BOYS BASKETBALL: The Green Wave takes on Barnesville in championship game Friday
Travis Lindgren’s list of accomplishments are long as a basketball player, including more than 1,000 career points in his prep career and all-America honors playing at Mayville State.
In one area, Lindgren fell short, however. In his sophomore and junior seasons at East Grand Forks Senior High, the stellar point guard led the Green Wave to the section championship game. Both times, the Green Wave were beaten and fell a win short of a trip to state.
“It’s hard any time you work that long and that hard for something and don’t get it,” said Lindgren, a 1999 Senior High graduate. “We lost to good teams both years. But you play the game to win. It was tough to swallow.”
Lindgren is a game away from state again, this time as the Green Wave coach. Senior High plays Barnesville at 7 p.m. Friday at Bemidji State in the championship game of the Section 8AA tournament. The winner advances to next week’s state tournament. The loser’s season is done.
Senior High will bid for its first trip to the state tournament since the 1971 team that included Kurt Knoff, one of the all-time great Senior High athletes.
The Green Wave have been a game away from state a number of times since 1971. Big-name players such as Lindgren, Dave Vonesh and Brandon Brekke all led their teams to section championship games, only to come up short.
Lindgren said he hasn’t talked about his own experiences to his team.
“It’s a different team and a different situation,” Lindgren said. “This group’s goal is to keep going. They aren’t thinking about anybody else’s (past) situations.”
There is a more recent past to think about for the Green Wave. On Feb. 15, Senior High dropped a 79-67 decision at home to Barnesville. In that game, Barnesville standout guards Michael Strand and Ben Sauve combined to connect on nine treys and score 50 points.
“They shot the ball really well, and they did a good job of getting to the basket,” Lindgren said. “And we didn’t do our best job of making it more difficult for them.
“But I’m encouraged by our defensive play in the playoffs. If we can do that again, I like our chances.”
Barnesville (22-5) has shown an ability to adapt its style. It outlasted Pelican Rapids 102-98 in an offensive outburst in the second round of the playoffs, then beat Perham 48-45 in a defensive struggle in its last game.
Senior High (19-9) has its own go-to guys.
Senior 6-7 center Jim Warmack averages 19 points and 9.5 rebounds. Ty Misialek (16 ppg) and Grant Frydenlund (9.5 ppg) both have hit more than 50 treys this season, and Ben Bjornson (9.2 ppg) has been one of the Wave’s more consistent scorers in the second half of the season.