The fans at Target Center in Minneapolis were treated to an outstanding Class 4A title game Saturday night.  The top ranked and top seed Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders ran a fantastic play with 5.5 seconds to go ending in a dunk by future Gopher Daniel Oturu in a 79-78 win over last year's State Champion Apple Valley Eagles.

Raiders Head Coach Jerry Kline Junior and his staff called a time out after Apple Valley's 6'4 senior Zach Korba made a put back basket to give the Eagles the lead.  Cretin-Derham Hall's 6'5 senior Jacob Prince in bounded the ball at half court to 6'8 senior Sy Chatman who flipped a pass to 6'1 senior Ryan Larson.  Larson threw the ball to the rim and the 6'10 Oturu slammed it home.  How's that for putting an exclamation point on a season?

The clock ran out and the Raiders were celebrating but Apple Valley did call time out and the officials had to go to the monitors at the scorer's table and determine how much time to put on the clock.  They decided on a half second.  To go the length of the floor is impossible.  Apple Valley passed the ball to 6'3 senior and future Duke player Tre Jones and he tried to hit a three quarter court basket.  Even had it gone in I don't think it would have counted because as soon as he touched the ball the horn sounded.

It was a terrific way to end the 2017-18 Minnesota high school boys basketball season and capped a great championship Saturday of what I like to call hoops heaven.

After Roy and I completed broadcasting the Class 2A title game a MSHSL official stopped by our table at mid-court and asked it I would mind moving because some Timberwolves players wanted to watch the 4A title game.  I said sure and moved my equipment down about six feet to the next table over. Why the players couldn't sit at that table I don't know and didn't ask.

Jimmy Butler was one of the players at the table next to mine and late in the game Tre Jones (the little brother of Timberwolves player Tyus Jones) turned to Butler and said, "They can't guard me."  This was after he hit about three shots in a row.  A three point basket, a fade away 10 footer and a scoop off glass.

I think it was around the 3 minute mark when Jones turned to Butler and made the exclamation and it was see-saw the rest of the way.  Jones did finish with 35 points, 6 rebounds and five assists and played every second of the game.  6'4 senior Luke Martens added 17 points and 4 rebounds in 30 minutes.

Toward the end of the first half Jones and Oturu got tangled up under the Raiders basket resulting in Oturu shoving Jones away.  Jones slid a bit on the floor and ended up scratching his shoulder.  For the shove Oturu was given a technical foul.  Jones made the free throw and Apple Valley led at the half 41-40.

Jones and Luke Martens led Apple Valley with 15 points each and Cretin-Derham Hall had three players in double figures in the first half.  Oturu had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists while playing every second.

The Eagles had the largest lead of the first half, 8 points with 7:56 to go and the Raiders largest lead had been 2 points with 1:09 to go in the half.   There were 8 ties and 4 lead changes.  The Apple Valley bench appeared to be the slim difference in the first half with 7 points in 21 minutes.  Cretin-Derham Hall's bench scored two points in 9 minutes.

The final bench tally was 11-2 in favor of Apple Valley but the two H&R Block of Lakeville, Faribault and Owatonna stats of the game were the 19-6 advantage in points off turnovers for the Raiders and the 12 more points they scored at the free throw line.

Cretin-Derham Hall was 17 of 20 from the charity stripe led by Oturu's 7 of 9 performance.  Apple Valley was 5 of 6 with just two players shooting free throws.  Jones was 3 of 4.

Both teams shot very well in the game, 57 percent for the Raiders and 56 percent for the Eagles.  Apple Valley was a blistering 60 percent from three point range with most of their threes coming from inside the NBA line.  Jones was 6 of 9 from the beyond the arc but 7 of 21 in other shot attempts (13 of 30 overall).

Oturu got his 4th foul about halfway through the second half when he came out near the timeline to try and swipe the ball from Jones.  He re-entered the game at the 4:57 mark.  He finished the game with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 blocks in 31 minutes.

All five starters for Cretin-Derham Hall scored in the double digits led by 6'5 junior Jaeden King's 19 points.  He also had 5 rebounds in 32 minutes.  Prince had 16 points in 32 minutes, Chatman 14 points and 5 rebounds in 34 minutes and Larson 11 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists while playing every second of the game.

Apple Valley finished their season 27-5 and Cretin-Derham Hall wins their third state title and first since 1993. They also won in 1991.

Oturu was left off the All-Tournament team much to the surprise of most of us along press row.  Everyone I spoke with said they voted for him and I know I did so the High School League must have decided not to name him because of the technical foul in the first half.

The News Release announcing the All-Tournament team didn't say that however.  It said, "The team was selected by the media attending the tournament."  There was no mention of why Oturu was not on the team.  One of the criteria mentioned on the form to choose the players is sportsmanship.

If Oturu had been ejected I would agree with the move.  This was a physical game and at 6'10 Apple Valley was doing what any team would do to negate the height advantage and that's attempt to get physical with Oturu to knock him off his game.  He got frustrated and shoved a player.  A proper technical was whistled and the game went on with no more incidents

Named to the team from Cretin-Derham Hall were Jacob Prince, Sy Chatman and Ryan Larson.

From Apple Valley Tre Jones, Luke Martens and Zach Korba.

The remainder of the team included Tyler Wahl and Tommy Jensen from Lakeville North.  Sophommore Connor Christensen from Eden Prairie and Zach Theisen of Osseo.



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