Lakeville North Wins 7th Straight Section One Title
The Lakeville North Panthers came from behind against the Rochester John Marshall Rockets Saturday to win the Section 1AAAA title for the seventh straight year. It was the sixth consecutive section final win over John Marshall. The slug fest ended 51-46. This was a very physical game with two Panthers fouling out of the game. Both teams played with great intensity.
Listen to the game audio below!
6'9 junior Matthew Hurt, being courted by every major college basketball program in the country, was held to 23 points for the Rockets. Hurt had just five baskets in the game and scored 11 points at the free throw line. University of Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino was in the stands with Hurt's brother Michael, a member of the Gopher team.
Lakeville North's best player, 6'7 junior Tyler Wahl struggled mightily shooting in the first half. He had just 5 points and missed all four free throw attempts.
But the Panther hit some clutch free throws down the stretch and made the turnaround play of the game when he knocked the ball away from behind from Hurt dribbling the ball up the floor. The play got the ball into Lakeville North's hands and 6'1 senior Cole Blascziek hit a huge three point basket that gave the Panthers the lead with 2:56 to go.
John Marshall was in front most of the game and took a 24-19 advantage into intermission. Hurt led the way with 14 points, six from the free throw line.
Lakeville North was very physical with him and he appeared to get tired at the end. Missing a free throw that would have tied the game late and missing a three point shot that also would have given his team a tied score.
The Rockets ask a lot of Hurt, he brings the ball up the floor in addition to expending energy protecting the rim and rebounding.
In addition to Hurt's 23 points, 6'3 senior Eric Stai tallied 13 for John Marshall and four players combined for the remaining 10 points.
Lakeville North's Wahl finished with 14 and did play with four fouls in the final several minutes. Blascziek had 12 points and 5'11 junior Tommy Jensen 10 points.
In the final Minnesota Basketball News boys high school basketball rankings Lakeville North was #4 and Rochester John Marshall #6. The Rockets ended their season 26-3.
The Panthers received the #3 seed in the Class AAAA State Tournament and ironically open with the same team the girls did, the Maple Grove Crimson. Maple Grove has a 21-8 record. Lakeville North is 25-4.
The top seed went to #1 rated Cretin-Derham Hall who play #14 ranked Wayzata in the first game. A tough draw for the Raiders because Wayzata knocked off Hopkins in their section final. Defending 4A champion Apple Valley is the #2 seed and opens with unranked Forest Lake with 10 losses on the year. #9 ranked Eden Prairie is the #4 seed. The Eagles are coached by Cannon Falls graduate David Flom.
Eden Prairie plays the #12 ranked Osseo Orioles in the first round.