“Just a Song Before We Go . . .”

Taxes are done . . .

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March 20

[The spring sun is rising over beautiful Lake Darling . . . ]

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March 24

[The ice is gone; the full moon has risen . . . ]

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So, it’s music time!

March 26

[The Cheese Bots at SAWA . . . ]

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The SAWA Wall of Fame . . .

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March 28

[Dock in – the earliest date ever in the absence of winter.  The lake is down about a foot and a half.  We need rain!]

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[The Super and Lucky catching rays . . . in March?  In Minnesota?]

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March 31

[The Salty Dogs reunion at SAWA.  Erik and Kathy had fled the area for 3 months, joining others mockingly referred to in these parts as snowbirds.  It was nice to have them home again.]

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[The Grand Poobahs of Maple Syrup]

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[The Super’s delight – if we’re up for it?]

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April 1

[A doubleheader in the finest traditions.  We began the evening with the Mel Lamar Combo w/ Mary Lou Thunselle at Interlachen . . . ]

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[On the way to the next gig . . . ]

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[Components at SAWA.]

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April 7

[A political convention . . . there was music in the air!]

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March 8

[Lisa was at SAWA (with refugees from Indiana) . . . ]

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[And with the presidents of her fan club.]

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March 9

[What?  Another doubleheader?  Yup, beginning with a beautiful morning (though the temperature was a not so balmy 10) and Anthony at the winery in the afternoon . . . ]

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[Others similarly afflicted by “who’s playing where this weekend?” . . . ]

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[And another “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” moment . . . ]

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[She eventually made off with one of John’s socks (well, you had to be there . . . ]

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[Anthony displayed professional aplomb as the wedding party continued their quests . . . ]

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[And then it was off to SAWA for an evening with Paul Drinkwine.]

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So, we’ll see you when we get back!  I’ll be the guy wearing the lederhosen.

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To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.  ~ Aldous Huxley

Up next:  Graduation season?

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What’s Been Happenin’?

Well, the high school winter sports season is over, so . . .

Hi, do you know who we are?  If not, see answer at the bottom (photo on loan from FB).

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March 14

[It’s pizza night at The Depot.  BTW, that fatigue jacket is older than Marco Rubio. And it spent two years at USASTRATCOM, Long Lines Battalion, Fort Buckner, Sukiran, Okinawa . . . and 3 months after it left there, the U.S. turned Okinawa over to Japan. Coincidence?  I think not!  For history buffs, Okinawa didn’t care for that either – they wanted total independence. Okinawans are not Japanese – they are Ryukyuans, as Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands.  Just thought you may want to know.]

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[Giggle!  Giggle!]

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[Well, it was National ‘pi’ Day!]

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March 16

[Well, it was National “work on  your taxes” Day!]

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March 17

[At SAWA with Enterprise, with Jim, a recent escapee from Arizona, and Kevin.]

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March 19 – The Last Day of Winter

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March 20 – The First Day of Spring

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[And later that day . . . woo! woo!  Gopher women’s hockey team brings pride to the Minnesota sports scene with yet another national title (Strib photo).]

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March 22 – Jami’s Birthday and Empty Bowls

[But she began the day with Mom and Dad helping out at Brad’s, “some assembly” was required.]

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[Then on to “Empty Bowls” at the high school, an annual fund raiser with the goal to feed 100 people.  And at the new high school, it comes with entertainment – here Josie Nelson.]

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[Then The Carolers, with Josie taking up her spot on the far right.]

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[And we assume belly dancing, because of increased interest, will be offered as a course option beginning at the kindergarten level.]

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[I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK!]

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[Yes, the Super, once again, scored in a silent auction.]

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[Back home, a birthday salute to Jami!  We dusted off a bottle of Carlos Creek port that I’m sure we’d had on hand for over 10 years.]

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[Though the cork totally crumbled upon opening, we pronounced the product to be quite tasty!]

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[We’re port drinking lumberjacks and we’re OK!]

