Korby's Corner: Let the ‘Madness’ beginWhether college or high school, boys or girls, the basketball postseason will engulf the upcoming weeks when rankings are overlooked, upsets are favored and really, a new season begins.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
For most sports-minded Americans, March shouts basketball. High school hoops heat up, brackets fill the air and the Madness finally begins.
Unless you live in the Myhre household.
“We call it ‘Yearlong Madness’ in our house,” Barnum girls basketball Coach Randy Myhre said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re a basketball family and we do it all year. March is really just another month.”
Most fans, however, only wish that March were every month. Whether college or high school, boys or girls, the basketball postseason will engulf the upcoming weeks when rankings are overlooked, upsets are favored and really, a new season begins.
“When you start the playoffs, it’s zero-zero,” said Esko junior guard Marisa Shady. “For us, it’s the start of our second season.”
In March, anything goes. Big school or small, one game, one half, heck, even one play can determine who marches on and who goes home.
“That’s the beauty of the playoffs, it’s anyone’s game,” said Randy’s daughter, Katie, a Barnum senior. “It’s one of my favorite times of the year.”
Basketball fans would agree.
This week began the Minnesota high school girls playoffs, while the boys will kickoff next week and college soon after that. All the tournaments will overlap when, at times, basketball might be important than showering.
OK, maybe not.
Hygiene priorities aside, whether you’re watching in the stands or from your couch, there’s something about watching March basketball that people thoroughly enjoy.
It could be a buzzer-beater, the cutting of the nets or teams dancing afterward, but a Cinderella story or juggernaut, basketball is must-see in March.
“It’s exciting because anything can happen,” said Esko girls basketball Coach Scott Antonutti. “In the playoffs, it doesn’t matter if a team could beat you nine times out of 10, if you win that 10th time, you’re moving on.”
Again, like Katie Myhre said, that’s the beauty of the playoffs.
Myhre is a sharp-shooter for the Bombers, while Shady runs the point for the Eskomos. Although both are avid basketball players, the pair isn’t too concerned about watching college games on television here shortly.
“I’m not a crazy, diehard fan or anything,” Myhre said with a laugh.
“I’ll catch a little bit of it,” added Shady, “but I’m not too intense.”
Both are more concerned about their own playoff fates. Myhre and Shady have helped guide their respective teams to top seeds in this week’s playoffs, as Barnum (21-5) sits at No. 1 in Section 7A, while Esko (23-3) stands tall in Section 7AA.
“It’s not about rankings now, though,” said Myhre. “It’s about who brings their game. This is the month that we all look forward to.”
As colleges battle for national titles, high school teams seek state crowns. Shady has participated in state events in cross country, soccer and track, but never basketball. She said that’s something that would be neat to change soon.
“That’s the goal, the state tournament,” Shady said. “It’d be exciting to get down there. That’d be awesome, just not just for me, but our whole team.”
Randy Myhre and the Bombers won the state title in 2010.
“This time of year you have to do a lot of things right and put everything together,” he said. “There are no second chances. It’s like sudden death.
“And that’s the one thing I don’t like, is people sometimes don’t see the whole picture,” Myhre continued. “You get judged by how you play in the tournament rather on your whole body of work. For us, it’s a whole journey.”
Antonutti said he’s been emphasizing to his players that they have a lot of be satisfied about already, as opposed to the extra pressure that comes in March.
“We just try and prepare our girls the best that we can,” he said. “One thing we have been stressing is regardless how things pan out, we’re proud of them.”
Nonetheless, Antonutti said, basketball will be on his television set once the college tournament gets under way.
“Last year I even watched BYU,” he said. “I’ll dial in.”
Expect the Myhres to do the same, indulging in a little March Madness.