April 1, 2010 at 9:44 a.m.

Oh no... not this again?!

The metro newspapers again leave out a prolific CL basketball player from their teams
Oh no... not this again?!
Oh no... not this again?!

Last year, I wrote a column blasting the Star Tribune for leaving Chisago Lakes senior forward Josh Figini off of the All-State teams. This year, CL sophomore forward Whitney Tinjum was served a similar injustice.

Tinjum's case, one could argue, is even stronger than Figini's was last year. Figini was handicapped by a very sub-par regular season performance by the team as a whole, but other players on teams with comparable records still made the All-State team in front of the Cornell freshman.

Tinjum is just another baffling omission from any of the teams by either metro newspaper, the Star Tribune or the Pioneer Press. The Press did name her to their All-State Honorable Mention team along with 115 other players. Although that recognizes her accomplishments, it's not exactly the exclusive company that Tinjum has belonged to most of the season.

The first thing that screams travesty against Tinjum is the selection of Centennial's Megan Waytashek to both the All Metro First Team and the All State First Team. I'm not putting down Waytashek on her senior season. And, for arguments sake, I have not seen Waytashek play in person this year. I'm just simply providing stats as to why Tinjim would've been a more logical choice for the teams.

A quick rundown of the simple stats would lean slightly in Tinjum's favor. Waytashek averaged 22.2 points per game and grabbed 7.1 rebounds per game. Tinjum averaged 22.6 points per game and nabbed 10.7 rebounds per contest. They also both had a similar amount of assists, steals and blocks. The only big difference in the stats between the two forwards was the extra three and one half rebounds Tinjum grabbed each game. Based simply on those numbers, Tinjum would appear to be the better choice, but even a deeper look into the stats doesn't sway the pendulum in Waytashek's favor.

In looking at how the team's fared, which can often be one of the biggest reasons certain players are left off of these teams, the Wildcats were 20-6 in the regular season, but were upset in the first round of section by county rival North Branch. Waytashek's Cougars finished the regular season at 20-6 and were knocked out in the second round of sections by ninth-ranked Mounds View. Although Mounds View was the more highly regarded team, it's just as big a challenge to beat the same team three times in one year, and the 'Cats had already bested NB twice.

Plus, I doubt Tinjum would've been put on the first team over Waytashek even if the 'Cats would've made it to the section final to face eventual third-place finishing DeLaSalle.

The pair's supporting casts would also indicate Tinjum as the better performer. Although there were more shooters to score points on Centennial's team - they had three other girls averaging eight points or better while Chisago Lakes only had one - the fact that Tinjum carried the team to a similar record with even more of the scoring burden would indicate she was much more important to her team than Waytashek.

The competition was also a wash. Three of CL's losses came at the hands of DeLaSalle, Benilde-St. Margaret's and St. Francis. That trio of teams combined for an 86-8 record and a first and third place finish in Class AAA and a state tourney appearance in Class AAAA. Granted, Centennial's competition was no joke in the Northwest Suburban Conference, but it wasn't like Tinjum was lining up against cardboard cutouts every night.

The only logical reason for Waytashek over Tinjum by the two metro papers? She goes to Centennial, which is a traditional girls basketball powerhouse, while the Wildcats have been relatively mediocre over the last few years.

Maybe there was also the sentiment that Waytashek was a senior and this was her last chance to earn a spot on the team while Tinjum is a sophomore and has two more years of high school basketball ahead of her. The problem with that logic is that who knows what the next two years hold for Tinjum. Hopefully, she will continue to develop as an inside-out threat for the Wildcats and earns a spot on the next two All-State teams, but you also never know what tomorrow holds. Heck, even looking at the pairs careers as a whole would indicate an edge for Tinjum. Waytashek finished with 1,177 career points. Tinjum already has more than that as a 10th grader.

The Star Tribune didn't even think to put Tinjum as one of their top 17 players, as she wasn't on the first, second or third teams. All's Tinjum did was stay in the top eight in the state in scoring and rebounding all year and lead a team that has recently struggled to a 20-7 record

There are plenty of other travesties among the selections. Much like last year, the list should simply be who the best players are in the state, regardless of location, and many of the girls selected didn't belong in front of Tinjum.

You can't make a case against her stats. You can't make a case against the team's performance. You can't make a case against her competition. The only thing the papers could make a case against was her location.

Unlike Figini last year, I'm just glad Tinjum has two more years left to prove to the elitists down in the cities who one of the best players in the state is. I may sound like a broken record here after two years of lobbying for these awards for Chisago Lakes players, but Figini and Tinjum were wrongly left off the teams, and until at least Tinjum is recognized, the complaining may continue for at least two more years.

You are invited to send interesting, unusual and/or humorous items that could possibly be used in this space. If you choose to do so, please send it to [email protected].

If you prefer, you may send it to

Chisago County Press

Attn: Jeff

12631 Lake Blvd.

PO Box 748

Lindstrom, MN 55045

or, you may bring it in to the office.

Sports stuff would be great, but, please do not limit yourselves. Politics, religion, culture (pop or otherwise) are welcomed. Please do not feel offended if your contribution is not included.

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