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1996-1997 School Year
1996-1997 Varsity Basketball Team: Back Row: Coach S. Carter, A. Ruegg, R. Schuette, B. Hilden, M. Brekke, M. Starken, L. Thompson. Middle Row: J. Anderson, R. Rye, J. Tennessen, A. Spensly. Front Row: F. Land, S. Tennessen, R. Willette, J. Brom-Palowski, C. Taylor

The 1996-1997 Women’s Basketball season began with a change.  For the 9th time in team history (23 years since the return of girls interscholastic sports to Minneapolis) the team introduced a new coach.  This year the coach was South’s band director, Scott Carter.  Some may ask why hire a music director to coach, but the similarities between music and sports are uncanny.  A director has to convince as many as 500 people to play together to make a beautiful sound.  In basketball, all the coach has to do is convince 15 people to work together, five at a time. So, this could be the beginning of some beautiful music.

At the beginning of the season, North was the team to beat.  Many schools were picked to finish second.  South wanted not only second, but to dethrone the Polars.  The season opened against Henry.  The Tigers had an easy 68-44 win.  Game two would be their challenge, against the Polars.  The game was close for three quarters, but the Polars pulled away with a 51-42 victory.

The Tigers then went on a four game winning streak.  They beat last season’s co-champion Washburn Millers 55-46.  During the Edison game, the reserves saw a lot of action in a 62-22 win.  Southwest then fell 56-41.  Roosevelt was victimized 52-33.

The second half started with a rematch against North.  This time, the Polars blew out the Tigers 53-34.  The Polars would win the conference with a perfect 12-0 record.  The Tigers now had to hope for second place. 

The Tigers returned to winning form beating Henry by 33, 75-42.  But the next game against Washburn was a letdown. The Millers were looking for revenge for their earlier loss and gained it, winning by a slim 44-41 score. 

The Tigers finished with three more wins and a 9-3 conference record.  Edison fell 72-37.  Southwest sank 55-41 and Roosevelt lost 58-41.  The Tigers finished in sole possession of second place.

In non-conference action, the Tigers finished with a 3-5 record.  The three wins were against St. Paul Humboldt, 64-32, St. Paul Highland Park, 57-45, and West Lutheran, 50-43. The team lost twice to St. Paul Central, 62-59 on December 10, and 42-33 one week later on December 17.  They also lost to Richfield, 50-47, Christ’s Household of Faith, 65-51, and Bloomington Kennedy, 54-47.

Even though the team finished in second place, the only All-Conference player was Kim Brill.  Captains Sarah Tennessen and Renee Willette were enthusiastic about how the season progressed.  The daily improvement brought the team together and helped them succeed.