Shared from the 3/26/2017 Star Tribune eEdition

CLASS 1A MINNEAPOLIS NORTH 96,NORTH WOODS 49

Polars score repeat in final 1A season

Minneapolis North dominates North Woods, taking a hoops curtain call before it jumps a class.

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ANTHONY SOUFFLE • Star Tribune North High players basked in another title. Next, it’s up to a higher class.

Cade Goggleye had been a steadying, calming force running North Woods’ offensive attack, but Minneapolis North pushed the sophomore point guard out of his comfort zone Saturday.

The No. 1-ranked Polars used a quick, swarming defense to smother Goggleye and his teammates in a 96-49 running-time victory in the Class 1A championship at Target Center.

The Polars (32-2) won back-to-back state championships in what turned out to be their final season in Class 1A. The program has been approved to move to 2A starting next year.

“We always want to take the other team’s best player out of the game, so we wanted to trap him early,” Polars senior guard JaQuan Sanders-Smith said. “That’s what our coach [Larry McKenzie] loves.”

Goggleye had two turnovers in the first 2 minutes, 25 seconds and the Polars were off and running with a quickly transitioning offense. He had four of the Grizzlies’ 13 first-half turnovers after having only one in their previous two state tournament games.

“They come at you fast, and rotate really quickly,” Goggleye said. “I couldn’t get by them. They’re the best I’ve ever seen.”

The Polars scored 17 of the first 19 points over the first seven minutes. They continued to push the tempo, taking a 48-21 lead at the intermission. Sanders-Smith scored 15 of his 24 points before halftime.

“We were working for every inch of the floor,” North Woods coach Will Kleppe said. “We knew we had a tall order today.”

The Polars pushed their lead to 47 points by scoring the last 12 points over the final 3:33. Their average margin of victory was 46 points per game in the state tournament.

Polars guard Isaac Johnson concluded his outstanding career with 28 points. Junior center ODell Wilson IV had 12 points and senior guard Marquis Holloman added 10.

Junior forward Tate Olson led the Grizzlies (31-2) with 14 points, including four three-pointers. Goggleye, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer, scored 12 points after being shut out in the first half.

“Today, our mission is complete,” McKenzie said. “This is the best team I’ve ever had. They’re special.”

The last time North won consecutive titles was from 1995-1997, when it competed among the state’ biggest schools.

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