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' SHOTS
|Blake Hoffarber, Hopkins 2005|
Eastview was on the verge of a historic upset of No. 1 Hopkins in the Class AAAA championship game, leading the Royals 58-56 in what was already an overtime classic. Hopkins was pinned on its own baseline with just 2.5 seconds left to play. Andrew Henke launched a baseball pass to the Hopkins free throw line extended to the left wing. Royals’ sophomore Blake Hoffarber fell to the floor in a mad scramble, but caught the ball lying flat on his back and quickly launched a two-handed heave from over his head. The ball swished through the net as the buzzer sounded. After officials conferred it was determined that Hoffarber had been sitting on the three-point line, so his was a two-pointer, tying the score and requiring another OT. The final was Hopkins 71 Eastview 60 (2OT). Soon afterwards, Hoffarber was demonstrating — and duplicating — his "lucky" shot on national TV and later he won an ESPY Award for Play of the Year.
|Jeff Nessler, St. James 1972|
St. James and Melrose were tied at 55 as time wound down on their Class A state championship game and Saints’ guard Jeff Nessler pushed the ball up court. He let fly from half court and the buzzer quickly sounded. It was only a second later that the ball fell to the court but first passing through the hoop, touching nothing but net. As a result, St. James became the Class A champion, but also won the "overall state title" two nights later.
|Earl Pennington, Mankato 1932|
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 let it fly from half court, and the ball fell through the hoop as time expired. The final score was Mankato 17 Northfield 15.
|Aaron Van Der Stoep, Ellsworth 2007|
Ellsworth led by as many as 10 points in the first half of the 2007 Class A final, but Cass Lake-Bena battled back to lead 37-35 at the half. 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.
|Khalid El-Amin, Minneapolis North 1996|
In a 1996 quarterfinal game, St. Thomas 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 Minneapolis North win.
OTHER NOTABLE SHOTS
Andy Snyder, Gilbert 1951.
Canby was favored to win the 1951 state title. However, Gilbert took a 52-38 lead late in the third quarter. Andy Snyder hit a three-quarter court shot as the third quarter horn sounded. Gilbert went on to a 69-52 win.
Barry Wohler, Bird Island-Lake Lillian 1981.
Bird Island-Lake Lillian and Winona Cotter battled into a second OT in the 1981 Class A final. With the score tied at 47-all and just five seconds remaining, Wohler hit a 23-footer to win a second straight title for Bird Island-Lake Lillian. He finished the game with 28 points.