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Benilde-St. Margaret's junior Grant Besse had a moment of panic leading up to the Class 2A boys' hockey tournament when he nearly tore the thumb out of one of his favorite gloves. He was told the team was out of new ones. "I was freaking out," he said.
Red Knights coach Ken Pauly said Besse wasn't about to wear an old pair, and the search began. Eventually, a call to an equipment rep produced a fresh set of Detroit Red Wings-issue gloves, the same color as Benilde-St. Margaret's. They arrived a day before the tournament. Besse wore them to score eight goals -- five in the championship game, including three shorthanded -- to lead Benilde-St. Margaret's to the title.
"He said to me afterward, 'Hey, I guess those gloves work,'" Pauly said. "And I told him I think it was the hands inside those gloves."
Besse's magic capped a season in which teammate Jack Jablonski was severely injured in a JV game, leaving him paralyzed. A group of talented players rallied around their friend.
"I watched a bunch of guys in front of me really grow in a million different ways as young men, in terms of caring about someone else and not just putting words to it, but putting action to it," Pauly said.Money in the clutch
Osseo sophomore Ian Theisen kept a veteran's poise as the biggest moment in his basketball career unfolded. With time winding down in a tie gam with Lakeville North to decide the Class 4A state championship at Target Center, Theisen found himself alone on the baseline. He knew what was next. "I was like, 'It's going to come to me so don't mess up, don't drop it,'" Theisen said. "I got that rhythm and [hit] nothing but net. I like that 15-footer."
Theisen's basket as time expired gave Osseo a 49-47 victory and its first state title since 2001.
DeLaSalle also won in grand fashion. The Islanders secured the Class 3A championship on a baseline jumper from senior Ross Barker with 0.7 seconds left in overtime that lifted his team to a 57-56 victory over Minneapolis Washburn.Maple Grove's new ice age
Maple Grove senior forward Tony Paulson could not keep his eyes off the scoreboard after the Class 2A, Section 5 boys' hockey championship game.
Maybe he struggled to believe the 15-1 score. More likely, he was savoring what it meant. His hockey team became the first in the school's 16-year history to reach the state tournament.
Frustration had mounted the past two seasons as Blaine defeated Maple Grove in the section championship each time. Most of that frustration disappeared in the blowout of the Bengals.More rings
Hopkins secured a 77-55 victory over Osseo in the Class 4A girls' basketball championship with a 19-2 first-half run that built a 30-15 cushion. The 30-1 Royals captured a fourth state title since 2004 in the process.
"Even before we started practice, getting to the state tournament and winning was our goal," senior forward Sydney Coffey said.
Hopkins and Osseo started the year ranked first and third, respectively. The Royals maintained their place while the Orioles stumbled. Not voted one of the state tournament's four seeded teams, they used the snub as motivation.
DeLaSalle successfully defended its girls' basketball championship in Class 3A while Providence Academy won its first championship after winning the Class 2A game.Osseo wins marathon game
When it finally ended, after 19 innings played over two days, the Osseo baseball team celebrated its 6-5 regular-season victory against Coon Rapids as if the Orioles had won a state title. But emotion builds in a game one inning shy of the state record for duration.
Osseo scored three times to tie the game in the seventh inning. Nine additional scoreless innings later, darkness suspended the game. Two days later, play resumed. The Orioles got the go-ahead run in the top of the 19th. Coon Rapids loaded the bases but the Orioles turned a game-ending double play.Friday night lights ... finally
It wasn't the final score of a 26th-consecutive loss to Minneapolis Washburn that had Minneapolis Southwest fans buzzing on Sept. 23. For the first time in the school's 71-year history, Southwest played a home football game under the lights.
Alumni foundation president Jodi Wishart coordinated six generator-powered lighting units -- three per side -- to light up the night. An estimated 3,000 people showed up. "The place is packed; I'm a happy girl," Wishart told the Star Tribune. "There are a lot of different alumni, parents and newer alumni. It's a great mix, and that's what city schools are about."
Wishart, a 1990 Southwest graduate, rented the lights with $1,000 out of her pocket. She also purchased other finishing touches such as purple lights (the school's primary color) and stadium flags. The school paid about $1,000 for other expenses, including extra security, for the festive evening. Two alums donated material and labor to paint the press box purple. Scoreboard lights were replaced, a new sound system was installed and purple and white spotlights gave the bleachers a dance-floor vibe.Volley-wow!
Eden Prairie's victory in the Class 3A volleyball championship match was one for the ages. The Eagles came out on top of an epic 22-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 22-20 decision over defending champion Lakeville North in November, thanks in no small way to Sarah Wilhite.
The junior outside hitter slammed 33 kills in the match, none more important than her last. The powerful slap from the left side of the net bounced off a Lakeville North player and sailed to the large black curtain hung at the center of the arena , sealing the Eagles' first state championship.A first for the Fire
Behind Kasey Ralston's steady arm, Holy Family won its first baseball championship Monday at Target Field. Four days after pitching a shutout in the Class 2A quarterfinals, Ralston came back and blanked defending champion St. Cloud Cathedral 5-0 in the championship game. Ralston, an Indiana recruit, allowed just two hits and struck out seven to clinch the title. The Fire finished the season 25-5 and did not allow a run in the state tournament. Rollie Lacy threw the shutout in the semifinals. Holy Family had not allowed more than two runs since May 31.