Isaac Matthews called it “the biggest rebound of my life.”
It was also the biggest bucket.
Matthews tipped in Quinton Hooker’s miss just before overtime’s buzzer to give Park Center a 74-72 victory over Lakeville North in the Class 4A boys’ basketball quarterfinals Wednesday at Target Center.
The 6-4 junior forward reserve waited patiently on the baseline while the Pirates’ senior leader prepared for a second game-winning attempt.
“When the ball goes up, I find it.” Matthews said. “I saw it come off the rim and I tipped it in.”
Lakeville North’s JP Macura grabbed his face after the winning shot fell from the net into his hands.
The junior nearly rallied his team from a 19-point deficit to upset the No. 2 seed. The All-Metro First Teamer scored 26 points and his NBA-range three-pointer with 1:37 left in overtime gave the Panthers (23-7) their first lead.
Matthews then factored into the game.
He made one of two free throws to tie the game and a minute later tapped in the winner. Both teams had a chance to win in regulation.
Hooker missed Park Center’s (27-3) attempt and Lakeville North’s Grant Erickson was called for a charge on the return.
“We kept chipping and got it down to the end of the game, but unfortunately they won,” Macura said. “I think we played how we wanted to.”
Not in the first half.
Park Center’s athleticism built an overwhelming lead that it thought would easily carry them into the semifinals. Treyton Daniels (16 points, 10 rebounds), Joshua Matthews, and Hooker (29 points, 10 rebounds) limited Macura’s impact early in the game.
Macura didn’t score his first field goal until 6:28 remained in the first half.
Park Center’s Devin Buckley also had a double-double (11 rebounds, 10 points).
Once Macura started scoring, though, so did his teammates. Connor Flack (17 points, eight rebounds) and Zach Creighton (12 points, seven rebounds) did most of the Panthers’ scoring in the final four minutes of regulation.
“Isaac was there to save me,” Hooker said. “We started to relax a little bit and [Macura] found his way to get open in the second half and knock down shots. When it came down to it in overtime, we buckled down and got some stops.”
Apple Valley 81, Brainerd 67
Tyus Jones wasn’t comfortable in the shoes he was wearing at the start of Wednesday morning's game.
After all, Apple Valley trailed Brainerd by two points at halftime and he had just four points. A fresh pair in the second half made all the difference, or at least provided Jones and the Eagles the mental edge needed for an 81-67 victory s at Target Center.
Jones scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, had seven assists and six steals.
“I was just taking what the defense gave me [in the first half]. In the second I was able to get to the lane and score a little bit more,” Jones said. “We just knew we had to regroup and calm down. They had gone on their run.”
Brainerd tied the game midway through the second half. It couldn’t prepare for what the Eagles’ star would do late in the game, though.
Warriors coach Scott Stanfield said his players did everything they were capable of. The Sauer brothers, Tony and Jack, combined for 17 points, Marcus Comstock had 17, and Chris Bowman 12.
Bowman tied the game 56-56 with 9:06 to play, but Brainerd didn’t score again until 4:23 while Apple Valley closed the game on a 25-8 run.
Dennis Austin also scored 19 with six rebounds for the Eagles, while three others (Dustin Fronk 15, Brock Bertram 13, Robert Tobroxen 11) scored double figures.
“We knew what they were prepared to do, we just started out slow. They came out and punched us in the mouths,” Austin said. “We did the little things in the second half and played smarter.”
Edina 99, Andover 61
Wednesday marked Edina’s first trip to the state boys’ basketball tournament in 22 years and senior point guard Graham Woodward was determined to make the return memorable.
The Hornets’ opponent, Andover, made Woodward uneasy.
The Huskies’ losing record made them easy to overlook. But a challenging schedule made Andover battle-tested.
Woodward, who signed with Penn State, said he wanted to embody Edina’s urgency. The No. 3 seed Hornets won 99-61 thanks to Woodward’s inspired performance.
He scored 32 of his 40 points in the first half to energize favored Edina (23-7) and dispel any notion of an Andover (10-20) upset in Wednesday's Class 4A state tournament quarterfinals at the Target Center.
