The Lakeville North Panthers and Rochester John Marshall Rockets will square off next Saturday for the Section 1AAAA boys basketball title.  This is the norm in recent years with the two teams playing for the sixth consecutive year.

Listen to the game audio below!

Lakeville North cruised by Lakeville South 71-49 and Rochester John Marshall got by Owatonna 68-66 at the Rochester Mayo Civic Arena today.  Next Saturday the Section final will be 1:00 p.m. in the smaller auditorium.  Advanced tickets are being sold at the high schools and chances are some people will be turned away from being inside the gym. Officials are planning on having a closed circuit feed on big screens in a couple conference rooms at no charge.

The Panthers have won all six meetings and only once has it been a single digit game. In 2016 Lakeville North squeaked out a 60-58 win.  The Panthers won by 13, 14, 35, 11, 27 and 20 in the other contests.

Lakeville North is going for their 7th straight trip to state out of Section 1.  They were in Section 3 in 2010-11 the last time they didn’t earn a trip to the dance.  Lakeville South captured that section.

During those six trips the Panthers have played for a state title three times and won in 2014 in a 84-82 thriller against Hopkins.  In 2012 they lost in the championship game to Osseo 49-47.  In 2016 Hopkins got revenge 64-55 in the title tilt.

The Lakeville South Cougars were down 19-15 in the first half when Lakeville North went on a 23-3 Run to close out the half.  They never looked back.

Like their namesake the Panthers pounce on their opponents and are relentless in attacking the basket.  Lakeville North’s interior passing was impressive.  6’7 junior Tyler Wahl does it all for his team and can literally play any finished with 19 points and had numerous assists.

5’11 junior Tommy Jensen collected 11 points and 6’6 senior Tyler Lewko had 10 points.

6’7 Lakeville South senior Shane Mitchell scored 18 points and the only other Cougar in double figures was 6’5 senior Beau Bailey with 10 points..

The H&R Block stat of the game was points off turnovers where the Panthers had 26 and Lakeville South 5.

Owatonna had their chances against Rochester John Marshall but missed too many shots.

6’9 junior Matthew Hurt fought through double and sometimes triple teams to pour in 37 points, tallied 23 rebounds and had at least a half dozen blocks.

John Marshall junior Matthew Hurt at free throw line . Photo by Gordy Kosfeld.