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Kerry Collins, Published March 26 2009

Cougars ready for big stage

ADA, Minn. – A late-March snowstorm delayed the Ada-Borup boys basketball team from starting its journey to the state tournament for about two hours Wednesday morning.

But a little precipitation, or rivers bursting at the seams, wouldn’t be enough to stop these Cougars from taking their show on the road. After exorcising its demons in Section 6, Ada-Borup is ready to take on the rest of the state.

Four teams beat the Cougars during the regular season, but Ada-Borup beat three of those teams on the way to the Section 6 title last weekend.

“It’s been a pretty good run, and this was the goal for us,” boys hoops coach Trevor Stewart said.

The Cougars (25-4) open the Minnesota Class 1A state boys basketball tournament against Cass Lake-Bena at 3 p.m. today at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

Ada-Borup got to state with balance. Led by junior Yuri Johnson’s 13.8 points per game, six players average at least seven points per contest. Tyler Narum averages 13.7 points per game behind 45 percent shooting from 3-point land.

“This group is unselfish and they trust in each other,” Stewart said. “They find the open guy and they all believe that any of the five guys we have on the floor can score.”

Ada-Borup has been on the state hoops map for the last four years thanks to the girls team – which has won the last two Class 1A girls titles. Now it’s the boys turn to show its stuff.

“We don’t want to take anything away from the girls, because that team is unbelievable,” Stewart said. “But we’re looking forward to getting our shot at state.”

Ada-Borup activities director Mike Kolness said the town of Ada is holding its own in its fight to hold off the Wild Rice River and the Marsh River.

“There is always concern,” Kolness said. “Especially with the new moisture. But it looks like the water level might be going down.”

Ada was hit hard by the 1997 flood, losing the high school and hospital.

Kolness said some of the players had to take several detours due to closed roads to get to the school Wednesday morning.

Ada-Borup school ran two hours late Wednesday, forcing the cancellation of a farewell pep rally for the boys team.

But, students still had time to wish the Cougars good luck before the bus pulled out of town at about 10:30 a.m., Kolness said.

“We’re hoping that things don’t get any worse,” Kolness said. “We’ve had some high water. But it seems to have gone down a bit.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com