Minnehaha Academy Holds Off Caledonia to Repeat as Champs
Minnehaha Academy won its second straight Class AA boys' basketball championship Saturday 73-60 over Caledonia at Target Center. The Warriors roared back from a 12-point halftime deficit to close to within 59-57 with 8:15 left, but the Redhawks closed the game on a 14-3 run to capture the crown. Sophomore Jalen Suggs led Minnehaha with 27 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Owen King closed his stellar basketball career with Caledonia with 22 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The game saw five lead changes and three ties, but all were in the first half. Minnehaha Academy led 43-31 at the break. The Redhawks (28-4) outscored the Warriors 46-34 in points in the paint, 15-12 in points off turnovers and 8-4 in fast break points. Future Division 1 player JaVonni Bickham scored 17 for Minnehaha. Eighth grader Prince Aligbe grabbed 15 rebounds and 6-foot-10 freshman Chet Holmgren scored seven points off the bench and grabbed five rebounds.
The title was the third for Minnehaha Academy, going along with 2013 and last year. The team posted a picture on twitter Saturday of the trophy placed on schools grounds near the sight of a campus explosion last summer that claimed two lives.
Caledonia (28-5) was the state runner-up in 2015. The Warriors lost to Minnehaha 79-75 on February 17. Marten Morem scored 17 points on Saturday. Noah King added 10.
Minnehaha Academy shot 55 percent overall and connected on 6-of-19 three-pointers. Caledonia shot 46 percent and was 6-for-14 on three's. M-A had a 33-26 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over more times than Caledonia, 18-16.
Several Warriors plan to go on to play college sports. Owen King, a Mr. Basketball finalist, who will continue his hoops career at South Dakota State. Marten Morem will play basketball at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Andrew Goergen will play football at Winona State. Jordan Burg plans to play football at Minnesota State-Moorhead and Austin Heim will take to the gridiron at St. John's University. Caledonia won their third straight state football title in November.
The game had a very physical aspect to the first half with several hard fouls and multiple scrambles on the floor for loose balls. At one point Suggs seemed to say to an official that they weren't playing football.