FARGO-Fargo Oak Grove junior guard Tommy Conmy came ready to celebrate in case the Grovers won the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 boys basketball title on March 9. In his duffle bag was some sparkling cider he was hoping to pop when the Grovers won their sixth region title in the last nine seasons.
That did not happen, as Wyndmere-Lidgerwood knocked off the defending region champions 74-67 for its first trip to the state tournament ever as a co-op. After the game held in Wahpeton, without telling anyone, Conmy took the sparkling cider out of his bag and placed it across the hall outside the W-L locker room in the North Dakota State College of Science's Activities Center.
The Warbirds came storming into the locker room, each grabbing a bottle. They tried to spray it in the shower to not make a mess, but couldn't figure it out. As W-L head coach Todd Hosford entered the locker room, he stopped dead in his tracks because his kids were drinking out of bottles.
"The kids immediately told me it was just sparkling cider and to not worry," Hosford said, sounding relieved even 13 days later. "They thought I had put it there. No one knew that night who put it there."
Hosford found out that weekend it was Conmy who left the gift.
"They could have dumped it out or broke the bottles somewhere," Hosford said. "It takes a lot to do something like that. It shows maturity and it shows he knows how to win and how to lose. It wasn't something many kids would do."
Oak Grove head coach Kyle Card had no idea Conmy had done it either. He sent an email to congratulate Hosford and Hosford responded telling him to thank Conmy.
"He's not one of those kids looking for attention by any means," Card said. "That's the way he's grown up. Made you sit back and realize that's pretty cool, and we have some pretty great kids."
Hosford told his players at their next practice after the region title game that Conmy had left the sparkling cider. As the team rolled into Wyndmere after the region title championship with fire trucks and ambulances leading the Warbirds, a few players were still drinking some of the sparkling cider.
The moment was a little sweeter because of someone on a rival team.
"It was like a Super Bowl parade," Hosford said. "I let them enjoy it. A lot of people don't have the nicest things to say about Oak Grove. I told my team that it's not all negative and they are just like you guys. It was definitely a learning experience. They learned there's good kids out there that mean well."