Cobber Men's Basketball |
Dec. 4, 1998 Concordian | Cobber Sports |
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Basketball prepares for MIAC opener
The Cobber men's basketball team has proven early on that they are ready to compete against the toughest teams in the nation.
After four non-conference games, the Cobbers are 2-2. They will start conference play Saturday against undefeated Augsburg.
"We're really going to have a test right away with Augsburg and Carelton College," head coach Duane Siverson said. "If we can win one of those games we're really going to be on a roll. We'll really be tough to beat." The Cobbers will be putting their new offensive approach to the test on Saturday.
As a result of the first games, Siverson said the team has developed a strong post game they can rely on against the more athletic teams in the MIAC, as well as their full court press they plan on using against most of the half-court offenses in the conference.
The Cobbers had a big win over Moorhead State Nov. 24. According to freshman Jeff Ubben, the victory was a big emotional boost to the team.
Over Thanksgiving break, the team competed in the Nebraska Wesleyan Classic. Concordia lost the first game 83-65 to the host team, Nebraska Wesleyan. The Cobbers were only down by three points with eight minutes left in the game before crucial mistakes cost them the game.
"I thought we should have beaten those guys," said junior college transfer Kermit Cooper. "We had the momentum going into half time, but during the second half we started putzing around. We didn't realize that, at any moment, a team can beat you."
Siverson said that too much intensity has led to foul trouble in both of Concordia's losses.
"We would get teams right where we wanted them, but then we started reaching in and fouling," Cooper said. "If we play good defense, there's no need to be fouling. We were handing them the game."
Behind Ubben's 20 points and 8 rebounds, Concordia easily beat Hastings College in their final game of the classic 102-75.
"The team is really happy with the way things are going," Cooper said.
"But we know we can play better. Those are games we should have had in
the bag. Every game you learn something new. We're only going to get better
as the year goes on."
Women's baksetball team 1-1 overall
The women's basketball team survived their first two games of the year. The Cobbers are 1-1 overall defeating Valley City State, 76-57, on Nov. 21 and losing to Moorhead State University, 69-75, on Nov. 24.
"We didn't play great defense," head coach Kathy Wall said. "If you don't play solid defense the offense is kind of just running around."
The Cobbers were down by 22 points in the game against MSU, but came back in the second half to come as close as six points.
"We are improving," junior Nikki Vetter said. "We started out shaky, but we are learning more and more every day."
Vetter said that the team's strengths are their quickness and their ability to outrun their opponents on the court. Their weakness is their lack of height. The Cobbers hope to use their quickness against other MIAC teams.
"When we start the MIAC we need to continue to push the ball and play better defense," Wall said. "I think that it was the biggest thing against MSU. If we would have played better defense it would have been a different story."
Wall knows it will be a little bit different playing against the other MIAC teams.
The Cobbers also have to look out for the half-court teams in the MIAC because they run a slower system than Concordia who uses a high tempo game strategy.
"We have talked about that and Wall said just to keep pushing it to them," Vetter said. "We can't really take a bad shot because they have to run 90 feet to their basket. We feel we are in better shape than most teams." The team is looking ahead to their next match up against MIAC rival Augsburg Saturday.
"I am not so much worried about Augsburg as I am worried about ourselves,"
Wall said. "We need to play to our ability and just get the confidence.
It's a young team and you need that confidence right off the bat."
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Wrestling coach frustrated
The Cobber wrestling team participated in the Augsburg open Saturday. While scores were not kept, several members of the team did well. "It's a young team, and we are still learning to wrestle at the college level," freshman Ryan Smith said.
According to head coach Doug Perry, the team did as well as they have done there in a number of years. Perry highlighted the performances of several wrestlers who did well at the open including freshman Ryan Smith, freshman Rob Brekke, freshman Courtney Smith and sophomore Eric Patenaude. "I think we are young and need more matches under our belt to continue to develop at the college level of wrestling," Perry said.
While the team is continuing to develop there has been a downside to the season as the team have lost four freshmen that were going to be on the team.
"I am disappointed because we spent so much time on them recruiting them," Perry said.
According to Smith it is hard to keep team members because Concordia is a Division III school and has nothing to keep them here. Smith also said that with members quitting each year there is a lack of senior leadership because the seniors are not being replaced because the team keeps losing members.
"Cutting weight after 12 years of doing it can be part of the reason behind quitting," Smith said. "When they get to college they don't know why they do it anymore so they quit."
"Recruiting them is not easy, and we brought in 17 freshman this year and there are not 17 freshman here," Perry said. "There are some that quit and some that didn't come out. It is really frustrating because I am trying to build a program with these young kids. They are the bread and butter of the team and we spend a lot of time recruiting these kids. Maybe it's time for some new blood and somebody else can carry the baton."
