Basketball Season Finishes with a Flourish at the State Tournament
A game-winning, alley-oop slam dunk by future Golden Gopher Daniel Oturu put an exclamation point on the Minnesota state high school boys' basketball championships Saturday night. The basket was good for a 79-78 win for Cretin-Derham Hall over defending champ Apple Valley and future Duke star Tre Jones. The 106th state boys tournament was a joy to watch and cover for KDHL radio, which was in its 70th year of broadcasting the tournament.
The final day featured a pair of double-digit deficit comebacks and a repeat championship for a school that faced enormous adversity due to a campus explosion that claimed two lives last August. Minnehaha Academy won its second straight title by beating Caledonia 73-60. The Warriors were within 59-57 midway through the second half, but the Redhawks pulled away for the win.
Delano took on the role of Cinderella after their 11-loss season and rode it to the championship with a 65-61 victory over Columbia Heights for the AAA title. Many people anticipated a DeLaSalle vs Austin title tilt like last year. Instead, those teams met in the third-place game at Concordia of St. Paul with the Islanders prevailing 82-61.
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton won the Class A title to open championship Saturday with a 59-55 come-from-behind win over North Woods. The Knights' band was AWOL due to the Friday night snowstorm that left them stranded at home. For the Grizzlies, it was their second straight runner-up finish.
I enjoyed the chance to broadcast with KDHL AM 920 again this season and watch these teams square off on the big stages of Target Center and Williams Arena. I'll remember great passes, thundering slam dunks, long three-pointers, even longer three-pointers, come-from-behind wins and exciting finishes. I don't know the answer of how many Target Center workers it takes to change a light bulb. Though it has to be at least five. The four guys in the picture and at least one in control of lowering the gigantic scoreboard.