The Red Lake Warriors basketball team didn’t beat the Wabasso Rabbits that chilly March night back in the 1997 Minnesota state basketball tournament, but the Warriors didn’t lose either.
I sat courtside to arguably the most exciting basketball game in Minnesota high school history. When the final buzzer of overtime sounded, the final score was Wabasso 117, Red Lake 113. The game was played at the old St. Paul Civic Center and both teams ran the court as if there was a 10-second shot clock and the first to score 100 would win. And those were the days of the 8-minute quarters.
If the game was played today, the video replay would go viral and national sports shows like ESPN would show highlights.
This season, a new generation of Warriors qualified for the state tournament. Today’s Warriors were either in diapers or not yet born when the Red Lake Warriors advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history 17 winters ago.
Back in 1997, I was a Red Lake High School freshman and team manager. I watched every minute of every game that magical season.
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