Apple Valley's Tre Jones put on a show for the nearly sold out Target Center on Saturday night in a terrific high school basketball game.

The Eagles defeated the Champlin Park Rebels 60-54 to capture their third state Class AAAA championship.

The 6-foot-2 junior finished with 24 points,18 rebounds, five assists and one block and never came out of the game.

The win avenged one of Apple Valley's two losses during the regular season and ended Champlin Park's hopes of a undefeated season. The Eagles avenged their other loss by beating Maple Grove in the semifinals of the state tournament.

It was a shame one of the teams had to lose because both poured their hearts out on the Target Center floor. There were eight ties and 13 lead changes in the game, and much of that occurred in the final minutes of the battle.

Champlin Park 6-foot-9 senior center Theo John also played every minute of the game and had eight blocks to go along with 12 points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists. Rebel McKinley Wright IV played every second also and tallied 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. He's a 6-foot senior.

Neither team shot very well even after a day off between games, primarily due to some tenacious defense by both teams. The Eagles shot 40 percent and were 1 of 11 from three-point range and the Rebels shot 41 percent and were 3 of 14 from beyond the arc.

Champlin Park outscored Apple Valley at the free throw line 13 to 9, but the difference in the game was clearly the rebounding of Jones and his teammates. The Eagles had 45 rebounds and an incredible 21 offensive boards while the Rebels finished with 25 rebounds, seven on the offensive side.

Four players had rebounds for Champlin Park and eight players had at least one rebound for Apple Valley.

The rebound advantage was amazing considering the fact that John and Wright are both excellent rebounders themselves and were held to 11 total. John averaged about nine and Wright eight rebounds per game, and 6-foot-3 senior Marcus Hill averaged six rebounds per contest. He finished with five boards in the title game.

Apple Valley's game plan was executed to near perfection. That's what it took to defeat the talented Champlin Park team. The Eagles used three big men to rotate in the game and lean their bodies on John, keeping him away from the glass so Jones could use his impressive abilities.

After the game, Apple Valley head coach Zach Goring told KDHL Jones is the best rebounder he has ever seen. The young man has to be in phenomenal shape. Just think of the energy needed to do all that rebounding and run the team as well.

Champlin Park had a 49-46 lead with 5:52 to go. The Eagles took a 50-49 lead on a Mason Morse jumper at the 4:53 mark. Tre Jones hit a pull up jumper in the lane at 4:06 and Apple Valley was up 52-49.

The game was tied at 54 with 1:18 left. Jones hit a layup and was fouled by John with :50 to go and missed the free throw, giving Apple Valley a 56-54 lead. He rebounded his missed free throw and the Eagles took a time out with 42 seconds to go.

I thought Apple Valley would hold the ball because of their lead, but Goring and his staff drew up a terrific play that resulted in a Jones pass to Morse for a layup and a 58-54 lead with 27 seconds left.

Wright missed a three, Jones got another rebound and threw a long pass to Mohamed Kone for the final scoring of the game with 13 ticks left on the clock.

I would love to see Jones in a Gopher uniform, but many along press row from the metro area believe it's a sure bet he will follow his brother Tyus and go to Duke.

I was told by a very good source Duke is also recruiting a point guard ranked higher than Tre by the recruiting services. He told me if that happens, then Duke would more than likely not be interested in Tre's services.

Minnesota has missed out on a number of in state players in recent years. For example, when Lakeville North's 6-foot-10 Nathan Reuvers was a sophomore, he impressed everyone at the state tournament and committed to Wisconsin during his junior season. I was told Minnesota didn't show any interest until news broke that Wisconsin was courting him.

Gophers head coach Richard Pitino saw Jones accomplish his triple-double during the state tournament. Pitino has New York's Mr. Basketball coming next season. Isaiah Washington (Harlem, N.Y./St. Raymond's HS) is a 6-foot point guard.

Tre Jones Cutting Down Net-photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Tre Jones Cutting Down Net-photo by Gordy Kosfeld
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