Basketball loses first game in sections

It was a tough season for the Ponies basketball team, as they finished 12-13 and did not win a playoff game. They lost a key player junior Lucas Braun to an injury during the football season, and that was a chance for some new players to step up. Five of the varsity players were seniors and will be graduating at the end of this year.

At the end of last season, the team had to say goodbye to three very important seniors, Connor Gamble, Matt Anderson and Kyle McKinley, but they still had some good younger players who made the departure of the big three look not-so bad. After the injury to Braun, two other players, junior Griffin Gamble and sophomore Kyle Lee, both transfered to new schools and left a hole in the lineup that needed to be filled. Sophomore Manny Jinco and senior Ben Ratte both stepped up to help the team this year.

The team started their season by participating in the Moorhead holiday tournament, and for the second straight year, they won the title. They beat Dillsworth and Bismarck Legacy to win the championship.

It was a lot of fun and I’m really going to miss playing with these guys.”

— Isaiah Dobson

For the first 11 games the Ponies started out 7-4, a good record. Junior Grayson Hosch said, “After the first couple of games I was surprised at how well we were doing and it gave me hope that we would have a good season.”

A loss to Cretin-Derham Hall sparked a seven game losing streak that really put them out of the race for conference champions. Assistant varsity coach Adam Paulson said, “It was hard to watch because a lot of those games we lost were really close and it was tough on the players to lose that many close ones.”

Their next win came as a blowout win against White Bear. From there they went on a five game winning streak, with the fifth win being a five OT thriller that showcased senior Isaiah Dobson scoring 42 points.

“We’ve played harder than them and we deserve this more than them, we can play all night if we have to, as long as we get the win,” Dobson said going into that game.

The Ponies were down 18 points at half time, and some fans had already left. The second half started and immediately Dobson started to take over. It would take all of the second half, 5 overtimes and 39 second half points from Dobson for the Ponies to finally pull off the huge upset.

Dobson suspected this could happen, coming into the season he wanted to win some big games and surprise people with how good we really are.

After the upset win over Cretin, Stillwater got blown out 54-74 by Mounds View. Up next they had their regular season finale against their rival Woodbury at home, in ‘The Stable’. With a packed crowd, the Ponies started out hot and led by one at halftime. The second half was a different story as the Royals of Woodbury took over and won easily 73-60.

Coach Paulson talked about the loss afterwards, “We knew that game would be hard to win and it was a really important one. So when we lost we knew it was going to be tough to beat Tartan and move on.”

The first section game came on the road at Tartan. Tartan already had two division 1 athletes and likely more to come. Most notable was 6’7 center Jarvis Thomas who was no match for Stillwater’s slightly undersized big men. Even with the mismatches, the Ponies made it close, only losing 37-43 but ending their season.

“I think we lost some games we shouldn’t have but we also won some that we shouldn’t have. It was a lot of fun and I’m really going to miss playing with these guys,” Dobson commented on his last season of high school basketball.