My heart sunk when I opened the email.
John Oxton, the head boys’ basketball coach and physical education teacher at Lakeville North, sent me an email that said, “come see me in my office.”
The previous evening, I had just covered my first game, which was the Lakeville North, Lakeville South boys’ basketball game. I posted my—poorly written—story on the activities website, and I figured Oxton had read it. I thought I had just written something Oxton did not like it—talk about starting my LNHS sports coverage off on the wrong foot.
Turns out, he was not mad but, instead, excited I had started covering the team. Now, after three seasons, I have covered the Lakeville North boys’ basketball team for the final time after the state championship on Saturday night, and I have loved every minute of it.
From Drew Stewart and Connor Flack turning in a five-point play for a state championship victory to Oxton’s fist pump after J.P. Macura hit a buzzer-beater in the semifinals, I have so many great memories that it would take me almost three years to write about each of them.
I cannot thank Oxton enough for humoring me as I have grown as a journalist. The Lakeville North boys’ basketball team was the first team I covered, so my interviewing skills were poor—well actually more like nonexistent—when I began asking Oxton questions after games.
Despite my developing journalism skills, Oxton and other players always took time to talk with me, which I am grateful for.
I also can’t thank Oxton and the Lakeville North boys’ basketball team enough for the access they provided me. I can be a pest sometimes, so I appreciate them tolerating me.
Of course, the success of this team has made it an enjoyable experience covering the Panthers, but the great people are what make this basketball program special and why I will look back on my time covering this team with fondness.
When I first covered that Lakeville North, South basketball game on Dec. 13, 2013, I had no idea where I would be two years later. Heck, I did not even know I would be pursuing a career in journalism. But as I look back on all of the fun games I have covered, and the stories I have been able to share, and I cannot help but smile.
Thank you for the memories, Lakeville North boys’ basketball. It has been a ride.