Outside Looking In
For every successful team there is an unsung hero; a player who seemingly goes unnoticed because they don't dominate the headlines or the stat sheet.
But they also might also go unnoticed because they don't make a lot of mistakes that draw the ire of the coach, teammates and fans alike.
The Minneota girls basketball team won their second straight Class A state championship on Friday. The team had its share of headline grabbing standouts from Abby Hennen who had over 2,000 points in her career, was a two-time All-State selection and a Miss Minnesota Basketball finalist; to 1,000-point scorer and All-Stater Natalee Rolbiecki; to Abby Rost, who amassed several double-doubles this season.
You won't grab headlines for scoring a handful of points in a basketball game. And you often won't see your name in print often for playing good defense, not turning the ball over, or not committing fouling. But they are all equally important to a team's success.
Minneota went nearly 10 minutes without scoring a basket in the second half of its 48-45 win over BBE on Friday. The Jaguars rallied from 16 points down to just one.
That's when the team's unsung hero emerged.
McKenna Yost, a junior guard, has been one of the steadiest, albeit not flashiest, players on the team all season.
"She is a good shooter, but we have to keep reminding to shoot more," her coach Chad Johnston noted. "She doesn't turn the ball over a lot and she plays good defense. She's just a real steady player for us."
After taking and missing her only shot attempt in the first half, she started to make her presence felt in the second half when the team needed her most.
With 14:27 left in the game, Yost stole the ball from BBE star Alissa Knight in the paint and scored on a layup to give the Vikings a 35-20 lead.
But as comfortable of a margin as that normally is for the state's No. 1-ranked team, BBE turned up its defense and methodically began catching up.
After consecutive Jaguar baskets trimmed the lead to 35-24, Yost drilled a 3-pointer with 12:24 to go in the game, increasing the lead to 38-24.
Yost was then substituted for at the 10:24 mark and Minneota holding its biggest lead of the game at 40-24. When she returned with 6:45 remaining, BBE had gone on an 8-1 run and trimmed the Vikings' lead to 41-32.
BBE continued to rally and had the deficit down to 41-36. Rolbiecki hauled in an offensive rebound and got the ball to Yost, who immediately drove the lane against the taller Knight.
As she headed for the right side of the basket, Yost saw Knight blocking her path, deftly side-stepped to the left side and completed a nifty reverse layup to put the Vikings up 43-36 with only 1:22 remaining.
"In the second half, I just told myself to keep being ready to shoot if it gets kicked out to me and also to look for open spots," she said.
And for each of the three baskets she made, she gave credit to a teammate for creating her opportunities.
Her final statistics wouldn't make anyone that wasn't watching the game take notice: 3-for-6 shooting, 1-for-2 on 3-pointers, 2 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot. She also had only one turnover in over 27 minutes.
As a setter on two state championship volleyball teams, Yost also played in the limelight. Setting up a hitter for a kill won't draw big cheers from the crowd. It's when a hitter slams the ball into the floorboards for a kill that the crowd gets boisterous.
But without these types of unsung heroes, the stars couldn't shine as bright.
Citywide garage sale
The 10th annual Minneota Citywide Garage Sale will be held Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1. Residents who plan to hold a garage sale are urged to contact the Mascot in order to get your address and items listed in an ad with the others participating. The cost is only $7 for an ad of 25 words or less and will be placed in the April 28 issue.
We want to make this a big and successful garage sale. After not being able to hold the citywide garage sale due to the pandemic, it's likely citizens have a lot of things they would like to get rid of.
Businesses are also urged to let the Mascot know if they will be having sales, door prizes or snacks available for on those days.