AAU coach reflects on his time with Mel-Min, Aquinas players

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WKBT)–About seven years ago, one tournament started something no one could have imagined.

“I fell in love with the kids when we played them, 5th grade. I joke about it but there was a time when I was the tallest guy in the gymnasium,” said Coach Mitch Moths.

The Onalaska youth basketball coach knew there was something special in his opponents.

“I just felt like I needed to know them so I went over to the coach as soon as the game was done and said ‘love your team, love those girls, how about we practice together and have the girls get to know each other?’ recalled Moths.

This team was the Melrose-Mindoro Mustangs.

“Their competitiveness. I mean they just played so hard. They were focused and played well as a team,” added Moths.

He would later feel the same way about a group of players from CFC, who now wear the blue and gold for Aquinas High School.

After being teammates all summer, Mel-Min and Aquinas have battled each other to bring home the gold the past two years. So how does this coach pick a side?

“When they play each other, I just let them know that I am rooting for you guys to kill it. That’s what I am rooting for. I don’t clap during the game, I never have. I am not rooting for a team. Inside I am just rooting for my girls.”

And these girls are more than just players on a team Mitch considers them family.

“These girls would give me a hard time if my shorts didn’t match my shirt or my socks were off or my colors just weren’t right and they just became daughters to me.”

So with the teams meeting every year and on the biggest stage, their coach will always remember their first trip to the Resch Center.

“When they first all walked on the state as freshman, I kind of teared up. It was just neat to see them walk out on the floor in Green Bay. Just a proud dad, proud coach.”