Then We Drove Home in a Blizzard

My computer’s broke! – Staff Photographer, on why he hasn’t posted any photos for a while [After the events of last evening, let’s hope he’s up and running soon!]

Got home at 1PM today. Unloaded and unpacked some stuff. Too tired to do it all today. Presently watching golf and sucking on a Jack and soda.  Tues I see Doc Dale to hopefully schedule surgery on this knee of mine. Hope the girls can get the job done tonite. – Super Fan Bob Annen, as he and Viv just got home from 2 ½ months in Sarasota


Blog staff vacation delayed! Last night, at St. John’s University, the Alexandria Cardinal girls’ basketball team defeated the Fergus Falls Otters, 46 – 40, to win the section championship and a trip to the state tournament next week. But, more about that later.

The secret is to have eight great players and four others who will cheer like crazy. ~ Jerry Tarkanian

The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not. ~ Charles Barkley

Earlier, the supervisor and I discovered it is exactly one hour from our garage to St. John’s University. Ruthie was a bit concerned about the weather forecast – there were winter weather advisory postings for our area. We made it to the campus without incident. We were even directed into the small parking lot next to the gym – a quick drive-thru determined we had lost the last spot to the Trumm contingent. That was fine – it was their gig! We parked in a lot down the hill and across the street. We discovered Robo as soon as we entered the arena. He and Joyce had been in St. Cloud earlier in the day, and Joyce dropped him off (she had to head home for the dog) and then we would drive him home after the game.

You can run a lot of plays when your X is twice as big as the other guys’ O. It makes your  X’s and O’s pretty good. ~ Paul Westphal

Fans never fall asleep at our games, because they’re afraid they might get hit by a pass. ~ George Raveling

[Trumm family courtside reunion.]

Alex fans came in good numbers. The full complement of Super Fans were there – the Rileys, the Andersons, the Hoymes, the Halversons, and Dusty snuck in, unnoticed by blog staff for some time. Fergus had won two close games against the Cards during the regular season – both times when key Cards fouled out. We had reason to believe that couldn’t happen again (could it?) – that, and applying the Joyce Rogosheske axiom that it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season – so we were optimistic.

[Super Fans Hoymes and Halversons.]

I hate it. It looks like a stickup at 7-Eleven. Five guys standing there with their hands in the air. ~ Norm Sloan, on zone defense

[(“I hope they all vote ‘yes’ on the school bond referendum.”)]

We have a great bunch of outside shooters. Unfortunately, all our games are played indoors. ~ Weldon Drew

[“When does golf start?”]

The game began. It was obvious these were two good defensive teams. And with natural jitters, the Cards started the game with multiple turnovers (see video). Fergus was having their difficulties as well, but they hit a lay-up, and then a three to establish an early lead. Fergus built on the lead during an intense first half. The Otters had a little guard they would plant down in a corner and occasionally the Cards 1-3-1 defense couldn’t get to her fast enough, and she hit several rainbow threes – I told Robo at the time that we may to go to a box-and-one on her (we went man-to-man). Their bigs are bigger than our bigs – and although we were the first team all year to out rebound them the last time we played – the Otters controlled the boards in the first half.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awq2UBV3XEc

I haven’t been able to slam-dunk the basketball for the past five years. Or, for the thirty-eight years before that, either. ~ Dave Barry


[Student “fans.”]

As the half wore down, the Otters had a 22 – 13 lead. The supervisor admitted later whispering to Robo that our vacation would probably now begin as scheduled (Oh, she of little faith). The Cards closed strong and were only down 22 – 20 at the half. I was confident.