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[How ’bout them empty bowls?  The students make these and purchase is your ticket to entry.  Thanks to Abby Pohlen and Mikayla for these two (as signed on the bottom).]

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March 23

[Taking full advantage of half-price bottle night at SAWA, the Super revels in a $59.00 bottle of Rombauer zinfandel!]

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[While we enjoyed the music stylings of Erik Schultz, just returned from running away from winter to Arizona for three months, and Tom Mulder.]

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[Despite a lonely three months apart, they opined performing together again was just like riding a bike.]

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[“Woman II” by David Weatherly of Elbow Lake – part of the art display at SAWA.  I immediately pronounced “her” to be my sister-in-law, Karen.]

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[And, yes, several others agreed!]



March 24

[ICE OUT on beautiful Lake Darling, about a month ahead of “normal.”]

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[That night with Finestra at SAWA, with Jay (hiding behind the speaker), Arlen, and Wally.]

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[Not to be outdone by Karen, a similarity between these two?  “Old Man in Hat,” also by David Weatherly.]

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[A full moon over the newly ice free beautiful Lake Darling.  The 2nd photo is an enhancement of the 1st.]

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Answer:  Rachel Banham, Gopher star, with Kendall Kohler and Macy Hatlestad, the Cardinals starting backcourt.

May you sell everything and retire to Florida just as global warming makes it uninhabitable.  ~ Jewish curse


Up next:  May be Europe?

europe cruise '16
Query:  Just wondering why the blog would have over 150 hits on March 24, ten days after the previous posting?
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March 12

Hallelujah, what a beautiful morning!

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This is a story.  The names have not been changed because nobody is innocent.  I think it is a good story . . . otherwise I wouldn’t be writing it (not that that has ever stopped me before).

A long time ago (2006) in a place far, far away (Fergus Falls), the Super and I went to see Al Franken campaigning on behalf of DFL candidates in our “neighborhood” (this was before he decided to run for the U.S. Senate).  While there we heard a local singer/songwriter who we thoroughly enjoyed.


[Note to Professor Miltich:  This apparently is the only photo I took at the event?]

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Jump forward many, many years (many, many equals a large number), and we find ourselves in a friend’s home for a house concert by the Josh Harty Trio.  No, it wasn’t Josh Harty who we saw in Fergus Falls lo those many years ago, though he is a fine musician in his own right (or write, since he is also a songwriter).  But present in the audience, as a friend of Josh’s, was that gentleman from that other time and place.  His name is Dave Stoddard, and though we had subsequently seen him perform a few times since then, we had never introduced ourselves.  Upon doing so we noted that we would be seeing a friend of his perform the next day at Carlos Creek Winery, a fellow Fergus Faller by the name of Anthony Miltich.

[Dave Stoddard]

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Professor Miltich is, of course, a name well known to followers of the Super’s FB site and my blog.  We have become friends over the years as he has performed at many venues in Alex.  So, at CCW the next day, we told Anthony we had just met Dave the previous night in Alex.  Anthony and Dave compose a mutual admiration society who have performed together on occasion.  We told Anthony of the time we first saw Dave perform, at the Al Franken shindig 10 years ago.  Anthony was taken aback.  He said he was there also (we didn’t know him at the time), and that was where he first introduced himself to Dave.  Well, knock us over with a feather!

[A favorite Stoddard ditty . . . ]

March 11

[Yes, going back in time one day for our evening with the Josh Harty Trio.  Photos contributed by Jami Gaither, a burgeoning photojournalist in her own right (there’s that phrase again?).]

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March 9

[Well, as long as we’re featuring Jami, back two more days for her coverage of our presentation to the League of Women Voters on Education.]

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[Where Jami works.]


Meanwhile, back at our regularly scheduled program . . .

March 12

[As promised to Mr. Stoddard, we were at the winery the next afternoon to see Professor Miltich.]

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[And this is the photo she took.]

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[New backdrop in the performing area . . . ]

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[It was a beautiful day – 68 degrees on the car temperature gauge on our way out.  We assumed Anthony would be playing outside. But it was early in the season, and they weren’t sure if the weather goes going to hold up enough for people to sit outside.  It did . . . and they did. Recognize any famous Alexandrians in the photo?]

