Wednesday, March 31, 2021

And now we know: Sleepy Eye St. Mary's

Now we know our state semifinal opponent! That would be the Sleepy Eye St. Mary's Knights, who won the Section 2A title and then won their state quarterfinal game today over Minnesota River Conference champion Mayer Lutheran by a 78-67 score at Mankato East high school. The Knights are now 23-0 overall.

I've got some research to do now!

In tonight's state tournament game, SESM's defense was a huge factor in Mayer Lutheran's ice cold 22-percent field goal shooting in the first half. Mayer Lutheran's Julia Carns scored 13 of her team's first-half points.

SESM used five three-pointers in the first half plus a perfect six-for-six performance at the free throw line to build a 31-20 halftime lead. Madison Mathiowetz led SESM in the first half with 20 points.

Mayer Lutheran had a remarkably better second half, as they started out after the break making four of their first five field goal shots. Overall, their second-half field goal shooting was a very good 55 percent.

SESM expanded their lead to as many as 19 points in the second half before Mayer Lutheran fought back down the stretch. Mathiowetz poured in 44 points on the night.

(Yes, 44 points!)

This year's SESM team is senior-laded, with the same number of seniors on the team as B-B-E: seven. The seven seniors are Sydney Windschitl, Emma Currans, Leah Miller, Sophie Portner, Megan Ahlness, Emily Weiss and Maryanne Larsen. Windschitl and Portner are the two senior starters on the team.

SESM won the Section 2A championship with a 64-59 win over defending champion Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on March 25. In that win, the Knights tallied six three-pointers compared to three by the Buccaneers. The biggest key in that game; five of the six threes made by SESM were delivered in the second half of the game. W-E-M (18-4) held the lead for just about all of the first half. The Buccaneers converted multiple early SESM turnovers into points and led 15-5 out of the gate. At halftime, W-E-M led 23-21. SESM gained the lead for good with seven minutes left at 48-45. Mathiowetz scored 27 points in that game to lead the Knights.

Coming into this season, SESM was the defending Tomahawk Conference champion. They are a perennial contender for that championship year after year. SEMS was sub-section runner-up in 2018-2019 and then sub-section champions last year.

This is SESM's first trip to the state tournament since 2005. In that state tournament, the Knights lost 51-38 to Fosston in the quarterfinals. Back then there was no consolation bracket (just like this year).

In the 2019-2020 season, SESM had an all-underclassmen roster. That team finished 25-3 overall and 14-2 in the Tomahawk Conference as solo champions. Their 14-2 mark was one game better than the  two teams who tied for second place: Springfield and Minnesota Valley Lutheran.

The Knights lost in the Section 2A championship last year to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown by a 79-68 score. They beat BOLD 58-44 in the sub-section semifinals.

This was their returning starting lineup from last year's team: Madison Mathiowetz, Sydney Windschitl, Reagan Severson, Sophie Portner and Liz Schwint.

The Knights are a well-oiled machine, which is no surprise, as you don't get to a State Final Four without being a cohesive unit. In a New Ulm Journal article, junior guard Reagan Severson provided a quote that talked about how this group of players has been working towards a state tournament berth since they were in fourth grade.

SESM is led by 11th grader Madison Mathiowetz, who averages 33 points a game (not a typo) plus 11 rebounds. That is crazy good. Mathiowetz also led SESM in scoring during her freshmen and sophomore seasons. She is truly an elite basketball player and a three-sport athlete for SESM (also playing volleyball and fastpitch). From what I've read, she is not only phenomenal at the guard position, but she can finish in the paint in tough situations. Any way you cut it, you don't have a 33 point scoring average by not doing things extremely well at any location on the court! Another starter also puts up impressive numbers each night: senior Sydney Windschitl, who averages 18 points and 6 rebounds per game. Reagan Severson is the third-best leading scorer for SESM at 10.3 points a contest.

I think it goes without saying that this upcoming state tournament game will be B-B-E's toughest test of the season so far. The Knights are a fantastic team. Just on paper, they are better than West Central Area...and we SAW first hand how good WCA is!

Here's video I haven't gotten up yet...this is the end of the Section 5A championship game. That was fun! It's a moment those players will never forget.


And here's a video clip from the first half of last night's state tournament game in Perham:


In other news...
I see that Hancock's boys' basketball team is heading to the State Final Four! That's exciting. The Owls were in Perham tonight, where they beat Nevis 57-50. Hancock has an 18-5 record.

In Class 2A, Waseca ended Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta's season in an 83-58 state quarterfinal win. The game was played at Chanhassen high school. Waseca is the No. 1-seeded team in the south half of that tournament. The MA/CA Tigers were the No. 4 seed and finish 19-3 overall.

More to come in the morning. I am calling it a day!

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Tickets for state

Certainly a great deal of interest in getting tickets to go to State! That's great!

We won't have concrete information on the state tournament until tomorrow, when new guidelines are released by the MDH for indoor gatherings. I am cautiously optimistic that more fans will be able to attend next Tuesday's game compared to what we've gotten used to so far in the playoffs (75 to 120 fans per night).

Stay tuned.

That's all for this blog post.

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Paper is off to the press

A huge, two-section Bonanza Valley Voice is getting published this morning! 

Holy moly!

I have already decided that I'm taking tomorrow (Thursday) off!!!! It will be a day of rest. If I don't rest, my odds of being able to get down to Target Center next Tuesday will fade.

*UPDATE: the April 1 issue of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper is back from the printing press! We printed 2,000 copies this week. They will go fast off of the newsstands! Just 75 cents, get your copy asap!!!

You can get a copy at the following locations after 5 p.m. today =

Bayer Gas and Grocery in Elrosa

Coop's Corner in Belgrade

Belgrade Hardware Store

RJ's Mini-Mart in Brooten (they have them already as of 15:00 today!)

HEY, don't forget the Easter Egg hunt in Brooten this Saturday! (April 3) starting at 1 p.m. at the city park! Get there early!!!!


WE ARE LIVING IN VERY EXCITING 

TIMES NOW IN JAGUAR COUNTRY!!!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

STEP V: HEADING TO THE FINAL FOUR!

GOOD GRIEF! THAT WAS FUN!

The Jaguars are heading to the State Final Four!!!!!!!!!!!

Final: B-B-E 76, West Central Area 71. 

BELIEVE IT! 


**Here's a video clip from the final seconds of tonight's game:


Sophomore Abby Berge led all scorers with a career-high 27 points. The Jaguars shot 46 percent from the floor and made 25 of 42 free throw attempts.

WCA was "as advertised" and knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game.

I checked some of my notes, and I saw that West Central Area held a 44-41 lead with 14:23 left in the second half. Later, with six minutes to go, the Jaguars were ahead 66-58. So for the middle eight minutes or so in that second half, the Jaguars outscored WCA 25-14.

Next is the Class 1A semifinals, which will be held next Tuesday at Target Center in Minneapolis. The opponent as far as I know will not be determined until tomorrow night. According to the brackets I have, the Jaguars with play at 10 a.m., but I haven't confirmed that.

*Schedule UPDATE: the Jaguars (22-1) will play at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6 at Target Center in Minneapolis in the Class 1A state semifinals. They face the winner of tomorrow's Sleepy Eye St. Mary vs. Mayer Lutheran quarterfinal game.

