by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Minneapolis North won five state Class 3A girls basketball titles and was runner-up four other times between 1997 and 2009, while Spectrum High School didn’t exist until 2006 and didn’t have its own team and its own gym until last year.
Times have changed rapidly at North. The Polars are now a struggling program, and lost to Spectrum, a small charter school, 58-57 on Tuesday night in Elk River, with Shelby Eden scoring 23 points for the Sting.
“I know how good North was,” said Spectrum coach Lenny Sedlock, who teaches and coaches football at Minneapolis South, his own alma mater. “Many issues take place, then teams go down. Enrollment is bad. When Faith (Johnson) was the coach, they were real good. Then she leaves, and girls follow.”
Faith Johnson, recently named to the state coaches Hall of Fame, now coaches De La Salle and has built another dynasty there. Her stars at North followed her there.
“Now, girls go to other schools, if basketball is their game. It is a problem across the city,” said Sedlock, noting the Prairie Seeds, another charter school, had mostly former city players last year. “It is sad to see what is really going on in athletics. It gets worse every year.”
A coach for 30 years, Sedlock notes, “Recruiting, or whatever you want to call it, is happening all over. I think basketball could be the worst. If you can get two real good players, you can build your team around, thats all it takes. (That’s) just my take!”
The game was an exciting one, with Eden sinking six 3-point shots to lead the victory
Spectrum (2-0) trailed by six with under five minutes left, then had on a 9-0 run to take a 58-55 lead. North (0-1) scored with five seconds left but Spectrum held on.
The game started off with high tempo, up and down the court, the teams matching basket for basket. Both teams had foul trouble in the first half due to physical play. North led 30-29 at the half.
Rachel Stevenson added 11 points for the Sting. Brynn Bozich scored 8 and Noelle Diekman, Beca Gleason, and Katelyn Bozich 4 each and Becca Schultz 3.
The Sting will play at Minneapolis Edison on Thursday night.