Maier Time: Masters, Sushi and is Ernie Els really from Iowa?

Masters Sunday is the best Sunday in all of Sunday’s.

Sorry, God.

I’m not a fan of Sergio Garcia and I wanted to see the curse  — if that’s what you want to call it — go on for the rest of his career.

But after cheering against him for the whole day, heck, the whole week, I was happy for him.

So, congrats Mr. Garcia on beating Justin Rose in 73 holes but I have a bone to pick with both of you.

I’m a big fan of sportsmanship, and even though I had no problem with Rose tweeting out his congratulations to the Spaniard, I wasn’t a fan of their actions towards the final holes of Sunday’s round.

As the two sat on the 15th tee box, Rose had a two-stroke lead over Garcia. After Garcia sank his eagle putt and Rose made his birdie putt the two walked off the 15th green tied at nine under.

Just before the two left the green, they gave each other a high-five. I have no problem with them acknowledging each other’s putts but do it in a different way.

Give each other a tip of the hat or just say, “nice putt.”

Fast forward to the 72nd hole. After Garcia and Rose hit perfect drives down the middle of the fairway they gave each other another high-five as they walked off the tee.

Again, I don’t care if you say, “nice drive Sergio,” or “that’ll play nicely Justin,” just don’t give them a high-five.

The two were almost too comfortable around each other throughout the final round.

Did Garcia purposely miss that putt on 18? Hell, no but I don’t think Garcia felt enough pressure to make the putt.

If he and Rose would’ve been more distant during the round I definitely think Garcia would’ve felt more heat as he tried to sneak that putt into the hole and possibly putting a ‘must must make’ label on it.

Ten (four) things I know I know that you probably don’t know:

  1. Remember the quarterback that led Alabama to two BCS national championships? Yeah, Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron is opening a sushi restaurant in Tuscaloosa.

McCarron will be the co-owner of the sushi restaurant that will open June 1. I think this is a brilliant idea. The Bengals will never move on from Andy Dalton, so McCarron might as well start making some more money on top of the money he’s already making from the AFC North team.

2. Nobody knows who the Cleveland Browns are going to take with the No. 1 pick. I don’t even think the Browns know but the selection is easy.

Take former Texas A&M defensive lineman Myles Garrett. The 21-year-old is a beast even when he’s not in a football uniform or gym clothes. I actually didn’t know Field Yates was that tiny.

3.  Let’s face it, the NBA regular season doesn’t matter. Eighty-two games is a lot even though there are professional athletes playing the game. An article came out early today saying that the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks the NBA should follow the NFL’s model.

Morey said that a 40 game season spread out to two games per week for 20 weeks would be more exciting and I have to agree. Cutting the season in half would most likely get rid of the resting star players problem. And the regular season would actually matter.

Morey also said that he thinks the postseason should be one to three game series. That would make playoff series so dramatic. If the playoffs started today the Golden State Warriors would take on the No. 8 seed Portland Trail Blazers. Just imagine if the Trail Blazers won the first game in the series, the Warriors would be playing their hearts out in the final two games. I get the money issue. Fewer games equal less money and all that jazz but at some point, the NBA (and the other three major sports) need to do something drastic to make the sport(s) more watchable.

4. I guarantee you didn’t know that Johannesburg, the city that Ernie Els is from was located in Iowa. Yes, it was just a classic ESPN intern mistake but how do you accidentally put Johannesburg, Iowa and South Africa on the same line on a graphic?

The Pacemaker: coming next Monday. 

Burros Bury FW-M at the Buzzer

When I was in sixth grade I hit a game-winning 3-pointer from the same spot on the court that Kyle Henningsgard nailed his from.

The difference between the two was that his game-winner was for Hillsboro-Central Valley’s first ever Class B state title. Mine was for a first-place finish at a Grand Am tournament.

The senior guard ran off a Jack Camrud screen to the right side with under 10 seconds to play but had the basketball poked out of his right hand from behind.

Luckily, the basketball ended up in Austin Reed’s hand on the right wing.

As three Four Winds-Minnewaukan players surrounded Reed and the ball, Henningsgard stood in the corner all alone.

Reed found him and Henningsgard’s shot left his hands with 2.5 seconds left on the game clock, and with 0.9 seconds it swished through the net lifting H-CV over the Indians 63-60 in Saturday’s 2017 North Dakota Class B state tournament in Minot, N.D.

