Mustangs Run Together
Rounding out the year of high school basketball, I crossed the last locale in the area off the list last night in a visit to West Fargo Sheyenne. Getting to see a team that I otherwise would not see was a bonus to that. The game was not the most important part of the evening though. As I entered the facilities I saw several signs & a fundraising table but didn't know the cause behind it. During the game it was announced by the PA that a freshman in the school system had been diagnosed with Leukemia and was under going treatment.
For all you visual people out there, I just wanted to lay out as clearly as I could the chasm of difference between sports & life.
Sports can be a great distraction from so many terrible that things happen on a seemingly daily basis in the world. But for anyone who wants a game to take precedent over the life of person, shut the computer or phone or whatever device you're using and go reevaluate your life.
It's not even close. Never should be considered that way either. Ever.
I'm boxing myself up because I was there for the game. I wasn't there to support a kid and his family. Didn't have the faintest idea that it was happening. But I would be a Hitlerian type if I ignored it and just talked about the game. That's as good of a job as I can do of transitioning to the game.
Sheyenne showed up from the tip & didn't leave much to debate. After the first six minutes had played out the Mustangs were up 16 to 4. At halftime they were up by even more. Their leading scorer in the first half was #3 Josh Thiele. #3 is fitting because he came out of nowhere and put up 11 points in very rapid fashion, including 3 straights 3's. He was colder in the latter half but #42 Carter Bonnema & #15 Chase Erickson picked up the slack admirably.
Devils Lake didn't throw in the towel til the clock was practically at zero. #0 & #42 were the key cogs in the Firebirds operation. Jacob Mertens lead all scorers in the game & Hunter Fee went from an opher in the first half to a nine point second half. It was the rest of the rosters that spelled the difference for the two teams.
The Mustangs got contributions from seven different players while the Birds were held to five, with the aforementioned players accounting for over 60% of the teams offense. #55 Jagger Miller chipped in with another 8 points or 15% of the offense. 75% of scoring by three guys may work in the NBA or at different times but on Thursday night in South West Fargo it was not enough.
This late in the season adjustments are unlikely to be achieved. That's okay for Sheyenne who showed that if they can get hot from deep they'll be hard to beat. It's not as good of news for the lads from the Lake.
I just hope that each of the players are able to stay healthy during the ensuing playoff run, whether each of them is able to make it state or not.
I'll finish how I started. The player of the game is the young man doing all he can to live the years of life that so recently seemed like a given. A fight to survive. One of the oldest stories there is and yet it continues to be the most significant story that can be told or recognized.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to recall his name, I didn't write it down and I couldn't find it on the web. If you see this and know his or the families name, please let me know!