“It’s important being able to run the show and have others involved,” Woodward said. “They look to me as a leader and that’s what I try to do.”
Showcasing his myriad basketball talents, Woodward hit a variety of shots and accelerated past overwhelmed Andover defenders.
“He’s a fantastic player,” said Huskies junior Connor Wilkie, who tied for the team lead with 13 points. “He’s so quick and he’s got a good mid-range shot you don’t often see in high school.”
DAVID La VAQUE
Eden Prairie 70, Woodbury 59
Eden Prairie’s size strangled Woodbury’s offense in a 70-59 victory in Wednesday’s Class 4A quarterfinal at the Target Center.
The Eagles held the Royals to more than 19 points below their season average. The Eagles’ big bodies Jack Cottrell, Anthony Anderson, Zach Hovey and Aaron Workin had their way with a Royals lineup that didn’t play anyone bigger than 6-3.
“It can’t be fun going against our big guys,” said Cottrell, who had 14 rebounds and scored seven points.
Foul trouble plagued Eden Prairie early on, but their guards remained on the court and kept the Eagles in control. Andre Wallace led the guards’ effort with 20 points, Alex Ihrke had 17, and Grant Shaeffer 15.
“We wanted to slow it down and speed it up, and it worked out on both ends,” Shaeffer said. “They’re the second- or third-highest scoring offense in the state. But we pride ourselves on defense.”
The teams combined for 43 fouls, but the Eagles ability to refresh with another big body was the difference.
Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year Reid Travis dunks -- Jerry Holt photo
De La Salle 70, Sartell-St. Stephen 55
Using a wealth of talent and athletic ability, No. 1-ranked DeLaSalle (28-1) shook off some early shooting woes, wearing down pesky-if-overmatched Sartell for a 70-55 quarterfinal victory Wednesday at Williams Arena.
Sartell, looking far better than expected for a team with 12 losses, started strong, taking an 11-4 lead.
“Give all the credit to them,” DeLaSalle coach Dave Thorson said. “They were well-drilled, well-prepared. They were ready to play.”
But DeLaSalle’s depth began to assert itself not long after falling behind. First it was DeLaSalle’s muscular leader, junior center Reid Travis, taking control. Then mercurial sophomore guard Jarvis Johnson stepped up. Sophomore forward Sacar Anim had his moments, as did senior guard Trey Shepherd.
And, needing a closer in the final minutes, junior forward James Lawson asserted himself.
“That’s the way it’s been all year,” Thorson said. “It’s more than just Reid. Everyone on this team can play. We have seven guys that will be playing in college.”
Travis, the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, was the focus of much of the attention from Sartell’s defense, facing double and triple-teams on each possession. He scored the Islanders first eight points before his less-heralded teammates began chipping in.
He made his presence known often, however, with three dunks among his game-high 23 points. He also grabbed 16 rebounds, eight on offense.
Three other Islanders scored in double figures: Lawson had 14 points, 12 after halftime, while Johnson and Anim had 10 each.
“We knew they we deeper and more athletic than we are,” Sartell coach Dave Angell said. “We played about as well as we can play in our half-court defense. They got some baskets in transition and on the offensive boards and we couldn’t match that.”
Senior forward Parker Hagen led Sartell (17-13) with 19 points, making all nine of his field goal attempts.
Austin 59, Blake 56
Things came pretty easily for Austin this season but when things got tough Wednesday, the undefeated Packers (29-0) showed grit.
They rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat Blake 59-56 in a Class 3A quarterfinal game Wednesday at Williams Arena.
“For 25 games, I really didn’t have to do anything,” Austin coach Kris Fadness said jokingly. “Now, I have to coach a little.”
Blake (22-8), making its first state tournament appearance in team history, was not fazed by the big stage. The Bears handled the taller Packers’ zone defense, using senior center Blaine Crawford down low and forward J.R. Bascom up high to get quality shots.
Bascom had eight points and Crawford six as the Bears took a 31-24 halftime lead.
