As it gets set for its second "Coaches vs. Cancer" event, the St. Michael-Albertville girls' basketball will again bring the cause close to home, raising funds for two St. Michael-Albertville middle school students battling the disease.
This year, however, the results on the floor against last year's opponent were different, as the Knights made a statement about their plans for defending their Section 8-4A championship, dumping Buffalo 69-27 to tighten their grip on the top spot in the section and the Mississippi 8 Conference.
St. Michael-Albertville was led by Erin Autio, a junior, with 19 points, as the Knights built a 40-19 lead at the half and never looked back.
STMA has now hung a 17-point win over rival Rogers and a 42-point win over the Bison in the last six days.
The Knights' three losses have all come at the hands of traditional Class 4A powers–Minnetonka, Edina and Wayzata.
The girls fell to Wayzata by just three, Edina by two and the Skippers by 17.
"To get better in Class 4A you have to play the top teams and play with them," said head coach Kent Hamre. "We've always had a competitive conference season with Buffalo, Rogers and some of the other schools. But if you want to earn success at this level you have to play the best teams."
The win over the Bison extends the Knights' winning streak to four, and its record in the section to 7-0. STMA is 2-0 in conference play.
The Coaches vs. Cancer proceeds collected Tuesday are all aimed at two STMA students–Aly Juntunen and Tyler Purohit, both sixth-graders.
Aly was diagnosed with a germ cell tumor in April of 2011. She has undergone surgery to remove the tumor and has had plates inserted to help her head heal. She has MRIs to check for any reoccurring tumors every 3 months, and has been cancer free since November 17th. Aly has lost vision in her right eye and a majority of her left eye. These days she is feeling well, is active in swimming, and is doing well in school! http://lovingalyona.blogspot.com/
Tyler was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Stage 4, an aggressive form of brain cancer in January of 2012. He has had surgery to implant a shunt to relieve the fluid pressure, biopsies, MRIs, and continues to have radiation and chemotherapy treatments. His latest MRI in December showed no growth or movement of the tumor! Tyler is doing well, but is cautious to not get sick these days. Tyler's favorite past time activities include playing video games, and watching the Vikings. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tylerpurohit
The varsity game is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. d