Sunday, March 15, 2009

2008 Season Recap

#1 Story: Winona State men win 2nd NCAA title in 3 years

The Winona State men started their 2007-2008 season inauspiciously enough, with an 83-82 overtime loss to D3 St. Thomas that ended a 36-game home winning streak. Four months later, the Warriors found themselves on the wrong side of a 73-57 to Augusta State at 17:25 of the D2 title game. But Jonte Flowers scored 25 second half points, and Winona came back to win 87-76. Senior center John Smith was named D2 player of the year for the second time, and the Warriors ran their three-year record to 105-6.

#2 Story: St. Paul Central repeats as girls AAAA champion

After losing three regular season games, plus the Twin City game to Mpls. South and guard Tayler Hill, Central came into its state championship rematch against the Tigers as a decided underdog. And, though the Minutemen led early, the Tigers were up 33-24 at 13:23. But, Central stormed back to tie it up at 34, and it remained tight through 44. Then, at 1:00, Kyana Johnson scored her only two points of the night to give Central the lead for good. The final was 49-44.

#3 Story: Jordan's Brittney Chambers explodes for 47

Chambers electrified girls hoops fans with a historic 47 point effort in a AA semi-final upset of Crookston, 79-74 in the highest scoring game in girls tournament history. But, Chambers and Jordan had nothing left to give on Saturday and fell to Albany 62-50. Ironically, Chambers' 47 points broke the tournament record of 45 set by Albany's Kelly Skalicky in 1981.

#4 Story: Minnetonka takes boys AAAA title

For the second straight year, Minnetonka knocked Hopkins out of the section 6AAAA tournament, this time 74-71 in overtime. Unlike 2007, however, the Skippers themselves made it to the state tournament and came into the final as a heavy favorite. Henry Sibley shocked Minnetonka by running out to 12-0, 30-9 and 33-11 leads, but by half-time it was down to 33-20. The second half was all Minnetonka. They took their first lead at 43-42 when a pair of steals led to a stuff by C.J.Erickson and a three by Anthony Tucker. The final was 68-59 as Tucker scored 27.

#5 Story: Gopher women contend for Big Ten title

The Gopher women surprised their fans by contending for the Big Ten title. Iowa tied Ohio State for the title at 13-5, and the difference between the Hawkeyes and the 11-7 Gophers was 3 points and then 2 in overtime. Still, poor shooting haunted the Gophers who made 1 of their first 23 shots in the Big Ten tournament and 5 of 28 in their NCAA tournament loss to Texas. 

Player of the Year

1. John Smith, Winona State, senior, center
2. Cody Schilling, Ellsworth, senior, guard
3. Emily Fox, Minnesota, junior, guard
4. Jordan Taylor, Benilde, senior, guard
5. Tayler Hill, Mpls. South, junior, guard

Coach of the Year

1. Paul Fessler, Concordia (St. Paul) women
2. Mike Leaf, Winona State men
3. Willie Taylor, St. Paul Central women
4. David Smart, Ada girls
5. Tubby Smith, Minnesota men

Top Teams

1. Winona State men 38-1, NCAA D2 national champions
2. St. Paul Central girls 28-4, MSHSL girls AAAA champions
3. Minnetonka boys 28-3, MSHSL boys AAAA champions
4. Concordia women 29-4, NSIC regular & post-season champs
5. Minnesota women 20-12

Games of the Year

1. Jordan 79 Crookston 74, as Brittney Chambers explodes for 47 points
2. St. Thomas 83 Winona State 82, stopping the Warriors' 36 game home winning streak
3. Minnetonka 74 Hopkins 71 (OT), section 6AAAA semi, en route to state title
4. Minnesota 59 Indiana 58, in Big Ten tournament on Blake Hoffarber's buzz-beater
5. New London-Spicer 50 Maple River 49, on Wade Powers' put-back and block at the buzzer

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