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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Four for four

Okay, that's just ridiculous. My high school didn't just win its fourth consecutive state title in basketball last night, it demonstrated that it really should be playing in 4A.

Top-ranked Minnehaha Academy won its fourth state tournament championship in as many tries, besting Alexandria 80-29 on Saturday at the Target Center.

The Redhawks (20-1) ending the past three full seasons with Class 2A titles. They moved up to Class 3A last season and won the Section 4 title. But coronavirus canceled the state tournament. Winning Saturday makes Minnehaha the fourth program to win at least four consecutive titles.

Redhawks senior Chet Holmgren, a 7-1 matchup nightmare considered the top college recruit in the nation, made his share of plays. So did freshman Mercy Miller, who scored 15 points. Older brother Hercy poured in 24. Holmgren added 18.

The excellence of the basketball team seems utterly bizarre to me because back in my day, the only winter sport in which MA was even remotely competitive was the ski team, and Minneapolis North was the dominant basketball program. For example, if you remember when UConn won the NCAA title, they were led by a North player, Khalid El-Amin.

That being said, I'm glad that there weren't so many different levels of competition when I was in high school, even though it prevented me from ever winning a state title. In track, I had no trouble consistently beating all the 1A state champions from Brooklyn Center and Mahtomedi in our conference, but came in third behind two North sprinters in the 2A Regional finals. And while my soccer team was unexpectedly - and unjustly - knocked out in the state semifinals in overtime, beating our archrivals at Minneapolis Washburn in the first round remains my absolute favorite out of all the hundreds of soccer games I've played.

Now that was a truly memorable game. It was the only time I can recall a high school soccer game making the 10 o'clock news, as the massive brawl that took place on the field immediately after the final whistle was one of the biggest disruptions to take place in Minneapolis prior to the George Floyd riots. As a result of the two games that season, there was so much bad blood between the teams that the school had to change the annual Super Soccer Day tradition where every team from the C-squads on up would play each other by replacing Washburn with Southwest.

If I'd wanted a state title, I suppose I should have stuck with tennis. The guys with whom I played JV as a freshman before switching to track won state our senior year. But I think titles are considerably less meaningful than the experience of the competition. That's not sour grapes talking either, as I've won nine conference championships, both as a team member and as an individual, at the top high school and NCAA levels.

Anyhow, I think it's always best to compete at the highest level available to you, even if that means you can't walk away with a victory. Fortunately for the MA players of today, they're getting the chance to play against - and even beat - the nation's top teams outside of the state high school league.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Yukichi Sensei April 11, 2021 11:38 AM  

One of the evils of corona is fearful people killing sports. They never should have been touched.

Blogger Mark April 11, 2021 11:54 AM  

I agree. Here in NC for several years they’ve split the four classifications for the state football playoffs to award 8 titles. Teams from the same conference often end up competing for separate championships. It’s all very silly. The old Indiana high school bball tourney must’ve been a thing to behold.

Blogger Lauri Stark April 11, 2021 11:59 AM  

A soccer brawl? That's something I don't think I have ever seen, at least on professional level. Was it more common back in the day?

Blogger FacelessBro April 11, 2021 12:12 PM  

Man, I can't imagine going for a four-peat and actually succeeding. The best we did in high school was back-to-back State championship appearances in Baseball. Even then, we were only able to win it all once. It's incredibly hard to accomplish twice in a row let alone four times in a row.

That's gotta be a great feeling for the players.

Blogger Laughingdog April 11, 2021 2:22 PM  

"Anyhow, I think it's always best to compete at the highest level available to you, even if that means you can't walk away with a victory"

You always grow more as the little fish in a big pond than the opposite, both in skill growth and growth in humility.

Blogger Newscaper312 April 11, 2021 3:03 PM  

Fyi
Instapundit links to a news story identifying causative mechanism for the Astra Zeneca COVID vaccine causing blood clots in those people, a particular protein getting triggered in platelets.
Says in addition to anticoagulants these patients should be given immunoglobulin same as for when blood thinner heparin triggers a backlash in rare cases.
A-Z on board w updating the official warnings and guidance.
Still it's just a few dozen out of tens of millions of doses given, but real and not a "temporal" coincidence.
They have not yet figured out a common link to look out for among the clotting cases to identify those at higher risk for this side effect.

Blogger Colonel Blimp April 11, 2021 3:18 PM  

Chet Holmgren will make a good addition to Gonzaga

Blogger Brett baker April 11, 2021 3:28 PM  

But Sensei, think of the Gammas it's made happy! /s

Blogger exfarmkid April 11, 2021 5:47 PM  

Speaking as an Alexandria graduate....ouch!

Blogger M In The 517 April 11, 2021 6:03 PM  

A propos of nothing, Minneapolis is about a 20 hour drive to Spokane.

19 hours to get from San Antonio to Los Angeles.

Blogger Colonel Blimp April 11, 2021 6:49 PM  

Soccer played at high school level before 2000 was a certain type of kid from certain parts of town. Good and bad. I remember after a game of u15s in like 94 half the players and a few parents went at it, essentially ending the season. I remember one kid getting his leg broke from a bad slide tackle and everyone fighting.

Now it's different both on field rules and other things, but back then, you had rich kids, Mexicans, or just normals that got talked into a new soort by a buddy and were good at track or speedy. Couple that with less gay everything and there were fights all the time.

Blogger flyingtiger April 11, 2021 10:14 PM  

Soccer riot in the USA? I am almost certain that it is forbidden by an amendment in the constitution.

Blogger rumpole5 April 12, 2021 8:29 AM  

A Gen-X latch key kid went to an elite private Christian academy?

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