BEYOND THE BOX: Learning on the fly, making the most of things, and old school basketball

Beyond the box is a weekly look back on three of the best moments from the last week of high school sports. As sports editor, I often finish a week of coverage and move right into the next week. This weekly column will give me a chance to look back on things to put it all in perspective.

WINSTED – I’ll be completely honest. This season has been one of the weirdest and unusual seasons I’ve ever covered. This is my sixth year with Herald Journal already and I’ve seen a lot of great things. I’ve never seen a season like this before.

One of the biggest reasons I love high school sports is the atmosphere. There’s nothing like walking into a high school gym and hearing the pep band play with the bleachers filled up. That’s just not happening this season for obvious reasons.

I understand that we can’t have full stands with people. I understand that we can’t have pep bands and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with prep sports. I just wish we could.

It’s been different this season, but I’m glad we have a season. I’m glad each day I can wake up and know that I’m going to be able to cover a game today or write a story. It’s what I love to do. It’s what I want to do.

With that being said, let’s take a look at what happened this past week.

Delano girls basketball team is a team to keep an eye on

Sadly, it took me this long to get my first look at the Delano girls basketball team in person.  I was impressed, to say the least.

Just like the girls hockey team across the street, the Tigers feature a roster with a lot of young talent. That bodes well for the future, but some impressive upperclassmen are leading the way right now.

As I watched Delano take on New Prague Tuesday night, I was impressed with how players like Louisa Stowman, Macki Deters, and company handled themselves. The Tigers have three freshmen playing big minutes this season, and with that will come some growing pains and learning moments.

Even when it looked like Delano might let their lead slip away, there was never any panic. They worked together to get the win.

I talked with Stowman after the game and asked her what it’s like to play with younger girls. Her answer blew me away. I was expecting an answer along the lines of they need to learn things. Instead, she mentioned how important it is for everyone to learn. Not just the young girls.

“It’s definitely harder,” Stowman said about playing with younger girls. “They’re still learning. We’re still learning. We just have to learn to play as a team.”

If the Tigers continue that attitude, they will be a fun team to watch the rest of the season and beyond.

Bulldogs looking for another postseason run

There’s no coach in the area who tries to get his team ready for the postseason more than Lester Prairie’s Mike Lee. This year, it’s been even more of an emphasis.

The Bulldogs are without star and leading scorer Marissa Radtke currently who’s been out with an injury the past few weeks. While she’s expected to return later this season, it’s been a blessing in disguise for Lee and the Bulldogs.

With Radtke out, players like Taylor Ebert, Lizzy Anderson, and Addison Hoof have been challenged to take on more. Hoof has jumped into the starting lineup, while Ebert and Anderson have picked up the scoring and leadership in Radtke’s absence.

This stretch the Bulldogs are on now will only help them in the postseason. Then when you add Radtke back in the mix, Lester Prairie could be in for another exciting postseason run.

Mayer Lutheran’s twin towers are refreshing to watch

Anytime Mayer Lutheran and Lester Prairie meet in any sport, it’s one of my favorite events to cover. There’s nothing like a rivalry game. When these two meet, it’s always fun.

While Monday night’s game between the Crusaders and Bulldogs wasn’t as close as it might have expected to be, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way Mayer Lutheran played.

We’re in the day and age of everybody loving the three-point shot. That’s not what Mayer Lutheran did. The Crusaders had a clear size advantage inside and they took advantage.

In the matchup, Mayer Lutheran attempted just nine 3-pointers and still scored 83 points. How? They took the best shots instead of good shots.

The Crusaders shot 60 percent from the field in the win. They took just 16 shots outside of the paint and outscored the Bulldogs 60-20 in the paint.

Like I said, in the day and age where everyone wants to see 3-pointers, it was refreshing to see Teigan Martin and Isaac Hahn worked together inside with the high-low action. the high-low action happens to be one of my favorite styles/plays in basketball. When you can get two big men working together, it’s a lot of fun to see.

 

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter.

@Kovar_HJSports

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