John's Journal
Another Record-Smashing Day For NRHEG, Carlie Wagner 3/19/2014
Every time Carlie Wagner plays in the girls state basketball tournament, you better be ready to see something special. And a big crowd at Mariucci Arena on Wednesday saw something spectacular.

Wagner, the senior from New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva who has signed with the University of Minnesota, broke her own state tournament record by scoring 53 points in the Panthers’ 100-68 Class 2A quarterfinal victory over Pequot Lakes. Last year she set the record by scoring 50 against Braham in the state championship game.

Three other tournament records fell in Wednesday’s game:

--NRHEG’s 100 points topped the previous record of 88 set by Eden Valley-Watkins vs. Cass Lake in 1984.

--The combined total of 168 points broke the record of 157 set by Monticello (79) and Fergus Falls (78) in two overtimes last year.

--NRHEG made 13 three-point shots, breaking the record of 12 set by Maranatha Christian vs. Spring Grove in 2012.

NRHEG will play two more games at state, and Wagner needs 76 points to tie the tourney record for total points (129) she set last year.

In Wednesday’s game, Wagner made 17 of 34 field-goal attempts, six of 16 three-point attempts, 13 of 15 free throws with six rebounds, seven assists, six steals and two fouls. She went to the bench with 2:59 remaining in the game.

“Her ability to score from anywhere on the court at any time against anybody. That’s what makes her special,” said NRHEG coach John Schultz.

Kayla Miller led Pequot Lakes with 25 points and Vanessa Lane had 19.

NRHEG’s semifinal opponent on Friday at Williams Arena will be Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, which defeated Minnehaha Academy 62-43. Abby Miller led HL-W-W with 23 points and Sarah Kaminski scored 13 for Minnehaha Academy.

OTHER CLASS 2A QUARTERFINALS

--Kenyon-Wanamingo 64, Redwood Falls 31: Siri Sviggum led K-W with 23 and Tara Sandgren had 13 for Redwood Falls.

--Esko 39, New London-Spicer 35: Ava Gonsorowski led the Eskomos with 14 points and Taylor Thunstedt had 24 for New London-Spicer.

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

Mariucci Arena, normally home to the Gophers men’s hockey team, was transformed into a great basketball arena for the girls tournament. The ice had been removed, a process that took several days, and the basketball court sat on the arena’s concrete floor. The court is one that was used in the final year of the old St. Paul Civic Center, is owned by Xcel Energy Center and is being rented for this week’s tournament.

Written on each end of the court is “SAINT PAUL MINNESOTA” and Xcel Energy Center logos are painted on the floor.

From the coaches involved in Wednesday’s six games, the reviews were positive.

“The ball went in the basket so we loved it,” said Marshall coach Dan Westby after the Tigers defeated Chisago Lakes 68-44 in the Class 3A quarterfinals. “I don’t think it would have mattered where we played, the kids just wanted to get this thing started.”

Fergus Falls coach Brad Strand (pictured), whose team beat Kasson-Mantorville 61-52 in 3A, said simply, “I loved it.”

Fergus Falls and Marshall will meet in Thursday’s 2 p.m. semifinal at Williams Arena, and both coaches are very familiar with winning state titles.

Strand coached the Pelican Rapids boys team to state in 2003, 2006 and 2009. He was the Pelican Rapids boys coach for 15 years and won the Class 2A state championship in 2009. Strand could become the first coach to win state titles in girls and boys basketball.

Marshall has won the past three Class 2A volleyball state titles, and Westby also coaches the volleyball team.

Nine of Marshall’s 16 basketball players also play volleyball, and Westby said it’s impossible to have two-sport success without commitment from the athletes.

“On a typical summer day they’ll practice volleyball for two hours in the morning and basketball for two hours in the afternoon,” he said. “And now our volleyball kids won’t pick up a volleyball until the basketball season is over.”

CLASS 3A QUARTERFINALS

--Fergus Falls 61, Kasson-Mantorville 52: Bailey Strand had 23 points for the Otters and Taylor Miller scored 13 for Kasson-Mantorville.

--Marshall 68, Chisago Lakes 44: Hannah Bennett scored 13 points for the Tigers. Bryanna Fernstrom scored 24 for the Wildcats.

