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Bemidji Pioneer 

Pioneer Editorial: Red Lake team teaches good lesson



Anyone who watched Friday's Class A semifinal boys basketball game between Red Lake and Minneapolis North saw sports and sportsmanship at its finest.

The heavily favored metro team prevailed as expected, but not without a challenge from the northerners, and not without a display of sheer joy from the non-winners. We use "non-winners" because Red Lake's Warriors certainly were not "losers" on this day.

Despite being outsized and overpowered by the talented Polars, Red Lake put forth a spirited effort, cutting a big early deficit to seven points early in the second half.

But the greatest lesson came in the game's final minutes, when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Instead of showing their disappointment with bad body language and sagging shoulders, the Warriors - coaches, players and fans - displayed dignity, class and perspective.

Even the TV announcers were impressed, stating that it was hard to tell which team won and which team lost. There were smiles all around the Target Center.

Of course, it also ended a bittersweet season for Red Lake coach Roger White, whose son, Aaron, died of cancer on Nov. 1, just before basketball practice began. The team dedicated their season to Aaron, and made it a memorable one with a fourth-place finish at state.

"We play fun, we play fast, we play defense, we rebound," coach White said after Friday's game. "But it's more than basketball. We want to have fun out there."

They did just that, and in the process taught a valuable lesson.


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