Ninth-graders made their mark throughout the Class 3A quarterfinals on Wednesday.
DeLaSalle received 30 of its 61 points from five of its six freshman. And ninth-graders Kassandra Caron of Holy Angels and Ellie Colbeck of Fergus Falls each led their respective teams with 20 points.
“Being around the game and playing more and more, they get so much experience and they’re more ready to be contributors,” Holy Angels coach Dan Woods said.
Playing with poise and maturity beyond their years starts in practice, Colbeck said, adding “We go to the gym and we work hard.”
First of many at Barn
A slow smile crept across Stillwater guard Sara Scalia’s face when she was asked about playing at Williams Arena. Scalia, who signed with the Gophers in November, had just finished playing for the first time at what will be her home court in the future.
“It was pretty cool, stepping out there and feeling that this is where I’m going to be playing for the next four years,” she said.
With a state tournament game to be played, however, it didn’t leave much time to soak in the atmosphere.
“I was just trying to focus on the game,” she said.
Judging by whole year
Count Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff as one who refuses to see the Royals’ three consecutive losses in Class 4A championship games as disappointments.
“People can talk about disappointment all they want, but we were there,” Cosgriff said. “Was it fun to lose? But the last three years, we were playing on Saturday night.”
Cosgriff said he sees previous seasons in total, rather than judging them simply on how they ended.
“I’m not going to look at 28-4 as a bad year or 31-1 as a bad year,” he said. “It’s not in my DNA. The kids that were there, they busted their tails to be great.
‘‘And it’s not like we lost to teams that weren’t very good. We lost to really, really good basketball teams.”
Marshall guard Kaia Sueker, who scored 14 points in Tigers’ 68-67 loss to Becker in the Class 3A quarterfinals, is a four-sport standout for the Tigers.
The 5-5 senior also has lettered in cross-country, volleyball and track. The Tigers’ cross-country and volleyball teams both reached the state meet last fall.
Sueker will run cross-country and track at the University of Mary (Bismarck, N.D.).
Redwood Valley’s Taya Kockelman is in her third season as coach. The Cardinals were 19-8 this season after winning only 10 games total in the previous two seasons.
Kockelman’s father, Dale, is an assistant coach for Minneota, which will play Red Lake in the Class 1A quarterfinals Thursday.
Kockelman’s younger sister, Morgan, is a senior guard for Minneota.
Staff writers Jim Paulsen, David La Vaque and Joel Rippel compiled this notebook.