“They really handled our zone,” said Fadness. “We may have panicked a little.”
Austin’s rally began early in the second half, right about the same time that senior forward and leading scorer Joe Aase got hot. The 6-foot-7 Aase shot over the top of the Blake defense, making four three-pointers after halftime en route to a team-high 20 points.
“He’s just a great shooter,” said Blake coach Sean Krueger. “You don’t find too many kids that tall with unlimited range.”
St. Paul Johnson 64, Delano 54
The lineup is very different, but the results are very much the same for St. Paul Johnson, which defeated Delano 64-54.
The Governors, making their fifth straight state tournament appearance despite having just three players back from 2012, outrebounded Delano 41-27.
Quashingm Smith-Pugh led Johnson (22-7) with 20 points. Dalton Pulis scored 20 for Delano (26-4).
Marshall 69, Grand Rapids 52
Marshall is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its only state championship team. The Tigers would like nothing better than to honor them in style with a repeat performance.
In the most up-tempo game of the four quarterfinal matchups, Marshall utilized its quickness to put Grand Rapids back on its heels. The third-ranked Tigers (28-2) scored 36 first-half points in racing to a 10-point advantage, and went on to beat the Thunderhawks 69-52 in the Class 3A tournament on Wednesday at Williams Arena.
Grand Rapids battled back in the second half, making it one possession game (47-45) with 9 minutes, 32 seconds remaining. The Tigers then went on a 12-2 run to regain control.
The Thunderhawks (20-10) relied on Division I recruit Alex Illikainen to try and keep it close, and he’s still recovering from an injury. The 6-foot-9 sophomore, who was wearing a brace on his left hand after suffering a broken metacarpal bone in the hand during practice just over a month ago, finished with a game-high 31 points.
Junior Riley Sharbono paced the Tigers’ offensive attack with 18 points. Senior Aaron Mathiowetz added 14 points.
Minnehaha Academy 53, Perham 41
His Minnehaha basketball team holding a slim four-point lead, senior forward Thomas Gedion swooped in and blocked a Perham lay-up, grabbed the ball and scored at the other end.
Converting what Redhakws’ coach Lance Johnson called “the play of the game,” Gedion gave his team a six-point lead it would not relinquish. No. 1 seed Minnehaha Academy beat Perham 53-41 in Wednesday’s Class 2A state tournament quarterfinal at the Target Center.
“That was an awesome play,” Johnson said. “He took two points off the glass and that really energized us.”
Minnehaha Academy (24-6), which won at Perham (23-8) back in November, raced to a 9-0 lead in the rematch and held a 27-24 edge at halftime. Though the Redhawks never trailed in the game, persistence Perham got within two points on two occasions in the second half.
“They are so long and athletic they made it tough for us with their defense,” Perham coach Dave Cresap said. “If we had maybe been a little more patient we might have been able to break them down.”
Litchfield 64, Redwood Valley 55 (2OT)
Litchfield is usually one of the best when it comes to holding for the last shot, and converting. It wasn’t that way Wednesday night, but in the end it didn’t matter.
The Dragons (25-5) were able to overcame their last-second difficulties, scoring the final 10 points in the second overtime to fend off Redwood Valley 64-55 in the Class 1A quarterfinals at Williams Arena.
Four different players accounted for the points. The Dragons missed the final shot in the first overtime, and turned the ball over with 8.2 seconds remaining in regulation while holding for the final shot. S
Senior guard Zach Kinny led three Litchfield players in double figures with 18 points. Alec Koster, a senior guard, had a game-high 27 points for the Cardinals (24-6).
Annandale 56, Byron 42
No. 5 seed Annandale recorded a minor upset of No. 4 seed Bryon with a 56-42 victory in Wednesday’s Class 2A state tournament quarterfinal at the Target Center.
Annandale (21-9) built a 33-23 halftime lead that tournament first-timer Byron (25-5) reduced to as few as four points but could not overcome.
The victorious Cardinals were led in scoring by Matt Miller (16 points). Byron’s Jack Nelson had 17 points.
DAVID LA VAQUE