John's Journal
Got It, Shot It, Made It: 'The Shot We’ll Remember Forever'3/22/2019
The scene was set and everyone knew who was going to take the shot. In Friday's Class 1A boys basketball state semifinals at Target Center, North Woods trailed Ada-Borup 55-54 with 30 seconds to play. North Woods senior Cade Goggleye then missed a three-point shot, committed a foul and missed another three-pointer.

With four seconds left, the Grizzlies called a timeout. They had the ball, inbounding from behind the Ada-Borup basket and everyone knew who was going to take the shot.

Goggleye. From the right corner. Three-pointer. Pandemonium. Grizzlies win 57-55.

Two years ago, in the state quarterfinals at Williams Arena, Goggleye hit a half-court bomb at the buzzer to beat Central Minnesota Christian 54-51. This time, everyone knew who was going to take the shot.

"I thought we defended it very well. The kid made a tough shot," said Ada-Borup coach Trevor Stewart.

North Woods coach Will Kleppe said, "When it came down to it, we had the ball in the hands of the man who we wanted to have it. He put up the shot that we'll remember forever."

If not for Cade's last-second heroics, the Grizzlies wouldn't be playing in their third consecutive state championship game Saturday afternoon. Their opponent, Henning, advanced with a 67-34 win over Spring Grove. Both are going after their first state title.

Mason Miller, who led Ada-Borup with 20 points, gave credit to Goggleye (who scored 18).

“That was an amazing shot. Just an incredible shot,” he said. “We played outstanding in the second half and it just comes down to dumb luck sometimes.”

Goggleye, first saying “I have no words for it,” described things this way: “Before the play began I told myself I was going to make it if I got it. I got it, shot it, made it.”

Tournament Tidbits

--Ada-Borup junior Verdis Barber made history last spring during track season when he was the last athlete to ever compete for the Panthers of Norman County West High School. The high school, located in Halstad in northwest Minnesota, closed its doors when the 2017-18 school year ended. Most of the students in grades six through 12 now attend Ada-Borup. Barber’s historic designation came in the preliminaries of the Class 1A state track meet, where he ran a leg on the 4x100-meter relay team for the then-Ada-Borup-NCW cooperative squad. He and Ada-Borup students Brady Borgen, Vitor Vac Bitu Alves and Zach Pelzman did not advance to the finals.

--A number of head coaches in the 1A boys state tournament have sons on their teams, including: Spring Grove: Wade Grinde and son Caden; Ada-Borup: Trevor Stewart and son Tommy; and North Woods: Will Kleppe and son Davis.

--Spring Grove senior Ethan Matzke lost a tooth during Friday’s game, which led to a quick search of the court before it was located. Ethan is not a hockey player, but it was a fake tooth.

--When DeLaSalle and Waseca meet in Saturday’s Class 3A championship game, history – recent and extremely past – will be part of the story. DeLaSalle is trying to win the title for the seventh time in eight years. The last time Waseca won it all, and the only time, was in 1918.

Boys State Basketball Tournament

Friday’s Class 1A semifinals
Noon: Henning 67, Spring Grove 34
North Woods 57, Ada-Borup 55

Saturday’s championship game
11 a.m.: Henning vs. North Woods

Friday’s Class 2A semifinals
Minnehaha Academy 82, Lake City 52
Minneapolis North 62, Perham 46

Saturday’s championship game
1 p.m.: Minnehaha Academy vs. Minneapolis North

Class 3A
Saturday’s championship game
5 p.m.: DeLaSalle vs. Waseca

Class 4A
Saturday’s championship game
8 p.m.: Lakeville North vs. Hopkins

--Championship games televised by KSTC Channel 45 and webcast for free by

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to “Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Remember Wabasso vs. Red Lake? Westbrook-Walnut Grove Coach Does3/21/2019
Twenty-two years ago, one of the most famous games in boys state basketball tournament history was played at the St. Paul Civic Center. Just say the words "Wabasso vs. Red Lake" and people smile at the memory.

In the 1997 Class 1A semifinals, Wabasso held a 14-point lead with 1 minute, 15 seconds to play in the fourth quarter (yes, four eight-minute quarters were used then instead of the current 18-minute halves). Red Lake rallied to tie the score and send the game into overtime, where Wabasso came away with a 117-113 victory.

The game lives on in the tournament record book: Most points by a winning team, most points by a losing team, most field goals made (48 by Red Lake) and attempted (87 by Red Lake). Red Lake sophomore Gerald Kingbird scored 37 points and Wabasso junior Derrick Jenniges scored 31.

Jenniges (pictured) returned to state for the first time (other than as a fan) on Thursday. Now 39 years old, he's the head coach at Westbrook-Walnut Grove, which was defeated by North Woods 56-39 in the Class 1A quarterfinals at Williams Arena. He's in his 16th season as coach of the Chargers but memories from that 1997 game are vivid.

