Friends as Foes (Watch #2)
The ball was tossed in the air by the officials for the first of two varsity Basketball games between Park Christian and Hillcrest Academy on Saturday afternoon. It's not a rivalry in a traditional sense and it may be accurate to say that it's not a rivalry at all, but there's a special energy when the schools play each other. Whether it's for a Football win when both teams are winless (as this Fall featured) or more often in Basketball when they meet for one set of games per season. This time it was on campus in Moorhead and the gym was it's usual amount of full for the showdown between friendly foes.
So the ball was put into play and the competition was good. To my surprise, Hillcrest's girls managed to stick with the Falcons for most of the first quarter of play. But once they had settled in on offense, Park Christian turned up their pressure on defense. Before the halftime horn had sounded they had gotten both things working well enough to get a 19 point lead. After the break they kept pouring it on, eventually pushing their lead to 31 points. From there it was academic. Lead as they usually are by Karley Motschenbacher, the Falcons did allow a 21 point game by Olivia Foss of Hillcrest but 10 of their 31 total points came against deep bench players so that nice individual total was a little inflated.
The follow up game had a bit of a similar flavor. The Falcons jumped out to a multi-score lead a couple minutes into the game, which prompted a quick timeout by Comets head coach Greg Preston. Whatever he said to his boys over the pause got them sparked to play and in a couple possession they had gotten stops and scored the ball themselves to even it up. And the avalanche just kept going from there. Lead by Gabe Preston & Sander Frustol, Hillcrest held Park to 2 points while scoring 19 of their own. Frustol's 6'8" frame towered over all other players on the team, creating a clear advantage in the private school showdown. A couple blocks, a couple dunks and a bunch of rebounds helped the Comets run their lead up while Preston & Thomas Zwiers rounded out the double figure scorers for Hillcrest. The leading scorer for the home team was Tanner Brunsberg, whose 22 points also lead the way for all scoring by a comfortable margin. no other players in blue managed to score more than a three point shots worth of points to help keep it close. So by the second half and as time ticked away the lead for the boys from Fergus Falls expanded to 22.
So the Falcons & Comets split the pair, but then the friendliness showed up again. The usual handshake line was followed by a short time together at center court where the players put their arms around the other teams players in alternating fashion to listen to their coaches and share in a short time of prayer. Then came a meal time for players, family & fans of both schools. Friendly because their a different sort of family.
With each game including a team that could make some noise in the playoffs it was fun just for the sporting but the rest of it is what makes games between these two schools special in my opinion.
Players of the Games
Photos of the Games
For the galleries of each game, click the pics!