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Maple Grove Voice

New Attitude for Maple Grove Crimson Girls Basketball

Nov 25, 2015 08:34PM ● By Doug Erlien

(Photos provided by

Maple Grove Senior High School Crimson Head Coach Mark Cook was a good minute into a comparison of luring a fish in and a defensive concept.

“Sometimes you’ve got to flick the lure to get the fish to bite,” Cook said.

The assistant coaches chuckled on the sideline wondering out loud how many players on the

floor actually even knew what he was talking about.

Maybe none of them, maybe all of them, but Cook, in his 11th year at the helm of the Crimson program has assembled a young but athletic team that he feels will make some noise when February rolls around.

Before that happens however, changes are being made within a program that has achieved success in the regular season, but since reaching the state tournament in 2011, has advanced past the first round of section play only once.

“We are trying to create a new tempo, a new culture, a new way of doing things and the kids have responded really well so far,” Cook said.

"Win The Day"

Three words were written on the white board in the brand new Maple Grove locker room. Win The Day. A mantra set by Cook as a reminder to his team to take advantage of the opportunity every day to get a little better and in the process be a better team in February. 

The Crimson return three starters from last year’s team. Guard Mackenzie Barta, forward Maddie Tharp and post Allie Schmidt. The trio accounted for approximately 58 percent of the Crimson point total a year ago. Seniors Kylie Binstock and Jordan Quale will provide additional leadership. 

“Kenzie’s leadership is incredible. It’s not too often that your most talented player is also your hardest worker. Kenzie is tremendous,” Cook said. “Allie and Maddie are such unique kids, too, with what they bring to the table. Maddie Tharp has been unbelievable this year so far and has worked so hard and Allie leads by example with the things that she does.”

A talented and athletic group of underclassmen will need to learn the varsity ropes quickly as the Crimson will play one of the toughest schedules in the state. The Crimson open up the regular season against No. 2 ranked Minnetonka followed by a matchup against No. 14 ranked Roseville.

The Schedule:
12/3/2015: Minnetonka
12/5/2015: Roseville @Hopkins
12/8/2015: @Eden Prairie
12/11/2015: Irondale
12/15/2015: @Park Center
12/18/2015: Blaine
12/22/2015: Wayzata
12/29/2015: @St. Michael Albertville
12/30/2015: Edina or White Bear Lake @STMA
1/5/2016: @Totino Grace
1/7/2016: Spring Lake Park
1/12/2016: Armstrong
1/15/2016: @ Osseo
1/19/2016: @Anoka
1/22/2016: Park Center
1/26/2016: @Spring Lake Park
1/29/2016: Centennial
2/4/2016: @Irondale
2/8/2016: Totino Grace
2/9/2016: @Hopkins
2/12/2016: @Armstrong
2/16/2016: @Coon Rapids
2/19/2016: Osseo
2/23/2016: Elk River
2/26/2016: @Andover

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