Tom Mix, Published March 05 2014
Oak Grove is the house of Card
Card wanted to continue the Grovers basketball tradition and make a seamless transition from longtime coach Steve Carnal.
Card was an assistant under Carnal for 12 seasons and played for him from 1983-85. He had a fair amount of working knowledge of what was needed to keep the Grovers a yearly contender in North Dakota Class B basketball.
“Coach Card knows what he is doing,” senior forward Coulton Dangerfield said. “He knows what responsibilities and what positions everyone can handle. He is good at putting players in positions where they can succeed.
“He has been at the school for a long time,” Dangerfield added. “He knows how the team should operate and, because of that, it’s not that hard for him to coach.”
In his six seasons at the helm, Card has a 131-24 career record, posting four 20-plus win seasons.
Last week, the No. 2-ranked Grovers (23-2) played in their fifth consecutive Region 1 championship game and for the third time under Card qualified for the state tournament by defeating Oakes 75-51.
Oak Grove plays Flasher at 1 p.m. today in the quarterfinals at the Alerus Center.
“The state tournament is always the pinnacle, but we have been to five straight Region 1 championship games,” Card said. “I think that says a lot about the kids and what we have going here. There is a tradition and the kids want to succeed and get to that point.”
The Grovers are averaging 74.1 points per game. Card said the success the team has enjoyed this season is a result of the players buying into the system he and assistants Josh Kading and Joe Welsch put in place.
“We had a few guys (Coulton Dangerfield and Austin Promersberger) that were going to have to concentrate on playing defense and rebounding,” Card said. “That is what they are good at, but they can score when needed. They bought into the job and knew every night they were going to guard the toughest players.
“Carter (Kretchman) and Christian (Adams) are our scorers, and I think people understand that,” Card added. “We also have great senior leaders, and I don’t want to brag about my son (Nick Card) too much because that is not my style, but Nick is our vocal leader on the court.”
Oak Grove’s starters checked out of the Region 1 title game with two minutes left to play allowing Card to congratulate each player – the last being Nick Card.
Father and son embraced for a hug filled with the emotions of a long-awaited victory.
“It was special,” Nick Card said of the Region 1 championship. “I watched him coach for a lot of years, and the last two years our team came out on the other end of that game, so to finally win it with him coaching me was a great moment.”
The only thing Kyle Card would have changed about it was he wished that moment could have lasted longer.
“I am very lucky,” Kyle Card added. “I know a lot of coaches have had the opportunity to coach their kids, but they might not get to this point, but we have been able to get it done.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562