by Nicole Heberling Following the Moose's 7-1 win against Becker-Big Lake, they traveled to take on the second-seeded Brainerd Warriors. The section quarterfinal game was Tuesday evening at Brainerd's home arena. As is every playoff game, this game was crucial in that a loss would signal an end to the season, but a win would be an advancement to the section semifinals. Having played the Warriors earlier in the season, the Moose knew that they needed to match the Warriors' speed and physical play in order to stay in the game and prevent a loss. More information and stats appears in this week's Messenger.
It’s been a long February for the Irish boys basketball team, as they have lost several games in a row, many of which were just a few shots short of victory. Tuesday, the Irish traveled to Holdingford to, hopefully, come away with a much-needed conference win against a team they had beaten earlier this season 62-53. They had an opportunity to get a win and move on with confidence, but fell 78-67. The Irish had to play a smarter, not harder, game on offense to ensure they got high-quality shots. The shots just haven’t fallen for the Irish lately, but even more concerning might be the fact that defensively they had given up 70 or more points in their last two games. Early in the first half things were not looking up for the Irish, as the Huskers came out in control. Digging themselves into a 17-point hole, the Irish had to scratch and claw their way back into a reasonable margin.
The Maple Lake girls traveled to Milaca Tuesday night for their final nonconference game. They started quickly by capitalizing on steals and scoring in transition. The first 10 minutes of the game favored the Irish who jumped out to a 23-8 lead, thanks in part to the play of Shelby Rachel, who scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half. Milaca began to turn the tide and cut the Irish lead to 11 by halftime, leaving the score 34-23. The second half started considerably slower for the Irish, who struggled to score. The lead at one point was cut to 39-31, with five minutes into the second half. From there, the Irish put the pedal to the floor and gradually extended their lead back to 15 points with about six minutes to play. Maple Lake cruised to the victory on the road with a final score of 55-45. More information and stats appears in this week's Messenger.
The Irish had the task of playing on the road for their first round playoff game, which took place Thursday night at Foley. The Irish came ready to play with a lot of momentum and excitement in hopes to upset the Falcons. In playoffs there are no practice games; either they won and continued their season, or they lost and the season would end. On this night, they won 79-73. The first half was back and forth between the two teams almost every possession. Foley scored the first two baskets of the game before Donnie Mavencamp hit a three-pointer to get the Irish on the board. Both teams played well in the first half, not letting either team run away with the game. The Irish offensively managed to get a few easy layup opportunities along with some clutch three-point shots. They also willed their way to the free-throw line and shot a perfect 7/7 in the first half. Defensively, they allowed Foley to shoot pretty well at 59 percent, but they didn’t give up a lot at a time.
Wednesday, May 29, was, for a majority of athletes, the last meet for the 2013 track season. For one individual, Isaac Kotila advancing in shotput, and the boys 4x200 meter relay team consisting of Cody Bakka, Dusty Strub, Neal Wagner and Drew Hanson, they would get to compete at the state meet the following week June 7 and 8. At the Section meet, the top two individuals and top two relay teams advance to the state meet. The boys team placed second overall with 75 points, with the Foley team ahead of them with 101 points. “The boys really came to compete. Their second-place finish was highest ever, even above last year's third place finish,” coach Ben Youngs said. “The 75 points they earned was amazing, especially considering we only had one first- and one second-place finish. Again, that shows our depth. School records that fell were: boys 4x800 (Danny Becker, Evan Hertwig, Greg Dorow, Ryan Kalinowski), 800 meters (Ryan Kalinowski), and shot put (Isaac Kotila).
