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Talking Points -- Righting a wrong in Tigers hoops history

A few weeks back, I received a brochure in the mail for a seminar on memory loss. I threw it away. I should have signed up.

As the 2008-2009 school year comes to an end, it's time to right a wrong on the 1994 Morris Area basketball team.

During the spring, this year's team made a spirited run at a state tournament berth, finally losing to New London-Spicer in the Section 6AA title game. They finished the season 23-5, and when stories were posted on the Sun Tribune Web site, it was mentioned that the '08-'09 Tigers set a record for most wins in a season.

The funny thing is, I was at the 1994 state tournament and was pleased to see Morris Area, an old rival from high school days, doing so well.

That team finished 29-1. Not that 23-5 isn't great, but the '94 team put together the best record in school history. The Tigers suffered their only loss to St. Agnes in the Class A state championship game.

The Tigers that year were led by a bunch of young players, such as Zach Witt, Kevin Loge, Jay Asmus, Corey Schmidgall, Andy Tate, Jeff Klein and Jeff Boots.

"It's ironic that we had a couple of seniors on that team that played a lot and were letter winners as juniors who didn't really get to see the floor their senior year," said Tigers head coach Mark Torgerson. "But it's tough when you're 29-0 heading into the final."

Like this year's team, the '94 Tigers had some tough battles with New London-Spicer during the season.

This year's team was 1-2 against its West Central Conference rival, winning 56-53 in Morris and losing in a matchup of the West Central South and North champions, 76-64 in early March.

In '94, the Tigers defeated NL-S twice, but needed double overtime to win one game, and prevailed in the other by one point.

In the state tournament, the '94 team won handily in the opening round, then pulled somewhat of an upset in the semifinals over a Faribault Bethlehem Academy team that featured two 1,000-point scorers, Torgerson said.

In the final, the Tigers led early, got behind, and a furious rally fell short, he said.

The '08-'09 Tigers tied for the third-best record in school history.

The 1998 Morris Area team finished 25-2, losing in the section final to Redwood Valley. Their only regular season loss came by two points against Minnewaska Area.

The 1995 team "had a heck of a year," Torgerson said, and finished 23-3 after losing by 10 points to Staples-Motley in the section final.

"It was kind of an upset," Torgerson said.

So the 2009-2010 Tigers will have some high expectations placed on them. They're a young, solid team that will be bolstered by the impending arrival of Chokio-Alberta players in the first year of a cooperative agreement.

But Torgerson said he believes the Tigers are prepared, and he credited the team for making Morris Area a team to reckon with.

The Tigers began the year not ranked among the top five teams in the section. In the final season poll, Morris Area was ranked No. 14 in Class AA.

So with hard work and a little luck, next year at this time, we might once again be talking about the '09-'10 Tigers being among the best in school history.

"These kids this year, they put us back on the map a little bit," Torgerson said. "I honestly think they have some really good years ahead of them."