State Boys BB notebook: Fergus in finals for first time after mid-season coaching change
By Bruce Strand
Fergus Falls, which had a coaching change just after Christmas due to unfortunate circumstances, wound up in the state championship game for the first time after beating Waseca 70-63 on Wednesday and Red Wing 58-55 on Thursday. They will face dynamic DeLaSalle on Saturday evening at the Target Center for the 3A title.
The Otters got 24 points from Nathan Rund, including two free shots with 12.7 seconds left for the final 3-point lead.
Red Wing, ranked No. 2 in the state behind DeLaSalle, was seeking its fifth state title and first since 1933. The Wingers missed crucial two free shots late in the game and just missed sending the game to overtime when Ben Munson hit a 3-pointer just after the buzzer, which was reviewed and confirmed. Munson had 17 points.
Dave Rund, Fergus Falls veteran head coach and Nathan’s dad, resigned on Jan. 21 following a Dec. 26 arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. Matt Johnson, his assistant, too, over.
Goodhue, after denying Spring Grove its first state trip 58-44 in the section finals, drubbed a Lake Park-Audubon team making its first state trip 54-29 in the Class 1A quarterfinals. Jesse Berge, LPA’s 6-foot-9 center who averaged 28.5 points in sectionals, was held to 15 points and just 12 field goal attempts, making six. Ryan Alpers and Bn Opsahl each scored 13 for Goodhue.
Aage Rovney shot 7-for-7 on three-pointers and totaled 29 points for St. Croix Lutheran in their 86-51 opening win over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in Class 2A. The senior guard had 20 points in less than eight minutes. Ade Murkey added 21 points and Trenton Krueger 19.
Caledonia, hoping to add a state basketball title to its state football crown this fall, and after placing third and second the last two state tournaments, instead got upset by Jackson County Central 79-74 in the first round of Class 2A. Jacob Christopher nailed 27 points for JCC (24-5). Body Behrends notched 20 points and 17 rebounds along with five blocks, and Matt Ringko had 16 points and seven assists. Caledonia, ranked No. 2 in the state, made only nine of 41 three-pointers and was outshot 51 percent to 37 percent overall. Owen King had 25 points and Colton Lambert 19 for Caledonia (28-3).
Three of the eight qualifiers in Class 4A were Northwest Suburban Conference teams. Only one survived the first round as Osseo remained the state’s lone unbeaten teams with an 85-73 win over Eden Prairie with their usual balanced attack led by John Bezdicek with 21 points and Mar Mar Hughes with 12. Maple Grove of the NWSC lost to Lakeville North 60-49 and Blaine fell to Apple Valley 77-57.
Waseca, after winning their section title with buzzer-beating 3-point shots in the third and fourth overtimes against Marshall (including a 70-footer) came out cold in their state opener, falling behind Fergus Falls 21-5. The Otters (27-3) went on to oust the Bluejays 70-63 with Nathan Rund and Mathew Monke scoring 22 points each. Waseca’s all-time scoring leader Nick Default had 21 in his final game.
St. Clair, making its first state tournament trip, had the misfortunate to open against Minneapolis North, a program that’s won five big school titles and is now down in 1A enrollment-wise but still powerful enough to almost beat perennial 4A power Hopkins, losing that game just 98-96. Top-ranked North (26-5) crushed the Cyclones 80-27 with eight dunks, six of them by Tyler Johnson, who had 14 points, matching Jamil Jackson for high point honors as five players hit double figures. One consolation for St. Clair (22-7) was having the game high scorer in Michell Weber with 15 points.