Even though St. Peter’s season ended on Saturday night, the team has known all year that this season has been about more than basketball.
In St. Peter’s 87-59 loss to Marshall at Gustavus Adolphus College Saturday night, Senior Mason Doherty, a player with down syndrome who has gained national attention this year, checked in to a standing ovation and MVP chants with 51 seconds remaining. Doherty hit a three-pointer, as he has multiple times this season, and sent fans of both teams into a frenzy. Doherty was one of the eight seniors on the team that played their last game for St. Peter.
“We had a really tremendous group of seniors, a senior class that went to state last year, and really turned around our program. We had back to back winning seasons. I’m gonna miss them, and it’s hard to see them leave,” St. Peter coach Sean Keating said.
After winning just six games in the 2017-2018 season, this year’s group of seniors led the team to 19 wins and a state appearance. This year the team won 18 games. Senior Wyatt Olson, the team’s top scorer, and rebounder was on varsity since he was a freshman in 2016.
“This group of seniors has been together since third grade, the core group of guys have all played together throughout our youth careers. Obviously the stuff with Mason this year and kinda the way our team was put together stood out. It’s definitely different when you’re a senior. You can’t really speak to that until it happens to you,” Olson said.
Keating hopes that he taught the seniors, and the rest of his players, that the most important things aren’t what happen on the court, but how you conduct off the court in the rest of life.
“I just hope they remember that you’ve gotta work hard, treat people with respect, do things the right way. That’s what they did every day, and that’s why they’re gonna be successful in life,” Keating said.
Olson believes that Keating taught them to “do things the right way” by leading by example.
“The way he works, the kind of person he is, whether it’s in his public or personal life, just how he is in relationships and stuff like that, I think that’s something I aspire to be like,” Olson said.
Olson led both teams in scoring with 19 points, and senior guard Kaden Oeltjenbruns had 15 points. Marshall had four players in double digits for scoring. Noah Puetz led Marshall with 18 points, Matthew Hmielewski had 17 points, Bruce Lance had 16 points and Josh Baker had 10 points.
Marshall advances to the section finals to face number one seed Mankato East on Thursday at Gustavus.