"I remember the same things I'm experiencing here," he said, "the community support and excitement all around. All the well-wishes from surrounding teams and officials and coaches. That never really changes. But as far as the game itself, we knew the game was going to be fast. It was just a pretty amazing environment. Since then I've ran across Gerald Kingbird a couple times and it's kind of neat to have those conversations."

Wabasso then lost in the state championship game to Hancock 60-58.

“I remember we didn't win that game,” Jenniges said with a laugh. “Nobody else around the state remembers who won the championship that year.”

Westbrook-Walnut Grove came to state this year with a record of 23-7. In a winter marked by horrible weather, the Chargers have been something to rally around for their fans in southwest Minnesota.

“It’s been a real community event, especially this winter when all you could talk about was snow and weather and school was out again,” said Jenniges, who teaches first grade in the district and is a high-level football official, having worked two Prep Bowl games. “It’s kind of a fresh conversation.”

In a school with an enrollment of 100 students in grades nine through 12, there are only 17 boys playing basketball. The roster includes two eighth-graders, four ninth-graders, six sophomores, one junior and four seniors. Multiple players have been injured or ill at different times, but “We finally feel like in the last three weeks we’ve been healthy enough to hit our stride,” the coach said.

“I don’t think I have a kid on my roster who’s ever attended the state tournament, let alone thought about playing in it,” Jenniges said earlier this week. “We’ll get there early and take a look around. It won’t be like we’re walking on the moon. Once the ball goes up, it’s a basketball game.”

Henning Plays For Jacob

Every player on the Henning basketball team has two initials sewn on the back of their jersey, just below the neckline. The letters JQ stand for Jacob Quam, who would have been a senior captain on this year’s Hornets team. His jersey (number 33) also is with the team on the bench and in the locker room; the team brought the jersey to Jacob’s gravesite before they left for the state tournament.

Jacob was killed on April 13, 2017, when the driver of a semi crossed the center line and collided with Jacob’s vehicle.

The Hornets defeated Christ’s Household of Faith 63-56 in Thursday’s Class 1A quarterfinals and will meet Spring Grove in the semifinals Friday at Target Center.

“In every game, we know he’s there,” said Henning senior Sam Fisher, who led all scorers with 20 points Thursday.

Tournament Tidbits

--Among the assistant coaches at Spring Grove is one of the most successful head coaches in history. Before stepping down after the 2017-18 season, Tom Vix coached at Rushford-Peterson for 33 years, compiling a record of 683-229. His teams went to 16 state tournaments and won titles in 1989, 2006 and 2015. The unseeded Lions, making their first state appearance, beat top-seeded Springfield 78-67 on Thursday behind 60-percent shooting.

“I think it’s just confidence,” said Spring Grove senior Alex Folz, who quarterbacked the Lions to the last two nine-man football state championships and scored 21 points Thursday. “Coach Vix has been here multiple times. He brought us here early to get us adapted to the light, so when we came in it was just another game. You’ve just got to shoot your shots. We wanted to move the ball and get wide-open shots and that’s what we did. I think confidence is the main reason we shot so well.”

--Cromwell-Wright senior Jaden Gronner wears a cap to protect a cochlear implant and hearing aid. Coach Bill Pocernich wears an FM sound system that hangs around his neck in order to help Jaden hear him.

Boys State Basketball Tournament

Thursday’s Class 1A quarterfinals
Spring Grove 78, Springfield 67
Henning 63, Christ’s Household of Faith 56
Ada-Borup 49, Cromwell-Wright 39
North Woods 56, Westbrook-Walnut Grove 39

Friday’s 1A semifinals
Noon: Spring Grove vs. Henning
2 p.m.: Ada-Borup vs. North Woods

Friday’s 2A semifinals
6 p.m.: Minnehaha Academy vs. Lake City
8 p.m.: Minneapolis North vs. Perham

Class 3A
Thursday’s semifinals
DeLaSalle 93, Princeton 54
Waseca 79, Austin 69

Saturday’s championship game
5 p.m.: DeLaSalle vs. Waseca

Class 4A
Thursday’s semifinals
Lakeville North 47, Park Center 45
Hopkins 71, East Ridge 47

Saturday’s championship game
8 p.m.: Lakeville North vs. Hopkins

--All semifinals and championship games televised by KSTC Channel 45 and webcast for free by

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to “Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
After 87 Years, Princeton Makes Most Of Return To State 3/20/2019
Before the boys basketball team from Princeton High School came to Williams Arena on Wednesday to play in the state tournament for the first time in 87 years, they visited the middle school and the elementary school and received congratulations from every kid in town. As coach Brett Cloutier described it, "We high-fived a thousand kids."

And then it was time for hands off, which is Cloutier's coaching style.

The Tigers made their return to state a memorable one, defeating Mahtomedi 68-63 while playing a free-and-easy, up-and-down style of basketball that has become their trademark.

"From a coaching perspective, we're super hands-off with our guys," said Cloutier, 30, who is in his sixth year coaching the Tigers. “We really let them go play and make decisions. We're not in the business of micro-managing high school kids on where they should be on the court every possession. And our kids just played great. I'm so proud of this group.”