THURSDAY’S GAMES AT WILLIAMS ARENA

Noon/ Park Center vs. Minneapolis Washburn, 3A semifinals
2 p.m./ Fergus Falls vs. Marshall, 3A semifinals
6 p.m./ Eastview vs. Eden Prairie, 4A semifinals
8 p.m./ Lakeville North vs. Bloomington Kennedy, 4A semifinals

THURSDAY’S CLASS 1A QUARTERFINALS AT MARIUCCI ARENA
11 a.m./ Browerville vs. Minneota
1 p.m./ Ada-Borup vs. Goodhue
3 p.m./ Mankato Loyola vs. Maranatha Christian
5 .m./ Win-E-Mac vs. Mountain Iron-Buhl

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 391
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 8,974
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Different Schedule, Different Venues, Same Great Tournament 3/18/2014
The girls state basketball tournament began Tuesday. Yes, Tuesday. I know that sounds odd, because the boys and girls basketball tournaments traditionally begin on Wednesday. But this year, tradition has changed.

It has to do with the availability of arenas. We are blessed to have such basketball venues as Target Center, Williams Arena and even Mariucci Arena, which is the home of the Gophers men’s hockey team. All three arenas will be used during the girls basketball tournament, but after Tuesday we say goodbye to Target Center and move the tournament to the two venues at the University of Minnesota.

It all goes back to college hockey. The new National Collegiate Hockey Conference has contracted with Target Center to hold its inaugural conference tournament there later this week. Thus, Target Center is not available to the MSHSL. So we head to the U of M.

Since the Gophers men’s basketball team is playing an NIT game at Williams Arena on Tuesday night and the women’s team will do the same on Wednesday, the MSHSL games will be played at Mariucci Arena on those days. We have used Mariucci for basketball in the past, and it is a great venue for hoops.

The Class 4A quarterfinals were completed at Target Center on Tuesday, along with two Class 3A quarterfinals. The other two 3A games will be played Wednesday at Mariucci, along with all four 2A quarterfinals. The 1A quarterfinals will be played at Mariucci on Thursday.

Semifinals and championship games in all four classes will be played at Williams Arena; 3A and 4A semifinals on Thursday and 1A and 2A semis on Friday. All four title games will be played Saturday, as is tradition.

It’s different from what we are used to, but it will work out just fine.

The format will be the same in 2015 and 2016, with the boys basketball season beginning before the girls and the boys state tournament being played first. In 2017 and 2018, the girls tournament will be played before the boys. Through 2018 (that’s the length of the NCHC contract with Target Center), the girls tournament will use Target Center only on Tuesday, with the rest of the tournament being played at the U of M.

Remember, all these changes are due to the hockey tournament being held at Target Center; most of the the boys state tournament games through 2018 will be played at Target Center, while the girls tournament will be largely played at the U of M.

CLASS 4A QUARTERFINALS

--Eastview 63, St. Paul Central 58: Madison Guebert (29) and Laro Opatz (26) combined for 55 points for the Lightning. Rayna Sherow had 16 and Chelcie Kizart 14 for Central.

--Eden Prairie 67, Anoka 57: Martha Kuderer led the Eagles with 19 points and Jayla Mayes-Jackson had 18. Ashley Bray and Kyrah Fredenburg each scored 14 for Anoka.

--Lakeville North 69, Centennial 52: North used a 37-18 first half to hold off the Cougars. MacKenzie Denk led North with 21 points and Temi Carda had 18. Centennial’s Jill Conrad had 18 points.

--Bloomington Kennedy 71, St. Michael-Albertville 57: Kenisha Bell led the Eagles with 29 points. Sydney Tracy scored 19 for St. Michael-Albertville.

--Thursday night’s Class 4A semifinals at Williams Arena will feature three teams from the South Suburban Conference. Eastview will meet Eden Prairie (Lake Conference) at 6 p.m., followed by Lakeville North vs. Bloomington Kennedy.

CLASS 3A QUARTERFINALS

--Park Center 68, Simley 53: Calya McMorris led the Pirates with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Kylie Brown scored 14 points for Simley.

--Minneapolis Washburn 62, Monticello 53: Chase Coley led the Millers with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Emily Gruber scored 24 for Monticello.

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

--St. Paul Central coach Marta Waalen is in her first year coaching the Minutemen but she is no stranger to the tradition at the school. Waalen played at Central, graduated in 2004 and played collegiately at Missouri-Kansas City. She was an assistant under former coach Willie Taylor for two years before taking the reins this season.

