I have learned in the past few months, that this group of ROCORI athletes can never be counted out.

Tomorrow morning (AM 1390, pregame at 9:50am, 10am tip-off) the ROCORI Spartans boys basketball team (18-11) takes on top seeded Minneapolis Washburn (27-2), in the state 3A quarter finals. Washburn is a fantastic team, and they will basically be playing this as a home game, as their campus is just five minutes from Williams Arena.  They will be confident, and they should be.  The only common opponent between Washburn and ROCORI is Duluth East.  Washburn lost to the Greyhounds by one point, whereas the Spartans were blown out when they went to Duluth in December.

ROCORI has losses this year to teams that Minneapolis Washburn would've beaten by 4o points, minimum (Sauk Rapids/Rice, Sartell, New London/Spicer, and St. Peter).  But all that matters is what happens tomorrow.  That's the great thing about it - maybe Washburn WOULD beat ROCORI 99 times out of 100 - but who is to say that tomorrow won't be that one time?

But there's no way these Spartans are going to get blown out.  In fact, I don't believe they will ever lose, I'm going to have to see it for myself.  These kids were counted out, perceived by most in the twin cities as over-rated, and generally disrespected during the football post-season.  Bashed, and supposed to lose time after time, the ROCORI football team never did.  In consecutive weeks they beat; the defending state runners-up, Rogers, then Hill-Murray, and finally, the previously undefeated, and much hyped, Bemidji.  The Spartans didn't just find ways to win these games - they dominated each of these teams from the start.

The basketball team has many of the same players.  The key tomorrow will be to whether the early storm that Washburn is sure to bring.  Washburn is used to having a big lead and having things all their own way.  If the Spartans can hang tough for the first 5-6 minutes of the game, they will be just fine.

And don't forget about the whole "Coach Brink" element here.  Whenever this season ends, so will the 42 year legendary career of Coach Brink.  This group of Spartans is three wins away from sending him off into the sunset with a state championship.

It certainly won't be easy, but it is absolutely 100% possible.

We all want the fairy tale ending, and this group of Spartans has the ability to win three straight - and send Coach Brink out on top.  Remember the names; Meyer, Eisenchenk, Mueller, Terres, Moriarity, Templin, Mies, and Pedroza.

I'll put my faith in those young men in a heartbeat.  Go Spartans!

The ROCORI vs. Minneapolis Washburn game can be heard Wednesday morning on AM1390 The Fan and www.1390thefan.com.  Pre-game at 9:50am, 10am tip-off.