Seniors lead Tiger basketball
Despite a 12-4 West Central Conference South record and 17 overall wins, the Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta boys' basketball season was cut short with a loss in the first round of the Section 6AA West tournament.
As two-time defending conference champions, the Tigers were hoping for a repeat season. However, Minnewaska and Montevideo got in the way and the Tigers had to settle for third place.
In the section, the Tigers were the No. 3 seed, behind Minnewaska and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, and hosted West Central Area in the first round of play-off action. The Knights were victorious in double overtime to end the Tigers' season.
"There's going to be upsets in the play-offs," said Torgerson. "Unfortunately, it was us.
"To get beat in the first round was disheartening," he added. "We could have competed against any of the teams in our section, but things didn't quite click."
It was a disappointing end to a promising season for a talented team.
Torgerson had nine seniors on the squad. Alex Erickson, Mac Kampmeier, Eric Riley, Coley Riley, Cody Cannon, Tyler Roske, Daniel Tiernan, Sebastian Sprouse, and Forrest Thielke.
"Our depth was the strength of this team," Torgerson explained. "We played nine to 10 kids in almost every game.
"We had so many kids that didn't start last year, but they played significant roles this season," Torgerson said. "They really were green, but they had a really good year."
"Not often do you have that kind of senior class," said Torgerson. "It was fun to watch these kids develop."
Cole Riley led the team averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game. He finished his career with 462 points and ranks 38th on the Tigers' career point list.
Erickson had 158 points this season and Kampmeier had 219, but they both averaged 8.8 points per game. Erickson was out for a few weeks with an ankle injury.
Combining their points earned as Spartans, Erickson ranks sixth on the all-time list with 1,222 points and Kampmeier is 19th with 646.
Also making the all-time list is Eric Riley with 475 total points. This season, he had 188 for an average of 7.5. He led the Tigers in two columns this season with 94 assists and 43 steals.
The Tigers' balanced attack was evident with four other players averaging over five points per game. Cannon had 5.2, Roske had 6.1, Tiernan had 5.6, and junior Riley Arndt had 5.2.
The other juniors on the roster, Brody Bahr and Sam Mattson, also got playing time.
Overall, the coach was happy with the season and the team's chemistry.
Torgerson's season highlight is one that many Tiger fans will be talking about for years to come. The Tigers were hosting Paynesville on Feb. 15 when all 12 of the junior and senior players scored in an 82-33 victory.
Sprouse and Thielke came off the bench to score nine and eight points, respectively. Sprouse's point were all three-point shots, while Thielke also hit two treys.
"That really fired up the crowd," said Torgerson.
As Torgerson said, the Tigers gave the fans a "good product" to watch in 2010-2011 with some nice winning streaks.
He's looking forward to coaching next year's team with three returning players and the incoming B-squad that finished with an undefeated season.