by Scott DCamp
Red Lake will once again represent Section 8A at the the Minnesota State High School League Boys Basketball State Tournament that begins this week.
The Warriors overcame a 33-29 halftime deficit to defeat Stephen-Argyle 71-60 to win their fourth consecutive Section 8A championship.
“Overall it was a high energy section final,” said Stephen-Argyle Head Coach Nevin Lubarski. “Both teams had athletes that made special plays throughout the game. A credit to Red Lake, they just had a run in them that we weren't able to answer.”
Playing with house money, the upset-mided Stephen-Argyle Storm were one half away from upsetting the three-time defending champion Warriors.
Red Lake led 13-7 with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the first half. The Storm went on a 19-5 run over the next eight minutes to take 26-18 lead.
The eight-point lead would be the biggest either team would have in the first half and after a timeout, the Warriors began to chip away at the lead.
Red Lake opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 36-33 lead. Stephen-Argyle didn’t score for almost five minutes to start the second frame, but broke the scoreless streak with a game-tying three-pointer.
Red Lake took control of the game for good with a second 7-0 run to take a 43-36 lead. The Warriors would lead by as many as 19 points in the half as they cruised to victory.
“Our two biggest keys in the game were keeping Red Lake off the offensive glass and out of transition,” Lubarski said. “We designated two players as defensive balance on every offensive possession and we also needed to be efficient offensively. “I thought we did an outstanding job in the first half of executing our plan. Quite honestly, we did a nice job of it in the second half as well, but give their players credit. They blocked a couple of our shots and had a string of defensive stops that allowed them to get in transition and play their style. After they went up by seven points in the second half, we then had to shoot quicker on the offensive end than we really wanted to and that fed their style of play as well and we just couldn't reel it back in.
“They do an excellent job of making the game a track meet and getting opponents to rush and scramble. It was a focus of ours to really be smart with the basketball. I thought we matched their athleticism but we didn't want to get into a shootout. We wanted to keep it somewhere between 60-65 points for them and we came up a little short.”
1 2 T
Stephen-Argyle 33 27 60
Red Lake 29 42 71
SA – Hunter Ytrzenka 12, Stoene Spilde 3, Chris McGlynn 22, Tom Gryskiewicz 2, Zac Fincher 11, Isaac Mills 17.
RL – Jamie Cook 8, William Morrison 3, Rob McClain Jr. 16, Rob Beauliu III 13, Brady Cook 4, Kendall Whitefeather 23, Frank Papisodora 4.