Boys’ Basketball Defeated Against Top Seeded Team

Mike Geer

A strong performance in the first half was not enough to hold off number one seeded Washburn Millers, who won 73-61 in the Section 6 semi-final. Washburn, who kept the number four seed in the state much of the year, was notorious for cutthroat defense and an effective fast-break offense, which was clearly evident in the second half.

Washburn’s aggressive defense was one of the biggest worries for the Red Knights. “Most of our players are guards or small forwards,” said junior Darren Glover. “We didn’t have an answer for their big posts.”

Though Washburn was bigger, the Red Knights were smarter. They flew through gaps in the Miller’s defense and held a lead for most of the first half, at times leading by as much as nine points. The first half was “the best half of basketball I’ve seen them play all year,” said superfan Dan Nelson.

It was at the end of the first half that Washburn put together a run and hit a buzzer beater to take a one point lead. “That shot that put them ahead was a big momentum shift,” said Glover. “They came out of the locker room firing.”

And fire they did. Washburn came out with an 11-2 run to take a ten point lead. “They played their rank,” said freshman Isaiah Zierden. “Coming in number one, they were angry to be so close to the number four seed.” But to their credit, the Red Knights played high above their seed throughout the season and sections. Washburn was a much bigger team, which used its size to its advantage, scoring 38 of their 73 from inside the paint.

A multitude of shooters stepped up for the Millers and contributed seven threes from behind the arc. However, the opponents weren’t the only ones knocking down treys. Zierden hit two clutch bombers to bring the deficit to six, but that is the closest the Red Knights would get for the remainder of the contest. “Not the greatest way to end a season,” said senior captain John Musech,”losing after getting so close.”

Not much was expected of the Red Knights after losing five seniors, two to Division 1 basketball programs, but they not only met, but exceeded those expectations this year. With a starting lineup often consisting of juniors and sophomores, BSM Hoops did not let their prestige slip in the slightest, being blown out only by top schools Hopkins and Minnetonka.

Though the season ended with a loss, optimism is high for next year, especially with four returning starters. Some players are even looking beyond next year, because, by the end of the year, six varsity players were underclassmen.

Well aware of their future success, all of the team’s returning players hope for nothing less then a state tournament bid, if not a championship. “We’ve got the talent,” said freshman Will Dunn. “Now all we need to do is work for our wins.”