Joe Brown is a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Prior to becoming regional editor, he was the sports editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle from 2012-2018. He also worked as the sports editor for the Marshall Independent (2010-2012) and as a sports/news clerk for the St. Cloud Times (2008-2009). He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication.
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Red Wing took a loss on Thursday, but got an important lesson out out of it: The defense is good enough to lift the team on a bad shooting night. In an early-season showdown of two top-10 Class AAA teams, the Wingers had a 45-44 lead with 41 seconds to go despite shooting 26 percent on the night. But, Northfield would leave Sonju Gymnasium with the 46-45 victory after Annika Hoff scored the game-winning layup with 19 seconds remaining. A last-second 3-point attempt by Red Wing's Lindsay Reps bounced off the rim to secure the Raiders' win.
The Big Nine Conference is bound to be as grueling as ever. So it's fitting that Red Wing boys' basketball coach Drew Olinger says he has a squad full of scrappy players. Being scrappy, according to Olinger, is the way the Wingers will try to climb out of the conference cellar after going 7-20 in his first season with the team.
If you beat Tatum Pickar once, good on you. Not many balls get past a two-time All-State libero. The next time you try the same thing on the Cannon Falls senior standout, she's going to come out ahead. "It is frustrating," Pickar said about watching a ball hit the floor. "But once I see it pass, I'm not going to let another one like that pass again."
For the first time in five years, the Red Wing girls' basketball team left as the top team in its own tip-off tournament. And the Wingers pulled it off with a convincing win over the two-time defending Class A champions. Led by a defense that didn't allow a double-digit scorer, Red Wing fought off top-ranked Goodhue for a 46-39 victory Saturday at Sonju Gymnasium. "I'm so proud of the defensive effort," said Wingers head coach Jesse Nelson. "It was a team effort."
With Red Wing's offense stalling, Waconia took advantage, pulling to within a point in the second half of Friday's Red Wing tip-off tournament matchup against the host Wingers. Then, Tayzha Buck hit a 3-pointer. Then another. And another. And in a three-minute span, Red Wing hit six shots from the outside and turned what looked like a nail-biter into a convincing 67-52 season-opening win.
In the quest for a third straight Class A title, Goodhue has to blend the old with the new. With a lineup that incorporates three freshmen, it was senior standout Sydney Lodermeier that solidified the top-ranked lineup in a 52-39 victory against River Falls in the Red Wing tip-off tournament on Friday. The best way for Goodhue to mix youngsters on a team with deep postseason aspirations?
MINNEAPOLIS — Cecelia De Jong was gassed. Trying to make her final push in the 100-yard butterfly preliminaries Friday at the Class A state swimming and diving championship, De Jong emptied the tank in an attempt to reach the top eight. "I died at the end and just gave it my all," De Jong said. "I'm happy with how it went." De Jong hit the wall in 58.63 seconds, finishing just short of championship contention with a ninth-place showing. The final championship spot went to Detroit Lakes' Jennifer Tracy in 58.31.
Grace O'Brien, Sammy Kriese and Cecelia De Jong are ready for round two of state. As three-fourths of the state 200-yard medley relay team, the Wingers just wanted a state time in order to get to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. When the 200 medley relay returns to the state pool for Friday's Class A prelims, the expectation is much higher. "This year we want to place higher at state than we did last year," De Jong said. At last year's meet, the Red Wing relay placed 15th in 1 minute, 55.16 seconds. The expectation now?
SHAKOPEE — Goodhue started to lose its grip on a trip to US Bank Stadium. After taking a 7-0 lead against Mayer Lutheran in the Class A state quarterfinals, the ball started slipping out of the Wildcats' grasp. For six turnovers. Then, the Crusaders capitalized and scored 31 straight points. And even as they made it a two-possession game in the fourth quarter, Goodhue was just too far out of reach for a trip to the state semifinals as the Wildcats' season came to an end with a 31-21 loss.
ST. PAUL — A slow start can be overcome. But against the top-seeded and top-ranked team in Class AA, the chances of making the comeback are awfully daunting. And that was the predicament unseeded Kenyon-Wanamingo found itself in. By the time the Knights found their stride against Maple Lake, it was too late. And the top-seeded Irish made K-W pay by knocking them out of state championship contention with a three-set victory (25-19, 25-18, 25-22) in the state quarterfinals Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.