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[We returned home briefly; the Super for a nap, me to watch Fergus Falls play De La Salle for the boys’ class AAA state basketball championship.  De La Salle won their 5th straight championship, but I thought Fergus acquitted themselves nicely.  I can’t complain, two of the four class champions were Minneapolis North and De La Salle – Dad attended De La Salle (apparently for as long as it was family affordable) and graduated from North!  A hint about the above photo, the Cardinal girl’s basketball team lost the section championship by two points, in overtime, to Thief River Falls.  Everybody is back for next year – it will be a team on a mission.]

[Meanwhile, back to the program.  We had to take a brief break (read: nap) before going to the winery after a 2-hour Citizens Climate Lobby meeting that morning.  After awaking from our second daily break, it was off to SAWA for Paul Drinkwine.]

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[The photos the Super took above.]

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[And the forever popular dash to the tip jar when, “. . . and put bread in my jar,” comes around during Piano Man.]

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March 13

[See?  I told you you should have come!]


[After a nice stretch of warm, sunny weather, it was a rainy Sunday (apparently for the next week as well as spring continues to come a month early).  We had tickets for the last performance of  “Over the River and Through the Woods” at the AAAA.  Everyone who had been to earlier performances advised it was a fabulous production; several thought it was the best they’d ever seen at the theatre.  We can concur!  Unfortunately, it fell victim to the March time slot – meaning attendance could have been better.]

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[Oh, and Dave Stoddard again?  Yup, he gets AAAA billboard notoriety right up there with Leon Redbone and Leo Kottke.]


All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.  ~  Frank Zappa

Up next:  It’s blowin’ in the wind?

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Let’s Go to the Symphony!

A belated posting due to technical difficulties . . .

March 6

[It’s going to be a beautiful day for a symphony!!]

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[Hmmmm, going to the symphony.  Which suit to wear?]

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[Turned out to be the longest concert CLSO has ever performed (to the best of limited knowledge) at two hours, but also before the biggest crowd ever (again, I’m guessing, but the 1,000+ seat high school auditorium appeared to be about 80 per cent full).]

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[Yes, the first week of March, Danny was wearing a tee shirt, temperature in the low 60’s, no snow apparent on the premises.]

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[The players take the field and begin warm-ups.]

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[The chorale joined in a couple times from the risers on the right side.]

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[The kids first ever symphony – well, I believe they prefer music from the movies to Bach. They gave the event a two thumbs up!  (Displaying extraordinary manual dexterity with an over-the-head, backwards selfie!)]

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[Symphony board president Greg Donahue welcomes the audience, thanks the sponsors, and requests search parties be formed to find more strings!  Though a little light in the violin and cello area, they still put out a great sound, and when they started the theme for Star Wars the patron in front of me (who shall remain nameless for the sake for anonymity) nearly jumped out of her seat.  Thanks again to the symphony for another terrific performance.  We look forward to all the future concerts!]

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Preliminary to the symphony

March 4

[Components at SAWA, with the Super running up to put “bread in my jar” during Piano Man.  The next night The Cheese Bots (again with sax man Marty Sarlett) were at SAWA.]

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Listening to the Fifth Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for forty-five minutes. ~  Aaron Copland

Up next:  ?

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Win, And Move On

Hey, it’s now March 5th, we’re in the section semi-finals tonight against Little Falls so I’d better get this quarter final game report published . . .

March 2


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[LET THE TOURNAMENT BEGIN . . . Introducing Emma Ziegler (1)]

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[Kendall Kohler (3)]

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[Macy Hatlestad (11)]

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[Emma Schmidt (25)]

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[Kayla Feldhake (43)]

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[OK, I think I dropped my contact lens right about here . . . ]

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[Does anyone see it yet?]

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[It’s puce.]

