Three First-Time Champs at Minnesota Boys Basketball Tournament
Three schools celebrated like never before after winning their first state boys basketball championships over the weekend at Williams Arena. The other titlist repeated from last year but enjoyed a larger crowd of fans due to the restrictions set in place during the 2021 Minnesota State High School League tournament season.
Hayfield opened Championship Saturday with a 51-49 victory over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Class A title game. The top-seeded Vikings won the 2021 title in hoops and followed that with the state baseball championship as well. Read Gordy Kosfeld's recap.
Before these back-to-back titles, Hayfield was a state runner-up in 2001. The Hayfield girls' team just played at state last week. finishing in fourth place.
Number-three seed Annandale upset top-seed Minneapolis North Community in a match-up of longtime coaches. The Cardinals' Skip Dolan has 427 wins after the 60-49 victory over the Polars and coach Larry McKenzie (481-166).
Dolan told the Star Tribune after their semifinal win over second-seed Caledonia, "You really want to win this thing, a 10-percent dog has got to come out of you and fight for it." Find Gordy's game story here.
It was no upset for top-seed Totino-Grace (Fridley) to capture their first-ever state boys basketball title, but they had to overcome perennial power DeLaSalle in the finals at The Barn. The Eagles looked to 6-foot-10 Ahjany Lee for 14 points, eight of those in the second half including a dunk late, and 6-foot-9 Patrick Bath who reached double figures with a late three-pointer. Get the full Gordy recap here.
It was Totino-Grace's first appearance in the championship game. The Islanders have 12 titles in school history and were at state for the 11th consecutive season. The Eagles previous state tournament trip came in 2006. The Totino-Grace girls won the state title last weekend, giving the Eagles a basketball sweep.
Top-seed and No. 1 ranked Park Center (Brooklyn Center) finished off a 30-1 season with a 58-53 win over defending state champ Wayzata. The Pirates were previously the state runner-up in the 2013 tournament.