“It felt like slow motion just sitting there with that ball,” Henningsgard said about the final possession. “I knew there wasn’t much time so I had to put it up and it went down and just a roller coaster of emotions after that.”

The No. 1 seed and defending Class B champions led for most of the game and had a seven-point lead with 6:08 left in regulation but couldn’t cage the Henningsgard monster in the fourth quarter.

The senior guard finished with 15 points as 11 of them came in the fourth quarter.

He started the game 1 for 13 but connected on 4 of his final 6 baskets.

“Obviously you don’t want to give up,” Henningsgard said about his performance. “They (FW-M) are a great basketball team but I don’t know, I guess I flipped a switch or something because it was going down and I was confident.”

“Everything you dream about as a kid,” he added. “I’m just living the dream right now, it’s unreal, it doesn’t even feel real right now.”

Two days later and I still don’t believe that’s how the game ended.

It was my first time covering the Class B state tournament and I was treated like a king.

There are millions of journalists out there that would do almost anything to cover a championship game that ends on a buzzer-beater.

Big games like the Class B state tournament one can be career moving.

In the last few year’s I’ve covered two FCS championship games, two Summit League title contests and a Class B state tournament.

As my roommate said, “Pace, you are one lucky bastard.”

 

First Day at the “B”

Yesterday was my first time covering the North Dakota Class B state tournament and it didn’t disappoint.

I witnessed a buzzer beater, a blowout and two fairly close games in four quarterfinal games at the Minot State Dome.

Ellendale knocked off No. 2 seed Dickinson Trinity, 41-39 after a Brennen Vance 3-pointer from the right wing and will face a No. 3 seed Hillsboro-Central Valley team that torched Turtle Lake-Mercer/McClusky 57-32 Thursday afternoon.

H-CV walking back to its bench after the starters were announced Thursday afternoon.

I ‘d rank the night games 6 out of 10 on the excitement scale.

The reigning champions Four Winds-Minnewaukan looked like they were going to blowout Stanley after taking a 29-14 first quarter lead but the Blue Jays weren’t going to let that happen.

Stanley outscored the Indians 50-41 in the final three quarters and if they hadn’t let FW-M score the first 11 points of the contest, a different team would’ve advanced to the semifinals.

The late game was between No. 4 seed Oak Grove and No. 5 seed Bishop Ryan.

The Grovers outscored the Lions 36-17 in the middle quarters and shot 70 percent from beyond the arc in their 66-60 win.

The MSU Dome looks old on the inside but I like it.

It’s not so bright and I like that even though the Banner’s photo editor hates it. Tough to take pictures when the lighting isn’t perfect.

Weird things I saw at the “B”

– A guy (not sure if he was an assistant coach or just a big fan) on the TLMM bench was wearing zumba’s and Z-coil shoes.

– I saw a player almost finish at the rim with a dunk and that’s weird because I don’t see a lot of kids from Class B schools throw it down.

– I saw three players that were under 5-foot-8 and if I wouldn’t have looked at TLMM’s roster I would’ve guessed they were under 5-foot-2.

The Winning Charm

I’ve been working at the Hillsboro Banner as the sports editor for just over two months.

Its been wonderful and the Banner staff is the best I’ve ever worked with.

Alyssa, our account manager makes the best chili I’ve ever had; sorry mom, just too many beans.

Cole, the boss man, is awesome. Even when I don’t ask for chocolate milk and Cheez-It Grooves he’ll bring me some back from Dale’s anyway.

Thank you for hiring me at a sushi restaurant.

Cory is a hoot and a great photographer. However, he is always blaming other people for misplacing his Mountain Dew.

My buddies call me weird for watching Twitch but Cory and Cole understand why it’s so fun and weird to watch someone else play a video game.

Working for the Banner is my first job out of college even though I graduated last May and I wouldn’t want to work for anyone else right out of college.

Sometimes, they joke that I haven’t quit or maybe they are being serious but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

Heck, in the two months that I’ve been here the Hillsboro-Central Valley boys and girls basketball team’s are a combined 26-3.

Yes, the girls got knocked out in the quarterfinal round against Grafton in the Region 2 tournament but after starting the season 1-5 with a new coach, they won 14 of their final 17.

