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GIRLS BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK Short-handed L-O forfeits its final game

By Donny Henn

dhenn@postbulletin.com

A long regular season got one game shorter for the Le Roy-Ostrander girls basketball team, which has forfeited its Friday night game at Caledonia due to a thin roster made thinner by a few injuries.

The forfeit loss will leave Le Roy-Ostrander with a final 1-19 record in the regular season. The Cardinals endured a string of 50-plus-point defeats in recent weeks.

L-O first-year coach Chad Buchmann said his team will compete in the playoffs. But he didn't see any value in Friday's last regular season game.

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"It's a non-conference game, (Caledonia) is not in our section, and it's an hour-and-a-half drive," said Buchmann, 25, a Wisconsin native who previously coached in the Hayfield and Stewartville girls basketball programs.

Buchmann said that a couple of injuries depleted what was already a thin roster, forcing him to use B sqaud players. He has forfeited three B squad games in recent weeks because he needed those players to fill out the varsity roster.

Buchmann started the season with 15 players, varsity and B squad combined; now he's down to 10. He and B squad coach Bob Anderson have conducted practices together all season, due to the low numbers.

Buchmann claimed that L-O's last three defeats have been "run-ups" by Southeast Conference opponents; Rushford-Peterson crushed L-O 90-14, Glenville-Emmons won 82-32, and Southland ripped the Cardinals 78-23 on Tuesday night.

He claimed that some opponents were playing full-court pressure defense and/or still had starters in the game with a 40-point lead in the fourth quarter.

"I'm not going there (to Caledonia) and putting my eighth-graders and freshmen through another night like that," he said. "I had talked to my three seniors about this, and they understood. And I have not had one phone call all year long from any parents."

Buchmann didn't speak with Caledonia coach Scott Sorenson, but he discussed the forfeit with Caledonia athletic director Ken Van Den Boom. Buchmann said he was asked to pay for the officials for Friday night.

"It's unusual and unfortunate," Van Den Boom said. "Of course we would have preferred to play the game, but you've got to be understanding in this situation."

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FINALLY, ABOVE .500: Mabel-Canton, with a 16-6 record, will finish over .500 for the first time in nine years. Second-year coach Dave Lind said it's a good feeling.

"Obviously the girls have been good in volleyball for a long time and they've geared all of their efforts toward that," he said. (M-C finished third at the Class A state tournament in November.)

"But I think they were really getting sick of being in the (basketball) toilet; Last year we finished 10-13, but we lost a lot of games before we left the locker room."

Mabel-Canton won the holiday tournament at Winona State University for the first time in December, and the Cougars had two wins over Caledonia for the first time in 11 years.

Leading M-C to contention have been seniors Molly Horihan and Jenni Aasum. Horihan, a 6-foot-2 center, has averaged 13.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, and she has been dominant with a pair of 20-plus rebounding games. Aasum is the quarterback, averaging 8 points, 5 steals, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

POLITICALLY CORRECT: Start times for the March 12 quarterfinal round of the girls state tournament have been pushed back an hour, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., to comply with the law.

"It's a township election day and under state law there may be no school activities between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.," explained Howard Voigt, Director of Information for the Minnesota State High School League.

The boys' state quarterfinals a week later start at 7 p.m.

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