Monday, December 31, 2007

Something To Talk About...and Something To Reflect On for 2008

This clip was taken from last week's Grant County Herald newspaper, in their school board meeting story, for the West Central Area School district. Their activities director assistant said,

"The Minnesota High School League is proposing to start baseball one week earlier for pitchers and catchers so they can get their arms in shape before the first game. Also the League is proposing to allow volleyball teams to play two different teams on the same day outside of tournament play, to reduce travel costs, and increase non-league tournament play to 15 games instead of 12."

Quite honest, I'm stunned to see the topic of reducing travel costs on the radar of the MSHSL (high school league).

I'll call it, today's ray of light!

As a sidenote, over the next week I'm going to research the list of the teams that made up the West Lake Conference during the late 1960s when it was at its peak. I believe in terms of today's consolidated schools, the West Lake Conference included the following schools:

Paynesville, Maccray, B-B-E, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, New London-Spicer, Eden Valley-Watkins.

That's only seven schools, which does not make for a good conference. However, it would be easy to throw in a Minnewaska or Kimball, to top it off at eight schools (an ideal number).

Look on a map. Every school is within one hour of the other. Every road trip would be one hour or less! (Kimball to Kerkhoven, or Kimball to Maccray in Clara City, might be stretching it to 1 hour, 10 minutes)

Kimball to Kerkhoven is 61 miles, mostly using US Highway 12, with a stretch through the city of Willmar that is not very quick or efficient. So they're you're talking about a 1-hour, 10 minute drive. Currently, Kimball is in the middle of the Central Minnesota Conference, but they have a very difficult time competing in the CMC. So perhaps they would not be interested at all in this idea, as they'd be on the far east side of that group.

The same can be said for Minnewaska, who would be on the far northwest corner of the new group. With their placement in the West Central South beginning this past fall (2007), they're not in bad shape travel-wise. So they are another school that may not be interested either, especially now that they are back in their natural conference rivalry with Morris schools (that dates back to the Great Depression).

I can play devil's advocate on the idea with Eden Valley-Watkins, who also most likely has no desire to leave the Central Minnesota Conference. They have a strong and vigorous rivalry with Pierz in all sports (with football rising to the top) and I don't know the odds that they'd be interested.

Back to my original point, it's an idea worth talking about. Watch fuel prices climb higher and higher in 2008!

Road trips of one hour or less, is that not an ideal conference? I would strongly argue that all of the schools on that list would jump on that idea in a heartbeat.

Before I give my next point, I want to say that a typical B-B-E athletic schedule is set up pretty well in my opinion. A few nearby schools who are not on the Central Minnesota Conference schedule such as K-M-S, Benson, and Osakis, are usually fall/winter/spring non-conference opponents for our various team sports.

At the same time, a great deal of discontent exists across our rural school districts in terms of conferences and travel times/distances for our student-athletes, as well as the issue of bussing costs and fan travel costs. If the idea of breaking up and re-building conferences in our area does not pan out, then at least we can say we tried.

How do we get it started?

On yet another note...I want to give thanks for a tragedy-free 2007 when talking about B-B-E's student athletes. It's a relative miracle that accidents caused by teenage drivers are not more frequent than they are. I remember being a teenage driver, and it was not pretty! We should all reflect on how lucky we are that our worst nightmare never happened this year, and let's hope and pray that it does not happen in 2008 either. I'm the last person who can give advice on how to influence teenagers to watch their driving behavior... so I hope parents can continue having a positive influence on the young drivers of B-B-E.

Happy New Year, Jaguars sports fans.

This final Jaguars Sports update for 2007 brought to you by:

Thursday, December 27, 2007

River Lakes Stars Boys Hockey Team Plays to a 1-1 Draw After One Period vs. Fargo Shanley in Nightcap of Six-Team Invite

The Stars are in search of their second win of the season.

Fargo Shanley is a co-op (like the Stars) made up of Shanley Catholic school of Fargo, Oak Grove Lutheran of Fargo, and Park Christian of Moorhead.

I'll post results late Friday afternoon before heading back to the Paynesville arena. *By the way, that is located behind the Chevrolet dealer off of Highway 55 as you would be driving to Eden Valley.

The Stars will face Willmar at 6:00 on Friday night in the second round of their home invite. Willmar defeated Marshall 6-2 in the second game of tonight's schedule.

