April 8, 2004 at 11:11 a.m.
Even so, Matt Fletcher was just happy to be there. Playing as a Minnesota all-star, Fletcher’s “gold team” kicked off the two day schedule by facing the maroon squad. With names like Spencer Tollackson, Steven Neal, and DeAnte Ferguson on his team, the senior from North Branch knew he wouldn’t see the ball much, if any; after all, he can’t dunk.
He was right. Fletcher never got into a rhythm, going 1-8 from the field, finishing the first game with three points. By the way, the maroon team defeated the gold 122-90.
“I didn’t feel a whole lot of nerves,” said Fletcher. “I just wanted to have fun and let them dunk.”
And dunk they did. For example, Neal finished the game with 16 points, all coming on dunks. Tollackson added five jams, and most people lost track of Everette Pedescleaux’s dunk total after the first five minutes of the game. He finished with 20 points so you can take a guess as to how many rim-rockers he finished the game with. Needless to say, the style of play didn’t exactly fit Fletcher’s 6’2” frame.
“I think Matt was a little frustrated the first night. He won’t say that but I could tell he was,” said Bill Baumann, North Branch boys basketball head coach. “He was hurrying his shot, plus, he wanted to shoot the ball when he got it because he didn’t know if he was ever going to see it again. That’s just the way things went. A lot of the people he was playing with had aggressive personalities, they tried to do a lot of things, whereas Matt blends in a little bit more because he’s a team player.”
The one time he did take center stage, Fletcher walked away with a trophy. At halftime, Fletcher hit 15 three-pointers in 45 seconds to win the three-point contest. In the game, Fletcher hit just one try on six attempts.
I didn’t shoot the best but oh well,” remarked Fletcher. “I had a good time anyway.”
Last Saturday, the Minnesota All-Stars made their way to St. Paul for their second and final game of the series. This time, the gold matched up with the blue team, led by Ryan Amoroso of Burnsville.
Unlike the night before, the gold came out and played team basketball, pulling off a 95-92 overtime win.
As for Fletcher, the senior finished with three points.
“The second night, I think it was a lot more fun for Matt,” commented Baumann. “The team got together before the game and decided to play team basketball. Matt’s a team guy and that style of play fits him well. It was a good way to end it.”
End his high school career that is. The next time Fletcher will take the court in a game will be next fall at Southwest State. No doubt, this all-star experience will help prepare him for that next level.
“It gives him an idea of where he needs to be,” said Baumann. “He now knows what to expect at that next level. It gave him a great opportunity to compare his game to the best players in the state. It’s definitely going to help him.”
Minnesota All-Star basketball series April 2nd, 3rd
1 2 F
Gold 30 60 90
Maroon 61 61 122
Gold- Ferguson 23, Lien 4, Tollackson 14, Strouth 10, Woodside 8, DeYounge 7, Fletcher 3, Gargaro 2, Kaus 3, Neal 16.
Maroon- Jones 13, Winkelman 10, Pedescleaux 20, Bradley 13, Merritt 8, Brielmaier 14, Herzog 11, Lunde 14, Mathiowetz 13, Stoe 6.
1 2 OT F
Gold 41 48 6 95
Blue 39 50 3 92
Gold- DeYounge 9, Fletcher 3, Gargaro 4, Kaus 6, Neal 17, Ferguson 18, Lien 3, Strouth 10, Tollackson 10, Woodside 15.
Blue- Amoroso 25, Bruesewitz 16, G. Johnson 15, Olderding 11, Standal 2, Conboy 8, DeWitt 2, Jacobson 2, Schilling 11.