Saturday, March 23, 2019 is the final day of the Minnesota high school basketball season.  Four champions will be crowned with three of them new title holders from a year ago.  KDHL Radio 920 AM and the KDHL Radio app continue the 71st year of baseline to baseline coverage of the Minnesota State Boys High School Basketball Tournament from Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.

Class A at 11:00 a.m. North Woods plays Henning.  North Woods wants to finish their season with a win after back to back runner-up finishes.  The Grizzlies want to hoist the title trophy.  In their semifinal game against Ada-Borup it took a buzzer beater shot by their point guard senior 6'2 Cade Goggleye to secure a 57-55 win and advance to the championship game for the third consecutive season.

In the final 90 seconds of the game Goggleye had a rare turnover and missed two shots before hitting a right corner triple for the victory.  The ball was put into play from out of bounds with North Woods freshman T.J. Chiabotti being the trigger person.  There were 3.7 seconds to go.  Goggleye received the ball in the right corner and launched a shot inside the NBA three point line.  The ball went in resulting in pandemonium. The clock went completely down to zero.  It was determined that four tenths of a second should be put on the clock.

Ada-Borup had to inbound the ball from under the North Woods basket and threw a pass to Mason Miller just across half court.  He quickly launched the ball toward the basket but the buzzer went off before it left his hand and it didn't go in anyway.

North Woods led most of the game taking a 38-29 lead at the half thanks in large part to foul trouble for the Cougars junior 6'8 Mason Miller.  Miller started the game with all 8 of Ada-Borup's points.  He had to sit with his three personal fouls the final four minutes of the half.

To start the second half Miller made up for lost time and ended the game with 18 points 5 rebounds and 4 blocks.  Cougars point guard Jared Brainerd had 15 points, 6 assists and defended the Goggleye shot as well as it could be defended.  They were our Tatge Jewelry players of the game for Ada-Borup.

Goggleye finished with 18 points, 6 assists while playing ever second of the game and was joined by Trevor Morrison as Tatge Jewelry of Kenyon players of the game for the Grizzlies.  Morrison had 20 points, 10 rebounds while playing ever second also.  There were 8 lead changes and 4 ties in the thriller.

Ada-Borup shot 57 percent from the field but the game never would have come down to that final shot had they not missed a number of free throws.  They were 3 of 10 from the free throw line and North Woods was 8 of 10.  Ada-Borup dropped to 29-2 and North Woods 29-2 will play Henning for the Class A state title.

Henning ran away from Spring Grove in the previous game 67-34.  The Lions led by 6 at the 14:07 mark of the first half but found themselves behind 37-16 at the half and the second half was not much better for them.  The Hornets stung the Lions 30-18 in the paint and scored 21 points off turnovers many of them turning into fast breaks (22-0).

Henning is playing with a heavy heart these days after losing a fellow player to a car accident.  They bring his jersey to every game and drape it over a chair as a reminder he belonged to this team.

The Hornets had four players finish the game with double digit scoring led by junior 6'1 Parker Fraki and senior 5'10 Parker Fisher with 15 point each.  Fraki added 9 rebounds, Fisher 8 assists in the game.  Henning was much faster than Spring Grove.  Lions Head Coach Wade Grinde told reporters after the game his team just could not get into any rhythm in the game because they got caught up in the frantic pace and rushed shots.

I give North Woods of Cook an edge in this game because Goggleye should be able to handle the ball most of the time without turning it over and the Grizzlies have a very good inside game with junior 6'4 Trevor Morrison.  My hunch is North Woods will want to keep this a half court game.  If they are successful they have the advantage.

If Henning can disrupt the rhythm of the Grizzlies then they will send them into hibernation.

1:00 p.m. Class 2A title features two-time defending State Champion Minnehaha Academy against Minneapolis North.  The Red Hawks defeated the Polars 63-59 on February 19.  Minnehaha ran away from Lake City 82-52 in a game that featured dunks from many different players for Minnehaha Academy.

The Red Hawks led 43-24 at the half.  Junior 6'4 Jalen Suggs ended the game with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists in 29 minutes.  He and other teammates limited Lake City junior 6'4 sharpshooter Nathan Heise to 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 32 minutes on 5 of 24 shooting for the game.  1 for 11 from three point range.  Tigers junior 6'4 Reid Gastner was our Tatge Jewelry of Kenyon Lake City player of the game with 21 points, 5 rebounds in 33 minutes.

It was domination for the Redhawks in a game where they were totally focused and it appeared wanted to send a message they were not to be denied their third straight title.

Minneapolis North had a similar 62-46 victory over a very good Perham team.  The Polars led 31-15 at the half.  It was even after that.  Minneapolis North scored 8 more points in the paint, 7 more points off turnovers. 5 more points in the second chance category and 5 more fast break points.  The Polars bench was a difference maker with 9 points to 0 for the Yellowjackets.