More to follow much later tonight. And it will be brief because I have a huge newspaper to print in the morning. You won't believe how many pages until you see it for yourself.




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State tourney updates from Perham! State quarterfinals!

Updates to follow.

Here's a link to get the radio feed from Smooth Magic 107 FM of Glenwood.  It's not a live link, but I will update it at the school.


UPDATE: with 10 minutes left, the Knights are ahead 15-10. They're hitting from three-point land.

HALFTIME: B-B-E 34, WCA 33 !

It has been a wild first half! Wow! The Jaguars trailed almost the entire first half, as the WCA Knights were extremely effective from long range. 

A FEW STATS AT HALFTIME:
WCA super star junior guard Lexi Bright has been strong all game so far and has 11 points to lead her team.

Sophomore Abby Berge leads the Jaguars with 11 points as well. Allisa Knight has added six points. NOTHING is coming easy tonight! This game is AS ADVERTISED!

SECOND HALF TO START AT 19:46 !!!!!!

UPDATE: in the second half, the game is TIED at 46-46 with 12:49 left! West Central Area has cooled off from the three-point arc, and they are trying to work it inside more often.

UPDATES IN A NEW BLOG POST



THANK YOU TO BONANZA VALLEY STATE BANK FOR THE EXTENDED COVERAGE FOR B-B-E JAGUAR PLAYOFFS IN THE BONANZA VALLEY VOICE!



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En route

Made a brief pit stop at the Carlos gas station on my way to Perham High School. We are bucking one heck of a north northwest wind.

ETA: 18:40.

I've had no time for blogging today. I didn't find any links for streaming, but I know the high school league has options.

Cheer loudly from near and far! GO JAGUARS!!

Radio coverage tonight...and community send-off to STATE!

Just a heads up...if you were not one of the 120 lucky fans who get tickets to tonight's state tournament game, you can tune in at both local radio stations, Glenwood and Norway Lake/Sunburg. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Today some time after 2:30 p.m., the girls' basketball team will drive around Belgrade in a small tour and head down main street at approximately 2:40 p.m. and then head to the state tournament in Perham. Because they will use Highway 71 to head north, they won't be able to come over to Brooten. **That's wrong...they will pass through Brooten at about 2:50 p.m.!!!

They are on a mission!

AND for the record: West Central Area Knights junior guard Lexi Bright, No. 15, has 1,789 career points heading into tonight's state tournament game with the Jaguars. She is just one of many scoring threats that the Knights deploy. Make no mistake: WCA will be tough as hell in tonight's game!!!

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Monday, March 29, 2021

State wrestling thoughts

I'm in an unenviable position where I have to try balancing out coverage of state wrestling and state girls' basketball. It's certainly a good problem! But I don't know if I'm coming or going, if you know what I mean...this is a whirlwind. 

I think it's worth sharing a comment I've told a few wrestling parents and Coach Mueller...

"I have said all weekend. These four guys maybe don't realize it, the magnitude of what they accomplished. The super section had 28 guys to state, and one-seventh of them were from B-B-E and all had a great tournament with multiple wins in the Saturday state championships."

"We should be extremely proud of them, and what they've done during a pandemic, now earning something that no one, not even COVID, can take away from them."


Shifting back to basketball...Here's a video clip from the first half of the Sub-Section 5A-West championship game!


More to come. 




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Sunday, March 28, 2021

The West Central Area Knights

The WCA Knights celebrate their Section 6A championship at Fergus Falls high school last Thursday.



The West Central Area Knights girls' basketball team can be thought of as a "Cinderella" type team to the state tournament. A closer analysis would beg to differ, however. Getting to state was within reach in 2020, and they fell just short. This year they busted the door down with three consecutive wins over excellent basketball programs.

In WCA's regular season loss to Parkers Prairie by a 69-65 score, the Knights were "minus 8" on rebounds for the game as well as "minus 12 points" in the paint compared to the Panthers. That's a huge deficit in those categories. WCA turned that around in a big way and came away with a 67-51 road playoff win at Parkers Prairie in the Sub-Section 6A-South semifinals.

WCA benefitted from a 47-point performance off of their bench in the win in their rematch with Parkers Prairie. Two eighth graders combined for seven three-pointers in that game.

In the subsection championship at Hancock, the Knights got the game-winning bucket in the 50-49 win from junior super star and No. 15 Lexi Bright, who is WCA's all-time leading girls' basketball scorer. She is soon approaching 1,800 career points. Bright was not the leading scorer in that game, however, as one of their eighth grade sensations, Macy Grosz, led the team with 15 points. Hancock struggled with cold 34 percent field goal shooting, while WCA exploded with 10-of-16 three-point shooting and 54.5 percent overall field goal shooting.

Bright broke WCA's career scoring record in their playoff opener against Brandon-Evansville. She is a two-time Pheasant Conference MVP and likely on her way to earning a third. Bright, a shooting guard, had three double-doubles in four playoff games. She is a phenomenal player and just a junior!!

WCA put an exclamation mark on their playoff run with a convincing 64-53 win over No. 2-ranked Henning in the section finals. Lexi Bright led all scorers with 21 points. She out-dueled Henning's super star Elle Dague, who had 15 points. Dague, a senior, is a 2,000-point scorer who has signed with North Dakota State University. Hurting Henning's cause was poor 34-percent field goal shooting (17-of-50).

  • Here's the stat sheet for WCA in that state-qualifying win over Henning: Lexi Bright (21 points 10 reb 6 ast), Claire Stark (19 points 12 reb 2 blk), Macy Grosz (9 points), Elizabeth Rustan (4 points 6 reb 3 ast 5 stl).

WCA's win last Thursday avenged a 56-50 loss to Henning in the Section 6A finals last year when both schools were searching for their first girls' basketball state tournament. In the 2020 section finals, Henning's Dague poured in 32 points, including four three-pointers. She put the game away with eight straight free throws at the U of M-Morris P.E. Center. Lexi Bright led the seven Knights who scored in that game with 17 points. One of the seniors on that team, guard Kaylyn Ulrich, had 14 first-half points but none in the second.

Henning thrashed WCA in their regular-season meeting on January 2, 2020 by a 72-48 score. WCA started the 2020 section finals game on fire with a swarming defense that propelled them to a 22-10 lead with 6:30 left in the first half. WCA led 16-10 before Elizabeth Rustan and Lexi Bright hit back-to-back threes. WCA led 45-43 when then-senior Hailey Bennett hit a three-pointer, but Henning regained the lead and never trailed over the final three minutes.

Seventh-year head coach Eric Schoenbauer has had just one losing season at WCA since taking over the program for the 2014-2015 season. They went 15-9 that year and then 14-10 in 2015-2016 with a Sub-Section 6A-South runner-up finish. The 2016-2017 season brought an 8-18 final record. They rebounded to go 19-8 in 2017-2018, but they were soured by a 1-1 playoff record that year. The 2018-2019 season found the WCA Knights earning a solo Pheasant Conference championship, but they again went 1-1 in the playoffs and finished 19-7. They averaged over 68 points a game that season.

Last year, with the Section 6A runner-up finish, the Knights went 22-8 overall and won their second straight solo Pheasant Conference title with a 7-1 mark.

