The celebration of 100 years of state basketball tournaments continues with the announcement of the top shots in the history of the girls' state tourney. As with past and upcoming announcements of the best of 100 years of state basketball tournaments, these lists have been compiled with the assistance of a committee of basketball historians and experts from around Minnesota.
In the coming weeks, similar listings of the best games and best finishes in state tournament history will be announced. These announcements and other activities related to 100 years of state tourneys will lead into this year's tournaments; the girls will play at Williams Arena and Target Center March 14-17 and the boys will do the same March 21-24.
TOP BOYS' FINISHES
|St. James 57, Melrose 55 -- 1972 Class A Final|
St. James and Melrose were tied at 55 as time wound down on their Class A state championship game and as Saints’ guard Jeff Nessler pushed the ball up court. He let fly from half court and the buzzer quickly sounded. It was a full second later before the ball hit the floor, but first passing through the hoop along its way, touching nothing but net. As a result, St. James became the Class A champion. The Saints also won the "overall state title" two nights later, beating Class AA champion Mounds View 60-52.
|Minneapolis North 67, St. Thomas Academy 65 -- 1996 Sweet 16 Quarterfinal|
St. Thomas Academy led the defending Sweet Sixteen state champions by four points late when Khalid El-Amin swished a three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining. The Tommies then missed a pair of free throws, and El-Amin made them pay, nailing another long three from beyond the top of the key as the buzzer sounded for a 67-65 North win.
|Wabasso 117, Red Lake 113 (OT) -- 1997 Class A Semifinal|
The Wabasso Rabbits led the Red Lake Warriors by 14 with 1:15 left in their Class A semifinal game. Then Red Lake guard Gerald Kingbird scored 13 points in 57 seconds, including a three at 0:17.7 to tie the score at 105. In OT Red Lake took their first lead since it was 10-8 (and last lead) at 111-109, but the Rabbits pulled away to a 117-113 win. Kingbird scored 37 points in the game.
|Ellsworth 74, Cass Lake-Bena 73 -- 2007 Class A Final|
Ellsworth led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but Cass Lake-Bena battled back to lead 37-35 at halftime. In the second half Ellsworth led by as many as seven, but Cass Lake-Bena came back again to lead 73-69 with 1:30 to play. Cody Schilling scored on a lay-up and then fed Aaron Van Der Stoep with just four seconds left to play. Van Der Stoep hit his 10th three-point basket of the day to win the Class A championship for Ellsworth.
|Bird Island-Lake Lillian, 49 Winona Cotter 47 (2OT) -- 1981 Class A Final|
Bird Island-Lake Lillian and Winona Cotter battled back and forth into a second overtime. With the score tied at 47-all and just five seconds remaining, Barry Wohler hit a 23-footer to win a second straight title for Bird Island-Lake Lillian. He finished the game with 28 points.
OTHER NOTABLE SHOTS
Mankato 17, Northfield 15 -- 1932 Quarterfinal
The earliest known "long shot" came in a 1932 quarterfinal game. Mankato and Northfield were tied at 15 as the clocked ticked down. Earl Pennington of Mankato launched the ball from half-court and it fell through the hoop as time expired.
New London-Spicer 50, Maple River 49 -- 2008 Class AA Semi-Final
At no time over the final 12 minutes was this more than a one-possession game, and with 14 seconds left Logan Drager made the unlikely three-plus-one play to give Maple River a 49-48 lead. Then with seven seconds remaining Wade Powers hit a jumper to put New London-Spicer back ahead. Powers then blocked a Maple River shot at the final buzzer.