Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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ST. CLOUD — If Sauk Centre head coach Scott Bergman could bottle whatever magic he imparted on his Mainstreeters late in the first half of the Section 6AA championship game on Friday, his fellow coaches would buy it by the case. Five and a half minutes remained in the first half when Bergman gathered up his team.
Whatever the New London-Spicer girls basketball team did in its first game against Sauk Centre, they will need to replicate it in the Section 6AA championship game today at St. Cloud State University. Nothing anyone has thrown at the Mainstreeters worked before or after that December game. “We know their weaknesses and we know theirs,” said NLS guard Alyssa Fredrick. “They’re going to pressure us more than Litchfield did (in the 6AA-South final). We just have to show up and play our game.” The Wildcats and Mainstreeters play at 7:45 p.m.
March in prep basketball is the time for jubilance and heartbreak. The wins that bring championships and the losses that bring finality and tears. And then, as time passes and age wises us up, comes the realization that being there is the true reward of the first month of spring. As the 2015 Minnesota State Basketball Tournament rolls into high gear today, two former opponents recall a singular moment in their basketball lives, 45 years on. One won, one lost. But that’s really the only difference between the two men.
Willmar sports fans will need to reset their GPS units for less-familiar locales after the Minnesota State High School League released its new section alignments for the next two school years. The Cardinals, used to seeing names like Buffalo, the Mankato schools, Marshall and Hutchinson on the postseason schedule, now will be running into the likes of Becker, Big Lake, Monticello and some of their Central Lakes Conference rivals. Football will be competely different beginning this fall, with the dissolution of the conference system for a pod system. Willmar used to play in Section 6AAAAA wi
COLLEGEVILLE — For about two-thirds of the first half, the Litchfield girls basketball team had a great thing going against New London-Spicer in the Section 6AA-South championship game on Tuesday. Hannah Norlin was killing the Wildcats inside, scoring 14 first-half points, and the Dragons had their lead up to nine points before NLS whittled the advantage to four at halftime. Then, the Dragons went cold. Ice cold. Litchfield scored just six points over a 12-minute stretch of the second half and the Wildcats held off a late Norlin-fueled rally for a 59-48 victory at St.
Class A section champions Central Minnesota Christian School and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City open the 2015 Minnesota State Boys Basketbal Tournament on Thursday at Williams Arena.
Alyssa Fredrick and Shea Oman hit key 3-point shots midway through the second half to propel New London-Spicer to a 54-44 victory over Morris/Chokio-Alberta on Saturday in the Section 6AA-South semifinals at St. John's University
Hannah Norlin scored 15 points and hauled in 17 rebounds, and Mariah Hoff had 12 points and six assists to lead Litchfield to a 49-45 victory over Eden Valley-Watkins on Saturday in a Section 6AA-South semifinals game at St. John's University
MONTEVIDEO — Two former West Central Conference foes locked up in a Section 3AA-North semifinals game Friday, each with storylines probably better told in a subsection or section final. Yellow Medicine East started the season 2-4 but rattled off a midseason streak of 14 wins in 15 games, the lone hiccup coming against Sauk Centre, the No. 1 Class AA team in the state. Lac qui Parle Valley came into the season with a sour taste, having lost six of their last seven in 2014.
MARSHALL — Midway through the second half of the Section 3A championship game on Thursday, Central Minnesota Christian School head coach Ted Taatjes was red-faced with frustration over perceived officiating mistakes. At the time, his Bluejays’ season was in peril. Their five-point halftime lead was long gone and Southwest Minnesota Christian’s 14-4 run to open the second half helped put the tournament-tested Eagles up by seven with seven minutes left. SWMC was the 2013 Class A state champion and they’d played in the state title game the year before.