Keeping Roger Maris' memory alive
The red geraniums planted around Roger Maris' modest grave in Holy Cross Cemetery, one mile north of the Fargo airport, have endured the entire baseball season. Only with the impending winter are they starting to wilt. The season that captivated America and may have saved the game of baseball is over. A champion bass fisherman has replaced Mark McGwire, baseball's new homerun king, on the Wheaties box. Sammy Sosa and his trademark cheer have vanished after the Cubs were eliminated from the playoffs. McGwire and Sosa will be back next year, but the legend of Roger Maris, the greatest homerun hitter for nearly four decades, may not.
Walt Seeba, Maris' brother-in-law, has tended Maris' grave since his death from cancer in 1985.
"I went a little overboard this year because of the chase," Seeba said. "I planted 15 geranium plants this year. I planted them in spring, and they've stayed for the whole season. Last I checked, they were still there."
The flowers are a fitting metaphor for the legendary status of Maris himself. The flowers lived, despite the varied weather conditions this summer, enduring the heat and cold alike, but they now are fading, and will not survive the winter. Maris' legend has endured the chill of the frequent criticism he received, and warmth of his recent respect. Now the record is broken, and winter may be approaching for the legend of Roger Maris.
In previous years, rarely did any other decorations surround the black
"There was a lot of activity in the beginning of September, when the record was about to be broken," Seeba said. "People left baseballs with personal messages to Roger, flowers, baseball cards, batter's gloves, and American flags, but I'm not sure why they left flags. It quit suddenly in the middle of September."
Like the attention given to Maris'' grave, attendance at the Roger Maris Museum in West Acres was at an all-time high during the chase. The museum, which was dedicated in 1984, one year before Maris' death, consists of over 200 items, most of them donated by Roger Maris himself. These items cover Maris' career from when he played for the American Legion as a teen, through his career with the Fargo-Moorhead Twins, and his professional career with the Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals. American Legion member Jim McLaughlin, the curator of the museum, was responsible for the acquisition of these items. Other items, including awards Maris received after his death, have come from the Maris family, brought to Fargo at the annual Roger Maris golf tournament.
Since Maris' seemingly untouchable record was broken, attendance at the museum has been reduced to a trickle.
"I've been here before, but I've never paid attention to [the museum]," said Jason Wiste, a Fargo resident. "Now that I look at it, I can see its real value."
As the chase came to a close, some interviewers suggested the museum be dismantled. However, McLaughlin and other American Legion members had already decided the fate of the museum halfway into the season.
"The Maris family and the American Legion talked about it in June because it looked like the record was going to be broken by McGwire," McLaughlin said. "They decided not to change the museum at all. He's still the hometown hero. He may have lost one record, but he still has three others that are just as important."
McLaughlin explained that Maris is the only left-handed hitter and the only American Leaguer to hit more than 60 home runs. Also, Maris was younger than McGwire, Sosa, or Babe Ruth when he hit homerun 61. At 37 years, Maris' record stood longer than Ruth's, and, according to McLaughlin, will stand longer than McGwire's.
"I met with Roger before he died in 1985, and he told me that he knew the record was going to be broken some day," McLaughlin said. "He said that it was inevitable. Besides, the record didn't mean much to him. He was just doing his job."
Seeba said that Maris told him the same thing.
"Roger's most valuable possession wasn't the 61 homeruns," Seeba said.
For these reasons, McLaughlin says that the Roger Maris Museum will remain relatively unchanged, despite the normal monthly rotation of exhibited items.
"The museum was set up by the American Legion to honor Roger Maris as "our boy"...," McLaughlin said. "We decided to make it a Roger Maris museum instead of a baseball museum."
Visitors may, after looking at every item in the museum, still say the museum should be altered because of the new record, but not in the same way that many people suggested to McLaughlin.
"He will always be the first one to break the record. If anything they should make it bigger," said Sandy Flom, who watched Maris when he played for the Fargo-Moorhead Twins.
Back at Holy Cross Cemetery, two baseballs, partially buried in the soil under the geraniums, seem to have escaped the ground crew. One ball, yellowed and waterlogged, reflects the impression Maris has made on a local boy. In childish handwriting the child promises Maris, "I'll bring it back to Fargo"- a pact to bring the record back to its rightful place. Roger Maris may no longer hold the most cherished individual record in professional sports, but people like Walt Seeba and Jim McLaughlin hope to keep the legend of Roger Maris alive much longer than the flowers around his grave.
Under those resilient geraniums, the other ball lies just in front of
the headstone. Bright white but misshapen from the weather, it is from
a child who shares the same birthday as Maris, Sept 10. In bold black letters,
he promises Maris: "Your accomplishment will NEVER be forgotten and neither