Garrison parties like it’s 1999, going back to the ‘B’

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:29 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 11:05 PM CST
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GARRISON, N.D. (KMOT) – The introduction of the three-class basketball system has caused a stir over the magic of the Class B state tournament. But for towns like Garrison, the ‘B’ brings back memories that are starting to fade... only to return after two decades.

Where were you in 1999?

“I was not alive,” said Garrison senior Kaitlyn Zook.

If you lived in Garrison, you were probably at the Girls State ‘B.’

“My aunt played on that team,” said Cara Schlehr, a freshman.

Twenty-four years ago was the last time the Troopers girls team marched on the ‘B.’

“Kari Wilcox was unreal. I remember the saying, ‘If there’s a way, there’s a Wilcox.’ It’s always stuck with me,” said current Head Coach Matt Chase.

And 24 years later, Garrison is going back.

“It’s something that our families definitely talked about being my cousin Jess (Gehring) was on the team,” said Assistant Coach Luke Gehring.

Those who remember, know a few coincidences.

“Their starting five, everyone was a threat. They’re very similar to us. Kari Wilcox and Karli Klein are very similar players,” said Gehring.

Jess Gehring, a freshman in 1999, is the cousin of Coach Luke Gehring and senior Mia Gehring.

“Jess was a spot-up shooter with a good skillset. I’d say she’s very similar to Mia. If you leave Mia open, that ball’s going in,” said Gehring.

And Amy Mai, a senior in 1999, is Emily and Cara Schlehr’s aunt.

There is some separation.

“Our jerseys are a little cooler,” said Cara Schlehr, a freshman.

But the similarities are striking.

The 1999 team fell to powerhouse Washburn in the district championship, but beat them in the region title game.

“For us, it’s Shiloh Christian. They’ve owned the region the past couple years and it was awesome to beat them this year. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Gehring.

Twenty-four years later...

“It would be awesome, that’s a dream. That is a dream to be like that,” said Kaitlyn.

A dream come true.

Bottineau won the state championship in 1999 after defeating the Troopers in the semifinals.

This year, Garrison will play Kenmare in the final game of the quarterfinal round Thursday night at the Minot State Dome.