On the Bench with Byron Higgin

A wild ride

Hold on to your hats Minneota sports fans, because it’s about to get intense around here. The Minneota Boys’ Basketball Team has NEVER, EVER been to a state tournament.

Now, they are ranked No. 1 in the state and will soon begin playoffs to correct that problem. And the girls are also on a fast track — ranked No. 1 and heading into the playoffs.

Few small schools get to experience something like this. In Minneota, we are used to state-wide success. But how often are two teams going into the playoffs as the No. 1-ranked teams in state.

So hold on — it could be a wild ride!


•This is an extremely busy weekend for sports — and if early indications are any factor, Old Man Winter may be making a mess of it all once again. The Opening Round of the Section 3A Championships begin in Montevideo on Saturday with four games. But severe weather is being predicted for that day and the games could be in jeopardy. Some say if they are called off on Saturday, they may be played Monday at two different sites — perhaps two games in Minneota and two at Lac qui Parle Valley. That will remain to be seen.

•The Section 3A Individual Wrestling Tournament is to be held in Windom on Friday night and all day Saturday. First indication is the tournament will NOT be change in any case because the state tournament begins the following Thursday. Rumor says wrestlers may go down early and stay in motels so they are on hand for the tournament. This is a bad time of the year for Old Man Winter to raise his ugly head.

•The Minneota boys are to play Friday at home against Tracy-Milroy-Balaton in what is already a make-up game.

•Lac qui Parle Valley clinched the boys’ Camden Conference North title with a 58-47 win over Dawson-Boyd on Monday. Minneota will travel to Lac qui Parle Valley for a 7 p.m. Monday Camden Conference showdown with the Eagles, since the Vikings are the Camden South champs.

•It appears the boys’ Luverne game has been re-set for Tuesday, February 25 at Luverne.

• The Southwest Minnesota State wrestling team concluded conference play with a 27-12 loss to UMary on Sunday afternoon. SMSU (1-8, 1-7 NSIC) earned three bout victories while UMary (6-4, 4-4 NSIC) earned the other seven. SMSU will now have two weeks to prepare for the 2019 NCAA Super Region 3 Tournament in Moorhead, Minn., on Feb. 23. Minneota’s Brock Buysse lost his match, 6-1. He is 4-13 on the year. Cole Hennen of Minneota has a 12-9 record for the Mustangs.

• The Southwest Minnesota State women’s and men’s indoor track & field teams had its final competition before the NSIC Championships on Friday competing at the South Dakota State Last Chance Meet at the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex. Minneota’s Emily Gillingham was ninth in the 800-meter run at 2:30.77. Southwest Minnesota State will compete next Friday and Saturday at the NSIC Championships in Mankato, Minn.

•Minneota’s Trent Esping and Alex Pohlen have both transferred out of Dakota Wesleyan and won’t be playing football anymore. Both played football this past season.

•Still on the basketball roster at Dakota Wesleyan is Meghan Travis of Minneota. The team is 26-4 overall and Travis is averaging 1.5 points per game and has played in 21 games.

Byron Higgin

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