Both the boys and the girls had their section meets at Pebble Creek on Thursday, May 30. The girls’ tee time was in the morning around 9 a.m. The weather was a bipolar mix of rain and sunshine. The temperamental weather didn’t stop two of the girls golfers from advancing to the second round of sections. The cutoff for the girls was 101. Tabitha Latzig and Vienna Jude both made the cut. Latzig’s score was 96 and Jude had a 98. The boys golfers were luckier with weather, less fortunate with scores. The boys had an afternoon tee time. By then, the weather had mellowed out and it was sunny for the rest of the day. The boys did better than the girls but their cutoff was 86. Aiden Jude missed the cut by one stroke. He had an 87. Jason Pomije missed the cut by three strokes. The two girls move on to the second round of sections, which took place on Monday, June 3. The two golfers from Maple Lake who made it to the second round definitely had better scores than in the first round.
The Maple Lake Irish were back in action in the subsection playoffs. After eliminating the Zimmerman Thunder, the Irish had no time to celebrate before they took to the road to play number-one seeded Dassel-Cokato at Delano. The Irish knew they were going to have to play a near perfect game to compete with Dassel-Cokato. The Irish did just that. With the help of a couple of Dassel-Cokato fielding errors, Maple Lake jumped out to an early 4-0 lead by the end of their half of the first inning. The real show began when senior Donnie Mavencamp took the mound to start what would end up being a dominating performance. With the Irish defense playing as solid as they have all year, Mavencamp was able to settle in and throw strikes. Mavencamp pitched flawlessly until the fifth inning when Dassel-Cokato strung together some hits and tied the game 4-4. Undeterred, the Maple Lake offense caught fire again, opening up a three-run lead.
The Irish boys golfers had their final meet at Rockford on Thursday, May 23. Like the girls they took home an All-Conference trophy as well. Jason Pomije was the All-Conference winner for the boys. Out of 35 golfers, he took ninth. His overall average was 43.8. His placement in the top 10 qualified him for All-Conference. Individual scores for the Irish at Thursday’s meet were: Jason Pomije, 43; Aiden Jude, 49; Jay Elsenpeter, 50; Jeremy Mills, 55; Cody Welch, 57; and John Treadwell with a 63. The Irish tied for fifth place at Rockford on Thursday. They tied with HLWW with a score of 197. Rockford took first with a score of 159, Osakis and Pierz tied with 175, BBE took fourth with a 190 and Kimball took last with an even 200 strokes. The last conference meet finalizes the team standings.
The Lakers dropped a heart-breaker 1-0 to Raymond to open play in the Stearns County Classic tournament at St. Martin on Saturday, June 1, but bounced back with two wins to end up fifth in the 8-team tournament. After the Raymond loss, the Lakers turned around and edged St. Martin 2-0 to qualify for a Sunday game. With a home run barrage, the Maple Lake pounded Lake Henry 14-8 on Sunday at Lake Henry. Raymond’s Rockets got the only run of the game in the first inning off starter and loser Jeremy Schmidt with a walk and two hits. Good Rockets’ pitching, cold weather, and two weeks of inaction due to poor spring weather all played their role in the Laker loss. Because of rain-outs, the Lakers hadn’t played since May 15. The Lakers threatened only in the second with Nate Johnson’s walk and Brian Redemske’s single, the only Laker hit. Sam Marsnik pitched an inning in relief. In the second game of the day, Ben Jungers limited St. Martin to four hits for a complete game win.
by Rachel Latour Intern On Saturday, May 18, the girls and boys teams were on the road at 7:30 a.m. to Stillwater to compete in the True Team State meet. Although the weather wasn’t ideal with the downpouring of rain for the first part of the meet, the Irish still battled through and had a fun-filled day, with the boys taking second and the girls placing sixth. The boys team just fell short to being back-to-back state champs as they lost to the Cotter team by 14.5 points. Coming in third place was Esko with 368, then Holdingford with 362.5, Luverne with 338.5, Blue Earth Area with 301, Pine Island with 277.5, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton with 241, and Crookston with 195. The 4x800 relay team, who took second to a tough Cotter team, broke the school record. Ryan Kalinowski had one of the best set of races as he dueled one of the top 800 runners in that race, had a solid open 800, then passed two other teams' anchor runners to win the 4x400 relay at the end.