Moorhead boys basketball embraces underdog mentality heading into state tournament

Moorhead plays defending state champs, Wayzata in first round of state tournament

Moorhead’s Colton Hagen swats away Rogers’ Blake Dalluge’s ball during their Minnesota 8-4A boys basketball tournament semifinal game Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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After falling in the section 8AAA championship game in 2021, the Moorhead Spuds boys basketball team was determined to get back to the same stage.

“We have a lot of good puzzle pieces. It was just trying to figure out how to use it," head coach Matt Ellingson said.

But the Spuds were undermined before even stepping on the court this season.

“When preseason rankings came out, they had us seventh in our section," said senior guard Mekhi Elmore. "Our message was to go out there and prove everybody wrong.”

That’s exactly what the Spuds did, winning a thriller against Brainerd and punching the ticket to state for the first time in a decade.


"We absolutely believed that we could," Ellingson said. "We knew it wasn’t going to be easy."

The last time Moorhead played in the state tournament, Ellingson was a player on the team.

“It brought back the memories that i was able to experience as a player,“ Ellingson said.

“People don’t expect us to go down there and do anything," Elmore said. "People expect us to go down there and lose the first round, but we know that we’re capable of winning."

The Spuds enter this tournament unseeded and have a tough test going up against the defending state champs, Wazayta.

“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain," Ellingson said. "Everyone’s going to be picking Wayzata to beat us and they have a great program, but we’re going to go in there and give it our best shot.”

Just like they have the whole season, Moorhead is embracing the underdog mentality.

"We are the underdogs in the state tournament," Ellingson said. "We have a lot of belief in each other and in this gym, we believe we can go down there and play our best basketball."


“We’ve got a strong city in Moorhead supporting us right down our backs," Elmore said. "We're going to go down there and show them what Moorhead is really about.”

The Spuds and Wayzata play Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Target Center.

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