Thursday, March 8, 2012

100 Years of Minnesota High School Tournament Basketball: Best Boys Shots and Finishes

The MSHSL has continued to recognize the "best of" 100 years of high school basketball tournaments on its Web site. Most recent (over the past 3 weeks) have been Boys Best Shots, Girls Best Finishes, and Boys Best Finishes.

Today I'll comment on the 2 boys categories. OTOH you should check out the MSHSL Web site directly for their info, at, because I'm not going to be repeating what they've said. (Click of 100 Years of BB.) I should also add that the MSHSL has now added links for older videos at the bottom of the feature.

The past 2 categories have been Best Shots and Best Finishes (with Best Games yet to come).I wa snever comfortable with those as 2 separate categories. I mean, what's a Best Shot that isn't a finisher? What's a Best Finish other than the one with the dramatic last-second, game-winning shot?

Making both lists, then:

Jeff Nessler of St. James made a half-court shot at the buzzer to beat Melrose in the 1972 Class AA final. This made Best Shot and Best Finish.

Khalid El-Amin made a pair of 3s, the 2nd one as time expired. to bring Mpls North back from an almost certain defeat to a 67-65 win over St. Thomas.

In 2007, Adam Van Der Stoep, Ellsworth, made 10 3s to help her team beat Cass Lake-Bena in one of the better Class A finals we've seen. The last came with 4 seconds remaining as Ellsworth defeated CLB 74-73.

Barry Wohler hit 3 dramatic last second shots as Bird Island won the Class A title in 1980 and 1981. The 1981 game winner came with 5 seconds remaining in the 2nd OT.

On the best shot list:

Blake Hoffarber's "butt shot" in 2007.

Earl Pennington's half court shot at the final buzzer in 1932 gave Mankato a 17-15 win over Northfield.

Honorable mention on the shot list:

Andy Snyder's half court shot at the end of the 3rd quarter in the 1951 final. To me this was a "finisher," too, because it finished Canby.

On the finishes list:

Wabasso 117 Red Lake 113 in OT in 1997.

New London-Spicer 50 Maple River 49 in '08.

Up next: Boys Games. I would have to think that the "butt shot" game and Wabasso-Red Lake would have to be on that list. To me, the Best Games is the uber-list, because a Best Shot or a Best Finish is going to get on to the Best Game list a lot of the time. I would have combined all 3.

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