MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Coaches will say it’s all about the journey, not the destination. But in a way, the Henning High School boys basketball team feels destined to be in Minneapolis.
“Everyone’s really nervous, but at the same time we’re really calm because we’ve made it this far and we deserve to play here,” said senior Adam Lange.
It’s been quite some time since the Hornets have played in the Minnesota State High School Basketball Tournament.
“1966, so whatever the math shakes out to be on that,” said head coach Randy Misegades.
For the teenagers, it’s a dream come true. They just wish one more of their teammates could be there, too.
“I know he would have been proud and super excited,” said senior Dylan Trana, as he talked about his friend Jacob Quam.
In April 2017, Quam died in a crash on his way to school along Highway 210 when investigators say a semi-truck driver crossed the center line and hit him head on. Coach Misegadas said it’s a day they’ll never forget.
“It was a shock to the system and something that we all continue to deal with and go through, but the kids have helped me go through that,” he said. “As a 15-, 16-year-old kid to lose your best friend, I can’t imagine going through that.”
Part of working through the pain has been keeping Quam, nicknamed “City Boy” after moving to Henning from Delano, at their side ever since. It’s even part of their motto, “6 on 5.”
“So ‘6 on 5’ is like City Boy’s still with us all the time, just motivated to keep playing for him, never give up,” said Trana.
Lange said they say a prayer before each game with Quam’s name in it. They also carry his jersey with them during the captain’s meeting before tip-off.
As they started their trip to Minneapolis Wednesday, they stopped at Quam’s grave site. It’s a place they visit so often they even shoveled the snow to clear a path through the winter.
“It helps calm everyone because, just to realize that he’s there with us,” said Lange.
“I’m just glad I knew him and I’m glad that he came to Henning, just glad he’s been a person in all of our lives,” added Trana.
And although Quam won’t physically take the court with them Thursday, they’re confident his spirit will.
“There’s just something, some things that happen and you kind of look up, we look at each other and like, yup, we know he’s there and smiling down and looking down on us,” said Misegades.
The head coach says Quam’s mother will be in Minneapolis this weekend to cheer on the team. Henning plays against Christ’s House of Faith Thursday at 1 p.m. at Williams Arena.