WCA's girls' basketball program has had winning regular seasons in 21 out of their 28 years of existence. In 1993-1994, two very successful small school girls' basketball programs merged to form the WCA Knights: the Hoffman-Kensington Patriots and the West Central Wildcats. West Central was a school district consisting of the former Barrett and Elbow Lake-Wendell schools.

In 1993-1994, WCA competed in the Little Eight Conference and won the conference title while finishing 22-2 overall. They lost to Hancock in their district championship game.

In 1994-1995, WCA was a new member of the West Central South Conference, which B-B-E was also part of back then. During that school year, their new high school was built just to the west of the town of Barrett.

In 1997-1998, WCA got hot in the playoffs and won their first-ever subsection championship as a Class 2A program. They lost in the Section 8AA finals to Roseau while finishing 16-10 overall. They made it to the subsection finals again in 1999 in Class 2A but lost in that game while finishing 17-6 overall. 

WCA won its second girls' basketball conference title in 2001-2002 as a member of the Heart O' Lakes Conference. They advanced to the Section 8AA finals before losing one game short of state with a 22-4 final record.

In 2007-2008, WCA won the Sub-Section 6AA-West title before losing to eventual state champion Albany 77-42 in the Section 6AA championship game. Their final record was 21-7 that year. Side note: Albany ended B-B-E season that year in the Sub-Section 6AA-East semifinals.

WCA didn't play in a section championship for another six seasons, and in that time, they dropped to Class 1A just as B-B-E did. In 2013-2014, the Knights won their sub-section championship before losing 55-31 to Ada-Borup in the section finals to finish 18-9. They were a third-place team in the Prairie Conference that year behind champion Osakis (14-0) and eventual state entrant Browerville (11-3).

The Knights advanced to the subsection finals in Coach Schoenbauer's second season before losing 61-42 to a stacked Wheaton/Herman-Norcross team in a 16-11 season (2015-2016).

I have countless contacts at WCA, and my journalism career owes a great deal to the communities of their school district. From 2008 to 2011, I ran the Hoffman Tribune and Herman-Hoffman Tribune newspapers. They were very special years to me. One family I got to know very well was the family of Pat and Jackie Anderson. Pat Anderson, known affectionately at WCA as "PA", was their head girls' basketball coach from 2003 to 2010. He became the activities director in 2010 and resigned his head coaching position. Tragically, Pat was killed on July 30, 2016 in a UTV-car accident on Highway 55 near Kensington.

It was a devastating loss to the entire WCA community. It was a blow not unlike what we experienced when Coach Vos was killed in October 2012. PA's door was always open for students, and he commanded the respect of the entire K-12 student body at WCA. He was one of a kind.

Pat Anderson was a 1989 Hoffman-Kensington high school graduate. He was an overcomer in the truest form. At age 10, he lost his right arm in a farm accident. For the rest of his life, he lived with a prosthetic arm and hand. It never held him back. Not for a second. He graduated from Moorhead State University with a social studies teaching degree and started his teaching/coaching career at Red Rock Central school in Lamberton. That's where he met Jackie. They eventually moved back to the Hoffman area, where Pat farmed with his dad and brother while teaching and coaching in Hancock. 

In the fall of 1999, Pat was hired at WCA and coached football and basketball. Their family grew with three children: three-sport Knight student-athletes Ben, Ross and Brooke. Up to the time of his death, Pat was living his dream and had been able to coach all three of his children in basketball.

The Anderson family was dealt another tragic and severely cruel blow when Pat and Jackie's son Ben was killed at age 22 on February 22, 2020 in a snowmobile accident. Ben Anderson was in his final year at NDSU earning an Agribusiness degree. At NDSU, he served as finance chair of the Alpha Gamma Rho-Epsilon chapter. His "dream job" was already lined up for him at AgCountry Farm Credit Services at their Willmar location.

What the Andersons have gone through is unimaginable. I can't even begin. My heart aches for them.

Brooke is a 5'8" senior guard/forward on this year's WCA Knights team and has jersey No. 23. She's following in the footsteps of her mom, who played basketball for Sanborn-Lamberton, which was one of the better programs in southwest Minnesota at the time. Brooke is one of just three seniors on this year's WCA team and a player who comes off the bench. She scored a career-high 12 points in WCA's win at Brandon-Evansville on March 4.

After she hit a three-pointer late in the first half in that game, B-E called a timeout. During that timeout, as the team went to the bench for the huddle, they all let loose with laughter. Anderson was quoted in the Echo Press as saying, "I haven't shot all season. My teammates have been really pushing me, and I finally pulled through. My teammates backed me 100 percent. That was fun."

Anderson hit another three-pointer in the second half as the Knights pulled away in an 82-43 win. Bright led WCA with a 24-point effort.

When talking about her team's run-and-gun style of basketball, Anderson said, "I think that is where we shine best. We have fast girls. We’re a quick team, and that’s where we’re going to outwork other teams is with our speed and pushing the ball."

WCA regularly runs 10 to 12 players in and out throughout their games.

That's it for the night.

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

State wrestling finals! Fischer is a STATE CHAMP!

Here we go! This is what I know so far...

At 120 pounds, Ryan Jensen became the youngest B-B-E wrestler in school history to wrestle in a state championship match! He gave one hell of a performance against the top seed but lost by a 6-1 decision. Ryan finishes his freshmen season with a 34-5 record.

At 126 pounds, Walker Bents also turned in an incredible performance and blazed his way to the championship. There he lost to the top seed in a 5-2 decision. Bents finishes his junior season 36-3 overall.

At 138, Tyler Jensen won an 8-5 decision in the 5th Place match to end his season with a win! He went 37-4 in his junior season.

Blaine Fischer shown after winning his 2-0 decision in the 145 state finals at St. Michael-Albertville high school.


AND! At 145, Blaine Fischer won a 2-0 decision to claim a state title!!! Awesome!!!! Fischer, who scored his points with a reversal in the second period, finishes his junior season 39-1. He won his state title in a championship field that included two sophomores, two other juniors and three seniors. The championship bout featured two juniors, while the third-place match featured two sophomores.

We are so proud of our wrestlers in Jaguar Country! You can bet your bottom dollar that all four state entrants this year will be gunning for state titles in 2022.

That's it for now. I am taking a break.

Here's video of Blaine Fischer's first cousin Kailey Fischer sniping from the three-point line against Swanville in the section finals on Thursday night:


More to come in the morning after church.






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STATE wrestling updates **THREE to the FINALS!!!!

Round one results!

STATE OPENER NOTES:

First-round winners for B-B-E: Ryan Jensen, Walker Bents and Blaine Fischer all won. Tyler Jensen lost his first match. That's all I know at this point.

Tyler Jensen at 138 pounds lost his opener by a 6-2 decision. He faces senior Tucker Wills (21-7) of Lake Crystal-Welcome-Memorial in the wrestlebacks. Wills lost by fall (0:44) in his opener to the top seed in the bracket. 

At 120 pounds, Ryan Jensen won an absolute thriller by a 3-1 decision via ultimate tiebreaker. Crazy! That is awesome. Ryan now faces the No. 2 seed in the bracket semis: junior Marshall Larson (37-1) of Aitkin. Larson won his opener by a 5-2 decision. 

At 126 pounds, Walker Bents won his opener by a 6-1 decision. In the 126 semis, Bents faces sophomore Logan Butzon (38-1) of Jackson County Central. 

