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.
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.
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.
#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
#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
#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