--Interesting sight in a Target Center hallway: While members of the Eastview pep band waited for their bus to arrive after the game, they gazed up as the Timberwolves' 6-foot-11, 291-pound Nikola Pekovic walked past on his way to practice.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 379
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 8,924
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Moments To Remember On Championship Saturday3/15/2014
The final day of any season is special for lots of reasons. Yes, state champions are crowned, but many other great things take place. This was certainly the case Saturday at Target Center, where the boys basketball season came to a glorious conclusion.

We had typical storylines …

--Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa winning its second Class 1A title in three years with a victory over Rushford-Peterson.

--Esko defeating Annandale for the 2A championship in the first boys basketball state title game for either school.

--Lakeville North, in a miracle finish, defeating Hopkins to take home the 4A title.

But there was more to see and enjoy. Example: Before their teams took the court for the Class 3A championship game, the bands from Austin and DeLaSalle joined forces and played the Ozzy Osbourne classic “Crazy Train.” Solid stuff.

One of my favorite moments came at halftime of the 2A title game, when statewide recipients of the MSHSL Triple-A Award (Academics, Arts, Athletics) were recognized on the court and on TV.

Thirty-two students from around Minnesota are honored at a luncheon as Triple-A finalists, and four of them receive four-year $1,000 college scholarships from the MSHSL. The four winners this year are Taylor Kraemer of Osakis, Dillon John of Adrian, Shaelyn Sorensen of Tartan and William Dudley of Worthington.

After the on-court awards ceremony, Annandale recipient Matthew Fliegel dashed to his spot in the pep band. That is the epitome of the Triple-A Award!

--After the Esko fans finished celebrating their boys’ state title, they had to scoot north to Duluth to watch their girls basketball team play Barnum in the Class 2A Section 7 title game.

--My favorite quote Saturday came from Rushford-Peterson coach Tom Vix. After losing to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Vix was philosophical, saying “That’s the way basketball is.”

--DeLaSalle and Austin met in Saturday night’s 3A title game. It's 99.9 miles from Austin High School to Target Center. From DeLaSalle to Target Center ... 1.1 miles.

CLASS 1A: BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA 52, RUSHFORD-PETERSON 40

The Jaguars were severely tested by Rushford-Peterson, which relied on a strong defense. The only lower offensive total of the season for B-B-E came in an 83-47 loss to Class 4A Apple Valley.

B-B-E was the state runnerup in 2011 and won the title in 2012. Rushford-Peterson reached the title game for the second time in history; the Trojans were the champions in 2006.

Brian Goodwin led B-B-E with 24 points and 10 rebounds and James Kuefler had 10 points. Rushford-Peterson was led by Alex Vix with 12 points and Cole Kingsley with 11.

B-B-E had 42 rebounds to 20 for the Trojans, to which Vix said, “I just think we were vertically challenged.”

CLASS 2A: ESKO 60, ANNANDALE 41

The Eskomos shot 54 percent for the game (68 percent in the second half) and made six of 12 three-point shots in beating the Cardinals. Marc Peterson led the Eskomos with 16 points, Kory Deadrick had 14 and Casey Staniger 13. Annandale was led by Matt Miller with 10 points.

The game was a rematch of last year’s third-place game, where Annandale beat Esko 59-58.

CLASS 3A: DELASALLE 60, AUSTIN 40

The Islanders won their third consecutive state championship with a dominating performance. DeLaSalle jumped out to an early lead and was in front 33-20 at halftime. Reid Travis led the Islanders with 16 points and Sacar Anim had 13. Ajuda Nywesh scored 24 points for Austin. DeLaSalle finished with a 32-17 rebound edge.

CLASS 4A: LAKEVILLE NORTH 84, HOPKINS 82

J.P. Macura had 43 points and 10 rebounds for Lakeville North, which came from behind in the final minute to win the state championship. Macura made 15 of 30 field-goal attempts, five of 13 three-point shots and eight of 11 free throws. Bronson Bruneau added 16 points for the Panthers. Hopkins was led by Kamali Chambers with 24 points.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS

1A/ Davonte Williamson, Trevontae Brown, Fond du Lac Ojibwe; Jeremiah Hanson, Josh Goldschmidt, Maranatha Christian; Brian Goodwin, Billy Borgerding, James Kuefler, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa; Cole Kingsley, Austin O’Hare, Alex Vix, Rushford-Peterson.

2A/ Mitch Pfingsten, Josh Eversman, Fairmont; Austin Bauer, Kyle Sorenson, Caledonia; Chase Knickerbocker, Matt Miller, Andrew Fort, Annandale; Casey Staniger, Kory Deadrick, Marc Peterson, Esko.

