On the Bench with Byron Higgin

Could it have been Minneota?

Minneotans watched the boys’ basketball tournament with particular interest. When the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights won it all, it was difficult for many from Minneota not to wonder if the Vikings could have done the same. It’s a fair question.

The only team to beat RTR all year was Minneota. The Vikings lost the section crown to RTR by just two points — and Minneota had a 14-point lead in the second half of that game. While we’ll never know if Minneota could have earned the same fate, there is always going to be that question.

But then you’d have to ask, could Duke win it all if they’d have beaten Kansas? Certainly, Minneota could have been as competitive as RTR or any other team in the Class A state tournament field. If there was a lesson to be learned by watching RTR, it’s that DEFENSE does win games.

The speed, tight defense and total regard for the “old-fashioned” game got the title for the Knights. Instead of looking back and wondering, “What If,” maybe the best plan is to look ahead.

Afterall, it’s possible both the Minneota boys and girls could be in line to take a shot at the state championship next year.

Certainly, the Minneota boys’ have an outstanding opportunity before them. I’m sure that’s not lost on them and I expect all of them to work hard to make it come true next year.


•The Minneota Mascot’s “Viking Pride,” spring sports edition is coming out next week with all the stories, photos and support from the community. So watch for it!

•The Spring Sports Season got a little kick in the shorts last weekend when Mother Nature dumped a whole new fresh load of snow on the area. That not only slowed up the practice season, but probably set the team back a little for the first round of games and meets.

•The Canby-Minneota boys and girls track teams now have a two-meet indoor season. They were at Redwood Valley on Tuesday and will compete at SDSU in Brookings next Monday.

•The Minneota-Canby girls’ softball team was to play a scrimmage at the St. Cloud State University Field House on Saturday against Park Rapids. But the huge snow ended those plans. “Don’t know when we’re going to get on a field,” said Coach Heidi Boerboom.

•Minneota senior baseball player Landon Abraham will be limited to duties as a designated hitter this year because of an injury he sustained as he helped Minneota to the Minneota Class A football state championship. An MRI showed his ailing shoulder won’t allow him to throw at all.

“I was hoping he could catch for us this year,” said Coach Keven Larson. But that won’t happen. But at least he will be able to use Abraham as a hitter.

•Also on the shelf at the start of the year is third baseman Josh Laleman who is on crutches with a knee ailment. His prognosis is somewhat better than Abraham’s because it appears he will be able to join the team, perhaps in a couple of weeks.

•Brant Buysse appears to be healed from his wrestling injury, to the point where he not only has been cleared to play for the Vikings, but he also may be taking his turn on the mound as a pitcher this year.

•The Minneota Baseball Bingo at the American Legion on Sunday, the second this year, was an even larger success than last time. “We had a great crowd,” said Assistant Varsity Coach J.D. Pesch.

Part of the money raised is to help build a press box and enhance the storage area on the dugout at K. P. Kompelien field.

Byron Higgin

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