Dateline January 24th, 2008. Game #80 of the 2007-2008 season takes me to the Haben Center at Benilde St. Margaret's for a big non-conference showdown with Minnetonka. Almost a full house and Rene Pulley is in the building by 5 PM.
As predicted the student sections are out in force. In fact the AHA PA guy is doing the game for St. Louis Park local TV and he's right between the student sections and right on the sideline. I feared for his safety (in a good way). More on the student sections later, to the game.
BSM gets out to a hot 8-2 start, but Anthony Tucker scores 19 in the 1st half, including 5 3s. BSM gets as close as 33-31, but they need a late Spencer Bata 3 to stay within 40-36 at the half. Tonka starts the 2nd half on a 22-7 run over the 1st 8+ minutes to put the game out of reach. During the run, Tyler Schilling turns the game into a layup drill, Tucker gets 5 points, CJ Erickson gets a bucket etc etc and the rout is on 62-43. BSM tries to get back in it with some 1-3-1, but to no avail. Tonka wins 85-71 and it wasn't that close as it was a 20 pt game with 5 minutes left. Anthony Tucker finishes with 30. Cole Stefan lit up the 1st half of the JV game and he really does have a sweet shot and good floor vision. He'll be fun to watch the next 2 years. For BSM, Jordan Taylor gets 25 but a few of those were late after the game was already decided. Armond Battle had 16, but he really struggled against the defense of Sedrick McBounds in addition to struggling from the FT line. Alex Miller (Tall Kid Tall) got 5 quick points early in the game and gave them good minutes off the bench in the 1st half.
BSM student section actually had a sign quoting the poll results about the best student section. BSM 52%, Blue Crew 10%. (The results were not yet final). Points for creativity. I had the pleasure of meeting the ringleaders of the BSM students after the game. Great kids and everything they chant is in good taste and they're creative each game. I loved the singing of the chorus of The Proclaimers "500 Miles" after Tyler Schilling traveled early in the 2nd half ("And I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more...). I hope (and told them I'm expecting) they are out in full force for the boys/girls doubleheader at DeLaSalle on Saturday February 9th.
Is it just me or are there more and more bad taste cheers going on around FTs. Cheerleaders are doing "Miss it!" chants which seems against the spirit of cheer-leader, cheer being inherently positive. I even saw the Milwaukee Vincent cheerleaders do a whole step routine to try and distract opposing FT shooters when they were right there. And the so and so sucks chants need to go away in a bad way. I was surprised the Tonka crowd control didn't frown on that especially at a private school where those type of things are really verbotin. Also, its one thing to do the "This game's over" chant and then everybody leaves, I can live with that like when they did it at Sibley, but when you leaving forces the game to be held up because the whole crew is right on the sideline as they leave, that's poor. The MSHSL puts a big emphasis on sportsmanship (hence the reminder before EVERY game that the PA guy has to read, "This game is being played under the rules of the Minnesota State High School League, these rules..."blah blah blah) but it seems like the crowd control people could do a better job on these things.
In fact there was a big hullaballou around student antics in Milwaukee just before the holidays where at a big city game (think Henry/North type of game) the students were yelling obscenities and totally out of line with no action taken. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it right on the money. The students have to get to the point where they take accountably for these things and police themselves.