Coach Myhre reaches 600 as Barnum reaches finals

Randy Myhre has been coaching girls basketball since 1978. Yet he can't remember seeing a half better than the first half of Tuesday night's Section 5A semifinal against Isle.

Claire Rodgers
Barnum junior Claire Rodgers moves the ball down the court last Thursday when the Bombers faced the Onamia Panthers, easily handing them a 76-20 loss in the first round of the Section 5A tournament. Rodgers scored eight in the contest. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

Randy Myhre has been coaching girls basketball since 1978. Yet he can't remember seeing a half better than the first half of Tuesday night's Section 5A semifinal against Isle.

The defending Minnesota Class A champion Bombers (26-3, 13-1 Polar League) dismantled Isle 64-41 to set up a return matchup with Sebeka in Friday night's section final. Along the way, Barnum outscored Isle 40-13 in the first half.

"The first half is as good as we can play," Myhre said. "We were lights-out on defense and our help-side defense was just phenomenal."

Barnum's defense was so good that Isle didn't score a field goal until six minutes remained in the first half.

"I don't know if we have ever played better defense in a half," Myhre said. "We put good pressure on the basketball, but I've never seen a defensive half like that in my career. The kids deserve all the credit for that."


Offensively, the Bombers were balanced as always, hitting seven three-pointers and scoring 40 points in the first half.

"That's nothing to sneeze at either," Myhre said. "We got contributions from everyone. (Senior) Jess Newman leads us all the time, but we were balanced in scoring."

Newman scored 20 points for the Bombers, with Katie Myhre adding 11, Claire Rodgers 10, Daron Mainville eight and Karianna Duesler six.

"I'm not sure we are that good all the time," Myhre admitted, "but we played as well as we could possibly play in the first half. The kids thought they could do better, but honestly I'm not so sure."

Barnum's 76-20 first-round win over Onamia on March 3 marked Myhre's 600th career coaching win, putting him in an elite group of coaches.

"It says a lot about the program," he said. "Six hundred wins says a lot about the organization and mostly about the kids who are playing the game.

"To survive this long in coaching - and some of it is survival - you need the support of your district, board, parents and administration," Myhre added. "Our fan base has been outstanding and we have players who want to excel and work hard at something worthwhile. I can't take credit for that. The credit belongs to the kids. I've just been one part of it."

Myhre also remembers his first game in charge 32 seasons ago.


"I won't forget it for a long time," he said. "We got pounded by about 60 points, against one of the great Moose Lake teams. We decided that we had nowhere to go but up and if we were going to get serious, we had work to do. Looking back on it, I'm really proud of what happened for the kids. Now, we've got what we've got."

What Barnum's "got" is another section title game.

Friday's championship game will pit the Bombers against Sebeka (22-6), which upset 24-1 Upsala in the other semifinal. The game starts at 7 p.m. at Crosby-Ironton.

"It seems like we play them every year," Myhre said. "They are an excellent basketball team, with a good mix of youth and veterans. We'll have to be good to win.

"We have veterans," Myhre added, "kids who have been there, and know how to win the big games. We also have five new players on the team. I like to say we have eight starters, and six of them didn't play much last season. Now they are in the mix and in the heat of the battle. They've done a good job responding to new roles and challenges and we'll need them all Friday."

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