Minnesota Boys Basketball Championship Saturday Preview
The Hayfield Vikings and Hancock Owls tip off Championship Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the MSHSL Class A Boys High School Basketball Tournament. The game will be broadcast on KDHL Radio, 920 AM, 97.9 FM and worldwide on our KDHL app.
All the title games are being played in the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis with a very limited number of people allowed inside the arena.
This is the VIkings 5th trip to the State Tournament, Twenty years ago Hayfield Head Coach Chris Pack was in his first season coaching when his team got hot and met fellow Hiawatha Valley League member Kenyon-Wanamingo in the title game.
The Knights dominated throughout the tournament to come home with the Class A title.
Since then Hayfield has moved to the Gopher Conference. Kenyon-Wanamingo will join the Gopher next season along with Triton, Randolph and Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.
The Hayfield Semifinals win over Badger/Greenbush-Middle River was the 325th coachig victory for Pack. He says he's been blessed with kids willing to work hard and a very supportive community.
Hancock won a championship in 1997. This is their first trip to state since 2003. The last visit by the Vikings came in 2013.
Hayfield is 20-4, Hancock 19-5 during this COVID-19 season.
Both teams play very good man to man defense. The Owls have allowed 50.7 points, the Vikings 54.5 points per game.
Hancock averages 61.3 points on offense and Hayfield 72.8.
Coach Pack told his team they simply need to play the way they are capable of playing. Be themselves and they should be fine against the talented Owls.
Hancock has a great inside outside combination with junior, 6'7 Matt Thompson collecting 20 points and 19 rebounds in their 65-53 semifinals win over Sleepy Eye St. Mary's. In addition senior 6'1 Kody Berget was 6 of 11 from beyond the arc at the Target Center. Senior 6'2 Preston Rohloff had 6 assists and 14 points.
Senior 6'3 Ethan Slaathaug has set the tone in each of the Vikings wins en route to the title game. He scored 40 points in the Section final before have 17 in a balanced attack against Legacy Christian at Rochester Mayo High School in Quarterfinals state action.
Slaathaug filled the basket for 20 points in the first half and finished with 34 points against Badger in the semifinals. Slaathaug was 11 of 16 from the field, 3 of 6 from three point range, 9 of 12 from the free throw line.
Sophomore 6'2 Isaac Matti finished with 22 points on 4 of 8 shooting from beyond the arc, 8 of 16 from the field.
Junior 6'0 Easton Fritcher bulled down 15 rebounds in the semifinals. He's got that nose for the basketball you just can't teach.
Tempo is the key in this game. The Vikings want to beat the Owls down the floor before they get their defense set up. Don't be surprised to see some pressure from Hayfield. They don't press a lot but can be effective when they do because they pick their spots.
Turnovers are always a critical statistic in any basketball game. Hancock scored 7 points off turnovers in their semifinals win. Hayfield scored 19 points in the first half off 14 Badger turnovers and finished the game with 24 points off turnovers while winning by 26.
Hayfield is planning for a welcome home event Sunday afternoon at 4:30 at the Hayfield High School.
Class AA State Championship game appears to be a dream matchup beginning at 3:00 p.m. Both teams are loaded with very skilled athletes throughout their rosters. The Warriors are 23-1 with 21 straight wins. The Bluejays are 22-1 with 10 straight victories. Their only loss was to top ranked Class AAA Minnehaha Academy 94-66.
Caledonia has not lost to a Minnesota team this season. Their only loss came against Onalaska, Wisconsin 51-43.
The Warriors average 79.3 and give up 54.9 points per game. They were ranked #3 in the final Minnesota Basketball News rankings for Class AA.
Waseca was rated #1 in the final poll. They average 81.2 points and allow 53.9 points per game. The Bluejays have had double digit victories throughout their Section and State Tournament games.
Caledonia had a tussle with #2 rated Minneapolis North in the Semifinals 60-55. If you enjoy athletes going full tilt offensively and defensively you will love this game.
Class AAA Championship #1 ranked Minnehaha Academy (19-1) will play #11 ranked Alexandria area (22-1) at 6:00 p.m.
The Redhawks have not lost to a Minnesota school this season and played a Class AAAA loaded schedule. Their only loss was against national powerhouse IMG Academy our of Florida 73-53.
The Cardinals edged Richfield 66-64 in the Semifinals. They average 70.2 points and give up 51.5 points per game while Minnehaha scores 81 per contest and allows 52.9 points on average.
Any basketball fan has heard the name of Redhawks senior 7'1 Chet Holmgren. Considered the top player in the country coming out of high school.
Alexandria's only loss this season was a 86-80 barn burner in Brainerd. The Cardinals have five players 6'5 or taller so they could pose some matchup problems for Minnehaha Academy.
The AAAA Championship 8:00 p.m. game features Cretin-Derham Hall (18-5) against Wayzata (18-2). The Raiders average 64.5 points and give up 54.7 per game while the Trojans collect 78.1 points and allow 59.1 each game.
The final Minnesota Basketball News Rankings in Class 4A boys had Cretin-Derham Hall rated #9 and Wayzata #2. #1 ranked Champlin Park lost to unrated Maple Grove in the Quarterfinals round of state 70-61 in overtime.
Cretin-Derham Hall then downed Maple Grove 54-42 . Wayzata flew past Shakopee 72-43 in the Semifinals after defeating Duluth East in the Quarterfinals 78-69.
The Trojans two losses came against Minnehaha Academy 70-63 and Hopkins 87-80.
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