Northland hoops standouts overpowering in friendly game of H-O-R-S-E (with videos)RICK LUBBERS: Opposing basketball teams won’t want to hear this, but Lakeview Christian Academy's Anders Broman and Superior's Jessica Lindstrom can hit free throws with their eyes closed.
By: Rick Lubbers, Duluth News Tribune
Opposing basketball teams won’t want to hear this, but Anders Broman and Jessica Lindstrom can hit free throws with their eyes closed.
Not squinting or peeking through their fingers.
Eyes closed. Tight.
The respective standouts from Lakeview Christian Academy and Superior High School already are adept at scoring points while double-teamed and with players sticking to them like gum on a shoe, but draining free throws with their eyes closed?
It’s not fair.
So there wasn’t a chance of beating them when I recently challenged the returning Duluth News Tribune All-Area Players of the Year to a game of H-O-R-S-E at the Superior YMCA.
H-O-R-S-E is a simple game: If one player makes a basket, the opposing player has to make the shot from the same spot or in the same manner or else get tagged with a letter. The first player to spell H-O-R-S-E loses.
Last year, I bent the rules a bit to grab an edge over Broman — he had to spell P-I-G and I had to spell H-O-R-S-E.
And it nearly worked, thanks to me hitting a granny shot and a left-handed skyhook on a day that Broman appeared mortal and missed a shot or two. Still, he was clutch when he needed to be and won P-I to H-O-R-S-E.
To make it interesting this year, I invited Lindstrom to the rematch and all of us played on a level court, having to spell H-O-R-S-E.
Both players entered the fun match with overwhelming hoop credentials. Broman averaged 43.7 points a game — including 71 points against Melrose — last season as a junior in leading Lakeview Christian Academy to a 25-6 record and a berth in the Class A state basketball tournament. He’s already scored 3,834 points in his career and is 252 short of Kevin Noreen’s Minnesota record. Next fall he will be bringing his talents to Division I South Dakota State.
Lindstrom averaged a double-double last season as a sophomore for the Spartans, putting up 19 points and pulling down 11.4 rebounds an outing. In a playoff victory over Wausau West, she scored 27 points and grabbed a whopping 23 rebounds. She still has a couple of seasons left in her career, but colleges already are lining up to woo her.
Fortunately, rebounding wasn’t part of the contest, or else I might have returned to the office in crutches.
Putting up shots that actually fall through the net is tough enough for this former high school wrestler, let alone outmuscling someone for a loose ball.
And it took only about five seconds of “H-O-R-S-E, Part Deux” for me to realize I had started a shootout against a pair of snipers and was packing the basketball equivalent of a squirt gun. Broman and Lindstrom simply didn’t miss … from layups, free throws and midrange jumpers to long shots and ridiculously long shots. My attempts clanged harmlessly off the rim, ricocheted violently off the backboard or missed them altogether. Even the granny shot that worked for me last year was AWOL.
I spelled H-O-R-S-E quicker than I could have fallen off of one, and neither Broman nor Lindstrom had a letter to their name. They let me add a “Y” to prolong the game, but moments later I spelled H-O-R-S-E-Y and left the court. Truthfully, I couldn’t have beaten those two hotshots if they had agreed to let me spell “equus ferus caballus.” (Uh, that’s the scientific name for horse.)
Reduced to spectator status, I watched Broman and Lindstrom continue the game. They traded several buckets, including a pair of blind free throws.
Broman had tried to hit a free throw with his eyes closed earlier in the contest, but he missed. He connected on his next attempt, however, forcing Lindstrom to follow suit. She stepped up to the line, closed her eyes and sank her blind shot, too.
I’d have a better chance of pinning the tail on the donkey than making a free throw with my eyes closed. I miss most of them with my eyes open.
Unfortunately for Lindstrom, her shots cooled a bit, while Broman kept up a rather torrid pace. Eventually she had spelled H-O-R-S-E and was eliminated. Amazingly, Broman hadn’t earned a letter the entire time. So he’s now a two-time DNT H-O-R-S-E champ. There’s no trophy, just a pat on the back.
To be fair, Lindstrom was forced to play with a boys basketball, which has a larger circumference and weighs more than the girls basketball she’s used to shooting. That probably threw her off a bit. Still, she was a good sport about it.
Now Broman and Lindstrom can focus on their high school basketball seasons — which begin this week for Lakeview Christian Academy and Superior — and terrorize opposing teams with their scoring prowess.
Presumably with their eyes open.
Contact News Tribune sports editor Rick Lubbers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 723-5317. Follow him @ricklubbersdnt on Twitter.