How ‘bout the Orioles?

Stand up if you saw Osseo’s run to the Class 6A state football championship coming. Chances are, you’d be the only person outside of the Osseo school district standing.

The Orioles won their final three games over Lakeville North, Totino-Grace and East Ridge by a combined five points.

They needed an epic drive that will likely go down in Prep Bowl history as one of the most memorable. The 16-play, 71-yard affair took almost 3 minutes and ended with running Prince Kruah scoring on a 4-yard, will-not-be-denied run that Osseo a 14-13 lead and its first first football state championship

“I wanted the ball so badly,” Kruah said. “It was, ‘Give the ball to me. I’ll get those 4 yards.’ ”

A thirst to be first

The frustration was palapable. Most girls’ basketball teams would play a season in mukluks for the kind of talent Minnetonka had. Problem was, there was always Hopkins, which was kryptonite to the Skippers. It seemed like the Royals always were making things difficult for the Skippers.

Until this year.

Minnetonka and Hopkins met in the Class 4A championship game and Minnetonka exorcised four years’ worth of demons, outplaying No. 1-seeded Hopkins for a 61-52 victory. It was the first state championship for the senior-dominated Skippers.

“It’s crazy that this is [this team’s] first time going to the state tournament, and we’re playing Hopkins for the state championship,” Frederickson said before the final.

North Side pride

The headlines skew negative, but not everything coming out of Minneapolis’ beleaguered northside over the past year has been bleak. The Minneapolis North boys’ basketball team, a source of pride and dignity for much of the 1980s and 1990s, won its first state championship since 2003. They steamrolled the Class 1A field by an average 33 points per victory.

Some complained the Polars’ dominance was unfair, but that’s what made North’s return so important. This wasn’t a fluke or hot streak. The Polars proved greatness could come from the northside, that excellence was possible and hope was alive, even if it often seemed far away.