 At 145 pounds, Blaine Fischer won a 7-0 decision in his opener. Fischer now faces sophomore Zack Fier (31-4) of Minneota in the semis.

That's all for now.

**SECOND ROUND UPDATES!

At 120, Ryan Jensen won by fall!!! He goes for gold!! He won his semifinal match by pin with a time of 3:26. Now he faces the top seed for first place!!! His opponent will be junior Brandon Ross of Caledonia-Houston, who is 30-0.

At 126, Walker Bents one by a 4-3 decision. Wow! He goes for gold in the finals against the top seed in his bracket, senior Derek Steel (35-0) of Sibley East.

At 138, Tyler Jensen won by fall (2:21) in the wrestlebacks. Now he faces a fellow junior wrestler from ACGC in the fifth-place match.

At 145, Blaine Fischer won a 9-2 decision in his semifinal match. He goes for gold against a fellow junior from Royalton/Upsala, Jacob Leibold (24-1).

That's all for now.

**Updates from the finals in a new blog post!




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So here we go! State basketball on the horizon *BREAKING BREAKING NEWS

It has been a long, LONG time since I've been this excited about a high school athletic contest. I am excited for MANY reasons for our upcoming game!

This is SUPER, super exciting! I can BARELY contain it!

I was just about this excited when the B-B-E Jaguars wrestling team squared off with Bertha-Hewitt/Parkers Prairie/Verndale in the Class 1A state quarterfinals on March 13. That was super exciting, but at that time I was juggling a gazillion items, sports and non-sports related, and that load tempered my enthusiasm. That afternoon at West Central Area high school in Barrett was surreal, with our Jaguars winning their first-ever Section 5A championship and clinching a first-ever team state berth. That was a lot to take in, and I had really NO time at all to catch my breath and take in the moment. From my recollection, we had no more than a 30-minute long break between matches. Before long, the Jaguars were in a neck-and-neck state tournament battle with the Raiders, and at the end the win slipped away, and the team season was over. It was a huge, colossal disappointment. But we moved on.

That seemed a long ago. SO MUCH has happened since that time with basketball playoffs and much, much more. Fast forward to today, and the irony! Our B-B-E Jaguars girls' basketball team faces West Central Area! This is nuts. We are separated by just ONE school district! (Minnewaska) B-B-E girls' basketball and WCA haven't met on the basketball court since (I believe) the 1996-1997 season! That was SO, so SO long ago! B-B-E and WCA squared off twice per season when the Knights were members of the West Central South Conference in the 1990s. That seems like ANCIENT times relative to our modern era! Their high school was brand-spanking new, ALL new, in the Fall of 1995. Back then it was a grades 7-12 facility.

Today, WCA high school holds grades 5 to 12 for the entire school district.

*UPDATE: as of 13:15, there is no announcement yet on the state quarterfinal site or time/day/etc....I'll get more video and other updates up around 14:00 today. Right now I have to fly over to the speech meet...the finals round starts at 13:45!

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: we go to Perham high school for the state quarterfinals on TUESDAY, MARCH 30. THAT is official! I do not have a time yet. That is still being negotiated.

For the record, that's a 100-mile drive from B-B-E high school! I am stunned that we are not driving to Alexandria or Fergus Falls. But complaining at this point is a waste of energy. The uncertainty of the location and day is gone. Now we just wait for the tip-off time to be determined.

UPDATE: IT IS A 7 P.M. TIP-OFF! State tournament quarterfinals at Perham high school, Tuesday, March 30 =
#4-ranked B-B-E vs. #18-ranked West Central Area
(Minnesota Basketball News rankings)

The trip to Perham on a Tuesday is gonna all but kill me. My Bonanza Valley Voice prints the next morning. This means that my blogging will be erratic and irregular, between now and then...95% of my energy is focused on getting my April 1 issue put together and ready for press. ON THE PLUS SIDE, YES, there is a SILVER lining to this news...the Perham high school is absolutely magnificent. For fans who make the trip, you will be blown away. They have one of the finest rural Minnesota school facilities, bar none.

By the way...LAST YEAR: WCA went 22-8 overall, 7-1 in the Pheasant Conference as solo champs...they lost 56-50 in the section finals to Henning at the UMM gymnasium in Morris.


State wrestling news...
The Class 1A team state semifinals are in the book. Here are the results...

Semifinal No. 1 = Kimball Area 46, Royalton/Upsala 26
Semifinal No. 2 = Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie 37, Jackson County Central 36

What a wild match that was with BHPPV and JCC!!! CRAZY! Now two opponents that our Jaguars defeated in the regular season will square off for a state championship.

UPDATE: good luck to members of the B-B-E Speech team! They are in a virtual meet this afternoon. I haven't heard how many have advanced to the finals. More to come.


**Here's a video clip from the first half of the section finals against Swanville:


More to come after 3 p.m.!


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Class 1A state wrestling championships AND BASKETBALL NEWS!

Another jam-packed day is upon us!

Here's the first-round pairings for today's state wrestling championships:
At 120 pounds, Ryan Jensen starts out with Zach Brown (34-3) of Crookston

At 126 pounds, Walker Bents is the No. 2 seed in his bracket, and he starts out with Boden Simon (29-7) of Maple River.

At 138 pounds, Tyler Jensen starts out with Maddox O'Reilly (22-4) of Goodhue.

At 145 pounds, Blaine Fischer is the No. 1 seed in his bracket, and he starts out with Beau Jurrens (16-11) of Zumbrota-Mazzeppa.

More to come.

**State wrestling action starts at 2 p.m. today at St. Michael-Albertville high school!

UPDATE: and there's no update, as of 11 a.m., I still don't see updated brackets with state tournament pairings. I expect that to happen soon, though!

The Belgrade Commercial Club hosted a wildly successful Easter Egg hunt for area children. It was magnificent! There was a light drizzle of rain, but that didn't hamper anyone's spirits. The kids had fun!

BIG UPDATE: the B-B-E Jaguars girls' basketball team will face upstart West Central Area in the Class 1A state tournament quarterfinals! The Jaguars are the No. 1 seed in the north half of the state brackets. WCA is seeded No. 4, and they are going to be a load. They knocked out No. 6-ranked and previously-undefeated Hancock in the subsection finals and then No. 2-ranked and heavy-favorite Henning in the section title game just two nights later.

Now the only "guess" left for me is the site of the game, which is likely the Alexandria Area high school. There will be a brief waiting game now while the MSHSL negotiates the state tournament sites. They have to have all sites lined up before they are posted, so it may be this afternoon before we know. In past years, the negotiating involved a school/site trying to ensure they have enough staff and volunteers to operate concessions, ticket taking, etc...in the current times, the wonder and concern is not about staffing concessions, but instead about being able to enact and follow state COVID protocols. 

*Official Class 1A state tournament North seedings:
1. B-B-E
2. Mountain Iron-Buhl
3. Cass Lake-Bena
4. West Central Area

*Official Class 1A state tournament South seedings:
1. Minneota
2. Mayer Lutheran
3. Sleepy Eye St. Mary's
4. Houston

Here's video from prior to the start of Thursday's section finals at Minnewaska:


Crazy stats to ponder: in their Sub-Section 6A-South semifinal contest on March 19, the West Central Area Knights were boosted by a 47-point output by their bench players. The No. 3-seeded Knights defeated No. 2-seeded Parkers Prairie 67-51 at the home of the Panthers. WCA had two eighth-graders, Macy Grosz and Mya Foslien, erupt from long range with seven three-pointers. The win avenged a 69-65 loss to Parkers Prairie at WCA high school in Barrett on February 16.