Minneapolis North was a plus 7 on the glass.  Perham played 7 players in the game with 4 of their five starters each logging over 30 minutes.  The Polars played 8 players according to the box score and four of their five starters logged 33 minutes or more.

Sophomore 6'6 Davon Townley Junior finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds in 23 minutes due to some foul trouble.  Freshman 6'1 Willie Wilson led the Polars with 13 points in 34 minutes.  Minneapolis North shot 47 percent for the game and was 1 for 4 from the charity stripe.  Perham had three guys finish the game with double digit scoring led by senior 6'3 Josh Jeziorski with 15 points, 8 rebounds while playing every second of the game.

Minnehaha Academy can score from every position and proved when they are totally focused they also defend really well.  I give the Redhawks the advantage in this game but it should be a very entertaining state title game.  If the Polars can get physical with 7 sophomore 7'0 Chet Holmgren they have a chance to keep it close but Suggs is such a difference maker.

5:00 p.m. Class 3A title game features Minneapolis DeLaSalle against Waseca.  The Bluejays biggest challenge will be on defense because like Minnehaha Academy the Islanders have so many weapons and ways they can defeat you.  Waseca wants to force DeLaSalle to shoot from outside and not attack the basket which is easier said than done.

The Islanders breezed over Princeton in the semifinals 93-54 while Waseca defeated Austin 79-69 by cashing in at the free throw line late.  Sophomore 6'0 Ryan Dufault was a difference maker with 30 points including 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch in a game that saw 14 lead changes and 6 ties.  The reason Waseca is playing and not Austin in the title game is the Bluejays 16-4 advantage at the free throw line.

DeLaSalle shares the ball so well they are hard to defend.  The Islanders had 19 assists on 39 field goals in the semis with two players amassing 6 assists each.  Senior 6'3 Tyrell Terry (heading to Stanford) and junior 5'11 Andrew Irvin.  Senior 6'7 Jamison Battle ended the night with 28 points, 8 rebounds.

Playing Austin in the semifinals should prepare Waseca well for DeLaSalle because of the Packer quick leaping ability and active hands on defense.  DeLaSalle scored 27 points off turnovers against Princeton.  If they score more than 20 points off miscues against Waseca they win.

I'm giving Waseca the nod in this game because the X factor will be sophomore 6'8 Andrew Morgan.  DeLaSalle can double team Morgan but that leaves someone open and Morgan proved against Austin he is physically strong enough to handle a double team.

Class 4A 8:00 p.m.  Lakeville North faces Hopkins for the state title.  This is  the third time these two teams have met in five years in the state championship game for Class 4A.  In 2014 the Panthers captured their first state title.  In 2016 Hopkins prevailed.

Lakeville North is trying to become just the 5th team in state history to win a football title in the fall and basketball title in winter during the same school year.

According to research by Roy Koenig, Minneapolis North did it in 2016-17, New London-Spicer in 2009-10 and Bird Island-Lake Lillian accomplished the feat in back to back seasons 1979-80 and 1980-81.

During the regular season the Royals defeated Lakeville North in Hopkins 78-72.

In Lakeville North's 47-45 upset of top seed Park Center in the semifinals Tyler Wahl did not look to score much.  Wahl was 4 of 7 from the field.  He must score his 18 points average or better in my opinion for the Panthers to win.

Lakeville North proved they can bottle up a 6'10 post with their performance against Park Center.  Dain Dainja took a total of 8 shots in the game.  Hopkins 6'10 Ezekiel Nnaji is quicker and will be tougher to defend but my guess is John Oxton and his staff will come up with something.

The Panthers had 23 turnovers against Park Center and almost ended up in the consolation round despite a 23 point lead with 16 minutes to go in the game.  They can not afford more than 15 turnovers in their battle with Hopkins.

The Royals had 10 turnovers in their 71-47 dominance of a very good East Ridge team in the semifinals.  Hopkins simply does not beat themselves typically.

 

One of the reasons Lakeville North is playing in the title game is their board work.  The Panthers were a plus 14 on the glass against Eden Prairie and a plus 9 against Park Center.  If they have numbers like that against Hopkins they will be state champs.

The Royals are where they are because they are a very good rebounding team with 3 players collecting 8 or more rebounds in their State Tournament opener with Cambridge-Isanti (a plus 26 on the glass) and 3 players with 9 rebounds or better against East Ridge (plus 8).

Hopkins wins this game if Lakeville North repeats their turnover tendencies exhibited in their nail biting win over Park Center.  Lakeville North wins the game if they can hang with Hopkins on the glass and limit Nnaji's touches.

Good defensive teams make their opponents feel uncomfortable.  Both these teams can get opponents very frustrated on the offensive end of the floor with tenacious defense.

This is a flip of the coin game in my mind.  I give a slight edge to Hopkins because of their rebounding prowess.  If Lakeville North can hang with them on the glass then this could be as exciting a game as last year's buzzer beating Cretin Derham-Hall win over Apple Valley.