It’s been quite the stretch for the St. Michael-Albertville girls’ basketball team.
While we’re still in the middle of the basketball season, the Knights have made huge strides with the 2014-2015 campaign. None, perhaps, was bigger than a win over second-ranked Minnetonka on the road Tuesday night.
Jordyn Walker rolled in a lay-up with 2.7 seconds left in the game, and the Knights staved off a Skipper second half comeback, completing the upset over the state’s second-ranked team. Add that to a one-point loss at Edina, a win over Wayzata and a tough loss to top-ranked Hopkins, and the Knights have fared very well against the top conference in the state, thank you very much.
“We know that to play with the best at the end of the season, we have to experience what it’s like to play the best teams in Class 4A. That’s what we’re trying to do with our non-conference schedule. It’s the only way to see what that competition is like,” said head coach Kent Hamre in a chat recently with local media.
So far, the Knights are proving they belong, thanks to a tough defense that limited the state’s top-scoring team to just 23 points in the first half. STMA had built up a 40-26 advantage early in the second half, but the Skippers rallied behind Courtney Frerickson and had the game tied in the waning moments.
Now 11-2 on the season, the Knights have just a match-up with Eden Prairie left to end their “tour” of the Classic Lake conference. A win means they end that schedule with a 3-2 mark, which is pretty solid for a squad that’s just in its fifth year in Class 4A.
Kitri Zezza led the Knights with 13 points in Minnetonka, while Rae Johnson added 11. Walker chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds. Though STMA was badly outrebounded, they made up for the disparity in defense, limiting Minnetonka to just 18 field goals and only nine attempts from the free throw line.
Coaches vs. Cancer
Thursday night, just over a week after a special night for teammate Maddie Briggs, the Knights will again use its home floor and varsity game to draw attention to a good cause.
The annual Coaches vs. Cancer game will feature opponents Cambridge-Isanti, with the ninth grade and JV teams playing at 5:45 p.m., with the varsity to follow at 7:15 p.m.
According to Hamre – “As we have done the past four years, our fundraising efforts for cancer awareness will again stay local. This year we are raising money for two STMA district employees and their families; Renee Krupke and Chris Braun, who are both undergoing treatment for breast cancer.”
Renee is a 4th grade teacher at STME. She is in her 24th year of teaching in the district. Throughout all those years Renee has also played piano to accompany for Elementary and Middle School Choir Concerts. She also uses her passion for music by teaching piano lessons and providing special music at her church. Her husband, Lance, is a 5th grade Social Studies teacher at West and is actively involved with coaching baseball at the Middle School and traveling levels. They have 3 boys; Marcus (9th grade), Jordan (7th grade), and Drake (3rd grade). All the boys are very involved in football, basketball, and baseball. Renee’s family spends a lot of time watching sports and cheering on the Knights. Renee was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of this year and started chemotherapy October 31st. She will finish her last treatment in February and then have surgery followed by more chemotherapy. Renee is very thankful for all the community support throughout her cancer journey. http://caringbridge.org/visit/reneekrupke/
Chris has been working in the kitchen at the STMA High School for three years. She and her husband Eric are very involved in the girls basketball program with their daughters, Kaitlyn (6th grade) and Nicky (4th grade). They also have a son, Tyler who is in 8th grade at MSW. Eric has been coaching youth sports at STMA for the past 10 years. All three of their kids play traveling soccer and basketball. Tyler has also been involved in football, tennis, and soccer and just made it to the final 5 of the Geography Bee at MSW last week. Kaitlyn is in student council at West. Chris has been battling cancer for 9 years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2006. In September of 2010 she relapsed and the breast cancer showed up on her liver. In January of 2013, the doctors found 2 new spots on her liver and just recently, Chris found out her tumor has grown and thus is undergoing a new treatment regimen. Chris says the St Michael community is such a great place to live, work and raise a family and is honored by all of the support. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/chrisbraun/
Before and during the games, STMA girls basketball will be selling raffle tickets for a flat screen TV, Timberwolves tickets, and a variety of other prizes. There will also be a 50/50 cash drawing. Drawings will be held at halftime of the varsity game.