It was a successful season after winning just five games in 2015-16.

The boys are headed to the 2017 North Dakota Class B state tournament for the first time in 18 years and the first time ever as the H-CV co-op.

I’m a lucky man. Wherever I go it seems that teams win.

Rewind the clock a year or two back. My senior year at North Dakota State, I covered the Bison win their fifth FCS championship in Frisco, Tx., and I covered NDSU men’s basketball team win a Summit League tournament title.

My first year out of college the Bison fail to make it to the FCS title game and the men’s basketball team couldn’t even make it out of the quarterfinal round in Sioux Falls, S.D.

I must be the good luck charm because in a day I’ll be covering the Burros at the state tournament.

I’ve heard that the Class B tournament is North Dakota’s most impressive high school sporting event but never actually experienced it.

Three days in Minot sounds gross but sounds a lot better when you throw in three full days of basketball inside the Minot State Dome.

The Burros received the No. 3 seed and will play Turtle Lake-Mercer/McClusky (17-7) at 2:45 p.m., Thursday.

“This year the stats show that we’ve got so many guys averaging so many points and so many guys can score at any different time,” senior guard Austin Reed said after Monday’s practice. “Jack (Camrud) is a beast on the boards, I’ve always tried to be aggressive on them and we board the ball well offensively and defensively.”

“Just to cap it off with a trip to the (Class) B (tournament) and have a chance to win it, that’s awesome.”

Super Bowl Hangover

I turned the game off right after the Lady Gaga halftime performance, so, congrats to the Atlanta Falcons on winning Super Bowl 51.

Luckily, after the third cup of coffee and a quick scroll through Twitter, I found out that the Atlanta Falcons had actually lost.

At first, I didn’t believe it, considering the Falcons had a 25-point lead with under three minutes to play in the third quarter. The Patriots couldn’t protect Tom Brady in the first half and as he was making terrible throws due to the lack of time he had in the pocket.

But seriously, congrats to the Patriots and their fans. Even though you are in the hunt every year, this season was special in a revenge kind of way.

Also, thank you for great television on a Sunday night.

!1) February 6 (Monday), the day after the Super Bowl, we should all be in bed right now. @2) I woke up without a hangover, kind of disappointed but my Monday hasn’t been terrible. #3) This week the Sixth Man Reads blog will make its entrance into the blogging world. $4) The special article that will set us off for sail will be a “How to Fix the NBA” piece. %5) You may notice a page called “Situations” located on the top right of your screen. It brings video games and writing together. That part of the blog will get rolling with an Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers and Madden 17 article.

The meat (a.k.a., the main story): THERE ARE NO MORE TOM BRADY HATERS LEFT IN THE WORLD AFTER HIS PHENOMENAL SUPER BOWL 51 PERFORMANCE: Tom Brady and Joe Buck are in the same boat. Not the greatness boat or the hair boat but the hater boat. Nobody knows why they dislike Joe Buck but they do. Ask anyone. They just don’t like him and maybe it’s because he has man crushes on a lot of athletes but who doesn’t? I’m not a huge fan of Tom Brady. My least favorite teams in the NFL are as follows: Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots. I dislike Tom Brady for the same reason I dislike Joe Buck and there is no reason I can explain with words. I’m not mad about the winning that Brady and the Patriots do or about the way he carries himself. No, I’m just not a fan but last night I was pulling for him. My wish was to see the Patriots get dominated by an underrated team but when the Patriots were down 21-0, I sort of felt bad for them. So, I was cheering for the Falcons but I was also cheering for a man I dislike and that was Brady. I like upsets and comebacks. I think the Patriots coming back from 25-points was more satisfying to watch than it was to see them get dominated by the Falcons. And I think there are a lot of people that are in the same boat as me. The haters are no longer on the surface. Brady pulled off the comeback and his haters liked it.

The Juicers: WHAT NORTH DAKOTA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: As many of you say, “North Dakota is boring” but many of you don’t want to admit that, “North Dakota does have some good sports teams.” Every week, the blog will post “The 10 Juicers” and since “North Dakota is boring” we talk about all of our non-professional sports teams and Minnesota professional sports teams to pass the time.

