I had the opportunity to cover the Wild Turkey Shootout on Saturday afternoon. It was a huge tournament with 51 teams descending on Worthington.
One of my last stops was out at Minnesota West. There were a large number of fans who came to watch, but I had the opportunity to talk to one in particular.
Worthington head boys’ basketball coach Ron Vorwald was at West taking in the action.
I congratulated him again on leading his team to the Class AA state tournament and asked if it had all sunk in yet. He said it had and it was back to work.
I asked when the match-ups would be coming out and he told me by noon on Sunday.
“I saw Perham qualified for state, wouldn’t it be fun if you guys got to play them again?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t have to do much scouting,” Coach Vorwald answered.
Well, he won’t have to do much at all.
The way the Minnesota State High School League runs the brackets is there are four teams seeded. The other four are selected with a random draw.
Perham is the No. 1 seed.
And the random draw came up with Worthington.
The two teams will play at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night at Target Center in Minneapolis.
In Class A, the Southwest Christian Eagles, whose only loss came to Worthington, is the No. 2 seed and plays Fosston on Thursday at 3 p.m. at Williams Arena. Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin faces off against fourth-seeded Browerville at 1 p.m. at Williams.
But the WHS/Perham game should prove to be a battle.
As part of the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic, Perham and Worthington were able to face each other already this season.
Perham won that match-up 64-52. At that time, WHS fell to 3-3. They are now 21-6. Mitch Weg had 25 points and 14 rebounds that night, but nobody else was in double figures.
The Yellowjackets enter the game 27-2. Their first loss came at the hands of Ellsworth — the night after defeating Worthington — in the championship game. Their second loss was to Pelican Rapids in January.
Perham is the top-rated team, according to the QRF on Minnesota Scores. The Yellowjackets are the defending state champions, and have a very good team.
But having watched the Trojans play the last few games, they aren’t the same team they were in the first match-up on Dec. 27.
Weg is still playing well, but the rest of the team is playing as well as they have all year. Defensively, WHS has been locking down on opponents. Offensively, players are stepping up.
Is it a tough draw for the Trojans to have to play the top-seeded team? Yes.
But is it going to be a great game and a battle from the first jump ball to the final buzzer? Absolutely.
Can you believe this?
I was talking with CJ Nelson last night, and he pointed out a very interesting fact.
Worthington’s last three victories have been very similar.
After a blow-out win against St. James to open the Section 3AA tournament, the Trojans have been on a roll. They won three more games to qualify for the state tournament.
In their last three games, the Trojans have won by 21 points each time.
In their last three games, the Trojans have defeated teams with Cardinal mascots.
WHS started with a 62-41 win against Luverne on March 8. Worthington then beat Fairmont 72-51 on March 10. Finally, the Trojans downed Redwood Valley 64-43 last Thursday.
Each game decided by exactly 21 points. And each team is the Cardinals.
While WHS could continue to win by 21 points each game, the second trend won’t continue. WHS plays the Yellowjackets in the first round on Wednesday.
There is not a Cardinal team in the Class AA field.