In the early game, Prairie Centre (Long Prairie/Sauk Centre) won 7-6 in overtime via shootout against Mankato East.

In girls basketball action at the St.Cloud Tech tournament, Eden Valley-Watkins won a tight ballgame over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 62-59. D-G-F is 5-4 overall, while the Eagles are 8-1.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

River Lakes Stars Boys Hockey Team Hosts 6-Team Round-Robin Tournament at Paynesville This Week

The River Lakes Stars boys hockey team lost 12-0 on the road to state-ranked (Class A) Little Falls last Thursday night. They traveled to Monticello on Saturday and lost to the Magic by a 4-1 score. The Stars are 1-7 overall going into this week's home tournament.

At the Paynesville Arena, the Stars will host Marshall, Willmar, Mankato East, and Prairie Centre. Marshall (7-1) and Prairie Centre (4-3-1) are the top teams going into the three-day event. It runs Thursday through Saturday (Dec 27-28-29).

The Stars open with Shanley (North Dakota) at 8:00 on Thursday night. It is the nightcap game, with the first game beginning at 4:00 at the Paynesville Arena.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Jaguars Girls Basketball Hammers Rockford 71-54 in Central Minnesota Conference Action

The Jaguars squared their CMC record at 1-1 and inched closer to .500 on the season with a 3-4 overall record.

They are now on break until January.

Scores from Friday night's girls basketball games=
Eden Valley-Watkins 70, Maple Lake 44
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 87, Kimball Area 41
Pierz 34, Holdingford 31
Brandon-Evansville 71, Osakis 58 (Silverstreaks are 4-2)

Next week the River Lakes Stars host a three-day tournament at the Paynesville Arena. More information on that will be posted this weekend.

Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jaguars Wrestling Hosts Triangular, First Dual is a Loss to Dawson-Boyd, Then a 40-28 Win Over Kimball

The Jaguars wrestling team fell to Dawson-Boyd 45-15, as the Blackjacks won the final eight matches to forge ahead from a 15-15 tie.

Against Kimball Area, the Jaguars led 36-15 going into the final four matches. It was an important win, as the Cubs are not only a conference member but also members of Section 5A.

The girls basketball team hosts Rockford on Friday night.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jaguars Boys Basketball Wins a Big sub-section game against Sauk Centre 73-65... Girls Basketball Drops Close Game at Always-Tough Pierz

The boys basketball team sits 4-2 going into the Christmas break after tonight's big win over the neighboring Mainstreeters. The game was held at home at the B-B-E High School. The Mainsteeters are 2-2 overall.

After opening up a 20-5 lead to start the game, the Jaguars allowed the Mainstreeters to make a comeback and take a small lead midway through the second half at 44-43. The Jaguars took control down the stretch and pulled through with the enjoyable win against their neighbors to the north.

The girls basketball team opened Central Minnesota Conference play at Pierz, who are always tough at home, and fell by a 61-53 margin. The Pioneers moved to 4-3 on the season. From what I heard, they were tied the whole game until the end, and rough play by Pierz became a factor down the stretch. They are 2-4 overall, hosting Rockford in another CMC matchup this Friday night.

The Jaguars wrestling team was at NL-S tonight, and the boys hockey team hosted Fergus Falls in Central Lakes Conference action at Richmond.

The wrestlers sit at 3-3 in duals this season after defeating Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 41-33 at the NL-S triangular. They lost in the final dual to the host Wildcats 56-6. The win over LP-GE was huge, as the Thunder are a Section 5A team with the Jaguars.

The River Lakes Stars boys hockey team fell 10-2 to the Fergus Falls Otters (1-2-1 overall).

The wrestling team hosts Dawson-Boyd and Kimball Area on Thursday night in a home triangular at the high school.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Jaguars Boys Basketball Passes the Century Mark - 125-37 Win Over E.C.H.O Charter Rockets in Non-Conference Game

The E.C.H.O. Charter School is located near Redwood Falls in the town of Echo, which lies in the Yellow Medicine East (Granite Falls) school district.

