The possibility of going to the state basketball tournament has been a dream of Freeze Girls’ Basketball senior Katie Longerbone since she was young. Going into this already unique season, the opportunity to capture such a dream seemed far. No plans for a state tournament had been made going into the season.
Following a recent announcement from the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), this dream became more attainable. On February 4, the MSHSL’s Board of Directors approved plans for a winter tournament season.
“The board unanimously approved moving forward with postseason tournaments and directed the staff to proceed with organizing tournaments in a context that is safe, adheres to the governor’s executive orders, and follows the guidelines set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health,” said Board President Blaine Novak, superintendent of schools in New York Mills.
As for the Freeze response, four senior basketball players and both Freeze head basketball coaches expressed their thoughts on this announcement.
“I was pretty excited just because it almost makes us work harder during the regular season to know that going into it, that you have something to look forward to,” Freeze Boys’ Basketball senior Jaacks Spilde said, “and, yeah, just keeps the guys excited.”
Having this opportunity means much to these senior players, getting the chance to close out their careers on their own terms.
“It makes me more happy because we’ve been working pretty hard this season so far,” Freeze Girls’ Basketball senior Zoey Magner said. “And knowing that we’re going to have a postseason, it’s really exciting. We get a chance to play our hardest in the finals for my last year.”
Regardless of the outcome, it’s giving these seniors more chances to play.
“I am and I’m sure our whole team was excited for the playoffs,” Freeze Boys’ Basketball senior Keaton Klegstad said, “as it’s just more games we get to play.”
In terms of a section tournament, each round would take place at the higher seed through the semifinals. The finals for both the girls’ and boys’ Section 8A tournaments would take place at the Ralph Engelstad Arena— Thursday, March 25 for the boys and Friday, March 26 for the girls.
Freeze Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Sean Spilde was not surprised that his team was going to have a winter postseason, specifically talking about the section tournament.
“I figured they were going to go with the high seeds, the games at the high seeds, so that certainly wasn’t a surprise,” Coach Spilde said. “I mean, they’re trying to do what’s best for everyone’s health.”
In terms of the basketball state tournament, after state quarterfinal play at regional sites for 32 games (16 girls and 16 boys) on March 30 and 31, the winners would advance to the semifinals and potentially championship games, tentatively scheduled at the Target Center in Minneapolis from April 6-10. Semifinals would take place April 6-8 and championship games April 9 and 10.
Freeze Head Girls’ Basketball Coach, Matt Nelson considered the announcement of having a winter postseason as “great news.”
“It’s something to look forward to at the end of the season,” Coach Nelson said. “We always want to make the player get into the playoffs and go as far as we can. And it’s great just to have them this year.”
Currently the Freeze Boys’ Basketball team sits in the fourth seed in the west sub-section of Section 8A and the Freeze Girls’ Basketball team sits in the seventh seed in the west sub-section of Section 8A.
To see the complete story, read the February 18 issue of the North Star News in print or online.