For a sophomore, St. Cloud Cathedral’s Brindley Theisen had some good perspective on tonight’s game with Annandale.
“It should be up-tempo,” Theisen said.
Top-seeded Cathedral plays No. 2 Annandale for the North Sub-Section 5-2A boys basketball title at 6 tonight at Dassel-Cokato High School.
The winner plays the South Section 5-2A winner at 6:30 p.m. Friday at St. Cloud State’s Halenbeck Hall. At stake is a berth in the state tournament.
Cathedral might have its best shot at a state berth since qualifying in 1999 and 2000. Last year’s team also was a serious contender, but had to deal with its best player, Joe Burt, playing on a bad ankle. Burt was the Times’ player of the year and now plays for Division II Augustana.
This season’s squad has had its share of adversity. Conor Voss, the Crusaders’ 7-footer headed to Division I Columbia University, missed seven games with a knee injury. During that stretch Cathedral went 4-3.
He’s back and healthy and agreed with Theisen’s assessment: Annandale is quick and athletic.
“It’s not really a good matchup for me,” Voss admited. “They’re really small and fast.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to use my size advantage on the other end.”
Annandale (18-9) and Cathedral (22-6) played Dec. 13 at Sexton Arena in Collegeville. A shot clock was used, but it really wasn’t needed. Cathedral won 91-85.
“They’re quick,” Cathedral senior post Jalen Braeglemann said. “They force the pressure, so you’ve got to take care of the ball.
“And they rebound well, so you’ve got to box them out and watch where you are.”
Cathedral also has been without Brady Yoerg. The junior guard has been out with a high ankle sprain.
But the Crusaders have handled their injuries well.
“We have good depth,” Braegelmann said.
Besides Voss, Cathedral is really small. Theisen, a 6-foot-2 sophomore who weighs about 160 pounds, is the next biggest player in the lineup.
Braegelmann is a 6-foot, 155-pounder “on a good day,” he quipped. Note that Braegelmann plays post, as does 5-11 John Peschel.
Everyone else in Cathedral’s rotation is 6-1 or less. But that’s sort of how it is at Annandale, too.
The Cardinals’ are guard-dominated, though slightly bigger overall with 6-3 John Kalthoff, 6-3 Matt Miller, 6-3 Andrew Fort, 6-0 Brett Fobbe and 5-11 Brett Ahsenmacher.
“They’ve got athletes and they play well together,” Cathedral head coach Matt Meyer said. “They fly around and make stuff happen.
“It’ll definitely be up-tempo and hard-fought.”
The Crusaders also like to play the full court. And the best thing about their style is that if a team breaks their press, there is Voss guarding the basket. He is believed to be the first 7-foot basketball player in the city of St. Cloud’s history.
“Even if he’s not scoring a lot, he blocks shots,” Theisen said. “They don’t go inside because they know they are gong to get it swatted.”
After the Cathedral-Annandale game, Mayer Lutheran plays Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted for the South Sub-Section 6-2A championship.
The Minnesota State High School League goes through the process of realigning all its competitive sections every two years and there are quite a few changes in a number of sports in Central Minnesota.
In football, Albany is moving up a class to Section 8-4A. The Huskies will be in a section with Detroit Lakes, Rocori, Little Falls, Fergus Falls and Thief River Falls. East Grand Forks has left the section.
Section 5-3A also has changed in football. It is now: Aitkin, Pierz, Foley, St. Cloud Cathedral, Milaca, Mora and Pine City.
In boys hockey, the dividing line for Section 6A no longer will be Highway 15. Or, as Cathedral head coach Eric Johnson joked, somewhere between the Crusaders’ locker room and St. Cloud Apollo’s locker room at the Municipal Athletic Complex.
Sauk Rapids and Cathedral have moved from 5A to 6A. It’s now a 10-team section with: Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Little Falls, Sartell, Prairie Centre, Breckenridge-Wahpeton, Wadena-Deer Creek, Apollo, Cathedral and Sauk Rapids.
In boys and girls basketball, Albany also is moving up from Section 6-2A to Section 8-3A. The eight-team sections include: Albany, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Little Falls, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Thief River Falls and Alexandria.
Those are just some of the highlights. There are many other changes.
* Whitney Weisz was a part of two Mountain West Conference-winning relay teams in helping the San Diego State Aztecs to the league championship in San Antonio, Texas.
Weisz, a freshman from Little Falls, swam a leg on the 200-yard medley relay and the 400 medley relay for San Diego State. The 200 medley team had a time of 1 minute, 37.93 seconds. The 400 medley relay team had a time of 3:35.60.
Weisz and her teammates for on 200 medley relay have qualified for the NCAA national championships in Indianapolis.
* Former Sartell standout Cameron Hyde is a member of the University of Kentucky men’s swim team.
Hyde was a three-time high school All-American at Sartell and set a state record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time 20.61. He also was twice named Section 4A swimmer of the year.
* St. Cloud Apollo’s Pete Matanich was named the Section 6A head boys hockey coach of the year after leading the Eagles to the state tournament for the first time since 1984.
* Little Falls’ Bob Stark was the 6A assistant coach of the year.
* St. Cloud Cathedral’s Ron Brown was named the Section 5A boys hockey assistant coach of the year.