Area Boys' Basketball: No answer
MINNEAPOLIS—In the first couple minutes, it was a back-and-forth game. For the next 34 minutes, Minnehaha Academy ran away with it, seemingly scoring at will.
Led by top-recruit Jalen Suggs, and 7-foot center Chet Holmgren, the Redhawks went on a 22-6 run after leading 5-2 with 15 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first half en route to an 82-52 win over the Lake City boys' basketball team.
Coming into the semifinal game against the No. 1-ranked and first-seeded Redhawks, the Tigers knew it was going to take a terrific effort to pull a major upset.
"They're one of the top two teams in the state of Minnesota, all classes," said Lake City head coach Greg Berge. "We knew that we needed to play a really, really good game at high level to beat them. Our margin of error was fairly slim. We needed to shoot the ball well and get back on (defense). We needed to make it a half-court game. They scored too many points in the first half in transition on us.
"The way they shot and played tonight, it would have been tough for anyone to beat them."
In the second half, it was more of the same. The Redhawks continued to push the pace offensively and use their speed to get down the court quickly. When the Redhawks weren't cherry-picking the Tiger defense, they were spreading the ball around, using their size to extend their already large lead.
Holmgren, Suggs and Prince Aligbe all threw down dunks and alley-oops that brought the Minnehaha students to their feet.
The Tigers did get some open shots to start the second half, but none of them seemed to fall.
It was frustrating for Nathan Heise to bring the ball inside and kick out a pass to a teammate on the perimeter, only to have Redhawk already in the shooter's face.
"They were in the passing lanes and when you drove, there weren't many kickouts open," Heise said.
Defending Heise was Minnehaha's Siegal Howard. All game, Howard tried to keep Heise outside and not let him drive to the basket. When Heise did make it to the basket, Howard said he was at ease knowing he had a 7-foot security blanket standing under the net.
"He's a heck of shooter," Howard said of Heise. "He shoots from behind the NBA three. So I tried to do my best not letting him get a shot off. ... Playing with a 7-footer saved me a couple times (when Heise) got by me because he's a pretty good player. Having Chet down there in the paint is whole game-changer."
The Redhawks spread the ball around as they had four players scoring in the double-digits.
"Usually teams have one or two guys that can really score," Suggs said. "When you have guys like Chet, Kaden, Prince, Siegal, Craig, Donavan, the list just goes on and on of guys who come in and work hard. Playing with them helps my game, and them playing with me helps them. Right now we're playing the best basketball (we've played) all season."
Gastner led the Tigers with 21 points and five rebounds. Heise finished with 16 points. Jake Wohlers, who was a perfect 2-for-2 from behind the arc, had six points.
Lake City (27-3) fell for the first time in the calendar year. The Tigers had a 19-game win streak snapped and had previously lost on Dec. 28, 2018 against Rochester John Marshall.
The Tigers next face Perham for third place at Concordia University in St. Paul at 12 p.m. Saturday.