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MARILYN HAGERTY: Hopes for UND baskets and goals

He has a black and white shirt with the number 13 and the name Buck on it.

And two-year-old Brant Haugen will be here from Bismarck to cheer on the UND women’s basketball team in the Big Sky conference tournament.

His aunt, Madi Buck, will be flying back and forth on the court at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center Friday evening. She wears number 13 for North Dakota. She was named most valuable player in the Big Sky conference this week.

The whole Buck family gathers around for basketball games at UND. And Wendy Buck, the mother, says they will be back next year to watch the teammates who have become Madi’s friends. They include Emily Evers and Siri Burke, who also are her roommates this year.

Basketball is a tradition with the Buck family. Wendy Buck played in college. Her three daughters were into hoops way back when they were students at Martin Luther, a parochial school in Bismarck. Madi’s sisters are Haley Haugen and Alex Buck. Her dad, Gerald “Poke” Buck is with Border States Electric, formerly in Bismarck and now in Fargo.

With his wife, he has been to all of the UND women’s games this year. They have been there near or far. Along with fans, they are hoping for more beyond this weekend.

But as hoops fans, they know it is one step at a time. Before a game, Wendy Buck is nervous. Then she settles down. Her husband is fairly calm. And they are always optimistic.

Madi has always played on winning teams. With her family, she thinks positive.

Hoops and pucks

The weekend arrives in a flurry of basketballs and hockey pucks. … With UND sports fans meeting at noon today on the main floor of the Alerus Center to hear what the coaches have to say. … UND women are hosting the Big Sky conference basketball tournament, and the hockey team is launching into a do or die playoff series this weekend … with hopes to reach the Frozen Faceoff at Target Center in Minneapolis next weekend.

There will be bucking broncos, calves and cowgirls barrel racing during the rodeo tonight and Saturday at the Alerus. …

The happiest day of the year is coming up Monday on St. Patrick’s Day. … So the celebration begins tonight in Grand Forks when District 42 Democrats hold their 26th annual St. Pat’s Day celebration at the Ramada Inn … with Irish stew and biscuits. … And the St. Patrick’s Day parade begins at 3 p.m. Saturday near Widman’s on South Third Street and moves along down to Kelly’s Bar. … While the annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon Saturday at St. Michael’s Church continues as one of the best events of the year. … And you can find everything from wagon wheels to kids golf clubs at the Saturday auction at Hennessy’s.

Ask Marilyn

Q.: Does Susie Shaft have a birthday on St. Patrick’s Day?

A.: She always used to, and I think she still does. Another St. Pat’s birthday belongs to Phyllis Rovelstad.

Diane and Jarod

Cheerful people of the week: Diane Mathiason and Jarrod Thomas.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.