Play for another day
Every day the Minnewaukan-Leeds girls basketball team is together is a happy day, says Lions’ coach Travis Risovi.
And that will be for at least one more game.
The Lions will face Carrington of District 7 in the first round of the Region 4 Tournament in Devils Lake this Monday, Feb. 22.
Leeds and Minnewaukan schools, which have teamed up past several years in basketball, will end the co-op following this season, a recent decision which the girls and coaches were sad to learn.
So there is added motivation for the Lions to make another deep run at the region tournament – to remain together.
“We’re hoping we can keep playing as long as we can,’ Risovi said.
History is on the Lions’ side, as they have managed to win their last four opening round games at regionals.
That’s a credit to the team being well-prepared and playing well. “It helps when you’ve been in these games, the girls are more relaxed,’ Risovi said. “And I think it’s a big advantage to play these teams in the regular season. You can’t prepare as well when you only see a team on tape or watch them in person against another team.”
The Lions did face the Cardinals in the second-to-last regular season game, and although it was a 39-point loss, Risovi said his team took some positives out of the effort.
“We took away some things (offensively) from them,’ he said. “We’ll try and work on some things in practice to prepare for them.”
Carrington has the ability to put up a lot of points and M-L will need to tighten its defense.
Dorothia Santos has been M-L’s top offensive player all season and no doubt will get a lot of attention from Carrington. Allison Manley and Brittany Omen will need to have big offensive nights for the Lions.
As in any big game it comes down to the fundamentals.
“Its funny how the things the girls work on when they are in fourth grade just starting to learn the game are the most important things at a regional tournament,’ Risovi said. “The team that can make good passes, limit turnovers and box out and rebound and shoot well usually wins these games.”
And if the Lions can do that, they stand a great chance of moving on to the semifinals for the fifth straight time.
A representative from District 7 has won the past two Region 4 titles and there is a good chance this year’s winner could come from ‘7’ as well.
Harvey and Carrington, both ranked in the last Class B coaches poll, have just four losses between them, and are the favorites at this week’s regional.
Harvey avenged an earlier loss to Carrington, by knocking off the Cardinals at last week’s District 7 Tournament.
Harvey is a No. 1 seed while Carrington has a No. 2 seed.
District 8 champion Langdon and runner-up Rolla-Rock Lake can’t be overlooked. Those teams are capable of putting three good games together.
The tournament starts on Monday, Feb. 22 with No. 1 Harvey facing No. 4 Starkweather-Munich. No. 2 Rolla-Rock Lake will then face No. 3 New Rockford-Sheyenne. No. 2 Carrington will meet No. 3 Minn.-Leeds and then No. 1 Langdon will face No. 4 Midkota.
The semifinals will be played on Tuesday, Feb. 23 with the third place and championship games slated for Thursday, Feb. 25.
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