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Roering's bid ends with foul

Emily Roering, right, looks for a shot against Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Feb. 3 in Grove City. (Tribune photo by T.J. Bartelt)

As soon as she heard the whistle, Emily Roering looked to the referee with hope that the defensive player would be the one assessed the foul.

Not that Roering hasn't had numerous charging fouls called on her. After all, the Minnewaska Area senior guard likes to slash to the basket and, many times, has bowled over a defensive player en route to the basket. If she is whistled for a charge, Roering might disagree with the call briefly. Or, if she knows it was the right call, she'll shrug her shoulders and head the other way to play defense. 

But this time was different. It was a playoff game against Osakis. And being a senior, Roering didn't want her season and her prep career to end. Besides, she needed only two more points to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career.

Roering entered the Section 6AA-South championship game March 11 at the University of Minnesota-Morris with 980 career points. She was bidding to become only the fourth Minnewaska girl to accomplish the four-figure total.

"I knew I only needed two more points because the scoreboard in Morris shows how many points each player has," she admitted on Wednesday. "When I looked to see what the score was, I noticed I had 18 points. But I really didn't care much about that. I wanted to win so bad and I figured if we won and had another game, I could get my 1,000th point then."

With five minutes left and the Lakers trailing by 13 points, Roering and her teammates were desperately trying to get back into the game. Osakis was playing a zone defense and Roering took a pass on the wing and started driving down the lane.

"I pulled up for a short jumper and felt contact," she explained. "I heard the whistle and saw the referee called the foul on me. I just laid there for a second."

As Roering began to get up, Minnewaska coach Jeff Mensing signaled for a substitute. He had no choice. Roering, the reigning Most Valuable Player in the West Central South Conference had just fouled out, ending her illustrious career two points shy of 1,000.

"It was a ridiculous charging call," said Mensing.

"I've been called for a lot of charges in my career and have agreed with most of them," added Roering. "But I really didn't think this one was a charge."

Minnewaska lost 54-35 and finished the season 19-8, including winning the West Central South Conference with a 14-2 record. Roering is in line for a second straight conference MVP award.

Roering has experienced success playing on standout teams in her prep career, including the two conference titles in basketball. She is also a member of the Minnewaska golf team that has won three straight Class A state titles and will be heavily favored to win a fourth this spring. But individually, she was third in state last year, while her younger sister, Sarah, was the state champion. And now, falling just short of 1,000 ... does she feel a little snake-bitten? 

"It's my turn," she quickly piped with a laugh. "I'm looking forward to playing golf again, but (being done with basketball and just missing 1,000 points) still stings. It probably will for a while. I'm sure when I get older and look back, I'll laugh about it. But not now."

Roering signed a letter of intent to golf for Colorado State next season.

It had been a tough week for Roering. She took off two days of school this week because her grandfather passed away in Wisconsin.

"Yeah, it's been a little tough lately," she said. "But we're on spring break next week. And my family and I are going down south to play golf."

And with that, her dampened spirit began to dissippate.