Boys' basketball: Apple Valley, Park Center advance to 4A title game; DeLaSalle wins big in 3A

  • Article by: STAR TRIBUNE STAFF REPORTS
  • Updated: March 22, 2013 - 12:18 AM
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Tyus Jones of Apple Valley drove through traffic to put up a first half shot Thursday night.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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Apple Valley endured a well-rounded test to earn its first boys’ basketball state championship berth.

Zach Goring’s team had to overcome Eden Prairie’s strength, ability to slow down the game, and then make free throws to secure a 62-55 victory in Thursday night’s Class 4A semifinals at Target Center.

Tyus Jones made four of Apple Valley’s final seven free-throws and finished with a game-high 23 points, six steals and five assists. Dennis Austin had 15 points, eight rebounds, and Dustin Fronk 11 points.

“It’s a great feeling, almost overwhelming,” Jones said about leading his team to the program’s first title game. “Right now, what wins these games is defense and rebounding and that’s what we try to do.”

Apple Valley did both well against one of the state’s more physical teams. Eden Prairie’s deep bench of big bodies wore down Apple Valley’s 6-10 freshman center Brock Bertram. He struggled to finish layups and keep Jack Cottrell (15 points, eight rebounds) and Anthony Anderson (double-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds) away from the basket.

Bertram, however, managed to maintain his presence on the boards (13 rebounds, nine points) and helped create breathing room in the final minutes.

Eden Prairie trailed by a bucket, 53-51, with 2:14 to play. Then Jones scored six of Apple Valley’s 9-4 run to end the game. Eden Prairie started fouling in hope of working its way back.

The strategy didn’t pan out as Apple Valley made 7-of-10 free throws despite shooting 13-of-22 for the game.

“Not only was it my best defensive effort, but the whole team’s effort,” said Apple Valley’s Harry Sonie, who held Eden Prairie’s leading scorer Andre Wallace to six points. “Defense kept getting us stops.”

Apple Valley’s guards forced 18 turnovers and only gave up five. Eden Prairie’s Grant Shaeffer had seven of them and 12 points.

“Our whole game plan was to try and slow down their transition, but they kept transitioning,” Wallace said. “They were tougher than we were.”

JASON GONZALEZ

Park Center 66, Edina 44

The Pirates didn’t need to put any more exclamation points on their 66-44 semifinal victory over Edina, but their athleticism wouldn’t end.

Senior point guard Quinton Hooker’s natural reaction to longtime teammate Treyton Daniels cutting to the basket is to throw it up. And Daniels throws it down.

Target Center thanked the pair for the display of athleticism with a standing ovation. Before the fans could sit down, Joshua Matthews threw down a one-handed dunk to give Park Center (28-3) a 64-39 lead with 2:56 left.

Hooker’s smile and Edina’s Graham Woodward’s look of disbelief following the string of dunks summarized the semifinal from its tipoff.

“It was a big statement, just to show we’re not backing down from anybody,” Daniels said after his 12-point effort.

Hooker said it can’t get much better than that and was the “exclamation point” needed after just squeaking by Lakeville North in overtime of the quarterfinals.

Park Center made sure to maintain control throughout both halves Thursday. The Pirates’ built a 37-22 halftime lead and added to it in the second half. Isaiah McKay scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and was one of four Park Center starters in double figures.

Hooker had 14 points, eight rebounds. Daniels had 12 points. Devin Buckley had a double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds. Fifth man Joshua Matthews had nine points, seven rebounds.

“I think they underestimated us a little bit,” McKay said. “This puts a stamp on everything.”

Edina’s all-time leading scorer, Woodward, managed just 17 points after scoring 40 in the quarterfinals.

JASON GONZALEZ

CLASS 3A

DeLaSalle 86, St. Paul Johnson 59

No. 1-ranked DeLaSalle took care of business Friday afternoon, showing why many basketball fans consider them the state’s best team regardless of class with an 86-59 victory over St. Paul Johnson.

The Islanders (29-1) got 30 points from center Reid Travis and advance to Saturday’s Class 3A championship game, hoping to win a second-consecutive state title.

Jim Paulsen

 

Austin 68, Marshall (OT)

It was overtime and undefeated Austin had one of its big men, Tom Aase, on the bench with five fouls and the other, Joe Aase, in a funk and struggling with his shot.

