2008 Season Recap
#1 Story: Winona State wins 2nd national title in 3 years
The Winona State men started the 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 trailing Augusta State 53-37 with 17:25 remaining in the D2 title game. But Jonte Flowers scored 25 2nd half points and Winona State came back to win their 2nd national title in 3 years by a score of 87-76. Senior center John Smith was named national D2 player of the year for the 2nd straight year, as the Warriors’ ran their 3 year record to 105-6.
#2: St. Paul Central repeats as girls AAAA champion
After losing to Mpls. South and guard Tayler Hill in the Twin City game, defending state champ St. Paul Central came into the state final as a decided underdog. Yet, Central took an early 14-6 lead against South. But the Tigers roared back to a 19-18 half-time lead, and opened up a 33-24 lead at 13:23. Central stormed back to tie at 34, and it remained tight through 44-all. At 1:00, Kyana Johnson scored her only 2 points of the night to give Central the lead for good. Reserve guard Cyonna West held Hill to a career low of 9 points. The final was 49-44.
#3: Jordan’s Brittney Chambers explodes for 47
Chambers electrified girls hoops fans with a historic 47 point effort against favored Crookston in the semi-final, leading the Jaguars to a an upset 79-74 win in the highest scoring game in girls tournament history. But Chambers and Jordan had nothing left to give on Saturday afternoon (after the Friday night semi) and fell to underdog Albany in the final, 62-50. Ironically, the 47 points broke the tournament single game scoring record of 45 set by Albany’s Kelly Skalicky in 1981.
#4: Minnetonka takes boys AAAA title
For the second consecutive year, Hopkins was derailed by Minnetonka in Section 6AAAA—this 74-71 score in overtime. But unlike 2007, the Skippers (25-3) themselves made it to the state tournament. In the final, Henry Sibley shocked Minnetonka by running out to 12-0, 30-9 and 33-11 leads. But an Andy Burns 3 at the buzzer brought the Skippers within 33-20, and the second half was all Minnetonka. They took the lead at 43-42 on back-to-back steals leading to a breakaway stuff by C. J. Erickson and a 3 by Anthony Tucker. The final was 68-59 as Tucker led ‘Tonka with 27 points.
#5: Minnesota Gopher women contend for Big Ten title, but fade down the stretch
Led by junior all-Big Ten guard Emily Fox, the Gopher women surprised their fans by contending for the Big Ten title. Iowa tied Ohio State for the Big Ten title at 13-5, and the difference between the Hawkeyes and the 11-7 Gophers was 2 Iowa wins by 3 and 2 points, the latter in overtime. Poor shooting haunted the Gophers all year, however, and the Gophers finished 20-12. In the Big Ten tournament, Minnesota made 1 of its first 23 shots and lost to Michigan State 56-51. In the NCAAs Texas did the honors 72-55 as the Gophers shot 5 of 28 (17.5 percent) in the first half.
2007-2008 Minnesota Hoops Awards
1. John Smith, Winona State men
2. Cody Schilling, Ellsworth boys
3. Emily Fox, Minnesota Gopher women
4. Tayler Hill, Mpls. South girls
5. Brittney Chambers, Jordan girls
Coach of the Year
1. Paul Fessler, Concordia (St. Paul) women
2. Mike Leaf, Winona State men
3. Willie Taylor, St. Paul Central girls
4. David Smart, Ada girls
5. Fred Kindschy, Hayfield girls
1. Winona State men 38-1
2. St. Paul Central girls 28-4
3. Minnetonka boys 28-3
4. Concordia (St. Paul) women 29-4
5. Minnesota Gopher women 20-12
Game of the Year
1. Brittney Chambers scores a record 47 points as Jordan surprises #1 ranked Crookston 79-74 in AA semi-finals in highest scoring game in girls tournament history
2. St. Thomas surprises Winona State 83-82 in OT, ending the Warriors’ 36 game home winning streak
3. Minnetonka won the rubber match over Hopkins 74-71 in OT in the section 6AAAA boys final, en route to its 3rd state high school basketball championship
4. The Minnesota Gopher men upset Indiana 59-58 in the Big Ten tournament, as Blake Hoffarber hits the buzzer-beater after catching a three-quarter court pass from Travis Busch
5. New London-Spicer edges Maple River 50-49 on a put-back by Wade Powers, who then blocks Maple River’s final shot at the buzzer