Hayfield Repeats Class A Minnesota Basketball Championship
The Hayfield Vikings completed their dream by repeating as the best in Minnesota high school basketball in the smallest schools division.
The Vikings came from behind to defeat Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 51-49 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota Campus.
Hayfield was rated #1 most of the season in Class A and had the #1 QRF (Quality Results Formula) at the end of the regular season.
Before the game their Head Coach Chris Pack agreed repeating was not going to be easy saying B-B-E would be their stiffest test. "As a State Championship game should be." He added.
The Vikings trailed by 8 points at halftime (29-21) against the Jaguars ranked #5 by Minnesota Basketball News and sitting with a #8 QRF.
B-B-E looked very confident. They never trailed in the first half. Dingmann brothers Ashton and Luke combined for 21 of their points that half.
Senior 6'4 Ashton had three 3 point baskets, 11 points. Sophomore 6'3 Luke 10 points and one triple.
Hayfield had no three point baskets (they had 10 in their opener against Russell-Tyler-Ruthton on Wednesday). Junior 6'1 Isaac Matti scored 10 points to keep them within striking distance.
Vikings Sophomore 6'4 Zander Jacobson appeared to sprain his ankle and left the court to get treatment meaning he only played 12:43 of the first half. Senior 6'0 Karver Heydt filled in with 3 rebounds and a steal in 5:17 of action. Jacobson came back to a standing ovation from the Hayfield crowd before the half came to a close.
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa enjoyed as much as a 10 point lead in the first half while converting 4 offensive rebounds into 9 second chance points.
I remember saying on the broadcast Hayfield was probably happy the game was as close as it was with Jacobson off the floor for a number of minutes and their 0 for 5 shooting from the three point line.
Matti drilled a three point basket 13 seconds into the second half and hit another one 25 seconds later signaling there was a comeback in the defending state champs.
Ashton Dingmann hit a couple of shots to punch the lead back up to six. Matti scored a couple of free throws, then hit a step back three to cut the lead to one.
At 13:10 Hayfield experienced their first lead of the game when senior 6'1 Easton Fritcher got multiple offensive rebounds and banked in a layup to make the score 34-33.
Jacobson scored the next offensive trip down the floor. Luke Dingmann swished a three to tie the game at 36.
Matti continued his hot shooting to extend the lead to 40-36 with 10:43 to go.
Following a Jaguars basket neither team would score over the next 3:18 seconds.
After a missed three point shot senior 5'9 Kobe Foster flew through the lane to snatch the rebound and passed the ball to Matti who finished strong with a layup to make the score 42-38.
That was answered by a Luke Dingmann basket.
B-B-E junior 6'3 Kaden Pieper made a basket to tie the game at 42 with 5:54 left in regulation.
3:51 to go senior 6'0 Gavin Kampsen scored to give the Jaguars the lead.
Hayfield answered on their very next possession with a spectacular alley-oop pass from junior 5'11 Ethan Pack to Fritcher to tie the score.
There were 3:31 remaining in regulation.
Jacobson was fouled on an offensive rebound and made one of two free throw attempts to make the score 45-44 with 2:16 to go.
The next points scored would be a pair of free throws by Fritcher with 32 seconds left to give Hayfield a 47-44 lead.
With 22 seconds left Foster stole the ball, was fouled and sank both free throws to help seal the win. Head Coach Chris Pack told me before the game Foster was #2 on the all-time list for steals at Hayfield.
Pieper scored for the Jaguars with 8 seconds to go to make the score 49-46.
Pack drew a foul with 3 seconds to go. He made both to seal the victory. His dad called everybody over to stand by him as B-B-E threw the ball in and hit a three point basket at the buzzer.
Somebody along media row commented to me that Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa had the lead most of the game. That's true. Jaguars with lead 21:20, Vikings 9:10. I replied the statistic is useless because the only score that matters is the final.
Hayfield 51 B-B-E 49. The Vikings got their repeat state championship. Very hard to do because the defending state champs get everybody's best game. Nobody takes them for granted or overlooks them especially with one starter gone from last season.
A huge thank you to all the Hayfield and Brownsdale area sponsors for allowing us to follow the Vikings on their historic playoff run from the Section Tournament to the title game.
The difference in the outcome was due to clutch free throw shooting down the stretch. Hayfield hit 9 of 10 free throws in the second half while the Jaguars did not shoot a free throw during that half.
Final totals from the free throw line were 10 of 12 for the Vikings, 1 of 2 for B-B-E.
Hayfield also led in the points in the paint category 26-22 and scored 10 points off 9 Jaguar turnovers while B-B-E had 9 points off 7 Hayfield turnovers.
Matti finished the game with 27 points, Fritcher tallied 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and Jacobson had 7 points, 5 rebounds while missing 5:17 on the floor.
Matti, Fritcher and Pack were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Third Place was captured by New Life Academy with a 75-50 win over the Cherry Tigers and sophomore Isaac Asuma with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists. Little brothers Isaiah and Noah tallied 14 and 11 points each respectively.
Sacred Heart won the Consolation Championship 63-54 over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.
Hayfield is definitely a farm community in Dodge County, Minnesota. Approximately 1,300 people live there. The 2020 US Census for Dodge County 20,867 people.
The county was named after Henry Dodge the first Governor of Wisconsin.
This is fascinating information.
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