This, thought teammate Zach Wessels, was his time. Wessels, a smooth 6-foot-2 junior guard, scored four points in overtime, including a clutch three-point play. He also handled Marshall’s desperation pressure with poise to help the Packers improve to 30-0 with a 68-65 victory.

“The team feeds off me and my energy,” said Wessels, who finished with 20 points, six assists and four steals. “It’s my job to step up and make sure everybody’s pumped up and ready to play.”

For one half, it appeared that Marshall’s balanced attack was going to put an end to Austin’s dream season.

With a lineup of interchangeable parts, the Tigers used endless motion to find holes in the Austin zone. Marshall shot 70.6 percent from the field in the first half to take a 30-28 halftime lead.

“We knew Marshall would give us problems,” Austin coach Kris Fadness said. “They’ve got really good players who can all shoot, all handle the ball. They spread the floor well and found ways to attack our zone.”

JIM PAULSEN

 

Class 1A

Rushford-Peterson 72, Lakeview Christian 54

Trojans coach Tom Vix  thought he could have something special. That is, in 2014.

His young Rushford-Peterson squad, including just one senior in his top seven players, has exceeded expectations all season. It was no different Thursday against the run-and-gun Lions (20-11).

Junior forward Seth Thompson scored 19 points to lead the way for the seventh-rated Trojans (27-3), who used an 11-0 run in the first half to build a 12-point advantage and never looked back.

Teammates junior forward Jorli Hauge (18 points) and sophomore guard Charlie Krambeer (14 points) were also in double digits.
Lakeview Christian senior guard Anders Broman, the state’s all-time leading scorer, scored a game-high 34 points. He concluded his prep career with 5,119 points.

Ron Haggstrom

 

Maranatha Christian 61, Mountain Lake Area 44

Maranatha excels in the open court. It also can efficently break down a team while holding the ball.

The No. 1-ranked Mustangs were at their best over the final 17 minutes, turning a slim two-point advantage into a 61-44 victory over Mountain Lake Area in the Class 1A quarterfinals at Williams Arena.

Coach Jeff Wall’s squad has used a balanced attack all season in building a 30-1 record. It was on display once again in the 17-point victory.

The Mustangs had four starters and their top player off the bench score in double figures. Sophomore Grantham Gillard, the Mustangs’ top reserve, scored all 15 of his points in the second half. Fellow sophomore Jeremiah Hanson added 13 points while seniors Garrison Gillard and Isaiah Hanson had 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Junior Josh Goldschmidt chipped in with 10 points.

The Wolverines (24-6) tried to match Maranatha by continually pounding the ball inside to Carter Kirk or Josiah Stoesz. The tandem combined for 34 points, with the 6-foot-7 junior center Kirk leading the way with 20 points.

Ron Haggstrom

Upsala 71, Battle Lake 60

Upsala's Avery Smieja knows his role -- control the boards and alter as many shots as possible.

The 6-foot-6 senior center’s play on the defensive end of the court ignited the Cardinals’ offense down the stretch in a 71-60 victory over Battle Lake in a Class 1A quarterfinal game at Williams Arena. Upsala went on a 16-2 run late in the second half, overcoming a three-point deficit to knock off the Battlers (22-6).

“Defense is my favorite part of basketball,” Smieja said. “Our coach always says, ‘We have to control the boards to be successful.’ That’s a big role for me being the tallest person on the team.”

Smieja finished with 9 points, a game-high 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He had 3 points, 6 rebounds, a blocked shot and an assist during the run.

RON HAGGSTROM

SW Christian 68, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 38

Upsala's Avery Smieja knows his role -- control the boards and alter as many shots as possible.

The 6-foot-6 senior center’s play on the defensive end of the court ignited the Cardinals’ offense down the stretch in a 71-60 victory over Battle Lake in a Class 1A quarterfinal game at Williams Arena. Upsala went on a 16-2 run late in the second half, overcoming a three-point deficit to knock off the Battlers (22-6).

“Defense is my favorite part of basketball,” Smieja said. “Our coach always says, ‘We have to control the boards to be successful.’ That’s a big role for me being the tallest person on the team.”

Smieja finished with 9 points, a game-high 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He had 3 points, 6 rebounds, a blocked shot and an assist during the run.

RON HAGGSTROM

 

 

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