This might have been just what Champlin Park needed.
Osseo gave the Rebels everything they could handle Friday, even closing to within four points with less than three minutes to go. But Champlin Park came up with big stops down the stretch to emerge with a 79-74 victory in the Class 4A, Section 5 boys' basketball championship game.
The undefeated Rebels have rarely been challenged this season, with only one of their 28 previous victories decided by less than 10 points. Expectations have reached almost unreasonable levels.
"There is a lot of pressure on the adults with this team," Rebels coach Mark Tuchscherer said. "Can you imagine what it much be like for 16, 17, 18-year-olds?"
Senior guard McKinley Wright scored 31 points, carrying the Rebels whenever they found themselves struggling against Osseo's aggressive play.
"There are times when it's McKinley time," he said. "The team has my number and I know when they need me."
Osseo fell behind by double digits twice but fought back each time. Junior guard Zach Theisen scored 22 points to lead four Osseo players in double figures.
"Our guys play so hard and there is such resiliency with this group," Osseo coach Tim Theisen said. "I'm so proud of what they accomplished."
Champlin Park's victory came despite a subpar game from 6-9 center Theo John, who battled fouls, bodies and his own head and finished with only four points.
"I was beating myself," John said. "I let them get in my head. It's a good feeling to see our team win without needing me to score."
Tuchscherer said a close victory like Friday's should carry positive benefits.
"This is good for us going down the road," he said. "We had role players step up for us and hit big shots. I feel less stress already."