Game was more than one or two moments

The media loves to second guess. In a lot of ways, it’s our nature and I suppose the reason why there are so many pundits in the world of journalism.

Such was the case after Lyle-Pacelli’s loss to Ada-Borup in the semifinals of the Class A Minnesota Girls State Basketball Tournament at Williams Arena. The game was back and forth the entire way and really about the best girls basketball game I’ve seen all year, but discussion along the media table after the game turned to two key moments: Head coach Justin Morris’ technical foul in the second half and guard Courtney Walter’s missed three-pointer at the end of regulation.

First, the hard facts. The technical gave Ada-Borup two free shots from the free-throw line — they made one — and Walter’s three-pointer came up well short of the basket, something no doubt she will dwell on for quite a while.

But here’s the deal as I saw it, sitting cross-legged under the baskets of Williams Arena. As we do, sportswriter Rocky Hulne and myself talked about the game on the way back to the car and on the drive out of the city and some things popped out immediately.

There is no one thing LP did wrong that cost them this game. Did they make mistakes? Of course, just as Ada-Borup made mistakes, but they are not the mistakes one can compare to Michigan’s Fab Five phenom in the 1990s when Chris Webber called a timeout when there wasn’t one to call.

They are the mistakes every basketball team will make.

LP went on a run in the first half and then watched as Ada-Borup came back amidst a scoring drought, only to storm back late in the half to take a 28-25 lead into halftime off Brooke Walter’s half-ending three-pointer.

LP went up 10 in the second half and then Ada-Borup came back, hitting the shots they needed to.

Morris’ technical was not ideal, but it hardly was the reason for the loss or even a big factor in the loss. Ada-Borup already had possession and the shooter only hit one of her two free-throws. One point did not make this game.

And as Rocky pointed out, it may have even served some good by breaking the momentum Ada-Borup had scored five points in five seconds.

As for Courtney’s three-pointer: If you’ve had the opportunity to watch LP for the season or even previous seasons then you know what kind of shooter she is. This was nothing more than a bad night. It happens. Whether ESPN wants to admit it or not, even LeBron James has bad nights.

Morris has the luxury of having several good shooters on the team; Courtney is quite possibly the best from the arc.

More often than not she makes that shot, and — as I’ve already stated on Twitter — if I’m coach, I have absolutely no problem putting that ball right back in Courtney’s hands if she gets that chance again.

The other disservice you make in claiming these moments played a deciding role in the game is taking away a great effort by Ada-Borup, who went on to win the Class A title, 82-65 over Marantha Christian Saturday. They had an undefeated season and there’s good reason for that. They never quit, even going through the same bumps in the road LP went through at times.

Sometimes a game comes down to who was better on a specific day. It’s a fact of athletic life that you won’t always be able to win, and on Friday Ada-Borup was that team. It’s not automatic that LP’s mistakes cost them.

LP is one of the top four teams in the state. That’s something a large majority of teams in the state can’t say. In the end, this is a season the girls of Lyle-Pacelli can be proud of. They are the first girls team to make the state tournament since the two schools merged in 2000.

That’s something for an entire community to be proud of.

 

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