2016 State Wrap Up

Thoughts from the semifinal and finals rounds of the 2016 state tourney.

Class A
No shock that Minneapolis North ended winning the title.  Their 21 point win over Red Lake in the semis was their closest game in their playoff wins.The expectations were incredibly high for this team and after a couple of years of not reaching those, they achieved all those goals this season (twin cities game, section and state).  But watching them after the game, it almost seemed like more of a relief than anything.  Even Larry McKenzie's hugs of his seniors when he pulled them out looked somewhat staged and awkward and he's definitely aware of style points.  That a sad statement considering they would have been vilified had they not won it all in this convincing fashion  Maybe my expectations were crazy and maybe the celebration at the school afterwards was more in line, just saying it didn't appear that way in real time.

But in the final it almost didn't look that way.  North jumped out to a 15-2 lead as they attacked the rim at will.  But Goodhue would finish the half on a 24-10 run as North relaxed.  That would give the Wildcats an improbable 26-25 lead at the half.  Larry McKenzie with a great adjustment at halftime going to a 1-2-2 zone for the 2nd half.  After only 5 turnovers in the 1st half for Goodhue, they turned it over 14 times in the 2nd half.  Patrick Dembley and Issac Johnson stepped up big in the 2nd half and North went on to the 68-45 win.

Class AA
OK Braham folks, I got this one wrong.  I thought the size of St. Croix Lutheran would be too much and Braham's guard play ended up being terrific and the difference in the AA tourney.  MN-Moorhead commit Chris Olson with 23,24 and 33 points to lead the Bombers to the title.  Soph PG Ryan Larson with 22 and 28 points in the final 28 games from the other guard spot.  John Larson with 3 solid games as well. Jackson County Central's Bodey Behrends will attend Augustana and he had a big tourney as well to lead the Huskies to the title game.  16 Pts, 12 boards and 9 blocks in the championship game, 20 pts, 8 rebs and 7 blocks in the semis and the 20, 17 and 5 blocks game vs Caledonia in the quarters.  Jackson County Central was down 24 late in the 1st half, but the shooting came on and they rallied to within 5.  They had a layup to cut it to 3 that didn't fall with about 3 minutes left and that would have made it very interesting.

Class AAA
Its a record 5th straight title for DeLaSalle.  Gabe Kalscheur with a clutch title game of 27 points.  But early on it was an Austin McGeheran 3 and 2 more bombs from frosh Tyrell Terry off the bench that kept Fergus Falls at bay.  Fergus Falls moved the ball well early for a couple of open 3s and a couple of back doors before DeLaSalle clamped down.  Goanar Mar was quiet in the title game, but had 2 high level games before that with teams holding Kalscheur down.

But maybe the 1 extra thing everyone will remember is the twitter storm over Samm Jones' post game TV interview.  Side note on some of the outstate teams on the Islanders schedule.  The Atascocita (TX) team that beat them was undefeated until losing in the Texas 6A title game.  Sioux Falls Washington is the 1 seed in the South Dakota AA tourney and La Crosse Central is in the final 4 of the Wisconsin D2 tourney.

Class AAAA
Osseo loses in the semis and the 3rd place game for their only 2 losses of the season.  The team concept was amazing for them but not having a high level go to guy like the other semifinalists showed up on the big stage.  Ultimately soph guard Zach Theisen never did recover from the nasty ankle sprain in the final regular season game.  He played only 6 minutes the whole tourney and only 1 of those in the last 2 games.  That was a huge missing piece for the Orioles as most of their sets had him as an option.

Apple Valley vs Hopkins in the semifinals was a huge letdown.  I would have expected Apple Valley to be thru the roof motivated for this one after losing to Hopkins in December.  But Hopkins jumped on them right from the opening tip for a double figure lead.  Apple Valley would rally to within 1 at the half   Hopkins ran away in the second half for a 24 point win.  Gary Trent 9-28 and the team had 5 assists on 23 field goals.  Tre Jones a very surprising 8 turnovers.  Just not the same Apple Valley team that was dominant all season.  Amir Coffey 16 and 8 in that game and 24 points from Xavier Johnson. 

Lakeville North's Nate Reuvers with a high level tournament and he earned a Minnesota offer from it.  His 17 pts, 9 rebs and 5 blocks were a major difference in the semis.  I would have liked to see him get the ball with the ability to work off the dribble in the final.  In earlier games, they'd station him at the foul line where he could pop and turn and face.  He spent more time in the post and that wasn't successful.  North's main story though was guard Nick Fossey.  He made critical hustle plays all tourney and was the "Where did he come from?" guy of the tourney.

Lakeville North was up 5 in the 2nd half of the title game vs Hopkins.  But a 15-0 Hopkins run would ultimately be the difference.  Lakeville North would cut the 10 point margin to 4 late but never did recover.  Vinnie Shahid with 6 straight points in the last minute (2 FTs, steal for 2 and another layup) to seal the championship for Hopkins.  His defense helped force 13 Lakeville North turnovers in the 2nd half.  Those turnovers were the catalyst for the game deciding run.   Very surprised at his lack of college interest. 

Year Wrap
And so it ends, 9 seasons online are now in the books.  Its another personal record for total games seen this year with 155 total varsity games.  Number of boys games is 5 short due to more boys and girls doubleheaders this season.  The final counts are included for your amusement.

Number of Teams I've Seen: 177 (66 courts, 2 new, 2 TV games, 155 varsity games)
Fire Marshal Sightings: 1

Beverage Ticker: 950 ounces (8540 calories) + 9.7 liters (1370 calories)

  • Pepsi: 432 ounces (4850 Calories) + 2 liters (840 Calories)
  • Diet Pepsi: 20 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Coke: 92 ounces (1080 Calories)+ 500 ml (200 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 60 ounces (750 Calories) 
  • Mug Root Beer: 40 ounces (520 Calories)
  • Sprite: 76 ounces (900 Calories) + 500 ml (200 Calories)
  • Water: 6.2 Liters + 200 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories) + 40 oz (160 calories)
  • Powerade: 20 oz (130 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 20
Pizza Ticker: 16
Walking Taco Ticker: 12
Pork Sandwich Ticker: 6


  1. I enjoy reading your blog. The fact you do this for free is impressive. Thanks for helping our game.

  2. Congrats on another great season of covering the high school game in Minnesota. I know it is a huge labor of love, and I am proud to call myself a fan and friend of the Czar!


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