The Class A defending State Champion Hayfield Vikings are known for their ability to shoot the basketball.  They did not look like they were nervous while drilling 10 of 21 from three point range in their 66-49 win over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.

The Class A Quarterfinal MSHSL State Tournament game was played on the raised floor of Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.  Junior Ethan Pack led the way by hitting his first 3 attempts and finished with 7 of 11 shooting from beyond the arc.

Pack ended the game with 25 points, 5 rebounds.  Hayfield started on fire, led at the half 37-20.  The Knights did get the deficit to single digits a couple of times but did not seriously threaten Hayfield.

The Vikings controlled the Brownsdale Auto Body rebounds 45-28 led by senior 6'0 Easton Fritcher with 12 carems to go along with 8 points.  Junior 6'1 Isaac Matti had 15 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists. Sophomore post 6'4 Zander Jacobson ended the game with 12 points, 8 rebounds.

Senior Karver Heydt came off the bench to play just under 14 minutes and contributed 5 rebounds in the lopsided win.

It was the Vikings 30th win of the season.  If they win the final two games they have this season they will match the girls basketball team with 32 wins in the season.

I'm guessing there are not many high schools in Minnesota that can say their girls and boys basketball teams had 30 win records in the same season.

In my opinion the Vikings defense forced R-T-R to rush their shots because they certainly ran their offense well and had good looks at the basket.  The Knights shot 30 percent from the field while Hayfield shot 47 percent.

Both teams were 8 of 11 from the free throw line.  The Vikings biggest lead was 22 points late in the game.  R-T-R had a early 5 point lead in the game that had 1 tie, 1 lead change.

Points in the Maui Waui Faribault paint were even at 24 each.

The one fly in the ointment you might say was 17 Hayfield turnovers.  I'm pretty sure Head Coach Chris Pack would tell you that number has to come down if they are going to defend their title on Saturday.

In hindsight our Cashwise Foods and Pharmacy of Owatonna Delivery of the Game is going to Fritcher, Pack and Matti for their combined 52 points, 27 rebounds, 11 assists.

The Vikings (30-2) will have their hands full Friday at Noon in Williams Arena when they tangle with the Tigers of Cherry (27-4).

#5 seed Cherry defeated #4 seed Nevis 68-57 in a game where Cherry super sophomore 6'2 Isaac Asuma put his considerable talents on display.

Asuma scored 31 points on 11 of 17 shooting, pulled down 17 rebounds, doled out 4 assists while playing every second of the game.

Nevis had the lead most of the first half in a game that featured 3 lead changes and 4 ties.  Cherry took the lead late in the first half and led at the intermission 30-26.

A couple minutes into the second half the Tigers of Cherry were able to punch their lead to double digits after a double foul was called on Nevis including a technical.  Asuma hit 3 of 4 free throws and Cherry scored after retaining possession of the ball due to the technical foul.

Asuma is a very athletic young man with most of his points coming in the Maui Wowi Faribault Paint on Tralo Companies Owatonna drives in the lane (Tralo is hiring drivers)

I couldn't help but wonder who Coach Pack and his staff will decide to defend Asuma but then the luxury is they do have multiple options.

If I were a betting man (and I'm not) I would guess Asuma will have to deal with multiple Vikings in the game.  He was 0 for 2 from three point range so maybe Hayfield will clog the lane to deter any drives to the bucket and force him to become a jump shooter from outside the lane

Meanwhile the fact that Hayfield does not have to rely on any one player is why they are the top ranked team in Class A in Minnesota.

In other Class A Quarterfinal games at Williams Arena today #2 seed Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (27-4) got by Sleepy Eye St. Mary's (28-3) 70-63 in a very entertaining well played game with a combined 13 turnovers.

The difference was clearly the free throw line where the Jaguars of BBE were 15 of 23 and the Knights of SESM 7 of 8.

Minnesota Basketball News ranked #5 Belgrade-Brooten-ElRosa had a 37-34 lead at the half in the game that had 6 lead changes and 4 ties.

Sleepy Eye St. Mary's was ranked #3 in the final MBBN poll.  The Knights were #12 in QRF and were not seeded by the coaches participating in the tournament.

Points in the Maui Waui Faribault paint were in favor of BBE 42-28

The Jaguars were paced by junior 6'3 Kaden Pieper with 24 points, 5 rebounds, senior 6'4 Ashton Dingmann had 15 points, 9 rebounds, senior 6'0 Gavin Kampsen added 12 points, 4 rebounds and sophomore 6'3 Luke Dingmann had 11 points, 6 rebounds.

Sleepy Eye St. Mary's top scorer was senior 6'0 Trenton Steffensmeier with 19 points, sophomore 6'3 William Walter had 14 points, senior 6'3 Carson Domeier finished the game with 12 points, 8 rebounds.

The last quarterfinal Class A contest New Life Academy of Woodbury Eagles flew past the Sacred Heart Eagles 64-58.

New Life Academy led 36-30 at the half and dominated the Maui Wowi Faribault paint with 44 points to Sacred Heart's 24.

New Life won despite committing 18 turnovers because they shot 58 percent from the field.  Sacred Heart cashed in on 40 percent of their shots in the game that had 2 lead changes and 5 ties.

The Eagles of New Life Academy (27-3) were led offensively by their only senior 6'2 Kollin Kaemingk with 20 points.  Junior 6'3 Austin Woolf added 9 points, 8 rebounds, junior 5'10 Maxwell Briggs had 13 points, 7 assists.

Sacred Heart (28-4) had three players in double figures. Senior 5'10 Kobe Tomkinson had 18 points, junior 6'1 Ethan Arntson chipped in 14 points and senior 6'1 Sam Gapp finished with 10 points.

Semifinals Class A Friday will feature Hayfield against Cherry at Noon followed by       B-B-E and New Life Academy at 2:00 p.m. in The Barn.

KDHL Radio, 920 AM, 97.9 FM, FREE KDHL app will have both games on the air has part of our 72nd year of Baseline to Baseline Coverage of the MSHSL State Boys Basketball Tournament.

Let's open our hearts please.

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