History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Thursday, March 20, 2014

NL-Spicer sees late lead evaporate vs. Esko & its 3's

Esko 39, New London-Spicer 35
Another game with scoring in the 30s. A most deliberate style. This game complexion did not work in the Wildcats' favor on Wednesday.
The Wildcats aren't my team, but I developed a little emotional attachment to them over the past couple weeks. They're a prime rival of our MACA Tigers. Our Tigers fell in round #1 of the post-season, while New London-Spicer climbed the ladder. I have argued that the talent discrepancy between NL-Spicer and Motown isn't that great. In terms of sheer talent, the difference may be negligible.
Right now the Wildcats are able to turn on the intangibles. They played in the first round of state on Wednesday night. Congrats to them. The tipoff was at Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis. The opponent: Esko.
We must alter the spelling of "Eskimos" in our references. Esko goes by "Eskomos."
The proud Wildcats, who had survived an overtime game in the section finals, were seeded No. 3 in state. They were primed with optimism under coach Mike Dreier. Dreier has coached countless talented athletes from Wildcat territory. His 2013-14 team is memorable for its tenacity in close games. But they weren't destined for No. 1. Coach Dreier's Wildcats fell to the Eskomos 39-35.
Low-scoring games like this seem to have become more common. Maybe NL-Spicer should have rolled the dice and let the ponies run. I remember a fabled prep coach from days gone by in Stevens County, saying "we're gonna let the ponies run." Ponies yes, but this team had the "Owls" nickname. They ran and pressed. Then they ran and pressed some more. That coach had a spectacular rise, and then a spectacular fall. His teams were spectacular in their prime. Fans filled the UMM P.E. Center for tournament games.
Should coach Dreier of NL-S have taken some chances by trying to speed up the game's tempo? Ah, hindsight! His wisdom normally spells dividends for that program.
The game details are heartbreaking to review. New London-Spicer led by four, 33-29, with about five minutes left. Esko's Ashley Bergerson and Erika Shady trained their eyes on the hoop from three-point range. There's nothing like a couple 3's to shift the momentum. Bergerson and Shady both sent the ball through the twine. The tables were turned.
Buoyed by this newfound two-point lead, Esko went to work preserving it. The ball clanged off the rim for New London-Spicer. Meanwhile the Eskomos stood confidently at the freethrow line and made shots. Four freethrows in the last 1:12 were like daggers toward NL-Spicer.
Coach Dreier noted post-game that it's very important to maintain a lead against a team like Esko.
The Wildcats had the curtain come down on their memory-filled season, their won-lost record a most robust 24-6. Esko sits at 26-5. Now they'll strive to get past Kenyon-Wanamingo. Game-time is 8 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, 3/21) at Williams Arena on the U of M campus. Williams Arena is the most storied venue for high school hoops in Minnesota. The semis are next.
The other semi-final game in Class AA pits New Richland-H-E-G against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. New Richland is unbeaten at 29-0.
NL-Spicer was hurt by a slow start Wednesday, missing on shot tries. Esko took advantage. Esko built a commanding lead and then coasted into halftime when the score stood 21-17. Wildcat fans would regret that cold early shooting. Still the Wildcats were undaunted, and they broke through to erase the Eskomo advantage.
When Esko was able to wrest the lead back, they played as if their main priority was not to entertain the fans at Mariucci. One media account stated that Esko played "deliberately and (borderline) boringly." They "took the run and the gun out of New London-Spicer."
The Wildcats made just 30 per cent of their shots in the first half. They were down on the scoreboard 16-4 at one point. When finally they got into the groove, it was star Taylor Thunstedt giving the main push, predictably. Taylor would score eleven of her team's 17 points in the first half. In one two-minute stretch she put in seven points. Thus the Wildcats were able to sit with their four-point lead that was all too short-lived.
Thunstedt and her mates had their moments, but overall this was not a game showcasing the 'Cats' talents. Those talents had pushed them to a per-game average of about 70 points. If only that kind of scoring pace could have emerged.
Thunstedt was her typical gamer self with her 24 points, but her percentage was down: nine makes in 28 shots. She managed just three 3-pointers in 14 tries. Would you believe, only three Wildcats scored points? Olivia Setterberg, a senior like Thunstedt, scored eight points. Ashlyn Geister, a junior, added three points to the mix.
Esko's deliberate style seemed to wear on the Wildcats. Coach Dreier was quoted saying: "Noboby likes to play defense that long if you can help it. (The Eskomos) did hold the ball, and then they made shots after holding the ball."
Geister was the top New London-Spicer rebounder with eight. Alyssa Fredrick had two assists, and three Wildcats each had one steal: Thunstedt, Reiley Ness and Kabrie Weber.
Esko's top scorers were Ava Gonsorowski with 14 points and Ashley Bergerson with 12. After that there's a dropoff, to Judy Wagemaker (6), Erika Shady (3), Bailey Mudek (2) and Kailee Kiminski (2).
Esko outdid NL-S in three-point shooting, so let's not say they were totally boring offensively. Bergerson was "bombs away" with her four 3-point makes. Shady and Gonsorowski each made one long-ranger. Esko was six of 15 in 3's while NL-S was three of 17. The Wildcats had few freethrow tries, making four of five.
Esko had just 13 total field goals but the six 3's helped make up for any deficiency.
Truly it was a season of memories for New London-Spicer, another most inspiring campaign, despite the disappointment at the end.
After so many low-scoring hoops games in this season of 2013-14, it would be nice to see both coaches in a game say "let the ponies run." I wonder what has become of that Hancock Owl coach who I referenced earlier in this post. He had legal troubles at the end of his Hancock tenure. And prison.
The kind of legal trouble that is faced at present by the Morris principal is not unprecedented. Let's emphasize that the principal is in trouble with an adult. The situation was different with the Hancock coach. Legal troubles and sports are not strange bedfellows.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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