Here are this weeks 10 Juicers:

1). FALCON DOWN: After suffering a gut-wrenching, heart stomping, defeat, the Atlanta Falcons never make it back to a Super Bowl: I mean how can they? How can the Falcons even think about another Super Bowl? They just had the worst collapse of all-time. They gave up the greatest catch of the last decade. They had their first Super Bowl ring at the tip of their fingers just about to slide into place and then Tom Brady decided to show up.

2). BISON MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM: Not a good week for either basketball squads: North Dakota State men’s and women’s basketball teams combine for zero wins and three losses last week. The men lost to IUPUI, 86-81 in overtime on Feb. 1 and lost to South Dakota at home, 76-66 on Saturday. I went to the NDSU-USD game this past weekend. It was my first time at the new arena.

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The Bison had an early 19-14 lead but that crumbled after the Coyotes used an 18-0 run late in the first half to take a 32-19 lead into halftime and NDSU couldn’t recover.

3). BISON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM: The women’s team lost by 34 (70-34) to South Dakota State on Feb. 2 after the Jackrabbits scored 44 points in the paint. Didn’t help that NDSU committed 24 turnovers in the game, either.

4). TIMBERWOLVES: La(Ouch): The Timberwolves are cursed and for some reason, they can’t catch a break. A report came out on Saturday afternoon confirming that Zach LaVine would miss the remainder of the season. My Twitter exploded with crying emojis. Stay strong, Mr. LaVine. The entire NBA is pulling for you. Minnesota has 31 games left on the year and will now most definitely not make the postseason, however, they are just three games back of Denver for that eighth spot in the Western Conference.

5). FIGHTING HAWKS: Best women’s team on the court in ND: The University of North Dakota women’s basketball team is on a hot streak right now. After losing to the University of Northern Iowa, 74-53 on Dec. 18 and falling to 4-6 on the season, UND made a change and have won 11 of their last 12 contests. After Saturday’s win over Northern Colorado, UND sits in a first-place tie with the Bears.

6). Marauders(D-II): Gabbie Bohl had a big week for the University of Mary: Mary redshirt-freshman, Gabbie Bohl posted back-to-back 20-plus point games last week in a win and a loss. She finished with 26 points against the University of Sioux Falls and 23 points against Southwest Minnesota State. This season, Bohl is averaging 14.1 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and shooting just about 50 percent from the floor. She also earned NSIC Player of the Week honors for her performances last week. The Marauders are 12-14 this season with a 7-11 record in the NSIC North.


It’s a good time to be a Burro basketball player.

7). HILLSBORO CENTRAL-VALLEY BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM (11-3): H-CV is finding their groove late in the season: Kyle Henningsgard and Carson Henningsgard combined for 31 points in the Burros 75-51 win over Park River/Fordville-Lankin. The Burros are on a three-game winning streak and have won seven of their last eight. Burros play at Hatton-Northwood (8-8) and at Grafton/St. Thomas (12-3) Tuesday and Thursday this week.

8). H-CV GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM (11-7): Burros have won eight of their last nine: Last week the Burros beat Northern Cass, 71-53 and edged out a 71-69 win over North Border. H-CV has three games left and will finish their regular season next Monday after playing three games in the next seven days, starting Monday (tonight) at 7:30 against Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page (13-6).


9). SPORTS TO WATCH?: After Super Bowl, now what do we do?: The next big sporting event is March Madness and state high school basketball but we all have some time to step back and make that money that we lost during the football season back. But not for long because those baseball beats will soon start showing up on your credit card statements.

10). FARGO SOUTH GRAD SPRINTS A MILE RACE: I run but not fast. Back in my prime I could run a seven-minute mile and on a good maybe get that just under seven minutes. Madeline Strandemo, a University of Minnesota track and field student-athlete ran a 4:38.88 mile at an invitational on Saturday and I’m stunned. Here are five desserts you can make in five minutes: no-bake pineapple pie, easy s’mores cups, oreo popcorn, tiramisu dip and cookie butter mug cake. Strandemo could run a mile and have a treat in less than five minutes.

BET OF THE NIGHT: Miami Heat at Minnesota Timberwolves (over/under 205): I’m going to take the over but if you are a stats junkie, you might take the under. Minnesota averages 104.0 points per game and the Heat average 100.4 but Miami has won 10 straight and has scored 105 points or more in seven of their last 10. I’ll take the over.