The celebration of 100 years of state basketball tournaments continues with the announcement of the top teams in the history of the boys' 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 shots, 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 FIVE BOYS' BASKETBALL TEAMS
Minneapolis North (30-0), 1995
The first of the Polars' three-peat championships, and the best based on their unbeaten season record. Point guard Khalid El-Amin and forward Jabbar Washington led the Polars to all three titles in 1995, 1996 (Sweet 16 two-class crossover format) and 1997 (AAAA-first year of four-class format).
|North defeated White Bear Lake Area 84-64 and Cretin-Derham Hall 51-48 as Washington scored 45 points. Duluth East became the Polars' semifinal victim 48-41, and in the final a last-second put-back by Kavon Westberry gave the Polars a 54-52 win over Staples-Motley. Three North players, including two starters, were declared ineligible for the championship game for academic reasons. For Westberry, the championship-winning score was just his third basket of the tournament.|
Hopkins (31-0), 2009
The Royals won their fourth of what would soon become six state titles in 10 years in 2009, and the 2009 squad was regarded as the best of all. Their entire starting lineup went on to play Division 1 college ball, as did several more players who came off the bench. In the tournament itself, three opponents were beaten by a 64-40 margin. Center Mike Broghammer led all scorers in the quarterfinals with 12 points, while Royce White scored 20 points in the final, a 69-59 win over Osseo. One poll had the Royals rated as high as No. 4 in the nation.
Edina (27-0), 1967
Edina was the first team in tournament history to win three titles in a row (1966-1968). The undefeated 1966 team won three tournament games by one point, one in triple OT and another in OT. The 1968 team won three tournament games by an average of 23 points, but lost one game during the regular season. The 1967 team won three tournament games by an average of 20 points, and finished the season undefeated. It also placed four players on the all-tournament team — forwards Kurt Shellhas and Jay Kiedrowski, and guard Jeff Wright, all for the second time, and center Bob Zender, who would return to gain all-tournament honors a second time in 1968.
Edgerton (27-0), 1960
Perhaps the most famous of all Minnesota state champions, Edgerton represents the now-lost tradition of the small town Cinderella. As such, they defeated traditional power Chisholm 65-54 in the quarterfinals, favored Richfield of the powerful Lake Conference 63-60 in OT in the semifinals, and perennial power Austin 72-61 in the final. Edgerton is another of the very few teams ever to land four players on the all-tournament team — Leroy Graphenteen, Darrell Kreun. Dean Veenhof, and Dean Verdoes. In addition to being the smallest school from the smallest town ever to win the single class tournament, Edgerton also set free throw shooting records, making 82 free throws out of 116 attempts, a record that still stands to this day.
Minneapolis Edison (15-1), 1937
Edison is regarded as the greatest team to play before World War II. They had lost in the 1929 finals, the 1935 semis and, in a huge upset, in the 1936 quarterfinals. There would be no losses in the 1937 tournament; the Tommies defeated Crosby-Ironton 38-27 in the quarterfinals. They then set a single-game scoring record in beating New Ulm 62-23 in the semis, as Joe Mernik scored 18 points. In the final, Edison beat Virginia 37-24 as Walt Andrewski scored 12 points. Mernik and Andrewski were joined by guard and defensive specialist Willie Warhol on the all-tournament team. Warhol went on to play basketball at the University of Minnesota, while Mernik became a prominent player on Minnesota's 1940 national championship football team. A fourth player, Don "Swede" Carlson, would later play for the Minnesota Gophers and the Minneapolis Lakers.
OTHER NOTABLE TEAMS
Red Wing (19-0), 1922
The Wingers won the 1920 state title. In 1921, two starters were left home with the flu. Guard Butsie Maetzold, later coach of two Hopkins state champions, always claimed that Red Wing would otherwise have won three straight state titles. In any event, they repeated in 1922 as only the second unbeaten champion to that time.
Hopkins (25-1), 1952 and (23-0), 1953
The Royals lost by two points in the quarterfinals in 1951, then swept six straight games and two titles by an average margin of 10 points the next two years. Forward Dave Tschimperle was the second of two boys to earn all-tournament honors three times.
Minneapolis Roosevelt (20-3), 1956 and (27-0), 1957
The 1956 Teddies lost three times that season, but swept three tournament games by the incredible margin of 27 points per game. They are the only team ever to break the century mark in a state final, defeating Blue Earth 101-54 in the final. The 1957 Teddies needed OT to defeat Bemidji in their quarterfinal, and beat Red Wing 59-51 in the final.
Duluth Central (27-0), 1961
Central was led by coach Jim Hastings and a classic inside-out combination of guard Terry Kunze and forward Chet Anderson. They easily won two games by 22 points each, then survived an upset bid by Bemidji before winning the title 51-50.
St. James (27-0), 1972
The Saints boasted one of the greatest guard pairs to play in the tournament. Jim Chalin scored 19 points in the Class A final, though it was Jeff Nessler's half-court shot at the final buzzer that defeated Melrose 57-55 in the final. Nessler then scored 22 points as the Saints then defeated Mounds View 60-53 in the two-class playoff game.
Melrose (27-0), 1974
Mark Olberding was one of the most dominant big men ever to play in the state tournament, scoring 203 points in seven games in 1973 and 1974. The Flying Dutchmen took fifth place in the last single-class tournament in 1970, then played for the Class A title four straight times from 1971 through 1974.
Minneapolis Marshall-University (28-0), 1976
The Cardinals are the only team, boys or girls, ever to place all five starters on the all-tournament team. They included Ronnie Hadley, Rodney Hargest, point guard Ronnie Henderson, Jim Ludgate and Steve Newby.
White Bear Lake (26-0 both years), 1984 and 1985
Never before had two unbeaten teams played for a boys' state title. But it happened in both 1984 and 1985, with Minneapolis North and White Bear Lake facing off each time. The Bears defeated the Polars each time, 51-47 and 67-62, respectively.
Minneapolis Patrick Henry, 2000-2003
The Patriots and coach Larry McKenzie won 112 games and four straight state championships while losing just 13 games from 2000 to 2003. The 2000 Patriots were the best of the four, coming into the tournament at 25-1,its only loss to national power Oak Hill (Va.) Academy. Three tournament wins followed by the wide margin of 74-46.
Braham (31-2), 2004 and (33-0), 2005 and (31-2), 2006
The Bombers won three straight Class AA championships, winning nine straight tournament games, all by double-digit margins. Isaiah Dahlman led all tournament scorers in 2004 and 2005, and finished with 236 points in the tournament, two short of Khalid El-Amin's record (since broken by Ellsworth's Cody Schilling).