Iron Ball: CSS and the Iron Range’s basketball tradition

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Grant Hartmann - Student Journalist -
High hopes on Saints this season. Photo credit to npr.org

High hopes on Saints this season. Photo credit to npr.org

        In case you hadn't heard, the Saints have a fairly promising Basketball Squad with a very promising future. Trevor Morlock is a 6 foot 4 guard from Rogers (Minnesota Morris) high school and if stats are any indication of skill (hint: they are) then the Saints have a very skilled player. In two games Morlock has averaged 20.5 points per game and 11 rebounds. Although his assist and turnover numbers could be better, being a 20-10 guy is good any way you slice it.

        The Saints are predicted to come in 4th compared to last year when they went an abysmal 9-13 and 7-7 in conference. David Staniger is in his 14th season as the head coach for the Saints, starting while they were still an NAIA team. A former assistant at Augsburg in Minneapolis, he is known for his fiery demeanor and up tempo style of play. He has helped coach both Augsburg and CSS's leading three point shooters in respective school histories.

         He has been quoted as saying, "We play defense to generate offense, not to stop the other team." In short, the man loves to score. Staniger's coaching pedigree is strong to say the least, even having played for legendary Coach Bob McDonald at Chisholm high school.

         After 52 seasons as The Chisholm Blue Streaks head basketball coach, McDonald has amassed the most wins in Minnesota State High School basketball history. He is also retiring at the end of the 2013-14 season because he wants to watch his 18 grandkids grow up. Four of his sons are high school coaches, two of his daughters have been coaches at some point and one of his grandsons is currently the head coach at Duluth East. He is, "renowned for the discipline he's instilled in his teams", and his aggressive tough minded teams. He has been to the state tournament 11 times and won it 3 times. 

        Like most of the world (I assume) I was painfully unaware of Northern Minnesota/ Iron Range basketball. Could it be? Can Minnesota be this ‘balla'? Yes, yes the Range can be; with a fast paced style and relentless defense it seems almost workman like and understated much like the people of the Northland. David Staniger is part of this tradition of (let's keep trying for nicknames shall we?) Backwoods Basketball and he has brought that tradition here to CSS. 

        The CSS squad looks promising and it looks like they could just about dominate the UMAC on the backs of young players like Trevor Morlock (sophomore) and Jake Naslund (also a sophomore).The Saints seem poised to dominate for the foreseeable future. The team only has two upperclassmen and is averaging 76 points a contest; needless to say there is room to be optimistic. Although the 17.5 turnovers a game is a little frightening, we'll just have to chalk that up to youth.

I think for now I'll just call it Iron ball.