Thousands of fans packed Alexandria Area High School to the brim on Saturday night in a celebration that commemorated the 25-year reunion for the Alexandria Aces basketball performance program.
Those in attendance got their moneys worth. The Alexandria boys basketball team gave them a well-played game on its way to snapping a three-game skid with a 67-51 win over Delano.
Minnesota Timberwolves mascot “Crunch” entertained the crowd during timeouts before the Timberwolves Dunk Team wowed everyone with a series of acrobatic dunks after the game.
The current Aces team provided the halftime entertainment. Then for the final act, this Aces team, along with community members and former Aces, unofficially set a new Guinness World Record with 133 people simultaneously spinning a basketball on their finger for one minute.
“I thought it would be good and it exceeded my expectations,” Aces creator and coach Larry Novotny said. “This was crazy. This place was filled. I wasn’t sure it would be. The fans were crazy, they were loud. They were going sort of berserk and for any crowd it was a great crowd. We were so appreciative of the support, and I think all the rest of the entertainment and the players were appreciative of it, too…133 is the number and when you think about how hard it is to spin a basketball for a full minute, that’s a number that’s going to be hard to break.”
The previous record that the Aces had to surpass was 104. Novotny was hoping to not only break it, but to blow it out of the water, and they had the people registered to do that.
A total of 181 participants gathered on the court attempting to spin the ball on their finger for one minute. Those who failed to spin the ball for the full minute were not a part of the final tally toward the record.
That number of 133 participants who succeeded came on their first try. They attempted to improve on that by trying a second time, but finished with 129 on that attempt.
“It’s definitely something to put on the resume and something to say,” Alexandria senior forward and former Aces member Joe Gorghuber said after being a part of the record. “It’s just really cool getting everyone back here, seeing all the people that have been a part of the program for the Aces.”
The record won’t become official until they receive the final stamp of approval from Guinness. Novotny said it’s a process that usually takes 60-90 days, but was hoping they might receive notification earlier than that after making sure they did everything exactly by the rule book.
“It’s unofficial until we send everything to them from videos and our wrist bands and still pictures,” Novotny said. “Everything like that, which we’ve got in order. An affidavit signed by the chief of police and different people. We send it to them, they review it and issue the world record.”
Novotny said he is “really confident” that the record will stand because of the due diligence that was done to make sure everything was done correctly. If and when it becomes official, it will be another memorable moment in the history of the Aces program.
“It adds another notch to the cap, I suppose,” Novotny said. “It’s not who we are, it’s not what we’re about. We want to entertain people and make people happy. We want to have people enjoy what we do. The fact that we were able to set a world record I think does bring some credence to what we do, a little bit of notoriety, not only to us but to this whole community, which we like.”
(The Alexandria Aces are a basketball performance team consisting of boys and girls ages 5-12 based out of Alexandria, Minnesota. In 25 years of existence, they have gone from performing at small high school venues to being one of the top halftime acts in college basketball and the NBA. Their dribbling, juggling and spinning feats have been performed in front of more than 3 million fans across the United States and Canada over the years.)