaye was still the fastest player on the court and was indispensible (she played every minute) in bringing the ball up court against their pressure . . . ]

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[HOW DO YOU DEFEND THIS? My sports photo of the year.  The shot was by Jada Bufird, the little sister of the Cooper coach, Kiara, who starred for the Gophers in the first half of this decade.  Jada came in averaging 8 points per game – she scored 20 in this one, making all manner of 3’s.  I don’t think this one went in, but you know she was feeling it by even attempting it!]

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[Kaye has the ball under the eye a Hawk defender, and the Hawk coach . . . ]

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[Inside to Emma . . . ]

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[Coach Buford can’t watch . . . ]

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[Emma launches a 3 – just missed . . . ]

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[Rebounders struggle for position . . . ]

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[Jonesie, you’re in!]

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[Close game all the way, esecially so the first half where we led most of the time . . . ]

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[It came down to their outside shooting, which unfortunately was beyond ‘normal’ . . . ]

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[Kaye cuts off the driver . . . ]

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[Ella on the line.  We shot 75% from the line over the first two tourney games . . . ]

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[And Kaye chips in . . . ]

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[Then McKenzie . . . ]

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[Not as much photo coverage of the 2nd half.  So, as the game winds down, time for a little woulda, shoulda coulda?  We listened to our last two games on radio.  Cooper won the championship, beating Willmar, then Northfield – and they didn’t shoot as well against those teams as they did against us.  Watching those games confirmed what I thought prior to – we gave Cooper their toughest game, and it was likely down to between us or Holy Angels as to who could give Cooper the toughest game.  Wendy was a bit upset that we had to draw the No. 1-seed in the first round.  We blew out De LaSalle, the No. 4-seed, in the consolation game, 69-42.  De LaSalle lost to Cooper by 4 in the regular season and split with Holy Angels.  Grand Rapids upset Holy Angels, the No. 3-seed, in the first round, so the Cards had to play Holy Angels for the consolation championship.  We must have been totally pooped, because we shot really poorly (26%).  Even our free throw shooting dropped off – we could have opened up a double digit lead in the first half if we had made them and that may have changed the complexion the game.  Holy Angels won 56 – 46 – the teams were equal in rebounds and turnovers, the difference was shooting percentage.  The one bright spot was Emma Schmidt who went out in a blaze of glory – 6 for 8 in 3-point shooting! McKenzie was a rebounding star in the tourney – 14 in the 1st game, 11 in the 2nd.  There was a great game in the class AAAA championship as Eastview finished an undefeated season over Hopkins – lots of Division 1 prospects on the floor.]

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[OK, finish hard!]

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[Kaye and Ella brought the ball up against pressure all game – take a quick breather . . . ]

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[The last gasp . . . ]

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[Still gotta love ’em! Their motto was, “Start Unknown, Finish Unforgettable.” It was a whole new team at the start of the season; they were not on anybody’s radar. And they went to state. As usual, they were very fun and entertaining to watch; and also very frustrating. The stats about midway through the 4th quarter told it all: Cooper was 6 for 10 on 3-point shots; we were 0 for 7; we had 25 turnovers; they had 10 – and yet it was a 4-point game? I was at the game, and I can’t explain it? But again, congrats to the team on an “Unforgettable” season – and we’ll expect to see you on the floor at Williams again next year!]

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[We made it home from the ‘U’ campus in one hour and 50 minutes, in time to celebrate Pi Day, for Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein’s Birthday, and Jami’s Birthday (well, next week) . . . ]

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Boards, Boards, Boards  ~  Knute Rockne

Up Next:  Still haven’t completed the cruise?

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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