Minnehaha Academy Wins Third Title in a Row; Move to AAA is Likely
Fans might like slam dunks, but they had to settle mostly for free throws in the first half of Saturday's Class AA boys basketball championship game at Target Center. Minnehaha Academy went 15-for-16 from the charity stripe in the first half of their 69-52 victory over Minneapolis North. They were 24-for-30 in the game.
The Polars limited the Redhawks to seven first half field goals and 29-percent shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, Minnehaha held North to five field goals and 23-percent shooting before halftime. Both teams shooting percentages went up in the second half and each team threw down a few to the delight of the big crowd in the stands.
North had few answers for seven-foot tall sophomore Chet Holmgren of the Redhawks. He ended the game with a triple-double on 16 points, 14 rebounds and ten blocks. He also contributed four assists and a steal and was 8-for-10 at the foul line.
Minnehaha's all-everything junior Jalen Suggs was stymied early in the game by pressure from Omar Brown. But Brown got into foul trouble and Suggs scored 20 points, had four assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals. Suggs, and several of his basketball teammates, were members of the state championship SMB (St. Paul Academy/Minnehaha Academy/Blake) Wolfpack football team in the fall.
Minnehaha Academy never trailed. They led 30-15 at the half and pushed the lead out to 22 points midway through the second half.
The Redhawks have put a request into the Minnesota State High School League to opt up to Class AAA for next season. Minnehaha Academy Athletic Director Josh Thurow told the Star Tribune, "The boys are returning a lot of the same talent, and ready for the next challenge." Suggs echoed the sentiment, calling it, "a great move for us. It would give us a chance to silence some of our critics."
The Minnehaha Academy girls also won a state title this season, but the school is not asking the league to move them up.
Suggs and Holmgren were joined by Prince Aligbe on the All-Tournament team. Aligbe had a 20-point outburst in the title game, twice his regular season average.
North also placed a trio of players on the All-Tournament team. Nasir El-Amin (17 points in the title game), Davon Townley Jr (8 points in the championship game but double digit totals in the first two games) and Eli Campbell.
Other players honored for the state tournament performances included Lake City's Nathan Heise and Reid Gastner, Preston Keaveny from Melrose and Finn Diggins of Perham. Lake City won the third place game Saturday 51-47 over Perham.
Go to the scoreboard, sponsored by Cash Wise Foods of Owatonna and Waseca, for all the scores from all of the state tournaments.