I think the toughest thing to watch is a young man hugging his mother and father after a tough loss in their last high school basketball game. It brings back the flood of emotions that everyone goes through when you are done playing the game that you love.
I choked up when I saw that today after the Highwood Mountaineers lost to Westby-Grenora 55-50 in overtime in loser-out action. As the Mountaineers filed out of the locker room hugs and tears abounded not just between family members but between the whole community of Highwood. That is what makes me love Class C basketball.
Yes, the Mountaineers lost a tough one today but what they did this season was something special.
First of which they beat the Box Elder Bears twice this season including a large win to open up the Northern C Divisional.
Second, they survived the tough 8C Districts and the Northern C Division. That is something that most teams can only dream of.
Third, they knocked off the media’s No. 2 team coming into the State Tournament when they defeated Manhattan Christian 54-47.
However the most impressive fact about the run the Mountaineers made this season is that they did it with only about five players. Sure Louis Aron came off the bench for spurts and did a great job but it was the core five of Davison, LaFontaine, Malek, Malek, and Ferda that did a majority of the work for Coach Aaron Skogen.
To win a game at the State C Boys’ Basketball Tournament is something special and the Mountaineers need to remember that.
This group of seniors was a bunch of rag tag freshman that helped the Mountaineers to a second place finish at State in 2012. To make it to State twice in your playing career is something that a lot of Class C coaches never see happen, not to mention players.
So even though Highwood lost out on this Saturday morning, the Mountaineers should keep their heads up high. They made it very clear that they deserved to be here at the State C Boys’ Basketball Tournament and represented the Northern C well.
It’s tough to see playing careers come to an end especially for a group of young men who worked so hard to get one more chance at a State Tournament trophy, but it was really difficult to see these young men end their careers.
For those five seniors for Highwood they did something special. They brought their community to State twice, Divisional all four years, and a made all of Highwood proud.
So go ahead and shed a tear and give your family and teammates a hug. Just don’t forget to stop and look back at all that you accomplished while wearing the word “Mountaineer” across your chest.
You won’t be disappointed.