Boys basketball team brings back oil can


Photo by Maya Disher

After their first win, Stillwater lost the Oil Can trophy to White Bear Lake at the second trophy game. The Oil Can trophy games represents a rivalry Stillwater and White Bear lake has had since the 1920s. The next time the trophy will be up for grabs is next December, 2023.

Peter Banister, Broadcast Editor-In-Chief

The boys basketball team fell to the White Bear Lake Bears  67-50 on Feb. 2 in a rematch for the Old Oil Can Championship.     

Stillwater’s rivalry against White Bear Lake has been going on since the 1920’s when a home economics  teacher crafted a trophy can and titled it the Old Oil Can for the basketball team.  The rivalry was sparked because of how Stillwater and White Bear Lake are both railroad towns and were out of the city area in the early 1900’s.  The two cities had a railroad line connecting together to transport raw materials to and from St Paul.  The trophy was just brought back this season after more than a half a century. 

It’s supposed to represent the two towns’ work ethic,” coach Brady Hannigan said. 

Both cities were connected by railroad and geographically near water, which benefitted them agriculturally, so therefore the trophy represents the railroad that had connected Stillwater and White Bear Lake along with all of the hard working people who fed into the imports into the city.   

 The game started off close, Stillwater trailing four points behind.  This gap however was soon grew throughout the first half with Stillwater falling behind by almost 20 points by halftime.  Stillwater’s top player was on the bench for a good chunk of the first half which led the team to fall behind quickly.   

 “We kind of didn’t really find an offensive rhythm, but we started getting it going in the second half. And, you know, it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to,” senior Max Shikenjanski said.

Stillwater had shot a few three pointers, which helped them catch up in the second half, however is was not enough. Stillwater had too many turnovers and not enough rebounds.     

We kind of didn’t really find an offensive rhythm, but we started getting it going in the second half. And, you know, it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.

— Max Shikenjanski

“I’d say, focusing from the start on the little things that were asked to do from our coaches,” Tanner Thomson said.  In any game, communication with the coaches and other teammates is important and if those communication skills are not used, there is a greater risk of the team losing the game.  Tanner said that the trophy games are not taken as seriously as they should be as they are lower stakes than other games which lead to state.  Motivation and communication are crutial in any sports game because if all players are engaged, chances of winning are higher.

Shikenjanski was the Ponies high scorer with 17 points. Tanner Thompson scored 9 and sophomore Henry Zollar put in 8 points. junior Brett Hilde contributed 6, senior Tyler Wiese 5, and junior Lake de Jongh rounded out the scoring with 5.  

 “We need to play up to other teams, you know. I mean, they’re gonna be a team we have to play to  get to State so it was a good game for us, kind of a building block,” Shikenjanski said.  “In order for the team to get better, they need to communicate better together. If anything should be taken from the game, it should serve as an example on how the team could to better communication wise.”  

 This game most likely had seeding implications for the sectionals. Stillwater may meet White Bear Lake again if they are to make it to the state tournament.