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Brainerd's Jacob Blong went up for two under pressure by Apple Valley's Robert Tobroxen.

Brainerd players and coaches wrote the words “WHY NOT” on the back of their hands, to give the unseeded Warriors hope against No. 1 Apple Valley and top-rated junior recruit Tyus Jones in Wednesday’s Class 4A quarterfinals.

The motto started out simply as “WHY,” a reminder of the Warriors’ purpose for playing. After the section championship, they added “NOT” because so few people were giving them a chance to win against the Eagles.

For 27 minutes they shocked many in Target Center. Brainerd, which had lost just once this season, led at halftime and was tied with the Eagles with nine minutes left before losing 81-67.

“These kids think they can play and beat anybody,’’ Brainerd coach Scott Stanfield said. “It was just a tough draw for us.”

JASON GONZALEZ

 

Edina star motivated

Graham Woodward’s 40-point performance in Edina’s quarterfinal victory can be attributed to his immense skill — and a dash of disappointment at being left off the Star Tribune’s five-player All-Metro first team.

“That drove me,” said Woodward, referring to not seeing himself pictured in Tuesday’s newspaper. “I felt like I was able to come out and show what I was about. That was really, really important.”

Woodward, the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer, was a second-team All-Metro selection this year and last.

Edina coach Pat Dorsey said of Woodward: “It doesn’t take much to motivate him. It was in the back of his mind, but when the game starts, he’s got a job to do.”

DAVID LA VAQUE

 

No conflict for recruit

Austin 6-7 forward Joe Aase signed with Division I Davidson last fall. Davidson plays Marquette at 2 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the NCAA East Regional in Lexington, Ky., the same time Aase’s Packers will be playing in the Class 3A semifinals against Marshall.

Aase was aware of the coincidence but said there is no chance he will be distracted. “No, I just want our team to win,” he said. “I’ll worry about them [the Wildcats] later.”

JIM PAULSEN

 

He’s still Litchfield fan

Minnesota Vikings tight end John Carlson Jr. played at Williams Arena en route to Litchfield’s first state championship in 2000. He was joined on that team, which finished 30-0, by his older brother, Alex, and his father, John.

“I remember going out to midcourt afterwards and having a photo taken with my brother and dad, and sharing a hug,’’ said Carlson, who played on three state championship teams. “It was a special time.”

On Wednesday, the Vikings’ John sat in the Litchfield cheering section.

Ron Haggstrom

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