A dream season and incredible state tournament run ended with a second-place finish for North Woods on Saturday, with Minneapolis North Community winning the Class A championship game 96-49 at Target …
A dream season and incredible state tournament run ended with a second-place finish for North Woods on Saturday, with Minneapolis North Community winning the Class A championship game 96-49 at Target Center in Minneapolis.
The defending champion Polars took control early, building a 17-2 lead seven minutes into the game.
North Woods settled in from there, pulling within 10 at 21-11, but was unable to get the margin back into single digits.
The Polars also took advantage of a tough start from the field for the Grizzlies, thriving in transition.
"That's a huge part of their game," North Woods head coach Will Kleppe said. "They like to get the ball out in transition. We just don't see much defense like that."
Minneapolis North built a 48-21 advantage by halftime.
In the second half, the Grizzlies came out much looser and stronger offensively, taking advantage of the opportunity to play in a state championship atmosphere, and against such a talented opponent.
"Coach told us to go out and have fun, not get worked up and frustrated," senior George Bibeau said. "I think if we would have done that we wouldn't have had as much fun."
Junior Tate Olson capped a remarkable tournament with a team-high 14 points, sinking 4-of-7 threes.
Olson and sophomore Cade Goggleye, who also hit four threes in scoring 12 points, landed on the Class A state all-tournament team.
Bibeau finished with 13 points, junior Brendan Parson scored six and sophomore Chase Kleppe added four.
"We knew we had a tall order today," Kleppe said. "They're clearly the best in Class A, and maybe the best overall. They're a formidable team, very talented, well-coached. We knew that coming in.
"We prepared for them like we did any other team, focused on match-ups, told our kids to enjoy the moment, take advantage of every opportunity they had out there and they did just that. They played their hearts out - I couldn't be happier for them."
More coverage and photos from the state tournament will be in the upcoming edition of The Timberjay