3A/ Cole Hennings, Orono; Justin Dahl, Brent Hentges, Holy Family Catholic; Zach Wessels, Ajuda Nywesh, Bret Lukes, Austin; Sacar Anim, Reid Travis, Geno Crandall, Jarvis Johnson, DeLaSalle.

4A/ Joe Rosga, Donnell Gresham, Cretin-Derham Hall; Tyler Weiss, Steffon Mitchell, Shakopee; J.P. Macura, Connor Flack, Bronson Bruneau, Lakeville North; Jacob Wright, Kamali Chambers, Amir Coffey, Hopkins.

THIRD-PLACE GAMES

1A/ Maranatha Christian 103, Fond du Lac Ojibwe 87: Josh Goldschmidt led Maranatha with 45 points. Fond du Lac Ojibwe set a tournament record by making 19 three-point shots and Trevontae Brown tied the single-game record with 10 made threes.

2A/ Caledonia 79, Fairmont 65: Caledonia’s Austin Bauer had a game-high 21 points, and Kyle Sorenson added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors. Fairmont was led by Mitch Pfingsten with 16 points, Jay Ruen with 15 and Josh Eversman with14.

3A/ Holy Family Catholic 56, Orono 35: Brent Hentges led Holy Family with 13 points and Justin Dahl had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Orono’s Ethan Larson had 10 points.

4A/ Shakopee 62, Cretin-Derham Hall 56: Tyler Weiss led Shakopee with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Joe Rosga had 22 points for Cretin-Derham Hall.

GIRLS STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

The girls tournament will begin Tuesday at Target Center, and beginning Wednesday all game will be played at Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena. The pairings are set in all classes except 2A; because of the Esko-Barnum section final Saturday night, that field will be finalized Sunday.

CLASS 1A
#1 seed Minneota vs. Browerville
#4 seed Goodhue vs. #5 seed Ada-Borup
#2 seed Maranatha Christian vs. Mankato Loyola
#3 seed Mountain Iron-Buhl vs. Win-E-Mac

CLASS 3A
#1 seed Park Center vs. Simley
#4 seed Minneapolis Washburn vs. #5 seed Monticello
#2 seed Fergus Falls vs. Kasson-Mantorville
#3 seed Marshall vs. Chisago Lakes

CLASS 4A
#1 seed Eastview vs. St Paul Central
#4 seed Eden Prairie vs. #5 seed Anoka
#2 seed Centennial vs. Lakeville North
#3 seed Bloomington Kennedy vs. St. Michael-Albertville

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 379
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 8,879
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Familiar Teams In Class 1A Basketball Championship Game 3/14/2014
When the Class 1A boys basketball state championship game tips off Saturday at noon at Target Center, the teams will be very familiar to fans who have been paying attention in recent years. The pedigrees of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and Rushford-Peterson are flush with state tournament experience, making Saturday’s matchup intriguing.

B-B-E was the 1A runner-up in 2011 and state champ in 2012; Rushford-Peterson has played in the state semifinals three of the last four years. The teams advanced with semifinal victories Friday: B-B-E beating Fond du Lac Ojibwe 76-58 and Rush-Pete defeating Maranatha Christian Academy 53-51.

The motivations are similar, with a slight twist. B-B-E didn’t make it to state last year, leaving a foul taste that has lingered throughout this season.

“A state championship was our goal from the start,” said Jaguars senior James Kuefler.

Rushford-Peterson, meanwhile, is tired of playing in third-place games at Concordia University in St. Paul. The Trojans (celebrating in this photo) finished third at state last year, losing to Maranatha in the semifinals. Two years ago they also were third, losing to Southwest Minnesota Christian in the semis. They also played at Concordia in 2010, losing to Ellsworth in the third-place game.

The Trojans are 31-1 this season, losing only to Class 2A state semifinalist Caledonia. Rushford-Peterson’s last appearance in the state championship game was in 2006, when the Trojans beat Ellsworth 55-52.

“One of this team’s goals was to be in the state championship game,” said Rushford-Peterson coach Tom Vix. “Our message was we don’t want to play at Concordia.”

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa is an experienced team, with three starters and a sixth man who played on the 2012 state championship team. The Jaguars have won 71 home games in a row (one short of the state record), 69 consecutive Central Minnesota Conference games and six conference championships. They are 30-1 this season, with their only loss against Class 4A power Apple Valley.

