Wayzata basketball has turned the corner

I was a basketball player in high school and college. 

While my profession allows me to cover high school basketball, covering it doesn’t make me miss it any less.

On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to attend the Wayzata-Hopkins section final game at Osseo High School, where my sister went to school.

It was the first Wayzata basketball game I had seen in quite some time. I think at least three years?

When I played, our team was pretty good. My senior year, I believe we won 23 games. We lost to Hopkins in the section final when the Royals had six Division I players on the squad and five in the starting lineup. We lost the section final by 20 points, and the Royals didn’t lose a game all season, en route to state championship. 

For the few years after I graduated, Wayzata basketball took a big step backward. The team wasn’t very competitive in the conference or section.

I kind of stopped following it.

But in 2014, St. Thomas University graduate and former basketball player Bryan Schnettler took over for my former assistant coach, Nick Tibesar.

Schnettler was a great player at St. Thomas and he brought a winning culture and attitude to Wayzata basketball. Honestly, it was something the program never had. It was coached by good coaches, but the winning culture wasn’t there.

When I was in high school, the best athletes didn’t play basketball. Those guys played other sports. Now, after watching Wayzata beat Hopkins for the third time in the last year, I think it’s safe to say some of the better athletes at Wayzata are playing basketball.

The coolest thing about watching Wayzata-Hopkins was seeing Schnettler trust in his seniors, but also play the bench just as much as he would in the regular season. He started a sophomore point guard, Jacob Beeninga, and brought in another sophomore guard, Luke Paulson, who buried three 3’s in the 66-51 win.

The Trojans had just two players score in double-figures, but this team was so fun to watch. Between the youth and inexperience to watching the seniors close the deal on Wayzata’s hottest rival, it was great to be in a packed gym and have your team win. It was an absolute joy to watch that team play. The Trojans plays a fun brand of basketball — knocking down 3’s, hustling on defense and making big plays when it matters most.

Wayzata is slowly becoming a basketball school. Football will always come first. Wrestling will be popular, but Schnettler is turning around the culture.

I give the current players a lot of credit for bringing the program back to relevancy to great in a matter of three years. This team earned its first state tournament appearance in 59 years.

This team deserved it, and it will have a date with Lakeville North on Wednesday.

If Wayzata wants to be considered among the best teams in state — which I think it is — it needs to make statement in its first game on Wednesday.


One thought on “Wayzata basketball has turned the corner

What do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s