The 6-5 senior guard elevated his status from one of the state’s top players to state tournament legend with a virtuoso three-game performance in leading the Panthers to their first state championship.
Macura got better as the tournament progressed, scoring 23 points in the quarterfinals, 31 in the semifinals (including a game-winning 28-foot three-pointer as time ran out) and 43 in a memorable 84-82 come-from-behind victory over Hopkins in the Class 4A final.
“We got so lucky to have the chance to play with JP,” coach John Oxton said. “It seemed like every day, he did something unbelievable.”
The Xavier University recruit stood on the court following the championship game victory, soaking in the feeling.
“First off, I have to give credit to my teammates. They look to me to score, but they do so many of the others things we needed to win,” he said. “This is so fulfilling. I remember watching this tournament when I was 5, 6 years old and dreaming of this. This is incredible.”
The sophomore guard paced the Redhawks to a pair of upsets en route to the Class 2A, Section 4 championship. She had 23 points as they beat Concordia Academy 67-66 and 19 points and 20 rebounds in a 43-30 victory over St. Croix Lutheran in the final.
Sawatzke, the leading scorer in school history, led the Magic with 20 points in a come-from-behind 68-64 victory over Orono in the Class 3A, Section 5 championship game. The University of North Dakota recruit went over the 2,000-career point mark in the game.
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The Trojans completed an undefeated season with their first CI Division state championship Saturday. Schoenbauer, a junior forward, was a nearly unstoppable offensive force, scoring 20 goals and adding 12 assists. “He had a fantastic tournament,” said assistant coach Jeremy Kallal.
The state tournament is a time for superstars to step forward, which is exactly what the 6-7 senior forward did. He scored 63 points on 74-percent shooting from the field (25-of-34) and grabbed 24 rebounds as the Islanders won their third consecutive Class 3A championship, beating Austin 60-40 in the final.