Thole: Second-half struggles cost Ponies in SEC setbacks
Playing before the largest home crowd of the year, the Stillwater boys’ basketball team (7-4) suffered through a second-half blitzkrieg from third-ranked Roseville (12-1) last Friday night.
The Raiders scored early and often after the break to lay the good guys down 74-54.
Stillwater hung with Roseville throughout the first half and drew 11 fouls early — leading to 6-foot-6 Derek Magnuson fouling out before intermission. The Ponies trailed 33-25, but gave every indication they would be equal to the task.
Led by Evan Kacmarynski, who fired off three straight treys, the Raiders surged to a 16-point lead that the Ponies couldn’t overcome. Ponies sophomore Matt Anderson led the locals with 15 points as the team’s top scorer for the season Andrew Duxbury had 14.
Sharpshooter Mack Johnson had 22 points for Roseville after the smoke cleared and nifty playmakers like Logan Brown, Kacmarynski, Kobe Critchley and Jordan Burich kept the Ponies on their heels throughout the second half.
Roseville enjoyed a 9-4 edge in 3-pointers and was 13 of 16 from the line, compared to 10 of 17 for the Black and Red. Rounding out the SAHS scoring was Joel Malwitz with eight points, Joe Quinn with six and Sam Lagus, Tony Lennox and junior Nick Ogren with three each. Aaron Romportl added two points.
The flurry continued when the locals journeyed to Forest Lake on Tuesday as the Rangers connected for 10 threes in the second half to rally from a 13-point deficit for a 61-58 overtime victory.
Wittl is versatile
Stillwater senior captain Kylie Wittl has led the Ponies gymnastics team to a 5-0 record by winning the all-around in each victory. Last week, she scored 36.8 to take all-around honors in the team’s 138.4-132.45 win over Forest Lake.
Against the Rangers, Wittl took first in the beam (9.125) and floor (9.2) and placed second behind Rangers ace Jessica Dhaene, who had a 9.3 in the vault and 9.25 in the uneven bars while Wittl scored a 9.25 in the former and 9.1 in the latter.
Stillwater’s Sidnee Ronsberg was third in the bars (8.525) while Lillyan Pan was third in the vault (8.975) and second in the floor (8.95) on the way to placing third in the all-around (34.425). Sami Matschi was third in the floor at 8.6.
Wittl has been tops in all-around in six of the eight meets the locals have performed in this season. She took honors at Gustavus Adolphus, but was denied at the St. Cloud Tech and Lakeville North invitationals. Along with the team, Wittl and Matschi qualified for state as individuals last year.
The locals placed fifth out of 15 teams at the prestigious Lakeville North Invitational on Saturday with 138.5 points. They take on Mounds View on the road tomorrow night.
McDonough moves up
According to numerous reports, former Ponies and St. John’s gridder Denis “Dude” McDonough ’88 will soon be named President Barack Obama’s new Chief of Staff. More on this next week.
In the huddle
Former Ponies athlete Maddy Wendt is the first-year Nordic ski coach at Harvard. She skied collegiately at Williams College, which is also the alma mater of her prep coach and former Ponies two-time state champion Kris Hansen. Speaking of the Ponies, they are currently ranked fifth in the state. The Stillwater boys’ team has been ranked as high as fifth and senior Sean Bjork is ranked ninth individually…. Hannah Okerstrom leads the SAHS girls’ hockey team (11-8-1) with 30 points (19 goals and 11 assists). Sara Bustad is next with 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) while junior goaltender Brianna Hersom has a 2.18 goals against average and a .920 save percentage…. Courtesy opens many doors so consume less, share more, and enjoy life…. The late great Gene “Taco” Bealka will be inducted into the Humboldt High School Athletic Hall of Fame as the first recipient of its “Lifetime Achievement Award”. The HOF banquet will be held at the Prom Center on April 9, 2013…. The United States Junior Hockey Team coached by SAHS mentor Phil Housley won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships. The Americans beat all comers in Ufa, Russia. Team USA lost one to Russia in a heart-breaker and another
one-goal setback against Canada, but made it into the medal round after beating Slovakia 9-3. The good guys defeated Czech Republic 7-0 and Canada 5-1 before stopping Sweden 3-1 to take the gold. USA, USA, USA! Housley was back behind the bench when the Big Red (7-5-1) lost to Cretin 3-1 on Saturday night…. Assistant coach and former Ponies standout Pete Hamilton, along with Matt Doman, did a solid job in Housley’s absence…. The behavior of kids does seem to have a childlike innocence when reacting to the score of a game or its outcome. They are able to take winning or losing in stride and are perfectly happy to move on to their next activity. By contrast, inappropriate or improper adult influence on this attitude can have a negative effect upon their overall thinking…. The college football Thole Poll: 1. Alabama (13-1); 2. Stanford (12-2); 3. Oregon (12-1); 4. Texas A & M (11-2); 5. Ohio State (12-0); 6. Georgia (12-2); 7. Notre Dame (12-1); 8. Florida (11-1); 9. South Carolina (11-2); and 10. Florida State (12-2). Alabama is the best team, we think, but without at least an eight-team playoff it’s pure conjecture. OK, we will settle for a four-team showdown, but don’t hold your breath. My bowl predictions were off a wee bit with 20 correct and 16 nada. That gave me a .543 effort. As a bonus for me, however, I was correct on the FCS national championship game where my alma mater North Dakota State nipped Sam Houston State 39-13. The Bison have won back-to-back FCS titles and 28 of their last 30 games…. My little birdie flew south when he told me that Eden Prairie legend Mike Grant was headed to St. John’s and that Tonka’s excellent grid coach Dave Nelson would retire at the end of the season. He was dead on with his 6-6 for the Gophers (actually 6-7) and 8-2 for the Ponies. He misjudged the Vikings at 8-8 when they posted a 10-7 mark. Maybe Woodstock is starting to show his age…. Congrats to Ponies 138-pound wrestler Austin Jordan for joining the 100-win club. He currently has 104 victories after collecting three more victories at Saturday’s Pony Stampede…. Don’t give up the ship…. finis
Today’s rumination #601
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
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George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: email@example.com