“We’ve been super-motivated all year,” said Jaguars coach Dave Montbriand. “We just kept playing really, really hard.”

Asked if this year’s team is the best B-B-E has had in this lengthy run of success, Montbriand smiled and said, “This team could be our best. I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

Brian Goodwin led B-B-E with 25 points Friday, and Vix specifically mentioned the 6-foot-4 senior when asked about playing the Jaguars.

“They’re very good. I don’t know how we’re going to stop Goodwin.”

Let’s see what happens.

73 VARSITY SEASONS AND COUNTING

Annandale coach Skip Dolan has been around the block, coaching much more than boys basketball for the Cardinals. He has also coached girls basketball, football and softball, and this is his 73rd varsity season in Annandale. His teams have won conference titles in all four sports.

The Cardinals defeated Caledonia 81-76 Friday night in the Class 2A semifinals, and will meet Esko in Saturday’s 2 p.m. state championship game. The Eskomos beat Fairmont 56-43 in Friday's second semifinal.

It will be the first time in a boys basketball title game for Annandale. Dolan (pictured) played in the state tournament for Renville in 1971 and 1972 at Williams Arena.

“That’s kind of where I get the drive, from Renville,” he said. “I love what I do.”

Almost a year ago, Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice was fired after a video surfaced of him hitting, shoving and berating players. A few days after Rice was fired, Dolan spoke at a Kiwanis luncheon. He was asked about Rice and what he did in his practices. His comments included …

“Coaches getting intense is part of the nature of the beast, but what made me truly sick about the Rutgers situation is that I truly believe one of the best classrooms in our schools is the athletic fields and courts. Mike Rice did not take advantage of the opportunity to teach these young men of our future so many things that are going to help them be successful in life. Instead he destroyed a golden opportunity to be a quality teacher which had nothing to do with coaching.

“Many of you sitting out in the audience listening to me either have hired young people or will be hiring them in the future. Wouldn't you like to hire a young man or woman that was taught the following qualities every day while they were in school?

* You need to show up every day
* You need to be on time.
* You need to be accountable.
* You need to work even harder today, to be better than you were the day before.
* You need to learn to work with a group of people and tolerate all of the differences. Be a team!
* You need to learn to be confident, and yet be humble.
* You will learn to respect authority.
* You will learn how to show gratitude.

“I tell you and my players, if these traits are instilled, whether a young person goes on to college or joins the work force, they will be successful. That player will have pride in themselves and their life.

“Shame on Rutgers for destroying such a classroom. It makes me sick that we have people who don’t get the real meaning of what we are trying to accomplish in the coaching profession.”

CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY SCHEDULE
Noon/ Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa vs. Rushford-Peterson, 1A title game
2 p.m./ Annandale vs. Esko, 2A title game
6 p.m./ DeLaSalle vs. Austin, 3A title game
9 p.m./ Hopkins vs. Lakeville North, 4A title game.

--And let’s end the day with a note about something very special that took place a couple weeks ago at the state wrestling tournament. St. Michael-Albertville wrestler Mitchell McKee, whose father Steve is dealing with cancer, won a state championship. But the story goes much further.

During Friday’s CBS Evening News, an “On The Road” segment with Steve Hartman focused on the McKees. It’s very touching and emotional. I have posted links to the story on the MSHSL Facebook page and my Twitter profile (@MSHSLjohn). You can also find it by Googling “Teen wrestler sets sights on championship win for dad.”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 379
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 8,837
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Old Coach, New Team: Park Christian Makes History 3/13/2014
Erv Inniger was a contented coach on Thursday at Williams Arena, despite the fact that his Park Christian Falcons lost to top-seeded Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 85-50 in the Class 1A boys state basketball tournament.

Inniger, 69, was joyous because he had experienced a wonderful journey this season, a journey that he never knew was coming until he decided to take over the Falcons. He had never before coached a high school team, despite a basketball resume that’s hard to match.

Inniger played at Indiana University in the 1960s and with the ABA’s Minnesota Muskies in 1967-68. His coaching career began at Golden Valley Lutheran College, followed by five years at Augsburg College and then a lengthy career as the coach at North Dakota State from 1978 to 1992. When Inniger retired at NDSU, he was the program's all-time winningest coach.

