MFL MarMac 6th grade girls basketball team takes on top teams from four-state area
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
The MFL MarMac 6th grade girls basketball went 2-1 in the recent Great Four-State Tournament, held at the Target Center in Minneapolis, playing tough against top teams from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The team of 17 girls qualified back in March, said coach Jason Winter, as the second best team in Iowa, behind only Mason City. Only the top two teams from each state move on to the four-state tournament.
Winter said the girls’ first match-up was Morehead, Minn.—last year’s defending champion. The teams were within one point of each other with four minutes remaining in the game before Morehead pulled away, Winter said. From there, the tournament went really well, as MFL MarMac beat the North Dakota state champion and another top team from South Dakota.
“This was their second year qualifying,” said Winter, mentioning that the girls qualified last year as 5th graders. “They didn’t win any games last year, so this was a great improvement. It’s pretty neat when your only loss is to the overall champ.”
Aside from getting the opportunity to play in the tournament, Winter said the girls enjoyed playing on the professional basketball court and getting announced prior to the games. They were also a guest of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx and got to attend a game.
Winter said all 17 girls made the trip to Minneapolis and that all got to play. Prior to making the trip, they had seven days of decent practices, following the end of softball season. Rainy days throughout June were also spent in the gym, so the team wasn’t too rusty. He credited parents Jackie McGeough and Jess Schubert for helping out, as well as the other parents for getting kids to practice.
For three of the past five years, Winter said MFL MarMac has had at least one boys team and two girls teams in the tournament. With the girls allowed to compete until they are freshmen, Winter is hopeful their success will continue.
Coming from classes of 50 to 60 kids, then facing off against bigger schools with over 400 kids per class, Winter said the tournament teaches the team what it takes to compete outside the area.
“They learn that it doesn’t matter where you grow up. As long as you’re willing to work hard and put in the heart and effort, you can compete with anyone,” he said. “That’s with anything—not just sports. This is more about life than anything.”