The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker

Sports Columns

March 7, 2013

Courrier column: East-West basketball rivalry still strong

The three-game series between the boys basketball teams from Mankato East and Mankato West is in the books, and it turned out to be more entertaining than expected.

West appeared to have the better team going into the season, though nobody knew how much the serious knee injury to center Dan Wills would affect the Scarlets.

East took a huge hit from graduation last season, and there was virtually no varsity experience coming back from a state-tournament team.

If you just looked at records, it would seem the Scarlets (16-9) and Cougars (6-21) should be a one-sided contest, but as everyone should know by now, there is nothing predictable about East vs. West.

The first meeting on Jan. 15 was played at Bresnan Arena. The Scarlets led the entire way, but an 11-point margin shrank to five with two minutes to go. Though West ended up winning 56-45, it showed that the Cougars were still dangerous.

The second game was played at East on Feb. 19, and East won 46-44. The Cougars led by nine midway through the second half, but the Scarlets rallied to within two points. However, neither team scored in the final 2:30 as East got some revenge.

The teams met for a third time in the quarterfinals of the Section 2AAA tournament Wednesday at a full West gym. West trailed by double digits midway through the second half before making a charge, and the teams were still even heading into overtime.

Jake Dale, who had missed two potentially winning free throws in the final seconds of the second half, started the extra time with a steal and layup, pushing West on its winning ways in a 54-47 victory

The skill level on these teams isn’t what it has been over the last 10 to 15 years, but the competition remains intense. If you attended any or all of the East-West games this season, you saw kids who played hard and competed fiercely.

The final score of these games will be forgotten someday, but the memories of competing in this rivalry will be stored forever.

There are several kids on both teams who will be back next season, and there’s no reason to expect any dropoff in the intensity of these in-city games. That’s what makes them so much fun, regardless of each team’s record.

Chad Courrier is a Free Press staff writer. Check out his local sports blog or follow him on Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • Thoma column: Bartlett's failure no surprise — except to the Twins The Jason Bartlett Experiment ended last week with its inevitable failure; the former shortstop aborted his rehab assignment in Fort Myers and retired. The idea that Bartlett would be a ideal bench component was always illogical. That Ron Gardenhire

    April 21, 2014

  • Courrier: There are no winners in MSU football saga Where to start? In 28 years in the business, there has never been a more odd, twisted, rollercoaster story than the Todd Hoffner saga. And that was before he came back to the Minnesota State campus this week, when strange became tragic and the chance

    April 17, 2014

  • Thoma column: Twins are scoring lot of runs; can this continue? The Minnesota Twins entered Sunday's play with the American League's second-highest number of runs scored. And, they haven't had the advantage of hitting off their own pitching staff. OK, it's dreadfully early in the season, far too early to draw co

    April 14, 2014

  • Courrier: Masters is first sign that winter has been conquered Don't know if anybody noticed but it's been a tough winter, with brutal cold and piles of snow that are now just disappearing. If not for an exciting season of local basketball and hockey, it would have an unbearable four months. Minnesota State had

    April 10, 2014

  • Thoma column: We all know the Ryan Braun saga: Winner of the National League MVP award, flunked a drug test, convinced the arbitrator to toss his suspension on the basis that his sample was mishandled, was snagged anyway in the Biogenesis investigation, suspended

    April 7, 2014

  • Focus will be on Mavericks' QBs this spring The Minnesota State football team began its spring practice period this week, 14 workouts in 27 days, trying to see who has been working hard to maintain a starting position and which backups might be ready to get more playing time in the fall. The b

    April 4, 2014

  • Thoma column: For the remade Twins, 2014 looks like more losing The start of the baseball season is supposed to be about fresh beginnings, wide open promises and the hope that springs eternal in the human breast. I'm here to quash that kind of optimism among the followers of the Minnesota Twins. (I strive to be a

    April 1, 2014

  • Shot clock isn't answer for high-school basketball A few weeks back, the state's basketball fans were all riled up that during a state-tournament game, the Hopkins boys spent much of the four overtimes holding the basketball, preferring not to shoot until the final seconds of each extra period in the

    March 28, 2014

  • Thoma column: Projected lineup is Mauer, Arcia and a bunch of outs The Minnesota Twins begin play in earnest in less than a week -- weather permitting -- and wow, do they have lineup issues. They scored 614 runs last season, 13th in the 15-team American League and almost 100 under the league average (702). Justin Mo

    March 26, 2014

  • Thoma column: Perkins extension may not be such a relief over time In the abstract, long-term contracts for relief pitchers are bad bets for teams. Nobody seems to be too concerned about that rule of thumb when it comes to Glen Perkins' new deal with the Twins. The contract, worth more than $21 million in guaranteed

    March 17, 2014