Greg Burke, dean of students at Wayzata High School, knew something was up at the Monday morning staff meeting when activities director Meghan Potter rose and moved to a chair farther away.
Burke is also coach of the White Bear Lake boys basketball team, Wayzata's opponent in Tuesday's state tournament quarterfinals.
"It was like watching my two kids play," Burke said after Tuesday's 81-61 Trojans victory. "It was a no-lose situation. Before the game, I knew if they beat us, I would want to see them win it all."
Burke's Bears were making their first state tournament appearance since 2000, a time when "I actually had an Afro," the bald Burke joked.
Wayzata coach Bryan Schnettler said he and Burke talk hoops on a daily basis. And little changed since the quarterfinal matchup was set.
"The only thing was, he didn't come down to our practice Monday," Schnettler said. "I had a prank I was ready to pull on him."
Schnettler wouldn't offer details. "That's top secret," he said.
DAVID LA VAQUE
Anybody for a sleepover?
Andover had a 10 a.m. game, complicating the matter of sleep. The players had fun with the solution, showing up at Target Center in onesies, pajamas in animal shapes.
They presented quite a sight gathered on the gym floor.
"We came up with the idea as a team," Huskies senior guard Ben Kopetzki said.
Kopetzki, Andover's leading scorer who has committed to Concordia (St. Paul), wore a pig onesie. It was not reflective of the way he moved on the floor.
Kopetzki finished with a game-high 22 points in a 92-72 loss to Park Center.
Plenty done, more to do
The luck of the draw pitted unseeded St. Francis against top seed Totino-Grace in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A boys basketball tournament.
Try to convince St. Francis coach Kyle Waterworth that it was bad luck. He's too busy counting blessings.
"A lot of people predicted us to finish us in the bottom half of our section," he said. "So winning our section against a team that has won it three times was a big accomplishment for us.
"I knew going into this game, when we drew Grace, that it was going to be a tough game. They have a great collection of talent. We knew we had our hands full. I just told the guys in the locker room, we win our next one and we guarantee ourselves the highest finish that St. Francis has ever had on the boys side. We still have some goals. We have another game tomorrow to accomplish that."
St. Francis (17-13) defeated Princeton in the Section 5 final, the Saints' ninth victory in 11 games. It's the program's sixth trip to state; they made it back to back in 2014 and 2015. St. Francis will play Mankato East on Wednesday in the consolation bracket.
Too much 1-2-2
Mankato East coach Joe Madson has a young team; only one of the seven players who scored Tuesday in a Class 3A quarterfinal loss to Alexandria was a senior. But he didn't blame the loss on youth. He blamed it on Alexandria's defense.
"The youth showed up, but it was more basically having two days to prepare for the 1-2-2 trapping defense," he said. "We used to see that out of Austin. We haven't seen it this year. We prepped for it for two days, but it's pretty tough to simulate that length they have in running it."
Alexandria junior standout Grayson Grove, who scored 20 points in his team's 62-57 victory over Mankato East, said he isn't intimidated by Totino-Grace, his team's opponent in Thursday's semifinals and the top-ranked team in Class 3A.
"We know they are a really good team," he said. "They have a lot of talent. Everyone knows that. But we're not backing down by any means. They best be ready. We're putting up a fight."
Eastview coach to retire
Eastview coach Paul Goetz is ready to travel. The Lightning coach is retiring at the conclusion of the season.
Goetz is in his 10th season at the helm of the boys program. He has a 166-115 record after beating Minnetonka 72-68 in the Class 4A quarterfinals Tuesday at Target Center.
Goetz has registered over 500 wins in his career. He also guided Eastview's girls team for 16 years after starting his career with a four-year stint in Rosemount. The Lightning girls squad was twice the state tournament runner-up.
"Every year is a different journey," Goetz said. "It's been great a run."
Renewing former ties
Hermantown coach Andy Fenske said he never dreamed, when he was in high school, he'd be coaching in the state tournament against his former coach.
Orono coach Barry Wohler coached at Marshall from 1999 to 2004. Fenske was one of his players.
"No, I never thought that would happen," Fenske said with a grin. "He was such a great coach. This was the fourth time we've gotten together."
Wohler said Fenske's father was a fellow physical education teacher in the district at the time and together they coached Wohler's son and Fenske's younger brother in youth basketball.
"I know the Fenske family very well. Great family," Wohler said. "The job Andy's done up there, they're going to be a perennial power year in and year out."
Mom made history
Eden Valley-Watkins' Noah Stommes helped the Eagles make history by reaching the program's first boys basketball state tournament. But he's No. 2 at home.
His mother, Janice Steit Stommes, led the first EVW girls team to state in 1983.
"I hadn't looked into that; I'm not even sure if Noah is aware of that," coach Jacob Anderson said.
"I know his mom would score 40-plus points in a lot of games back in those days," Anderson said.
Noah Stommes, a junior center, was not made available to reporters after Holy Family defeated EVW 80-52 Tuesday. He scored 11 points.
DAVID LA VAQUE
Stewartville on the rise
It's been a successful winter of basketball in Stewartville.
The community of 6,700 10 minutes south of Rochester had never had a basketball team in a state tournament before this year. Last weekend, the Tigers girls team had a successful inaugural trip to William Arena, finishing as Class 3A runner-up to Benilde-St. Margaret's
The boys made their maiden tournament appearance Tuesday, falling to DeLaSalle 71-66 in the quarterfinals.
Tigers coach Parker Lyga said the basketball future looks bright in Stewartville
"The reason is our youth associations," he said. "Now, instead of our kids doing nothing for three months, our youth associations are taking these kids to 30, 40 games. The younger kids, seeing the success we've had, it's just going to be a domino effect."