Story and photos by Paul Langfellow
It wasn’t the state tournament, but it very well could have been a preview of what’s to come this season. The “best of the best” boys and girls traveling basketball teams collided this past weekend in the inaugural MYAS Pre-Season Invite.
Wayzata, Maple Grove and Osseo High Schools were the sites for the first MYAS tournaments of this fall/winter season. Wayzata hosted the girls invitational while the boys tournaments were held at Maple Grove and Osseo High Schools. Each tournament featured teams from 5th through 8th grade and included the top “A” teams from last year at each grade level.
This was the first year for the Wayzata Girls Basketball Association hosting a preseason tournament with MYAS. With 32 teams coming to Wayzata across the four age groups, Wayzata was the epicenter of girls basketball to kick off the season.
“We wanted to host a good preseason tournament for the girls,” said Wayzata Girls Basketball Association board member Chris Carr. “It’s good for them to get on the court early in the season and shake the rust off from the long summer.”
The tournament at Wayzata featured teams from around the state including the 7A MLK Park team from Minneapolis, coached by Larry Clardy. “I like how they are bringing all the top teams together at the beginning of the year and giving everybody a chance to see where they are at,” said Clardy. Clardy’s team went on to win the 7th grade title beating OMGBA (Osseo Maple Grove) in the finals.
The girls tournament was sponsored in part by former Minnesota Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway’s “Lead The Way Foundation.” Greenway is now the president of the Wayzata Girls Basketball Association.
“The Lead the Way Foundation is our Greenway family foundation that we started 11 years ago,” said Greenway. “Our mission is to help kids and families in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas who are in need of help. We focus on working with the hospitals and social workers in the area to find the families and children in need.” Greenway went on to mention the benefits of this weekend’s tournament at Wayzata “This tournament will benefit the foundation with direct exposure to our mission and website which will lead to ongoing community support.”
Meanwhile, Maple Grove featured 16 boys teams playing in bracket play from 7th and 8th grade, while the 5th and 6th grade boys tournaments with 16 more teams were held at Osseo High School. Maple Grove has previously hosted MYAS tournaments for its association and according to Dave Moline, who was the site supervisor and part of the Maple Grove boys booster club, they were thrilled to have such a high level tournament to kick off the season.
“For us it’s a fundraiser for our boys high school basketball booster club,” said Moline. “What we want to accomplish is to have good competition, a good fundraising activity and a healthy environment for the kids to participate and have fun.”
With the beginning of the high school season looming, the boys tournament also caught the attention of Osseo varsity head coach Tim Theisen who loves the idea of a high level pre-season tournament.
“I think it’s a great way to build enthusiasm with youth basketball in the state, Here you have teams that have only been practicing for about two and a half weeks and now you have the top teams from the previous year come together in a preseason tournament. It’s a good way to see where you’re at right now.”
Theisen also thinks the Pre-Season Invite Tournament is a great tool for coaches to know what they need to work on for the coming season. “I do like the concept. I like seeing how teams compete with each other, and against the top teams right away. From a coaching standpoint, it gives me a sense of, okay, we just played against some of the best teams around, what do I need to work on? Perimeter defense, post scoring, press break. What is it? And that will give you an indication from where you need to work going forward for the next two to three months, so kudos to MYAS for this.”
Champions from this past weekend:
8th Grade CLM Spartans 2024 Black
7th Grade CLM Spartans 2025 Black
6th Grade CLM Spartans 2026 Black
5th Grade CLM Spartans 2025 Black
8th Grade OMGBA 81
7th Grade MLK Park Minneapolis G7A
6th Grade OMGBA G6A
5th Grade Wayzata 51