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State Champions!
Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:00 PM



Summary 31442
By MSHSL  Staff
Minneapolis North added to its rich tradition of boys basketball success with the seventh state championship in program history following a 96-49 victory over North Woods in the Class A final Saturday at Target Center. 

Four players helped fuel the Polars’ run to a successful Class A title defense. Senior guard Isaac Johnson scored 28 points and had nine rebounds while senior guard 
JaQuan Sanders-Smith had 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field. 

Junior center Odell Wilson IV was a powerful presence in the low post for the Polars (32-2) with 12 points and nine rebounds. Senior reserve guard Marquis Holloman had 10 points in 12 minutes of play. 

Minneapolis North’s championships in boys basketball span four decades. The program won its first state championship in 1980. More followed in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2003 and the past two seasons in Class A. The Polars were also state runner-ups in 1933, 1938, 1984, 1985 and 1990.

North Woods (31-2), located on the west side of Lake Vermilion outside of Cook, was on an upset binge entering the state championship game. The Grizzlies upset No. 3 Central Minnesota Christian in the quarterfinals and then upended No. 2 Goodhue in the semifinals. 

Minneapolis North made sure the spree didn’t continue in racing to a 48-21 lead after the first half. The Polars’ pressure defense created 24 North Woods turnovers, including 13 in the first half. 

Junior forward Tate Olson led the Grizzlies with 14 points and five assists. Senior center George Bibeau had 13 points and five rebounds while sophomore guard Cade Goggleye had 12 points, two blocks and two steals. 

Minneapolis North won’t return to the Class A field in 2018 to defend its championship. Because of enrollment, Minneapolis North will move into the Class AA field for the next two school years. 

With the victory, Minneapolis North head coach Larry McKenzie became the first coach in Minnesota high school history to win multiple titles at two schools. From 2000-03, he led Minneapolis Patrick Henry to four consecutive Class AAA championships.