Magic mirror the Otters [UPDATED]Published 11:21am Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Updated 11:39am Tuesday, March 12, 2013
It’s time to load up the bus, bring your pom poms and paint your face with maroon and gold as the Fergus Falls Otter girls basketball team will make their second straight appearance in the Minnesota State Class AAA Basketball Tournament Wednesday.
After going the whole season ranked number one in Class AAA, the Otters were saddled with the third seed in the tournament. Many speculate city bias in the seeding process or felt that a one point Section 8AAA title win over Alexandria was to blame.
For the Otters, it doesn’t matter. They are in search of improving upon last season’s third-place finish and it all begins with a 4 p.m. game at Williams Arena against the Monticello Magic.
Monticello (24-5) is much like the Otters, a young team with experience. The Magic’s roster looks similar to Fergus’ when you look at the potential for a follow-up run next year as most of the players are either juniors or sophomores. In fact, both teams are making their second consecutive state appearance and felt the wrath of last season’s state champion DeLaSalle.
The similarities get scary when you notice that they have amazing guard play out of all-time scorer Grace Sawatzke and Alyssa Lentner. The tandem of Brianna Rasmusson and Bailey Strand has been deadly for the Otters, but now they face a team that may bring comparable guard play.
“We had a chance to scout them twice during the season and they are a very good team,” Otters coach Brad Strand said. “We will need to play our best game of the season to get the win.”
Strand points out that they are a very athletic team that likes to use a motion offense with a single post and blends their defensive look but plays a base match-up zone.
The X factor for the Otters may come in the paint. Hannah Swenson and Anna Monke provide a strong third and fourth scoring option that the Magic may not be able to handle.
Another difference between the teams is the regular season schedule. While Fergus seemed to cruise to an undefeated season, the Magic had to muscle out wins against similar opponents. Monticello’s key victory on the year was defeating Section 8AAAA champion St. Michael-Albertville by one point at home.