The Jaguars went above .500 (3-2) for the first time since the 2004-2005 season with the record-setting win. It brings them into tomorrow night's big showdown with Sauk Centre, a member of Sub-Section 6AA-East with our Jaguars.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jaguars Boys Basketball Falls in Rough-and-Tumble Game To New London-Spicer 81-60... Jaguars Wrestling Battles CMC Foes Pierz & HL-W-W

The Jaguars boys basketball team fell to 2-2 on the young season after hosting NL-S in their home opener on Friday night at the B-B-E High School. Stating it mildly, the game was a physical battle between long-time neighboring rivals. The Wildcats improved to 3-0 on the season and were ranked #9 in the latest Class AA poll.

The Jaguars wrestling team traveled to Pierz on Friday night to face the host Pioneers and the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers in a Central Minnesota Conference Triangular. The team did very well, and in both matches the Jaguars were either tied or leading halfways through each dual.
Final results:
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted defeated the Jaguars 38-20, and Pierz won 45-24 in the second match. Pierz hung on to defeat HL-W-W 33-31 in the final dual of the evening.
*The Jaguars will travel to area wrestling powerhouse New London-Spicer on Tuesday, December 18, for a dual meet against the Wildcats. They host Kimball Area and Dawson-Boyd in a triangular at the B-B-E High School two nights later on Thursday.

Scores from Friday/Saturday boys basketball action:
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 59, Watertown-Mayer 53 (HL-W-W is 2-0)
Little Falls 63, Pierz 52
Rockford 71, Minneapolis Roosevelt 59 (Rockford is 3-0, ranked #6 in Class AA)
Rocori 77, New London-Spicer 59 (Rocori is ranked #9 in Class AAA)
Albany 62, Holdingford 49 (*Albany snapped a 28+ game losing streak dating back to the2005-2006 season, while Holdingford fell to 0-4 this season)
Dassel-Cokato 70, Kimball Area 64
Osakis 76, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 71 (Osakis is 3-0)
Pine City 71, Eden Valley-Watkins 51

Scores from Friday/Saturday girls basketball action:
Eden Valley-Watkins 91, St. Cloud Cathedral 29! Good grief! (EV-W is 5-1)
Pierz 69, Little Falls 52 (Pierz is 3-3)
Delano 50, Maple Lake 37 (Maple Lake is 3-2)
Foley 52, Paynesville Area 35
Albany 82, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 39 (Albany is 3-1 and ranked #3 in Class AA)
Holdingford 64, Staples-Motley 49 (Holdingford is 3-2 after going 7-17 last year)
Hutchinson 50, Rockford 44 (Rockford is 1-3)
Kimball Area 82, E.C.H.O. Charter 32 (Kimball is 2-2)
Minnewaska Area 56, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 43
New London-Spicer 55, Sauk Centre 36 (NL-S is ranked #5 in Class AA and is 5-0 overall, while Sauk Centre fell to 3-3 overall)

Scores from area dual meet action in wrestling:
Sauk Centre 69, Melrose 3 (That's gotta hurt the pride)

@ Paynesville Triangular=
Paynesville 44, Litchfield 19
New London-Spicer 41, Paynesville 19

Scores from the Battle on the Border, a high-powered wrestling meet hosted at Canby on Saturday, including the following state-ranked Class 1A squads (sorted with rankings)=
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons (No. 1)
Canby Lancers (No. 2)
United South Central Rebels (No. 3)
Frazee Hornets (No. 4)
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (No. 6)
Yellow Medicine East Sting (No. 7)

Battle On The Border Results=
Canby 36, United South Central 22
Frazee 36, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 29

Round 2
Canby 36, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 24
Yellow Medicine East 32, Frazee 24
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 34, United South Central 27

Round 3
Canby 46, Frazee 18
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 34, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 33!
United South Central 36, Yellow Medicine East 24

Round 4
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 36, United South Central 25
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 44, Frazee 18
Canby 44, Yellow Medicine East 13

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jaguars Girls Basketball at Minnewaska, 26-19 deficit at Halftime, Final Score: 58-44 Loss to the Lakers

The Jaguars C-squad lost by 4 points, and the B-squad won a thriller by 2 points, earning a buzzer-beater shot by Rachel Anderson for the winning margin.

The varsity Jaguars came out ice cold from the field in the second half and are now behind by a 32-21 margin with around 15:00 left in the game.