I am working on a new blog post with WCA scouting material. There's only about 108 things to do today. We are officially in the fast lane, and I predict that we won't be out of it for a couple more weeks!!!!

*UPDATE: as of 12:15 p.m., we don't have a site yet for the state quarterfinal basketball game.

I think that's enough for this blog post! Time to post a new one and dig into my afternoon to-do list.





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Friday, March 26, 2021

The picture is a little clearer

The picture is at least somewhat clearer for the Class 1A state girls' basketball tournament next week. We now know the four teams that make up the north bracket of the state tournament field.

Tonight at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls, Cass Lake-Bena defeated Stephen-Argyle Central 65-55 to claim the Section 8A title and advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2005. This is their fourth trip overall in school history, as they also went to state in 1984 and 1998. The CL-B Panthers (17-5) are ranked No. 10 in the latest QRF rankings of Class 1A. CL-B, seeded No. 2, hammered No. 6-ranked and No. 1-seeded Fosston 58-30 in their Sub-Section 8A-East championship game earlier this week.

In tonight's section title game, Taryn Frazer was leading scorer for the Panthers with 19 points. Three others scored in double digits for Cass Lake-Bena. Kailee Fineday added 13 points, Seeyle 12 and Gabby Fineday 11. LaDuke chipped in eight points and Alyssa Wright two. The Panthers had 13 turnovers compared to 23 for the Storm.

After trailing 8-7 early, CL-B opened up a 35-23 halftime lead. They expanded that to 50-32 with under 10 minutes to go in the game. After trailing 58-41, S-A/C then went on a 12-0 run to close the gap, with eight of those points coming from foul shots. Ahead just 58-53 with three minutes to go, the Panthers closed out the game on a 7-2 run to punch their ticket to state.

*Here's a video clip from Lakeland Public Broadcasting featuring the Section 8A finals in Thief River Falls:



Below are the four teams that will be seeded tomorrow morning in B-B-E's half of the state field:
Section 5A: B-B-E
Section 6A: West Central Area
Section 7A: Mountain Iron-Buhl
Section 8A: Cass Lake-Bena

From everything I've read, the state tournament quarterfinal game that our girls' basketball team will play in is next week on Tuesday. That's all I know at this point. 

I'm working on more video clips to post from last night, but I doubt it will happen before you go to sleep tonight! (Yeah, I run odd hours)

Area boys' basketball playoff scores (section finals) on March 27:
Nevis 54, Upsala 48 (Nevis advances to state for the first time since 2017)
Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 57, Pipestone Area 49
Hancock 77, Mahnomen/Waubun 71
Annandale 62, Melrose Area 60
Alexandria 58, Sauk Rapids-Rice 40
Fergus Falls 45, Perham 35
Central MN Christian 68, Southwest MN Christian 63


THANK YOU to Belgrade Hardware for sponsoring this Jaguar Sports playoff update!

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Fish Fry tonight, and more activities this weekend!

A crazy jam-packed weekend lies ahead of us in Jaguar Country!

Tonight is FISH FRY night! The Knights of Columbus are serving at the KaDe Shack from 5 to 8:30 p.m.! It's GOOD! Bring the family!

Tomorrow we've got the Easter Egg hunt at 10 a.m. sharp at the Belgrade city park. 

There's a long, long list of activities this weekend...you can see the full run down across this week's 12-page issue of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper. AND! For your convenience, you can see the B-B-E community calendar online at the following link: https://bit.ly/2NZwnSA.

There's no reason not to know what's happening across the Bonanza Valley!

I just noticed an interesting headline...Arizona, population 7.2 million, has recently surpassed the 3 million mark for vaccinations to COVID-19. Today, Governor Doug Ducey relaxed a long list of COVID-19 guidelines for the state. Minnesota lags significantly behind Arizona, with approximately 1.6 million people having at least one shot of a vaccine. Our population is 5.64 million (21 % less people).

**Update: the fish fry was a HUGE success!

More to come in a new blog post.

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State tournament notes: wrestling and girls' basketball

The individual state wrestling tournament runs tomorrow at St. Michael-Albertville high school.

For the girls' basketball team, their state tournament game is likely next Tuesday. There will be no solid information on the schedule until tomorrow morning.

There's a good case that could be made for West Central Area to be seeded No. 3 in the north half of the state tournament. In that case, the Section 8A winner would be the No. 4 seed. Tonight's game looms large in that case, and I'm gonna try digging up the video player for that championship game in Thief River Falls.

That's all I know now, I'll get more posted soon.

Here's video featuring about the last four minutes of Wednesday's sub-section championship game at Nevis:


More to come.

*Don't forget! Tonight is FISH FRY night! The Knights of Columbus are serving at the KaDe Shack from 5 to 8:30 p.m.! It's GOOD! Bring the family!
 


THIS JAGUAR SPORTS BLOG POST SPONSORED BY:


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Thursday, March 25, 2021

STEP IV: IT'S A REPEAT! Back-to-back! (VIDEO ADDED)

Well, that was FUN! FINAL SCORE: B-B-E 94, Swanville 35. The Jaguars are heading BACK TO STATE!

The Jaguars gather briefly for a quick team photo after winning tonight for back-to-back Section 5A championships.

The No. 4-ranked B-B-E Jaguars girls' basketball team has repeated as section champions! They are heading to the state tournament! B-B-E shot out to a 20-0 lead after six minutes of the game went by. Swanville knocked down a three-pointer right at the 12-minute mark for their first points. B-B-E led 60-18 at halftime. Once the final horn sounded, a total of 14 Jaguars found the scoring column. Abby Berge led the Jaguars with 23 points. She also had nine of B-B-E's 23 steals.

 

The Class 1A state quarterfinals will take place at various locations across Minnesota on Tuesday, March 30 and Wednesday, March 31. According to what I'm reading on the MSHSL website, the teams in Class 1A will be ranked in two separate groups: the four "north" teams and the four "south" teams. I have a hunch this means Sections 5 through 8 will be the north teams. If that's the case, the Jaguars are all but a lock on the No. 1 seed in their half of the eight teams.

That's all I know at this point. Not one bit of rest whatsoever until after that game! Now it's game on! 


The post-game dogpile...that kinda got away from them! No one got hurt!


Uploading more video now. *AND FOR THE RECORD! The live stream that was shot by Minnewaska's broadcasting team has a total of 1,174 views at this point, not quite two hours after the game was over. They broadcast the game in a very nice 1080p HD quality. Props!

Swanville finishes the season 12-10 overall. This is the second time in three years that B-B-E and Swanville have played one another in a championship game. Two years ago, Swanville finished 21-4 for their best season in school history while finishing as runners-up in Sub-Section 5A-West to the Jaguars, who ended Swanville's season with a 66-52 win.

**And here's an exciting clip shot late in the second half tonight:


Senior Jozey Goodall sinks a rebound shot on the left block and is fouled. I was blocked out by the referee at that point when she was at the free throw line. The bucket gave B-B-E an 88-33 lead over Swanville with just over three minutes to go. What exciting reactions by the bench! 

