NDSU started the week with another sign of Spring inching closer as the men's Golf team resumed their schedule. The two-day joust ended with them having the sixth-best score of the 13 teams and the best final round of all. A couple of days later the Basketball teams played their penultimate game at the SHAC for the year. The Rabbits showed that they're still in the upper echelon of the conference with the 85 - 58 final while the men played another thriller but without the buzzer-beater for the visitors, 71 - 69 Bison. Tyson Ward's 24 led all scorers in that one and he wouldn't slow down on senior day. But before they closed out the regular-season schedule, a few of their fellow competitors got busy. Both the men and women continued their stranglehold on Track & Field supremacy. The diamond sports continued their snow-bird lives with Baseball in Port Charlotte, FL and Softball in Huntsville. The former still were victim to weather getting in the way of some of the scheduled time but they got in what they could. Each one finished with a mixed bag of results into March. As alluded to, the men's Basketball team made it two wins heading in the tournament by throttling Omaha 87 - 67. Ward added another 29 points and Jared Samuelson's stroke came alive as he went 7 - 9 from behind the arc to finish with 21 points. Vinnie Shahid added 20 as well in the sendoff. With the victories they secured the number one seed in Sioux Falls, a 6 pm date with Denver on Saturday. The women also went out on a high note, defeating Omaha 67 - 64 behind the three-headed-monster of Emily Dietz. Rylee Nudell & Sofija Zivaljevic with the last two being the honorees of the afternoon. They added 13 each while Dietz scored 17. Both Emily and Rylee also snared double-figures in rebounds to boot. Then, on the diamond, both the teams rebounded with a clean sweep of six-run victories. The Baseball team went 6 - 5 & 6 - 1 over St. Bonaventure while the Softball team closed out at Sam Houston with a 6 - 3 win. The common thread for all three, besides the winning digit, was that their pitching came through, and not just from the starters.
The latest of the players to put their talents to the test in Indianapolis was Derrek Tuszka and he showed that he's every bit as good as the big school players at his position. But don't just take my word for it!
While I remain in the camp of thought that the Dragon women will continue to be nationally relevant in the future, this week concluded a mostly disappointing season for them with an 82 - 77 loss in Winona. The men however hosted Wayne State and kept their season alive, 69 - 65 with another 21 points by their burgeoning star, Gavin Baumgartner. They took it to another level in the quarter-finals against Upper Iowa as Baumgartner and Johnny Beeninga led them to an 82 - 66 victory on Saturday. Elsewhere for Moorhead State, the Track team was at the conference championship with two distinct outcomes. Their Wrestlers were also in higher stakes competition, which finished with Braydon Ortloff qualifying for nationals. The Softball team was away from home for a quartet but to no avail, with each finishing with at least five-run margins. Which leaves the previously undefeated Tennis team as they started the week with a 7 - 0 record. Duluth came close to blemishing their record but they edged the dogs 4 - 3 a day after going 7 - 0 over St. Cloud St. to run their start to 9 - 0. Now they head to Hollywood for three goes more than a week from now.
Team Corn started the week with a final chance to one-up their conference foes by the Track & Field team. Moorhead's own Matt Bye repeated as Heptathlon champion of Minnesota. Even better though, his was just the first of the accomplishments made by the Cobbers men & women. While that was going on at the Johnnies, the Wrestling team was taking their shot at regionals but combined for a 6th place finish on Saturday. To end the month, the Baseball team split Grove City, 12 - 5 in a win and 6 - 3 in a loss. In the W, Max Boran went 3 - 4 with a homer and 4 RBIs. On the ice, the men's Hockey team kept their season alive with a 3 - 2 win over Augsburg, with a pair of goals by Parker Simonson. With the win, they secured a spot in the championship game on Saturday against St. Thomas, of course. There were also a pair of lopsided losses by the Tennis teams to Bethel. A split by the Softball team in Florida, 12 - 4 and 10 - 4. The 12 runs in the win were scored by seven different players. The hot or cold continued on Sunday as they won 11 - 0 then lost 13 - 1 with similar balance when they were clicking.
The boss showed that he hates the losing and the tank talk with a single tweet this week. Pretty sure every person who succeeds would despise this season's outcomes but it was nice to get so clearly. So he'll have to keep working to fix it and take advantage of the next high pick for the organization but maybe it'll trickle down to the guys who get paid to dribble, shoot and occasionally defend.
This was a big week for high school sports in the area. While rounds of section Basketball were played out on the Minnesota side, North Dakota closed the book on Hockey season. Davies girls took an undefeated season into the championship game but weren't enough to end Bismarck's run of state championships on five. The two goals that were allowed meant that they had a chance til the end but the break never came for them. On the boys side, the South/Shanley squad went against Red River for the chance to lift the trophy. The local team was no more able to achieve the feat as they lost 4 - 1 to end the year.
On the Basketball court, several other teams from the neighborhood finished early. Took in the Park Christian loss on Thursday and the final two games of region 1 girls on Friday. I said on Twitter that the only upset would have been Kindred not making state again but Central Cass earned every bit of their chance to bring another trophy to the region as they pulled off the win.
Following an overtime loss on Friday, Fargo didn't take any chances on Saturday. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and added another find the second before Muskegon was able to wipe their zero out with 1 score in the third. Mason Salquist lead off with his 15th goal of the season which Joseph Dunlap followed and Oliver MacDonald rounded out the offense for Fargo.