Journey to The Tourney - One Last Run for Maple Grove Seniors
Mar 21, 2017 08:01AM
● By Doug Erlien
That team wearing the colors of the Osseo-Maple Grove BasketballAssociation couldn’t have imagined that four years later, some of those same players would have an opportunity to play for another state title on the biggest high school stage.
Then again, maybe they did imagine that very thing.
“This is our last ride in high school basketball,” Maple Grove Senior High Senior Forward Bubba Horton said. “I think a lot of the pressure is taken off. We can go out and just have fun with it.”
When Crimson Head Coach Nick Schroeder entered tryouts this season, he did so knowing he would have a strong senior class to lead the way. The question by many was simply, how many seniors would make the roster. Schroeder sent a strong message of belief to his senior class, keeping ten on the team, many who have played together since they shot baskets on eight foot hoops and guarded opponents with the same colored wrist band.
“Five or six of us here grew up playing together since grade school, so it’s been fun growing up with these guys on and off the court,” Crimson Senior Guard Jack Hutchison said. “A lot of memories.”
The OMGBA team was seeded first in that eighth grade tournament and included a field of Lakeville North, Champlin Park, Apple Valley, Wayzata - all of which have teams in the upcoming AAAA state tournament that begins Wednesday at Target Center.
That season, a few of the future Crimson also faced a team from Robbinsdale Cooper - and a familiar face in Tywhon Pickford who attended Maple Grove Junior High, but played traveling basketball in Robbinsdale. That made the days after games a little rough.
“They always talked smack, but it’s alright,” Pickford said.
As a team, the group has bonded together and are ready to make one final run at a state title.
“I think about how thankful we all are to have another opportunity to play with each other,” Crimson Senior Brad Davison said. “To represent our school and our community.”
No matter what role each of the ten players carry, the final goal is simple. Capture the programs first state win since 2000 and the school’s first team championship.
“We’re brothers,” Pickford said. “We care for each other and have each other’s back. We’re always looking out for each other and that’s a big part of being a family.”
(Video below. Pictures courtesy of Cori Davison)
The Maple Grove Crimson boys basketball team advanced to the 2017 state tournament after defeating Rogers in the section championship game Friday. Read More »
The Crimson search for their first state tournament victory since 2000 in opening round against Huskies March 22. Read More »