**Here's a 21-minute long video featuring some of the pre-game, the tip-off and then the opening minutes of the first half:


The tip-off takes place just shy of the 7:00 mark in the video.


Section champions so far in Class 1A! (Seven of eight)
Section 1: Houston
Section 2: Sleepy Eye St. Mary's
Section 3: Minneota
Section 4: Mayer Lutheran
Section 5: B-B-E!
Section 6: West Central Area
Section 7: Mountain Iron-Buhl (18-4 overall record)
Section 8: to-be-determined tomorrow night (Friday).

The No. 2 seed in the east half of Section 8A, Cass Lake-Bena, will take on the No. 1 seed in the west half of that section, Stephen-Argyle Central. That section title game is tomorrow (Friday) at 7 p.m. at the REA in Thief River Falls. According to the QRF, CL-B is rated No. 10 in Class 1A, while Stephen-Argyle Central is ranked No. 11.

Other game notes from other northern sections in Minnesota...
Up in Section 6A...West Central Area has qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1998 with a 64-53 win over once-beaten Henning. WCA, 17-5 overall, has now won 12 of their last 13 games. The Knights just squeezed past No. 1-seeded Hancock in the sub-section championship at Hancock on Tuesday this week. Tonight at Fergus Falls high school, the WCA Knights played an inspired brand of basketball to prevent Henning from a repeat trip to state. In the win over Hancock, WCA's Lexi Bright's layup in the final minute gave her team the lead for good. She finished with 11 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals. WCA was led that night by an eighth grade guard, Macy Grosz, who scored 15 points while making four of her five three-point shots. Henning, the No. 5-ranked team in the QRF scale and No. 2 in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll, was riding a 19-game winning streak coming into tonight.

To northwest Minnesota in Section 7A...Mountain Iron-Buhl appears very solid. They avenged an earlier-season loss to Cherry with a 60-28 win tonight in the Section 7A title game. Cherry had defeated the Rangers in a game played at MIB's high school on February 4 by a 53-49 score. At that point, MIB had a 4-2 record. Since then, MIB has gone 14-2 and has a six-game winning streak heading into state.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict that B-B-E is a No. 1 seed in the northern group, with Mountain Iron-Buhl the No. 2 seed. Then you'd get the Section 8A winner as the No. 3 seed, and West Central Area the No. 4 seed. This gives us WCA as the state quarterfinal opponent, and I'd definitely lobby for a game at Alexandria Area high school! (Or better yet...St. Cloud State University...but that's all beyond my reach)

That leaves Section 8A...and there's no point to scout either of those teams left standing until we have a winner tomorrow night.

   

THANK YOU BONANZA VALLEY STATE BANK FOR THE EXTRA FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THIS NEWSPAPER'S ONE-MAN SPORTS DEPARTMENT!



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SECTION FINALS! Jaguars vs. Bulldogs (WITH VIDEO)

It's section finals night! We are READY TO GO! *Remember: the game is on both local radio stations, and you can also view it via the Minnewaska broadcasting page (LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIfUoPl1MuE.)

Updates to follow.

With 14:25 left in the first half, the Jaguars have an initial 8-0 lead. Swanville has called their first timeout of the game.

**UPDATE: we still have five minutes left in the first half, and the Jaguars have a 41-11 lead.

Halftime: B-B-E 60, Swanville 18.


Here's video from the first half:


More updates to follow. (In a new blog post)

We won't know concrete information on "state" until tomorrow.

I'm packing up! Time to head home and then get back online.

Back in the saddle at the office, but I've got about 108 things to do right now. I have a list with seven of the eight teams who will compete in the Class 1A state tournament written up. This is a wrap for this blog post.

More to come in a new post!


THANK YOU BONANZA VALLEY STATE BANK FOR THE EXTRA FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THIS NEWSPAPER'S ONE-MAN SPORTS DEPARTMENT!



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Radio coverage tonight and more (VIDEO)

You can catch the game tonight at both local radio stations: Smooth Magic 107 FM (linked there) of Glenwood as well as 106.5 FM The Train (linked there) of Norway Lake/Sunburg. The Smooth Magic website has an audio player button embedded right at the top of their homepage. It's very simple to open up and then click "play" on the audio player that loads either in a pop-up or in a new web browser. Also, for The Train, they have an audio player link towards the top of their homepage.

Also, here's the link to view the Minnewaska Area school broadcasting page..click here on LIVE STREAM LINK

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. tonight at Minnewaska Area high school in rural Starbuck.

More to come.

Here's video featuring the final four minutes and 43 seconds of the first half of last night's boys' basketball subsection championship game at Nevis high school:


It's not perfect video in the sense that I was able to train the camera on all the action. I was running the videocamera while shooting action photos on my SLR camera and writing game notes on my notepad. But you at least get a feel for the game. 

GAME UPDATES IN A NEW BLOG POST




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SO...CLOSE...to ZERO

So close to zero! Just not quite...Today the Belgrade zip code reported two new "cases" of COVID-19, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Brooten, zero! And Elrosa, zero!

I'm beginning to lose track in my head of which weeks Brooten has reported any new "cases" of COVID-19. That list is very short for the calendar year 2021.

The last weekly report released by the MDH that showed any new COVID "cases" for the Brooten zip code population (1,466 people) was in the March 4 report. I learned that in both of those cases, the individuals were asymptomatic beyond one individual thinking they had lost their sense of taste for a couple days.

It's been many, many weeks since the Brooten zip code area of 56316 has reported symptomatic cases of COVID-19. I looked back to the January 14, 2021 report, and at that time, the Brooten zip code had a listing of 114 cumulative cases over the previous 12-month period. Today that number is 123. 

Without taking the time to look specifically, I believe the third week of January saw four new COVID "cases" reported for 56316.

So over the period of January 14 to the February 25, the zip code area of Brooten (population 1,466) climbed from 114 to 121 cases...that's a six-week period with just seven new cases. Going from February 25 to March 25 (a four-week period), and the Brooten zip code has just two new cases. Adding it all up, that's nine new cases across a 10-week period dating back to January 14! AND at least two of the nine cases were asymptomatic.

In the same period, the zip code area of Belgrade has climbed from 221 cases to 254 cases from January 14 through March 25. 

The Elrosa zip code area has not had any COVID-19 cases since the middle of December. Wow!

To summarize, new COVID-19 case increases by zip code since January 14, 2021:
Brooten zip code: 9
Belgrade zip code: 33
Elrosa zip code: zero!

From the top: 10 weeks, population of approximately 4,285 with new case count growth of 42. ALL IN THE HEART OF WINTER, NO LESS! In the heart of winter and certainly what we can consider the belly of the beast for the traditional influenza season.

The state overall reported a higher-than-usual number of new COVID-19 "cases", and Hennepin County saw a large increase with 340 as their number for today. The state had a strong testing volume of 40,859 tests. 

*Update: I'll get back to sports in a new blog post.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Step III: subsection finals closing out (VIDEO)

We are closing out on the sub-section championship game at Nevis high school. With 41 seconds left, the Tigers connected on two bonus free throws to push their lead to 57-46. Then with 26 seconds left, Ryan Schwinghammer hit a shot at point blank range in the lane to cut it to a nine-point game.

More to come.

And with 18 seconds left, the Tigers got two more bonus free throws for a 59-48 lead. B-B-E quickly got down court, and Schwinghammer put the book end on this game with a baseline shot with six seconds left.

