Sunday Round Up
The men of Basketball had the first of two Cali contests against UC Santa Barbara. It was unquestionably the easier of the two showdowns, but that means that they may be in for a humbling Monday night in Southern Cal when they take on the number 10 ranked team in the country. As far game number one seemed to go, there wasn't all bad news. Paul Miller showed that he's ready to roll and of the ten men to see time, four got into double figures and seven of the ten scored. But that's just box score chasing, the bottom line is that they weren't on par with UCSB and fell by 19 when it was all said and done. And like I already said, that doesn't bode well for tomorrow night against USC. However that one goes, they'll have to shake em off as they head out to Springfield, Missouri for a Friday night against Missouri State.
Meanwhile, the Volleyball team looks to finish the regular season strong. That started on Friday in Macomb and they were up to the challenge, taking the match 3 - 1. The close out continues today as they traveled to Omaha for the finale. That one went the same way as Friday's night and they continued their winning ways. Now comes the trip Denver to find out which team gets to claim the title of tournament champion next weekend!
And lastly about the Bison, the ladies basketball team also has a pair of games this weekend, though of a drastically different level then counterparts. First came against Mayville State on Friday and they handled it with aplomb. The second of the two features a visit by NJIT. That may actually be a bigger jump in talent differential then the men are about to face but the lady ballers managed to hang 105 on the tech heads so I can't say that with much confidence. They're off until Friday at which time they UMass and then VCSU on Sunday. So it's safe to say that the two halves of the basketball program are taking very different approaches. As long as one or both are set for title game run in early March, I will give full approval!
The gelling pains are continuing. After winning five in a row, they've lost two in a row. Getting downed by the champs wasn't anything unusual. Going down by 24 when they were lacking Durant was a troubling final though. Then they take the short flight to Phoenix and drop as close to a gimme as they will have this season - again. So playing down to their competition seems to be a developing issue with the team through the early part of the season. Bouncing back against the Jazz tomorrow will be key but even more then that, a win on Wednesday when San Antonio comes north will be big. The only conclusion I'm comfortable with is that they're still not ready to compete and that's a bad note with all the talent they have but shouldn't be a surprise at this point either.
HS Football Playoff Wrap
The lone survivor on the Minnesota side of the coverage area was Barnesville. After breaking through against Hawley, they travelled to Alexandria to face Paynesville. Making it to the state tournament level is a great accomplishment in and of itself. Having the chance to go one step further and reach US Bank would have been like frosting on that cake. Unfortunately, things didn't go Barnesville's way as they were eliminated by Paynesville, 58 - 33.
But as the Trojans awoke, travelled and got ready to compete the Dakota Bowl was going off at the Fargo Dome. It got under way as Shiloh Christian took on the first of the "local" teams Wyndmere-Lidgerwood. The Warbirds of W-L rolled the Skyhawks 60 - 26 powered by a six touchdown performance by Luke Foertsch. And that was just first game of the day!
Next on the schedule was the Class A championship between Hillsboro/Central Valley & Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich. Each team had thoroughly routed all foes on the way to the championship but their offenses each ceded to the other's defense ultimately resulting in a 16 - 14 final with the Boro's coming out on top in the day's narrowest margin.
Then came the time for actual residents of Fargo to get into the action. The first of that lot came by way of the latest chapter of the catholics bowl. Shanley managed to beat St. Mary's in September at Bismarck's Community Bowl but as happens with rematches, the defeated is able to correct issues and expose them in their opponents. It can't hurt that the Saints have won four of the last five championships! By the time Shanley got on the board, they were down a pair of touchdowns and they didn't score again until time had all but run out. Thus they fell 31 to 12.
And finally there was the presumptive champions of Class AAA (West Fargo) versus Minot. They handled every challenger this year on the way to a perfect record and the fact that Bismarck gave them a close call in the semi-final may have been the deciding factor of the championship. Whether or not that's true, what isn't disputable is that the high powered offense from the west side unleashed all of it's dimensions against the Magicians. Which put the final tally in favor of West Fargo, 56 - 28.