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[Yeah, I know puce is out now . . . ]

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[We were hosting the Bemidji Lumberjacks in a first round game.  The Lumberjacks must be in a transition phase for as a school quite a bit bigger than Alex, their varsity team had a very short bench in terms of number of players.  Oh, and we beat them by over 30 at their place in our only previous meeting this year.]

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[Where’d the ball go?  It was just here a minute ago . . . hey, is that a contact lens?]

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[The ref shadows Macy up the court.]

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[Schmidty, at the point of the defense, gets a steal and goes in for a lay-up.]

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[And then hustles back on defense again.]

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[Ooops, did someone get behind us?]

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[The tone of the game . . . when the Lumberjacks inbounded, the Cards applied an immediate double team which often led to a turnover and an easy score.]

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[Or a foul sending a Card to the free throw line . . . in this case Kendall.]

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[Macy drives . . . ]

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[At the half, a lot of points came late when our pressure was wearing them down.]

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[2nd half . . . ]

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[Zig, Macy, and Kayla play a 3-person keep away.]

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[Macy is a great free throw shooter.  But on this night, I think she missed a couple.  And she was 0 for 7 on 3’s, also very un-Macy like.  But it was team wide, as we were only 6 for 26 from the 3-point line.  I hope they come out of this shooting slump soon – maybe with the concentration required against stiffer competition.  The good thing was they kept taking them (you have to when you’re wide open) hoping to shoot themselves out of it.]

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[We were a one section further south on this night – allowing this close-up of Macy.  When the students sit in front of us the center section, they stand during the game restricting the sight lines of already sight-line restricted old folks!  They were all dressed in plaid flannel shirts for this game because   . . . we were playing the Lumberjacks!]

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[Kendall hounding the dribbler, a 5’9″freshman  guard (45) with the fantastic name of Rumer Flatness who I believe put up 18 points with a shotput-like shot that seldom missed?]

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[Kelby Olson-Rodel (13) put on another fine display of her verticality (yeah, she gets good ground clearance.]

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[And Kayla once again held down the fort in the middle.]

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[Another stalwart defensive performance – the starters all left the game with more than half of the 2nd half left which allowed the Lumberjacks to close what was once around a 30-point gap.]

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They shot the ball well early. What comes out of the microwave hot doesn’t always stay hot. I know, because I eat bagels in the morning.  ~ Shaquille O’Neal

Kudos to the boys’s basketball team, who on the next night played No. 1-seeded Fergus Falls for the section championship.  The Cards led by 10 with 3 minutes left in the game . . . but lost 63-60.  A confluence of bad omens struck us at the end.  Spencer Hocket is probably our best free throw shooter but missed two late in the game, Jaran Roste played little of the last 8 minutes because of foul trouble and did foul out, and the free throw numbers did not match up well – we were 4 of 7 for the game, the Otters a perfect 18 for 18. All credit to Fergus, who had a great year.  And our Cards really improved by the end of the year and could have won this game.

Up next:  Depends on wins?

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On to Section Championship!

February 27

A Cautionary Tale:  We’ve never lived in St. Cloud, go there only occasionally – yes, we have seen games at all the major venues there, but – so we don’t automatically know our way around.  For this game at Halenbeck Hall on the St. Cloud State campus, we Google mapped it.  Secure in the knowledge we could find our way with this map, off we went.  After battling the horrors of Division Street, we found our exit street to the campus.  A couple of turns and we were at the exact address Google maps had given us for this large basketball arena.  However, the building at that address was . . . a regular house . . . in a regular residential neighborhood?  Well, still we knew the campus was nearby, found it, and asked some students on the street where the basketball arena was.  “Dunno, we’re not enrolled yet.”  We stumbled upon a campus map, found we were about a half mile away, and eventually made it in time to photograph the Herb Brooks Center (Halenbeck is just on the other side).  BTW, it was over 60 degrees on the day, in late February, there were baseball games being played on fields along the way???  Why do professional pitchers and catchers have to report to Florida?

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[Remembering where we are in the sections now . . . ]


[The first game was No. 1-seed Fergus Falls v. No. 4 Detroit Lakes.  Fergus won easily.]