To win, you’ve got to put the ball in the macramé. ~ Terry McGuire

If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball. ~ Phil Jackson

The blowout runs the Cards have employed in recent games never really came this time. However, they began the 2nd half on an up tick and grabbed their first lead of the game. Then it went back and forth for a while.  Our rebounding and shooting improved in the 2nd half – and Joie, mostly, shut down their little shooter. But we still had issues – even the mild-mannered Mr. Rogosheske felt obliged to voice his opinion several times in the direction of the referees. Alli was called for a phantom foul (well, in our opinion, and obviously hers as well) mid-way through the 2nd on which the Otter player scored. Then he slapped Alli for a technical foul as well – apparently for slamming the ball on the floor. That gave her 4 fouls, so a key Cardinal was forced to the bench with half of the half left. Justice prevailed, however. In what could have been an 8-point play for the Otters, they only got two – on the initial basket. The scorer missed her free throw, their designated shooter missed both technical foul shots, and, I believe, the Cards created a turnover after the Otters unbounded the ball again (they could have made a 3 on that possession). Alli eventually did foul out with about 6 minutes left and the score tied at 34, but Whitney, who spelled her earlier after the 4th and again after she fouled out, did a great job. In fact, she created another ref incident when she corralled a rebound and held on tight while the Otters were obviously trying to foul her – still, our “favorite” ref didn’t see any fouls and called jump ball instead. Fergus got the ball on the alternate possession, and that could have been costly.

But the Cards won because, of all things, by making their free throws down the stretch (and, of course, because of my pink socks, whose history are synonymous with girls hockey successes) – and because Lauren made some great lay-ups to open up the late lead. LT and Sam had 16 and 10, respectively, Alli had 8, and Joie had 7 – the good balance, as usual – Cara had a great floor game, and Whitney and Amanda had important minutes. Now it’s off to Williams Arena for the state tournament (6th time, first since 2003) – opening game on Wednesday, time to be determined after the seedings. Fergus has its entire team back and likely will be the section favorite next year. But Alex beat Fergus in the section finals in both boys and girls hockey, and now in girls basketball this year. And did you hear the Anoka girls team, which won two games all season, ran the table in the sections and is going to state?

The post-game celebration video. It explains why Roger, Robo, Weakie, and I, much to the consternation of Cam and Harry, prefer following the girls’ teams – they have more fun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Poxq0b70fSI

The subject title. It’s tournament time, after all. We left the arena before 8:00 – the game and post-game activities took less than two hours. It was snowing lightly. By the time we drove out of the lot, it was coming down hard – and the wind was really blowing. There was a mad dash for the interstate – all of Alexandria and Fergus Falls were headed in the same direction. The predicted blizzard was underway. There was not going to be a lot of snow – but the blowing snow was causing whiteouts. Travel on the interstate was averaging about 50 miles per hour – except for the 18-wheelers, who were full speed ahead. Every time one passed us, we were blinded by the fog of swirling snow. We were white knuckle driving and wanted to get off the interstate as soon as possible. Dave called Joyce when we hit Sauk Centre, and told her to pick him up at SAWA – plus, we could have a celebration there. We took the back road in from West Union. We could have driven Dave all the way to the wilds of the west side of Lake Miltona – where there are “Watch Out for Man-eating Bears” signs all along the way – but they were concerned that the drive home would be tough for us on unfamiliar roads. We all made it to SAWA – and toasted the Cards!

SEE YOU AT THE BARN – DON’T FORGET TO TURN YOUR CLOCKS AHEAD TONIGHT!

[Addendum (i.e., things I forgot):  Kohler was bear-hugged off the floor by each of her players when they handed out the individual medals; then she raced through the stands high-fiving all the fans.

Fans check in:

Bruce Campbell (drove the team bus): That was the most exciting a basketball game I have seen.  Too bad someone had to lose.  Now on to the state.

Bob “Weakie” Annen:  Man, that must have been a helluva drive home.

 

“Crazy” Dave Owen (our prospective host in Sarasota):  Does that mean you’ll be in Sarasota in June if we win it all?  Save your gas and come over and enjoy ribs on the green egg in CB [Camp Ballentine].

 Gretchen Nelson (still hiding out in California):  Of course they’d win, and of course the boys would show up the way they did.  I’ve said over and over that this year’s seniors are the most cohesive, support one another crowd I’ve seen on that campus.  As I stated earlier, otters are bound to earth-lings and cardinals are flitters.  That was certainly true from that video (and thank you for that).  It is extremely painful to sit here on pins and needles and not be amongst the cheerers.   And of course Alli would get a technical—she’s molded out of different stuff.  You’ve not seen anything till you see her take a short running ceiling leap in the halls of JHS.  This had to be the year.  They’ve learned what team means and they like each other.  As soon as we read your headline last night after a night of entertaining old friends, I asked Don to fly me back and (another of course) he just looked at me.  My breath will be baited.  Trust your vacation will be delayed. 🙂  Thanks again. ~  Gretchen

 

[I don’t feel old.  I don’t feel anything until noon.  Then it’s time for my nap. Bob Hope]

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