Salathe returned to the Minnewaska men’s basketball program in the offseason following the retirement of longtime head coach Phil Johnsrud. Heading the program was a Redwood Valley team returning the majority of their plays from a 14-7 squad.
The Cardinals have a roster made up entirely of 14 seniors. That includes 6-foot, 8-inch senior center Carson Woodford and good guards around him. It ultimately exhausted Minnewaska in the second half as the Cardinals extended their lead from 32-25 to 20 points at halftime in a possible 68-50 victory.
“We watched the movie of last year’s game and they scored 97 points against us. I was thinking, ‘Shit,’ ”Salathe said with a smile. “It’s a team that will shoot the ball. They’re really good at drive and kick, and they have a fat guy who’s a lot bigger than our bigger guy. We just said to our guys, “We have to play team defense. We have to fend for ourselves. They’re going to hit a few hits, but if we work hard we’ll be in.
Second-year Minnewaska goalie Jack Majerus is free for a layup against Redwood Valley on Saturday, December 4, 2021. Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press
The Lakers stayed close for about 25 minutes into the game before the Cardinals pulled out. Woodford will play collegially at the University of Jamestown and he has 17 points.
The attention that Woodford draws in the painting also helps open up opportunities around him. Guard Charles LaChapelle and Alex Lang combined for five threes as LaChapelle finished with a high of 21 points and Lang had 16.
“This team is loaded,” said Salathe. “Very experienced, athletic guys who outdo us in defense. With Carson in there, they’ve got guys who can handle the ball, get into the lane. If they get us to step up, they’re going to drop it to the big guy for the finish. If we help in a stunt, they’re going to kick her out for a three. They are a dangerous team to play, but I know my team will improve today than they were yesterday.
Hunter Kostelecty, a 6-5 forward, is one of the few returning Lakers with much college experience. He was proud of the way Minnewaska played against a talented Cardinals program.
Kostelecty played offensively offensively against Woodford at the post. He finished with 19 points, a team high, as he aggressively brought the ball to the basket throughout the day.
“I feel like we’ve been great,” Kostelecty said. “We’ve had a lot of turnovers, but it’s going to happen. We played well against a talented team.
Senior goalie Damon Uhde also scored 16 points for the Lakers, including three triples.
“We know what Damon and Hunter can do for us, so a big part of our attack revolves around them,” said Salathe. “We’re trying to give them looks that can put them in against other teams… Hunter can hit three. They weren’t falling tonight, but he’s going to go, work his butt and compete.
Minnewaska senior forward Hunter Kostelecty performs a layup in front of Redwood Valley’s Carson Woodford defense in the first half on Saturday, December 4, 2021. Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press
That’s what Salathe wants to see from all of his guys, and in terms of the energy the Lakers played with, he liked what he saw on Saturday.
“I want them to go out there and give me their best every time, have a positive attitude, smile and have fun,” said Salathe. “We want to win. I come from a winning culture so losing is something that I don’t like and am not used to, but at that point I just need to stop and to think that each of those guys did their best to me tonight. That’s what I take away. Let’s go practice the next day and learn from that. “
At 25, Salathe is young compared to many of her college coaching counterparts. He grew up in Perham and played for one of Minnesota’s top class AA programs with the Yellowjackets.
Salathe coached a year of Grade 7 basketball at Morris before spending the final two school years as a Grade 7 math teacher and Grade 8 basketball coach at Minnewaska Area High School. He was eager to put his name on the list of candidates for the Lakers varsity post.
“The reason I was interviewed was because I knew I could do this job,” said Salathe. “I’ll learn it the hard way. I’m gonna take my shots, but I’m gonna bounce back, be a basketball junkie and watch the Paynesville and Litchfield game movie. These are our next two opponents. I am very grateful for this work. It’s a big leap to take, but it’s something I thought I was ready for, and I’m happy that the people who chose me for this role have supported my work as well.
Salathe was with his girlfriend and another friend of his on Friday night when he said it struck him how important the day was going to be for him. He woke up at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday to help organize a youth basketball practice before his own game.
“Seeing them just positive took my nerves off because I was around basketball all day,” said Salathe. “Being in the gym, you have that little sense of anxiety in you, and that’s okay. When the game started, it was just fiery energy.
Kostelecty said Salathe takes a very positive approach with this team.
“He likes to convince us to be really positive,” Kostelecty said. “He’s directing us so that we get in shape so he doesn’t have to take us out a lot of games. He’s only positive.”
Salathe spent a few minutes after the game chatting with her assistant coaches before entering the locker room and addressing her team. It is the first of many post-match speeches he’s delighted to deliver after his career debut on Saturday.
“I saw my parents were from Perham. It meant a lot to see them, ”said Salathe. “It makes me feel good to know that I have come to this point in my life, but I want to lead these guys and the teams of the future to something that they can be proud of and be proud of to be a Laker. where I’m from and I’m proud to be the coach here.
Minnewaska senior goalie Damon Uhde enters the lane against Redwood Valley in the Lakers’ season opener on Saturday, December 4, 2021. Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press
Redwood Valley (1-0) 32 36 – 68
Minnesota (0-1) 25 25 – 50
REDWOOD VALLEY – Statement: Charles LaChapelle 21, Robert Halvorson 4, Alex Lang 16, Zack Reck 5, Jagger Bill 2, Carson Woodford 17, Aiden Robish 3… 3 point shots: LaChapelle 3, Lang 2, Reck 1, Robish 1… Rebound leader: n / A … Head of Assistance: n / A … Steal the chef: n / A … Block leader: n / A
MINNEWASKA – Score: Tate Reichmann 4, Ethan Quelle 6, Jack Majerus 5, Damon Uhde 16, Hunter Kostelecty 19… 3 point shots: Reichmann 1, Majerus 1, Uhde 3… Rebound leader: Kostelecty 13, Uhde 7… Head of Assistance: Uhde 6… Steal the chef: Uhde 3 … Block leader: Jack Larson 1, Uhde 1
MACCRAY finished 2-0 with a win over Cleveland at the Wabasso tournament.
Isaac Post had 15 points, six assists and five steals, Gavin Husman had 12 points and Brooks Asche had 11 points for the Wolverines, who got 11 rebounds from Landin Arenholz.
MACCRAY plays at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.