Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday Roundup

Event Reminder - Monthly breakfast for the Park Board/Pool is Sunday morning, Jan 14th, again from 8:30 to 1:00.

Boys Basketball

Handling his height
By Greg DeVillers, Grand Forks Herald
Grand Forks Herald

WALHALLA, N.D. - Michael Mathison has found that heightened expectations accompany great height.

At 6 feet, 10 inches in height, Mathison towers over his opponents. But he's a late bloomer. The senior, a solid 250-pounder, is in his first season as a starter for the North Border boys high school basketball team.

“At times, I've felt some pressure,” Mathison said. “Being tall, I felt like people thought I should
be just great. I didn't think that was fair. Just because you're tall doesn't mean you're automatically going to be an all-star.

“Sometimes, I was frustrated (by the expectations). But I never thought about quitting. I knew basketball would be my sport. I just wanted to keep working and trying my hardest.”
Mathison still may not be an all-star. But he's a solid contributor on a North Border team that is considered one of the top teams in North Dakota's Class B Region 2. He's averaging 10.5 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.

“He's playing with a lot of guys who are good ballplayers,” Eagles coach Cooter Symington said. “But Michael has had streaks where he can carry us.
“He's improved a lot. Michael didn't put the time into his game when he was younger. It didn't seem like basketball was his priority. Michael decided about halfway through his sophomore season that he really wanted to work to be a player. And he worked hard at it.”

Always the big man

Mathison always has had good height.

He was 6-2 as a freshman. In the summer between his freshman and sophomore years in school, he grew 4 inches. He hit another growth spurt prior to his junior year, when he shot up to 6-9.

But that same height that brought on the high expectations also may have hindered his development.

“It's taken me some time,” Mathison said. “I didn't know what part of my game to work on. And
I struggled through the coordination process through my growing spurts.

“At the beginning of last season, I thought maybe I could get on our A squad and get some playing time. But we had six good seniors on the team, so I wound up on the JV team. That helped me in the long run. I could get more playing time and improve.”

Fun-loving spirit

Mathison's height makes him stand out. But, Symington said, there's more to the senior than size. Mathison isn't self-conscious about his height. He's not driven by athletics. He wants to be a well-rounded person.

“Michael lightens up practices,” Symington said. “He's always got a smile on his face, and he's a bit of a prankster. He's just a good kid. He's involved in drama. He's always got one of the lead roles, the ones with the most comedy in them, in class plays.

“I wish I could get him a little madder on the court. He plays better when he's mad. But he's a very easygoing kid.”

Mathison understands that his height has gained him a notoriety that, as yet, his production wouldn't bring.

“I'll be walking around before games and hear people saying, ‘Holy smokes, there's that big guy,' and I see them looking up at me,” Mathison said. “It's sort of funny. I think they know me even though I haven't played a lot yet.

“I feel pressure sometimes, that I should be better because of my height. I try. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.”

Friday's Scores

North Border 21 18 8 14 61
Adams-Edmore 18 11 8 16 53

North Border - Dan Gunderson 4, Michael Mathison 15, Marcus Ramsay 2, Mike Smith 5, Nick Chaput 16, Dustyn Chale 2, Tanner Carpenter 7, Paul Meyer 8, Max Johnson 2
Adams-Edmore - Chris Bredeson 8, Jason Kendall 6, Nick Bylin 29, Reid Kuchar 10



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