Final score: No. 1-seeded Nevis 59, No. 2-seeded B-B-E 50. The Jaguars finish another excellent season on the court! They went 16-5 this winter. The runner-up finishes in the conference and sub-section are both tough to swallow but also something they can look back on and be proud of. Hurting the Jaguars tonight was 0-for-9 three-point shooting. That itself made it very difficult to counter the Nevis attack. Freshmen Luke Dingmann led the Jaguars with 17 points, including a stellar five-for-five performance at the free throw line. The Jaguars missed just one of 11 free throw attempts in the game. Also in double figures was Ryan Schwinghammer with 12 points. Rounding out the scoring for B-B-E: Kaden Pieper 9, Will VanBeck 6, Gavin Kampsen 4, Peyton Winter 2.

B-B-E has now played in the sub-section championship game six out of the last seven seasons (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). That's incredible! Very few teams can say that.

More to come.

**Here's a seven-minute video clip shot during the opening stage of the first half tonight:


More to come later tonight! It is time to point the ol' 2006 minivan south!!!! 

We are extremely proud of this team!!!

**Update from Clarissa at a pit stop... the Upsala Cardinals defeated Barnum 66-56 tonight in the East subsection final. Upsala, the second seed in the east half of Section 5A, plays Nevis in the section title game on Friday night this week at Wadena-Deer Creek high school.

Nevis, co-champions of the Northland Conference with Cass Lake-Bena, takes a 19-2 record into the section finals. Upsala is 15-6.

Nevis was playing in their fifth straight sub-section championship game. They lost in the subsection semifinals in 2016, but every year since they've advanced to the finals. They went to state in 2016-2017 but went 0-2 at the big show. Cromwell-Wright beat them in the subsection finals in 2018 and 2019.

I saw that Sauk Centre's season ended tonight in the Section 6AA semifinals...Coach Kuefler's Mainstreeters lost to a high-octane Annandale team 61-30. He and his team should be very proud of their play down the season stretch, as they won five of six games going into playoffs. The section quarterfinal 53-50 win at Mora was certainly a highlight of the season. Sauk Centre finished 12-9 overall.

Area boys' basketball playoff scores on March 24:
Minneapolis North 60, Litchfield 38
Glencoe-Silver Lake 92, Jordan 81
Hancock 46, West Central Area 40 OT (the Pheasant Conference co-champions squared off in an epic battle at the Owls' gym)
Mahnomen/Waubun 75, New York Mills 72
Upsala 66, Barnum 56
Perham 55, Barnesville 40
Fergus Falls 61, Warroad 38
Melrose Area 64, Albany 61 (What a tremendous border battle in Section 6AA!))
Annandale 61, Sauk Centre 30




THANK YOU again to Bonanza Valley State Bank for being a premier supporter of the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper's Jaguar Sports extended playoff coverage! BVSB of Brooten stepped up and provided extra advertising in the March 25 issue of our newspaper. This brought us two extra pages of color! We added color photos featuring the girls' basketball team, including a poster-sized reprint of our team photo.


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Game updates

With under 10 minutes to go, Nevis is ahead 12 to 11.

Update: with 5:36 on the clock, Luke Dingman sliced his way through traffic for a right-side layup to put the Jaguars ahead 21-20.

Halftime: Nevis 27, B-B-E 23. Luke Dingman is leading the Jaguars at the break with 10 points. Gavin Kampsen and Ryan Schwinghammer have four points each.

More to come.

I do not have a video player, can't find it...I'm doing my best to record the game! I've got some good clips so far from the first half.

The second half is starting at 19:35 sharp!!!

UPDATE: with 15:46 left in the second half, the Tigers have opened up a 34-23 lead.

**With 10 minutes left in the second half, the Tigers are ahead 40-32.

UPDATE: with 3:13 left, the Tigers are ahead 53-42.

Update: with 1:08 to go, the Tigers have a 55-46 lead.

More updates in a new blog post. ****


THANK YOU BONANZA VALLEY STATE BANK FOR THE EXTRA FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THIS NEWSPAPER'S ONE-MAN SPORTS DEPARTMENT!



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Live video player (link) AND radio!

****Game updates in a new post.

This is the best I can come up with for now...it's the link to the Nevis high school broadcasting page that includes videos for basketball. I am guessing a live video player will be posted later today.

Click on this short link to find that: https://bit.ly/3lPeYZ2.

More to come.

And I don't want the basketball excitement to overshadow that we have four B-B-E Jaguar wrestlers who will compete in the State Finals on Saturday! This is awesome! You can read more about that in this week's Bonanza Valley Voice. I hope tonight to get a web article posted on my newspaper website's sports section.

Below, here's video from Saturday's Super Section 5A/6A tournament in Long Prairie:


The video includes action with Maximus Hanson (152) and Dylan Kampsen (160)...here we see Kampsen's fine wrestling career come to a close.

Time to pack up for the two-hour trek to Nevis!!!

**Update: you can listen to tonight's game on Smooth Magic 107 FM of Glenwood. Brady is making the trip. If you find their website, they have a very nice audio player that you can use. It's very simple and is easy to use even on a smartphone.





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(VIDEO) Tip-off and more in the subsection finals



Here's video from last night, starting with the playing of the National Anthem:


Searching for the live video feed for tonight's game now! 




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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Step III: an incredible overtime win! Jaguar girls advance!

The B-B-E Jaguars girls' basketball team won!

56-46 in overtime! I've updated the previous blog post with a few second-half game notes.

It's a FIVE-PEAT!!! Yes, that's right! Five straight sub-section titles!

Pine River-Backus played head-and-shoulders above their No. 3 seed and 12-8 record they held coming into tonight's contest. They traded punches the entire game for 40 minutes of superb basketball.

Next: the Jaguars (20-1) face Swanville in the Section 5A championship game. The game is Thursday this week at a site to-be-determined. I'll get the site confirmed and update this blog post right here in this paragraph.

**AND the site is Minnewaska Area high school! Just up the road at our neighbors to the east!

The Section 5A championship game will be on Thursday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at Minnewaska high school in rural Starbuck. B-B-E faces Swanville, the No. 3 seed out of the east half of the section. I am expecting we'll be able to get more fans at that game than what we are limited to in our home gym. 

Unofficially, Minnewaska's gym seats upwards of 1,500. The gathering is capped at 250, however, but half of 250 is still more than what we have been able to have at our home games during the playoffs.

**Here's video featuring what I believe is the last six minutes or so of the second half. The Tigers tied the game with 53 seconds to go in regulation:


This clip, which lasts over 18 minutes, started with the Jaguars holding a 37-35 lead. Allisa Knight scored on the left block in heavy traffic. It was a huge, clutch shot!

In the other half of Section 5A tonight...
Swanville defeated Hinckley-Finlayson 59-50 in the Sub-Section 5A-East title game tonight. The Bulldogs (12-9) are certainly playing inspired basketball right now with three straight playoff wins on the heels of losing their three last regular season games.

Hinckley-Finlayson, who handed top-seeded and defending champion Ogilvie a 60-52 loss in the semifinals, finishes their season with a 10-11 record.

More to come.

