Washburn lands in state field

  • Article by: AARON PAITICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 16, 2012 - 12:07 AM

The Millers knocked off Benilde-St. Margaret's in a section final pitting the top teams in Class 3A.

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If Jerry Pratt is Minneapolis Washburn's spark plug, he hit the Chanhassen gym like a lightning rod Thursday night.

The 6-4 senior book-ended the Class 3A, Section 6 final with two monstrous dunks -- one got the Millers going, the other sealed a 71-66 victory over Benilde-St. Margaret's that sent Minneapolis Washburn to state.

"I wanted to do something for the team and for the crowd," said Pratt, who had a team-high 20 points.

Pratt came in all alone with the clock winding down and a four-point lead.

"He shook me up," head coach Reggie Perkins said. "I was thinking, 'Just dunk it in,' and he did the windmill and just rocked the house."

And in between those exclamation points was one electrifying basketball game.

Thursday night's game at Chanhassen High School had the makings of a great one as No. 1-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret's and No. 2 Minneapolis Washburn faced off for the right to play at Target Center. Regardless the outcome, the winning team would enter the Class 3A tournament as the favorite.

And neither team is a stranger to section final games and the state tournament. The Red Knights won it all in 2008, the Millers in 2009. The teams entered the gym with a combined 53-3 record.

Perkins stressed the importance of the first five minutes of each half and the last few minutes of each half -- that's when the Millers want to make runs. They did exactly that Thursday night.

Pratt and Joseph Doby set the tone early before Benilde-St. Margaret's answered with Sanjay Lumpkin and Isaiah Zierden rallying the Red Knights to a 21-12 lead.

Washburn cut the lead to three points, 31-28, at halftime, then made a 12-2 run at the start of the second half, but the Red Knights tied it again.

Dwight Anderson finished with 19 points for Washburn.

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  • Benilde-St. Margaret's Sanjay Lumpkin (34) and Brieon Creer (blocked a shot by Minneapolis Washburn's Andy Leighton in Washburn's 71-66 victory in the Class 3A, Section 6 title game.

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