Princeton has been to state twice before, in 1924 and 1932. They played two games in 1932 and lost both (and if you have results from the 1924 tournament you are quite a historian). Combined with Mahtomedi’s first time at state since 1961, that’s a combined absence of 145 years.

“It’s so much fun. It’s so good for the town,” said senior Adam Williams, whose 17 points Wednesday led four Tigers in double figures. Williams made five of 17 field-goal attempts, and all five of those were from three-point range. He also had seven rebounds and four steals, both game bests.

“I’ve never come across an athlete that’s as confident as Adam Williams,” Cloutier said. “When things get tough, it’s great to have Adam on the court because you know he’s going to step up, he’s going to take that shot because he has all the confidence in the world.”

Mahtomedi’s main weapon is 6-foot-6 junior J’Vonne Hadley, who averages 28 points per game. He scored 32 Wednesday, and that was just fine with the Princeton Tigers, whose plan was to let Hadley get his points and keep everyone else under control. Zac Centers had 15 points for the Zephyrs and no one else had more than five.

“We said keep him at his average, don’t let anyone else go off,” the coach explained. “Our guys executed the scouting report phenomenally.”

Williams said the Tigers have been on a mission all season; in fact, the mission began last season when they were knocked out of the Section 7 tournament by Chisago Lakes.

“I knew it last year,” he said. “And then we got upset. When that happened last year in the section semis, we all kind of locked in and focused up and knew we needed to get here this year.”

Tournament Tidbits

--In an 86-53 Class 4A loss to Hopkins on Wednesday at Target Center, the Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets made 11 three-point shots in 31 attempts. That brought their season total to 361 three-point baskets, which is a state record. The previous record of 360 was set by Pine City in 2018. Cambridge-Isanti's 361 ranks 11th all-time nationally and Pine City's 360 is 12th. The national record is 486 by Texas' Houston Cypress Ridge in 2012-13.

--There was quite a coaching contrast in one of the Class 2A quarterfinals at Williams Arena. Minneapolis North's Larry McKenzie is in his 20th season as a head coach and came to state with a record of 414-148. Esko's Derek Anderson, meanwhile, is a first-year head coach whose team arrived at the tournament with a record of 21-9. North won the matchup 61-53.

--One of the best scenes during Wednesday’s games at Williams Arena: A loss already certain (the final score was 68-52 vs. Austin), Monticello starters joyfully celebrated on the bench as reserves made great hustle plays. Coach Jason Schmidt said, “We talk about being reckless for one another and that moment is the definition of having a reckless love for one another.”

--Gary Revenig might be the busiest person at the boys state basketball tournament. He's the activities director at Monticello, which is playing in Class 3A, and Wednesday he was one of the officials for the Class 2A game between Redwood Valley and Perham.

Boys State Basketball Tournament

Wednesday’s Quarterfinals

Class 4A
At Target Center
Park Center 77, Maple Grove 56
Lakeville North 73, Eden Prairie 48
Hopkins 86, Cambridge-Isanti 53
East Ridge 78, Eastview 41

Class 3A
At Williams Arena
DeLaSalle 76, Bemidji 45
Princeton 68, Mahtomedi 63
Waseca 82, Holy Angels 62
Austin 68, Monticello 52

Class 2A
At Target Center
Minnehaha Academy 78, St. Peter 47
Lake City 60, Melrose 44
At Williams Arena
Minneapolis North 61, Esko 53
Perham 73, Redwood Valley 58

Friday’s semifinals at Target Center
6 p.m.: Minnehaha Academy vs. Lake City
Noon: Minneapolis North vs. Perham

Thursday’s Quarterfinals
Class 1A at Williams Arena
11 a.m./ Spring Grove vs. Springfield
1 p.m./ Christ’s Household of Faith vs. Henning
3 p.m./ Cromwell-Wright vs. Ada-Borup
5 p.m./Westbrook-Walnut Grove vs. North Woods

Thursday’s Semifinals
At Target Center

Class 3A
Noon: DeLaSalle vs. Princeton
2 p.m.: Waseca vs. Austin

Class 4A:
6 p.m.: Park Center vs. Lakeville North
8 p.m.: Hopkins vs. East Ridge

--All quarterfinals webcast for free by All semifinals and championship games televised by KSTC Channel 45 and webcast for free by

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to “Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Class 4A Boys State Basketball Tournament3/19/2019
Quarterfinal pairings

Wednesday at Target Center
10 a.m./ Maple Grove v #1 Park Center
Noon/ #5 Lakeville North v #4 Eden Prairie
2 p.m./ Cambridge-Isanti v #2 Hopkins
4 p.m./ Eastview v #3 East Ridge
Class 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament3/19/2019
Quarterfinal pairings

Wednesday at Williams Arena
10 a.m./ Bemidji v #1 DeLaSalle
Noon/ #5 Mahtomedi v #4 Princeton
2 p.m./ Holy Angels v #2 Waseca
4 p.m./ Monticello v #3 Austin