West Central Area ended Hancock's dream season with a 50-49 upset win in the Sub-Section 6A-South finals tonight. The Knights are the No. 3 seed, while the previously-undefeated Owls were the top seed. Hancock finishes their best season in girls' basketball since 2010-2011 with an 18-1 record.

I also saw that Sauk Centre ended Kimball Area's postseason run with a 64-29 win over the Cubs in the Section 6AA Final Four round (semifinals). The Mainstreeters (18-3) now have a date with top-seeded Albany for a state tournament berth; they square off with the Huskies on Thursday this week at Albany.

More to come much later. Time to knock down some trees and print more pages this week!



A HUGE, HUGE THANK YOU TO BONANZA VALLEY STATE BANK, and to FEED CO.!! For being premier sponsors of the newspaper's Jaguar Sports playoff coverage this season! We are in the thick of playoffs, and we couldn't do it without the loyal locally-owned business support that we're getting.



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Subsection finals! Updates

It's sub-section championship night in Jaguar Country!

At halftime: Pine River-Backus 24, B-B-E 23. The Tigers were two-for-three at the free throw line in the first half. They had an unofficial total of four turnovers, and leading scorers were senior guard Riley Hirschey with eight points, senior guard Olivia Adkins with eight points and sophomore center Ramsey Tulenchik with six points.

For B-B-E in the first half: Josie Knutson was leading scorer in the first half with nine points. Allisa Knight had five points, and Liz French had four points off the bench. The Jaguars made just two of seven free throw shots in the opening half and had an unofficial turnover total of five.

We've had an outstanding game so far, and the defense by both teams has really set the tone.

OVERTIME! We go to an extra session with the game tied at 44-44. 

The second half was neck-and-neck with a handful of lead changes until B-B-E gained a two-possession lead for the first time with seven minutes to go. At that point, Abbe Berge scored on a layup for a 37-32 lead. The Jaguars gained a 43-37 lead on another layup by Berge with 2:56 left.

The Tigers then knotted it up at 44-44 when Hirschey scored on a right-side layup with 53 seconds left in regulation play.

More to follow in a new blog post, with video and other information after the game is complete.






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(LIVE VIDEO) Girls' basketball subsection finals



Here's the live video player for tonight's playoff game:


The B-B-E Jaguars girls' basketball team (19-1) hosts Pine River-Backus (12-8) in the Sub-Section 5A-West championship game. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Area girls' basketball playoff scores on March 22:
Minneota 68, Lac qui Parle Valley 49 (LQPV finishes 15-5; they were Camden North Conference champions with an 11-4 record, one game better than runner-up MACCRAY; Minneota is 21-0 and faces Southwest MN Christian of Edgerton in the section finals on Thursday)
New London-Spicer 70, Litchfield 45
Southwest MN Christian 61, Hills-Beaver Creek 54
Redwood Valley 67, Windom Area 47

In the Section 3AA championship this Thursday night at Montevideo high school, the 20-0 NL-S Wildcats will face the 12-8 Cardinals for a state tournament berth.

GAME UPDATES IN A NEW BLOG POST !!!!!!!!!!!!





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Monday, March 22, 2021

The Chippewa River

Or to be more specific...the "Little Chippewa" River...this river runs through Pope County just east of Sedan and then south in winding fashion towards Terrace. Once upon a time, along this river, Adolph Hauge and others farmed and raised their families. As the winter of 1966-1967 was winding down, the Yvo and Trudy Jenniges family settled down near the Chippewa River as well with their eight children at the time. Yvo was on his way to establishing a dream of a full-fledged cattle ranch. Four years later, they settled down on a 280-acre spread near Lake Linka in Gilchrist Township. The rest is very, very rich history.

While I never had the pleasure of meeting Adolph before he passed away in 1995, I know he was a special man, because he was married to a very special woman. Adolph's wife was known as Mrs. Hauge to me, my kindergarten teacher. Not only my kindergarten teacher, but a teacher to many others at Brooten elementary school. She taught there starting the day it opened in the fall of 1964 and provided 28 faithful years of dedicated service before retirement in 1992. Unfortunately, she and Adolph had just three years of her post-teaching retirement to enjoy before he died. I do know that their marriage of 35 years was a wonderful marriage. They are both deeply missed.

Today, stories including Adolph flowed to the surface as the children of Yvo Jenniges remembered his life and the parts of their lives they lived while growing up in eastern Pope County in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Adolph was a small dairy farmer, while Yvo was a well-known and well-loved cattle rancher who was deeply passionate about the rural way of life. They were very good friends over the years. 

I had the extreme good fortunate of attending Yvo's funeral today in Glenwood. Taking in his funeral was both incredibly sad but also an incredible blessing for me. 

It's hard to put into words proper descriptions of his amazing life. As one of his kids said to me last week, "Heaven is getting a good one."

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

(VIDEO) Playoff action


Here's a video clip with the final minute of the girls' basketball team's subsection semifinal game on Friday:


More to come.

Sub-Section 5A-East playoff scores on March 20:
Barnum 73, St. John's Prep 34
Upsala 62, Braham 57

Area boys' basketball playoff scores on March 20:
Mahnomen/Waubun 64, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 58
Albany 58, Eden Valley-Watkins 57
West Central Area 61, Ashby 38
Hancock 56, Parkers Prairie 48
Sauk Centre 53, Mora 50 (Coach Kuefler's Mainstreeters are the No. 10 seed; they defeated the No. 2 seeded Mustangs - great job! Mora lost just once this season before losing yesterday)
Annandale 67, Osakis 63
Providence Academy 62, Rockford Area 50
Litchfield 71, Maranatha Christian 61
Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 65, New London-Spicer 57
Redwood Valley 74, Paynesville Area 64




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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Step II: boys' basketball team heads to the finals, wrestlers advance to state

The B-B-E Jaguars boys' basketball team won 69-38 today against Verndale. Kaden Pieper led the Jaguars with 18 points, including 14 points in the first half. Two other Jaguars were in double figures with 11 points each: Ryan Schwinghammer and Ashton Dingmann. They take a 16-4 record into the Sub-Section 5A-West championship game. 

This marks the fourth year in a row that both the B-B-E boys' and girls' basketball teams will play in a championship playoff game.

*NEXT: the Jaguars travel to Nevis high school on Wednesday, March 24 for a 7 p.m. game.

More to come.

Here's the first video I shot this afternoon:


The video starts with Ryan Jensen beginning his 120-pound championship match in the 120-pound division. His match wraps up at the 6:49 mark on the video clip. Following his match, Walker Bents takes the mat in the 126-pound title match.

Here's video from the third-place match at 195 pounds...featuring Carson Gilbert battling to keep his season alive:


Wrestling results from the Section 5A/6A state preliminary matches:
- At 120 pounds, Ryan Jensen advances to next week with a first-place finish by virtue of a win by a 9-2 decision in the finals.
-At 126 pounds, Walker Bents advances to next week with a first-place finish by virtue of a win by an 8-1 decision in the finals.
-At 145 pounds, Blaine Fischer advances to next week with a first-place finish with a win by pin (1:07).

Yet to be decided: true second matches at 138 and 152 pounds. Still in contention are Tyler Jensen and Maximus Hanson.

***Update: Tyler Jensen punched his ticket with a win by a 3-0 decision in the true second match.

At 152 pounds, Maximus Hanson lost a heartbreaker by a 9-5 decision. His freshmen season is a wrap.







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