He accepted the job offer at Park Christian (which is in Moorhead) last year on a single-season basis. The team needed someone to guide them for a year, and the expectation is that assistant coach Josh Lee will succeed Inniger.

After being out of coaching for 22 years, Erv turned to his son Bart for help. Bart, who is the former head girls coach at Minnetonka, helped his dad learn what needed to be done.

“I didn’t know any of the kids, so we started completely from scratch,” Erv said. “Bart was the biggest help, because he told me we had to do open gyms and things like that. During the first month I said to my wife, ‘What am I doing here?’ ”

What he was doing was mentoring young athletes and helping guide them on their path, on and off the court.

Senior Matt Moberg, who led the Falcons with 15 points Thursday, said, “It’s been amazing, absolutely wonderful. He’s helped us play as a team and helped us play to our potential.”

Park Christian had never before played in the state tournament, so Inniger’s first and only team made history. And the coach had as much fun as anyone.

“It’s been a ball,” he said. “Who gets an opportunity like this? It’s been so special.”

THREE OVERTIMES AND MORE HISTORY IS MADE

Fond du Lac Ojibwe, a school in Cloquet with an enrollment of 34 students, also was playing at state for the first time Thursday. And in a wild 1A quarterfinal, the Ogichidaag defeated Canby 85-82 in three overtimes.

Fond du Lac Ojibwe led by 17 points early in the second half before the Lancers rallied to send the game into overtime tied 67-67. Two more extra sessions followed before the issue was decided. And everyone was exhausted.

Fond du Lac Ojibwe coach Earl Otis, who has a flaming, feathered basketball tattooed on his left forearm, said he had never before experienced such a game.

“Never. Not even as a player,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words. It’s an unbelievable feeling, especially since this is our first time down here.”

The Ogichidaag average more than 90 points per game, playing a fast-paced style. As Thursday’s game wore on through the three four-minute overtimes, conditioning was a factor, Otis said.

“That’s all we do at practice: run, run, run, run.”

OTHER CLASS 1A QUARTERFINALS

--Maranatha Christian 95, Red Lake 67: Jeremiah Hanson, the youngest of eight Hanson brothers to play for Maranatha Christian, led the Mustangs with 31 points. His brother Daniel is a Maranatha assistant coach and his brother David, who was a Mustangs assistant last year, is now a graduate assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh. The Hansons also have two sisters, and Jeremiah is the youngest of them all.

--Rushford-Peterson 71, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 63: Cole Kingsley had 18 points for Rushford-Peterson, which will meet Maranatha Christian in Friday afternoon’s semifinals at Target Center.

CLASS 4A: FOUR OVERTIMES AND ONE MIRACLE SHOT

Hopkins defeated Shakopee 49-46 in four overtimes Thursday night at Target Center, advancing to Saturday’s Class 4A title game. This game was, uh, interesting for how some of the overtimes played out. It went like this: Hopkins wins the tip, holds the ball for nearly the entire four-minute overtimes, calls a timeout with 19 seconds or so left and tries to make a shot at the horn. The first and second overtimes were scoreless.

A 55-foot miracle basket wasn’t in the plans, but that’s how the Royals won the game. Amir Coffey threw up a prayer from behind the center line and swished it. The officials checked video replay to be sure the shot counted; I took this photo of the shot and it was clearly off before the red lights around the backboard flashed.

--Lakeville North 55, Cretin-Derham Hall 52: North’s J.P. Macura scored a game-high 33 points and hit the game-winning three-point shot at the horn. The Panthers will meet Hopkins for the 4A state title Saturday at 9 p.m.

CLASS 3A: CHAMPIONSHIP REMATCH IS SET

DeLaSalle and Austin will meet in Saturday’s 3A title game for the second year. DeLaSalle won 50-33 a year ago, and the Islanders are seeking their third consecutive state championship. In Thursday’s semifinals, DeLaSalle beat Orono 67-41 and Austin defeated Holy Family Catholic 70-42.

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

--The Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa students dressed in Duck Dynasty style, wearing camo and fake beards and blowing on duck calls.

--B-B-E has won 71 straight home games. The state record is 72 by Walnut Grove from December 1952 to February 1960. B-B-E’s last home loss was to Benson on Jan 30, 2009.

--Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City fans are mourning Zach Junkermeier, a senior at ACGC who was killed Tuesday during an avalanche in Montana. He was stuck on a slope and trying to start his snowmobile; another snowmobiler was riding above him on the mountain when the avalanche was triggered.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 379
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 8,792
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn