When it came to which team would be the state champion in Minnesota Class AAA Boys Basketball for 2011, there could be only one. Unfortunately for the Columbia Heights Hylanders, on this night it would not be them.
The Orono Spartans took home the Minnesota State AAA basketball title tonight with an 85-76 victory over the Hylanders tonight at the Target Center. It was the third consecutive game at the Target Center on this Saturday that saw a team win their first ever Minnesota state championship.
Orono took a 34-32 lead into the locker room at halftime, and the game was tied at 47 all with 11:54 left in the game. Brady Wohler hit a three pointer and hit a layup to make the score 52-49 in favor of the Spartans. By the time the game reached the 5:41 mark, Orono had taken a commanding 70-57 lead.
The Hylanders went on a 9-0 run to close the gap to four, but it wasn't enough, and the Spartans took home the hardware.
Wohler led the Spartans in scoring with 23, and Jordan Smith tossed in 21 despite being in foul trouble most of the night. Jeremy Borg also had 19 for Orono, and Erik Peterson had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
For the Hylanders, Zach Lofton. . .who was also saddled with foul issues for the evening. . .led his team with 19 points, while Jordan Mills helped out with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Glover also had 17 for Columbia Heights.
There was a bit of controversy that took place after the game, when Lofton, who was originally named to the Class 3A All-Tournament team, was removed from the team at the last minute to do exhibiting poor sportsmanship, according to Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Congratulations to the Orono Spartans on winning the Minnesota Class AAA basketball championship, and congratulations to Columbia Heights on a great season. . .Zach Lofton's behavior isn't enough to take away from the fact that the Hylanders had a great year.