Around the area in girls basketball:
Maple Lake 66, Dassel-Cokato 49 (Maple Lake is 3-1)
Pierz 54, Wadena-Deer Creek 50 (Pierz is 2-3)

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hoops Teams Go 1-1.. Jaguars Boys Basketball Levels Upsala 88-43 ..... Jaguars Girls Basketball Drops 61-60 Game to Visiting Litchfield

The boys played at Upsala, while the girls hosted Litchfield in their home opener.

The River Lakes Stars boys hockey team earned the first win of their season on Saturday, defeating the Becker/Big Lake co-op on the road by a 7-2 score. B/BL is 0-3, while the Stars are 1-2.

The girls basketball team travels to Minnewaska this Thursday to face the undefeated (4-0) Lakers.

On Friday, the boys basketball team hosts New London-Spicer for their home opener, at the B-B-E High School.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Jaguars Girls Basketball Win at Benson Invitational Tonight - 51-45 in Championship Game vs. Maccray Wolverines

The game began at 8:00. The Wolverines were 2-2 coming into the game.

**With 14:00 left in the second half, the Jaguars overcame a five-point halftime deficit (22-17) to tie the game at 28-28. With 13:29 left the Blue & Silver trail 30-28 going into a Jaguars timeout.

With 12:27 left, Emily Roelike was fouled on a three-point shot, which was good. Her free throw shot also dropped, giving the Jaguars a 32-30 lead. It was their first lead of the game.

The lead changed for a handful of possessions after that, before the Jaguars built a 47-40 lead. They pulled it out at the end, winning the turnover-filled contest 51-45.

The Wolverines went 13-of-29 from the free throw line.

Maccray's previous four games have gone as follows=
Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 42 - 48 L
Paynesville Area 52 - 26 W
Dawson-Boyd 51 - 38 W
Lakeview 43 - 49 L

**Fresh update during the girls basketball pregame... the game can be heard on 97.3FM The River in Willmar.

Tonight the Jaguars boys basketball team defeated Chokio-Alberta 76-58 to earn their first win of the season. The game was at the Tip-Off Classic at A-C-GC High School.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Jaguars Boys Basketball Falls in Battle with K-M-S at the Tip-Off Classic, 74-67

The Jaguars led 48-44 with about 13 minutes left in the second half. The game was held at the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School. Chokio-Alberta will face the host Falcons tonight in the other semi-final game.

The Jaguars ultimately lost 74-67, although it was a one or two-possession game the whole way until the final minute.

The Jaguars will play at A-C-GC at 6:00, at their high school on the south side of Grove City.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Jaguars Wrestling Wins Triangular -- Thrilling 34-27 Come-From-Behind Win Over Royalton/Swanville on the Home Mats

The Jaguars wrestling team started their dual meet campaign tonight with two wins in a home triangular, defeating Rockford 55-25, and Royalton/Swanville 34-27.

The Jaguars had to overcome a 27-21 deficit against Royalton/Swanville, and did so in thrilling fashion with Brett Landwehr's 18-9 major decision, Sean Speldrich's outstanding come-from-behind win by fall (3:39), capped by Jerry Villabazo's 2-0 decision at heavyweight clinching the victory for the Jaguars (2-0 duals).

In boys hockey action tonight, the River Lakes Stars fell to Central Lakes Conference powerhouse St.Cloud Apollo 7-2.

Friday night the Jaguars boys basketball team opens their season against Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg at the ACGC Tip-Off Classic (at the Falcons' high school in Grove City). The game begins at 6:00.

On Saturday night the Jaguars girls basketball team travels to the Benson High School for the championship game of the Benson Invitational. They will face MACCRAY at about 8:00. At 6:00 Paynesville Area faces the host Braves for the third-place game.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Yes, This is Minnesota ... Central Minnesota Hammered by Winter Storm, Jaguars Girls Basketball at Benson Tournament Postponed

No word on when the third place and championship games of the Benson Invitational will be made up. My guess would be they'd simply do it next Saturday night (Dec 8).

From Jaguars' boys basketball Coach Thompson on the Tip-Off Classic tournament this weekend at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School=
"We play KMS at 6:00 Friday, ACGC vs Chokio-Alberta at 8:00, same game times on Saturday. There is a JV portion also, with opposite times, so our JV plays at 8:00 on Friday."

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