MSHSL Championship Saturday is Today
The Hayfield Vikings and Wayzata Trojans boys basketball teams are both trying to complete a difficult task today. Win back to back state titles.
The Vikings opponent at 11:00 a.m. will be Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa. Wayzata will tangle with top ranked Park Center at 8:00 a.m.
Class 2A title tilt features Minneapolis North and Annandale at 1:00 p.m.
The evening session begins 5:30 p.m. with the Class 3A Championship contest betweeen Totino-Grace and DeLaSalle.
All the title games are on the Mighty 920.
KDHL Radio 920 AM, 97.9 FM, FREE KDHL app is providing baseline to baseliine coverage of the tournament for our 72nd season. Ever since the station turned on it's power in 1948 it's been at the boys state high school basketball tournament.
We appreciate the Minnesota State High School League allowing us to continue the annual tradition. The only time we have not done that kind of coverage has been the last two years of the pandemic.
There was no tournament in 2020 and only limited coverage was allowed last year because of COVID.
Here is a summary of today's contests.
11:00 a.m. Hayfield Vikings (31-2) vs. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (28-4).
The Vikings have had a huge target on their back all season due to their championship last season. They are the top seed in the Class A tournament, were rated #1 in final Minnesota Basketball News rankings and had the #1 QRF from Mn-Scores.
The Jaguars have been to the State Tournament four times and have made it to the title game each time. They were ranked #5 by MBBN and have a QRF of 3.
B-B-E defeated New Life Academy of Woodbury 70-63 in the Semifinals while Hayfield controlled the Cherry Tigers 68-57.
The Vikings key to victory simply put was the fact they had more horses in the barn. Four of their players scored double digits while Cherry was led by sensational sophomore 6'2 Isaac Asuma.
Asuma has already amassed over 2,000 career points. He is super efficient on the basketball court. I'm sure college scouts eyes lit up when they watched the young man play because he is a potential double-double every time on the floor.
Asuma finished the semifinal game with 36 points on 14 of 20 shooting with 6 of 10 production from beyond the 3 point line, 9 rebounds, 5 assists while playing every second of the game.
The Vikings enjoyed a 32-26 halftime lead and while Cherry made some runs Hayfield never trailed in the second half. There were 4 lead changes, 2 ties in the game.
Hayfield senior 6'0 Easton Fritcher will be on the University of Minnesota campus next season as a member of the Gophers baseball team. They are going to love having him on their squad.
I call Fritcher the glue for the Vikings. He does whatever they need him to do and in Friday's semifinal they needed him to do a bit of everything.
Fritcher finished the game with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists even after getting into early foul trouble.
Junior 5'11 Ethan Pack led the Vikings scoring with 19 points while hitting 2 of the team's 4 three point baskets (they had 10 in their first game Wednesday). Pack was 7 of 11 from the free throw line on a day where they were not very good in that aspect of the game (14 of 29).
Junior 6'1 Isaac Matti was tasked with the primary duty of covering Asuma. He scored 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists.
Sophomore 6'4 Zander Jacobson finished the game with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists. Senior 5'9 Kobe Foster had one basket in the game but it was HUGE with a 3 late in the game when Cherry was making a serious run.
The key statistics of the game were Hayfield's dominance in the paint (44-24) and the fact they limited their turnovers. In the quarterfinal game against Perham the Vikings had 17 turnovers. Against Cherry they had 10.
B-B-E is also athletic with some football players providing plenty of muscle. Three Jaguars finished in double figures in the win over New Life Academy. Kaden Pieper finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds.
Sophomore quarterback on the football team Luke Dingmann tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds and Ashton Dingmann had 11 points, 8 rebounds.
The difference in the Jaguars game with New Life was the free throw line where they went 13 of 16 and the Eagles were 3 of 3.
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa attacks the basket but they also had 6 threes in the win.
Class 2A Championship
Minneapolis North Polars (27-6) battles Annandale Cardinals (30-2)
The Polars defeated Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 71-63 despite an incredible performance by senior 6'8 Jackson Loge. Loge poured in 37 points, pulled down 14 rebounds, was 3 of 6 from three point range.
Nobody else came close to double digits for Morris Area while the Polars had 4 players in double figures. The keys statistic in this game was points off turnovers. Minneapolis North had 21 points off turnovers and 13 fast break points. They were superb from the free throw line (18 of 21).
Morris Area was 8 of 13 from the charity stripe.
Annandale had an outstanding game plan in the second half. Caledonia led 26-20 at the half but the Cardinals limited any dribble penetration by Iowa State commit senior 6'2 Eli King or classmate Ja'Shon Simpson.
King finished the game with 24 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists but for a long stretch of the second half was held to a single field goal. He was 3 for 11 from downtown with most of those shots coming from NBA range.
Annandale was sparked by a phenominal performance by senior 5'8 Carson Gagnon who poured in 30 points. He was in the zone making three point basket after three point basket (7 of 11) the last 4 at least he had a hand in his face and guys flying at him but he was locked in on that basket,
Gagnon scored his 1,000th point during the game and the fans showed their support holding up a sign saying CARSON 1,000.
Robert Olson had a couple of dunks in the game and finished with 11 points.
Class 3A Championship
Totino-Grace Eagles (24-6) vs. DeLaSalle Islanders (22-7)
This could be a classic game. The Eagles have been rated #1 all season and were the top seed in the tournament. Virtually any of their starting 5 can have a big game.
In their 77-39 dominance of Mankato East Patrick Bath finished with 27 points, 8 rebounds. Tommy Humphries tallied 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists. Senior 6'10 Ahjany Lee had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks.
Totino-Grace crashed the glass relentlessly with 52 total rebounds.
DeLaSalle defeated #2 seed Princeton with an 8 point advantage in points from the free throw line (17-9). The Islanders had 17 fast break points with Nasir Whitlock scoring 28 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists.
Kyle Johnson added 15 points, 6 boards. Amir Everett had 13 points, 7 rebounds and Isreal Moses V pitched in 10 points, 4 rebounds.
Class 4A Championship
Wayzata Trojans (27-4) vs. Park Center Pirates (30-1)
Park Center rated #1 and the top seed in the tournament defeated Eastview 54-39 scoring 18 points off 18 Lightning turnovers.
Both teams played some very good defense in the game with Eastivew limited to 13 total field goals.
Braeden Carrington led Park Center with 13 points, Leo Torbor added 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists.
Wayzata was the #3 seed in the tournament and is hoping to repeat as State Champions. In their 59-48 win over Cretin-Derham Hall they seemed to kick into an extra gear late to come from behin and snatch the win.
Hayden Tibbits led the Trojans with 23 points, 6 rebounds. Carter Bjerke added 14 points, 9 boards.
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