The Minnehaha Academy Red Hawks have now completed what is probably the longest road trip in the history of girls basketball at the school. Ten games in 7 weeks, 6 wins and 4 losses, with true road games at Dover-Eyota,…
The Minnehaha Academy Red Hawks have now completed what is probably the longest road trip in the history of girls basketball at the school. Ten games in 7 weeks, 6 wins and 4 losses, with true road games at Dover-Eyota, St. Agnes, St. Louis Park, Cooper and Willmar. And “home games” at St. Thomas and the Target Center. But no games, so far, at Minnehaha Academy.
In fact, there will be no games this entire season at the Hawks normal home gym at the school’s northern campus on River Road in Minneapolis. A gas explosion ripped through the school building back on August 2, 2017, and while the gym was not affected by the immediate explosion, it suffered “a ton of water damage to the floor,” according to coach Josh Thurow, “it was completely warped. And the heat, electrical and water to the gym is all out.” “Hopefully,” Thurow said, repairs to the gym would be completed next fall in time for the volleyball season.
You may recall that two beloved employees of the school were killed in the explosion, and nine other people were injured. In fact, coach Thurow’s team was at the school getting ready for a summer camp when the explosion occurred. “The emotional impact” of the explosion on his girls “was pretty big,” he said. Now, he added, “we’re doing a good job of moving forward as best we can.”
Not to equate in any way the tragic loss of life to any inconvenience to a basketball team, as Thurow was quick to acknowledge, but has team has had to continue to live with the explosion from then until now. With the gym unavailable, the team has been practicing at the Eagan Community Center and at St. Thomas. The people at St. Thomas have been “saints,” Thurow said, “but we can’t ask them to do it for 2 years.” Thus, the fervent hope that the gym is in fact available in the fall.
“It’s been tough to get comfortable with all the road games,” Thurow said, “but we had no choice but to make the best of it. We’ve been fortunate that we had places to practice.”
And, for now, home games will be held at the Middle School a little further down West River Parkway. (If you’re planning on attending any Minnehaha home game, call ahead to double-check the location.) Taking the court for the first such game this Friday against Breck is a team lacking in the depth of recent Minnehaha squads. Two of the team’s top 7 players quit just before the start of fall practice. One was a softball player, the other transferred out. And, oh, yes, Thurow had upgraded the schedule this year in anticipation of having s championship caliber team.
“It was crushing to lose those 2,” Thurow said. “We’ve been exposed late in several of our games. We have 5 kids who can go toe-to-toe with any team in the state. We’ve been right there in every game with 5 minutes to go, but we’ve run out of gas. We’ve told the girls you can’t get hurt, you can’t get in foul trouble, you can’t get tired. But they do get tired.”
Now, Tanna Gallo, who transferred in, becomes eligible, and that will help the team’s depth immediately. But there are tough games remaining with Class AAAA Eden Prairie and AAA Chisago Lakes plus a trip to #20AA Martin County West. Also anticipated over the 2018 portion of the schedule is the 1,000th point for junior Taytum Rhoades and sophomore Mia Curtis. It all begins this Friday against Breck. Breck is led by guards Robbie Grace, a junior, and Cate Moe, a freshman. With just 9 girls on their roster, they’re not much deeper than Minnehaha.
But none of that matters a whole lot right now. For now, it’s just good to be home.