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[For the 2nd time in 11 days we were playing the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm – they beat us by 3 at our place then, and the Storm fans around us were pretty confident of a win this time.]

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[Our girls’ team and assorted students were there for support.]

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[And the introductions . . . ]

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[Jaran Roste (1)]

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[Matt Bloom (3)]

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[Spencer Hockert (15)]

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[Braydon Amundson (23)]

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[Alec Wensman (25)]

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[And the jump.  The Storm center is a 6’6″ sophomore, and the kid can play.  The Storm has good height and talent, so the Cards came out from the beginning determined to make a better effort than they did in the last game.  By the time we were through, I thought it was the best game I’d seen a Cardinal team play in several years.]

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[Matt and Jaran bring it up court – I thought we’d been pretty lackadaisical on the offensive end for a while, so it was great to see we were going to play a little more up tempo.]

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[Jaran usually plays an assist first game, but this time he took charge of scoring early to make sure we got off to a good start.  With his size and speed as a guard, he’s a difficult player to defend.]

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[When driving the lane for layups, he can draw an “and one.”]

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[Kendall approves so far.]

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[At 6’2″, here he tries to maneuver between No. 31, a 6’3″ good athlete (see last game report) and No. 21, the 6’6″ center.]

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[Maybe a Jaran drive and dish led to this free throw by Alec.]

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[And here he comes again . . . ]

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[The scoreboard at this point shows the scoring triumvirate of Jaran, Spencer, and Alec leading the way.]

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[Let’s run out the half.]

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[Spencer brings the whole offensive package – he hits free throws, can drive, shoot pull ups, and hit 3’s – and somehow plays bigger than his listed 6′ height.]

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[It really didn’t make any difference as to who tried to guard Jaran – he continued to control the game.]

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[Things were looking great the half.]

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[In the 2nd half the Storm got more aggressive with their defense . . . and did make a couple of runs.  They definitely have the athletes to create turnovers.]

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[But every time they made a little run . . . ]

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[We attacked right back and either scored and/or got to the free throw line.  As the point guard, Matt hardly ever looks for his own shot – in this game he did on several occasions. And a few “and ones” by Alec fueled our counter attacks.  Had to laugh one time as the usually mild-mannered Alec let out a roar when he scored and was fouled – kind of gave you an idea of how “into” this game the team was.]

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[It takes a good defensive effort to hold the Storm to 59.  We got good support in that regard from Jake Drew (33), Robert Anderson (35), and Jeremiah Burnham (5); and Jared Lind (11) provided a long range shooting option.]

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[And who knew Amy Jost took her roller coaster ride on the road?]

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[Thus inspired, the student section then uses some sort of prestidigitation to assist Cardinal free throw shooters down the stretch.]

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[Spencer generally does not need such assistance.]

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[Whew, that was a tough one . . . ]

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[Celebrate!  We never let the Storm make a game of it (but because you knew they could, we never hit a fan comfort zone until late in the game.]

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[So now we play the No. 1-seeded Otters at Moorhead State on Thursday for the right to represent section 8AAA in the state tournament.  The seeds have held serve so far . . . let’s hope we can change that.  It will take another game like the one just played.]

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If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot.  ~  Dean Smith

Up next:  Dunno?

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Conference Champs!

February 26

Alexandria Cardinals – 52, Willmar Cardinals – 43

OK, we were admittedly conference champs before the game even started.  We could do no worse than a tie for the championship when we beat Tech on Monday . . . and later learned Willmar lost on Monday so they had no chance for the title even if they beat us.

And it was senior night.  We had one, Kalley Blade.  Kalley never had the opportunity to get much playing time, but she really seemed to be appreciated by her teammates as someone who contributes in ways other than just game days.  Losing just one senior, of course, means pretty much the whole team is back next year.  We have more juniors than Brach’s has jelly beans – even the JV has juniors.  Where are all these players going to be next year, when you also try to make room for a new corps of JVers?  Likely a situation the coaching staff really doesn’t mind?

