Two story lines emerged from the state boys basketball tournament in Class AAA. One was the dramatic win by the DeLaSalle High School boys on Saturday, March 24 at Target Center in Minneapolis to complete the first boys-girls sweep of state titles in school history. The girls won the championship the week before, winning their second consecutive title.
The second was the fact that the Scott family now has produced its third state basketball champion. Junior Luke joins his older brother, Joe, and older sister, Veronica, as gold-medal winners. Joe played on the Islanders’ championship team of 2006, while Veronica played for Totino-Grace’s title team in 2008. Though records are not kept on things like this, it may be the most amazing family title run ever. All three made the all-tournament team.
I went to grade school (St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony) with the kids’ dad, Kelly, who played for the Gophers in the early 1980s with the likes of Randy Breuer, and was on the last Gopher team to win the Big Ten title (1982). Kelly was featured in The Catholic Spirit for a program he runs called Spirit and Sport. He also has written a book about his playing days called “Inspirations from the Bench.”
Kelly emailed me yesterday to make sure I was aware of yet another milestone in the Scott household. Indeed, I knew about Luke and was looking for him in the championship game, and was fortunate to get a few photos of him (see photo above). As excited as Kelly was about his son’s basketball success, something else fueled his pride even more. He writes:
“The neatest thing was what a neighbor said about Luke. He said his sons were so excited as Luke was named Player of the Game for Thursday’s game [62-49 win over Grand Rapids in the state quarterfinals]. But what really caught their hearts is when they went to the [eucharistic] adoration chapel that night – there was Luke in deep prayer. You see, Luke goes to the adoration chapel every day to lift up the family and the world in prayer. As much as it was very exciting to win a state championship, he knows what is even more exciting is to spend that time in the presence of our King and Savior.
I am blessed to have his example to the family.”
Perhaps, Luke may have lifted up a prayer to Brother Michael Collins, long-time president of the school who died Jan. 8 after a very short battle with lung cancer. Brother Michael’s name came up during the interviews after the state-championship game. I watched head coach Dave Thorson choke up when he started talking about Brother Michael.
“The last three months have been very tough. My best friend died in January – Brother Michael Collins,” Thorson said. “He’s smiling up there someplace.”
Thorson’s sentiments were echoed by assistant coach Todd Anderson, who said both the boys and girls teams were inspired by Brother Michael in a special way this season. In fact, players on both teams wore jerseys with the letters BMC embroidered on them, in a tribute to Brother Michael. Players from the boys team could be seen grabbing at their emblems and pointing to them after the championship game.
“He’s been with us the whole time, if you want to know the truth,” Anderson said. “You can almost feel that presence.”
Hearing those comments by Thorson and Anderson made me flash back to 2006, moments after the DeLaSalle boys had won their previous state title. Thorson and Brother Michael embraced, and I was able to capture that moment with my camera. Little did I know how meaningful that image would be.
The DeLaSalle boys and girls gave me lots to photograph this year. Congratulations to both teams – and the Scott family – for making history!
Q: What did you enjoy about the state boys and girls basketball tournaments?