Sunday, March 22, 2009

Broadcast wrap-up: 2009 state tournament

I still have yet to view the post-season show, and I still have a few hurdles to clear as far as slowing down and being more conversational (I think having additional people might help that aspect as fewer things will rush through my head). Initially speaking, I was far more comfortable being there than I was last year, even without Heinz leading the way. It was a bit of a hindrance as far as interviews go (I was hoping to get Centennial on the way out), but I guess you can call me committed. I had gone through too much to just say forget it. Despite our bare bones equipment, we made it work. I also successfully recorded the AAA and AAAA games to my computer, so I'll be using as much footage as I'm allowed from 45.

St. Michael-Albertville won what will be their only state title in class AAA; they're moving up to AAAA next season by beating a Minneapolis North team who was rather young; many players still have yet to attend high school. 63-50 was the final. North is scheduled to go to class AA, but they're requesting to stay in AAA, so we'll see what happens. In any case, at some point, the experience can be overwhelming for players who aren't old enough for driver's education. North looked lost after jumping out to a quick start and could never find that spark in the second half. St. Michael-Albertville wasn't supposed to be there either as the unofficial 7 seed (they were technically unseeded) and ended up as the surprise of the tournament. However, North may return to the powerhouse they were at the beginning of the decade.

Things finished as expected in class AAAA, but the final score was closer than expected. Minneapolis South won 68-61 over Centennial with 47 points coming from Tayler Hill alone. Hill was the only player to score double-digits for South, except they didn't lose this time. Megan Nipe scored 22 points for Centennial, but this game was won from the free throw line. South was 25-30 (83%) while Centennial was 17-26 (65%) from the charity stripe. For those who think free throws aren't important (they generally don't provide many points by percentage), they really do make a difference that can't be attributed to how the other team plays. Hill tied the all-time tournament record for points in a single game and easily broke the all-time single season scoring record. She finishes her dream season with 1,053 points. More astonishing is that Hill didn't score below 20 all season. Not even Sadiqah Jihad fouling out or Tyisha Smith leaving the game due to a knee injury would stop South from winning what was supposed to be theirs last year, the class AAAA state championship.

You'll see us again at the All-Star series, but looking back now, some goals I will try for next season (should I return) are:

1. Create an emergency plan in case one of my co-workers goes AWOL for three weeks and fails to respond to any form of communication. I almost got burned today.

2. Expand the coverage area. We went to Becker, but it was to televise a game featuring Minneapolis South. You may see us head for the Lake Conference or Suburban East as St. Paul looks rather weak for 2009-10.

3. Focus on just play-by-play, whether I call games solo or with a partner.

4. Find a few more faces who are willing to call games with me. The sources I have now are reliable, but they're often swamped with basketball schedules of their own (coaching that is). Guess you can't take people away from the thing they love most.

5. Be more careful when conducting interviews with college players. I almost landed in hot water, but cleared up the issue before it boiled.

Exhausting as it was, and frustrating, I'm glad to close the book for 2008-09. You'll see the post-season show soon. I don't expect to televise AAU this summer given the logisitical concerns, but you never know.

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