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[The JV game . . . we pulled it out at the end.  Here’s a player I’m sure the coaching staff is keeping a sharp eye on.  Kaye Paschka (51) is a freshman who we hope hasn’t had her growth spurt yet – because she always appears to be the fastest player on the court.]

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[Maggie Slagle (15), Elise Stockmoe (41) (and her sister Lauren (33) featured in some following photos), Courtney Gould (53), all juniors and all good players caught in the varsity numbers game.]

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[“The Voice” moved to the top, for back support?  Where’s Evie?]

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[Sophomore Taylor Partington (45)]

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[Wrapping up a very good season for the JV.]

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[The varsity game, a tribute to senior Kalley Blade, the Amazing Mr. Ripley was there for school photo coverage, and it was BEACH NIGHT for the student fans.]

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[Cardinals greet Cardinals at center court.]

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[Referee Jon Mulder (local offspring) explains the coin flip to the coaches and team captains.]

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[And we’re underway as our Kayla Feldhake (43) gets the tap.]

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[I believe that despite her head first slide, Kendall Kohler (3) was called out by the umpire.]

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[Probably because the conference title issue had already been resolved, our Cardinals apparently decided to see if we could come back from an early 10 – 2 deficit?]

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[Kendall, Kayla (background), Emma Schmidt (25), and Emma Ziegler (1) on defense.]

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[Macy Hatlestad (11) inbounds .]

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[Although not here (as I recall), a sign that our offense was not totally in gear was that Macy actually missed a couple of free throws!  Say what?]

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[Schmidty at the point of the all-court press.]

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[Another sign we were a bit out of sync as a team.  Macy was bringing us back all by herself.  At almost halfway through the 1st half, it was Willmar – 12, Macy – 10.]

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[Kelby Olson-Rodel (13) brought so much defensive energy to the game, she was in early foul trouble and, as I recalled, fouled out late.]

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[Kendall was good . . . but as a team we were only 14 – 23 from the line.  We’ve been doing better than that.]

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[Kiyana Miller (21) hit a nice mid-range jumper.  I’d like to see her take more of those – otherwise our offense revolves around 3’s and layups.]

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[Their center is 6’4″, and obviously impossible to stop when she gets the ball in low. We did have a mobility advantage in the post.]

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[The defenses were good on both sides which made offensive play raggedy.]

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[Then at the start of the 2nd half our Cardinals put on a display that makes them really run to watch.  No more Mr. Nice Guy.  We went into a full bore, in your face, triple team defensive pressure that created multiple Willmar turnovers.  I’m sure Willmar was counting to make sure we only had 5 players on the court.  Our scores off turnovers projected us into a comfortable double digit lead we held for the rest of the game.  Here Zig and Macy lead the offense.]

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[Mmmmm, could that be Kim Kardashian?]

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[Schmidy and Kayla battle for a rebound.]

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[Oh no, is it going in?]

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[We interrupt this basketball game to bring your regular scheduled programming (during basketball games).  Once again, hockey goalie Amy Jost leads the student section on a roller coaster ride.  It was obviously beach night (we expect most of our snow to be gone this weekend as the winter than never was (so far!) continues) – nobody told the senior fans.  Hey, I have Hawaiian shirts!  Anyway, the Amazing Mr. Ripley covered the action from the other side, undoubtedly for various school publications.]

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[Yeah, since it was at the beach, it was a longer ride than usual!]

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[Macy and Kelby shepherd it up.]

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[Shift change?]

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[Kiyana at the line again – a good sign that she’s being aggressive offensively.]

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[Boom, dynamite?]

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[Schmidty led off the 2nd half with her defense at the point.]

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[And Zig at the line.]

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[A solid win spurred, as usual, by great defense.  It appears we will be the No. 1 seed for sections.]

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[After years of idle speculation (OK, entirely in this blog), the truth finally comes out.]

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I never thought I’d lead the NBA in rebounding, but I got a lot of help from my team-mates – they did a lot of missing.  ~  Moses Malone

Up next:  More roundball

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