WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) — After finishing as a runner-up in the Class AAA state title game two years ago, the Waseca Bluejays looked like a championship contender again this past season after dropping down to AA, but the season came to a halt after Waseca won the south subsection 2AA crown when COVID-19 shut down the state high school league.
The Jays’ dominant run didn’t stop there. Waseca is shining as one of the top teams in the state this season highlighted with three wins over Class AAA powerhouse Marshall.
”Your goal is always to try and get a little better every game you play,” head coach Seth Anderson said. “I think we’ve been doing that.”
Waseca’s only loss in 2021 came against a loaded Minnehaha Academy squad in a learning experience.
”That game we figured out what wasn’t working, a lot of things we could improve on, what each player ourself could improve on. That game definitely helped a lot,” senior Kyreese Willingham said.
Waseca is led by a talented senior class, with both Andrew Morgan and Ryan Dufault top 10 candidates for this year’s Mr. Basketball honor, while Willingham was on the watch list.
All three will play basketball at the next level. Both Morgan and Dufault are heading to Summit League programs, while Willingham will stay close to home and attend Minnesota State University, Mankato.
”A lot of people wait for a whole lifetime and might not get to coach a team with this much talent,” Anderson said. “I appreciate every single day. We’re disappointed it was a shortened season, but you do what you can and enjoy it while the process is there. It’s not about the wins and losses, but building the camaraderie because that’s the stuff you remember the most, the guys that were on the team. If you can make some really good memories along the way, that’s really nice too.”
The group has played together since elementary school, and it shows on the court with highlight-reel plays on a nightly basis.
”We’re all really good basketball players, but it’s mostly playing together for so long. We play pickup games at parks, churches, everything. We have fun playing basketball, and we have that drive to get better and put a banner on the wall,” senior Andrew Morgan explained.
All the hard work over the years is culminating in one final shot at a state championship.
”This is our last chance, our last chance to do what we wanted to do since we started playing basketball. We realize this is our last chance to go get Waseca a state title on the banner,” Morgan continued. “That’s what’s been motivating us the most, this is our last chance to do what we can for this city.“
”Hopefully we can get it done this year, it’s our last year,” senior Ryan Dufault said. “We have to go in with no hiccups and play every game like our last. You never know what could happen.”