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Huskies pull off playoff shocker
All three Bulletin-area high school basketball teams wound up seeded seventh in their respective section tournaments. Facing the No. 2 seed in the first round is not usually the optimum route to the semifinals but it worked for St. Anthony Village.
The Huskies upset second-seeded and 10th-ranked Columbia Heights 58-57 on Thursday to make it to the second round of the Section 3AAA playoffs.
Junior Noah Bluth drained a three-pointer off the glass with 1.3 seconds left to give St. Anthony the improbable victory.
Bluth’s three gave him 15 points for the game. Mike Studer led all scorers with 20 and added 10 rebounds while Nick Kampa added 14. Only five Huskies scored in the game while eight different Columbia Heights players recorded points. Only two Hylanders reached double figures, however.
St. Anthony got off to a solid start and built a 10-point lead at halftime. Columbia Heights responded by opening the second half on a 14-4 run to tie it at 33. The Huskies went back in front by nine but the Hylanders roared back to take a two-point lead in the final minute.
The win sends the Huskies to Tuesday’s semifinals at 8 p.m. at Coon Rapids High School against third-seeded Spring Lake Park, a 78-67 winner in the quarterfinals over sixth-seeded Minneapolis Patrick Henry.
St. Anthony is in the section semifinals for the second consecutive year. Last season, the Huskies opened the playoffs as the third seed and beat sixth-seeded Fridley before losing to second-seeded DeLaSalle in the semifinals.
The Huskies are trying to reach the section final for the first time since 2004. The last time St. Anthony lasted three games in the section playoffs was 2007 when it was in Section 4AA. It took four wins to reach the state tournament back then.
A pair of lower-seeded teams pulled off upsets in the first round of the Section 5AAAA boys basketball playoffs last week. Irondale was not one of those teams.
The Knights, seeded seventh, faced an awfully tough task in the quarterfinals as second-seeded Osseo welcomed Irondale last Thursday. The Orioles, ranked second in the state heading to the post-season, weren’t the most cordial of hosts, however, as they cruised to an 83-58 victory.
Irondale was able to stay within striking distance in the first half but couldn’t keep up with Osseo after the break. The Orioles led by nine at halftime.
Osseo’s Ian Theisen led all scorers with 30 and got plenty of scoring help from Bridgeport Tusler, who added 25.
Irondale’s Jack Martinek closed out his prep career with a 25-point effort and was joined in double figures by teammates Jonny Nguyen (14) and Ben Ojika (10).
Osseo, with the victory, advances to Tuesday’s semifinals at Rogers High School against sixth-seeded Centennial, a 62-57 winner over third-seeded Champlin Park in the first round.
Like Irondale, Mounds View’s first-round playoff foe was highly-ranked, highly regarded and did not disappoint.
The seventh-seeded Mustangs couldn’t keep up with second-seeded and fifth-ranked Woodbury last Wednesday in the Section 4AAAA quarterfinals. The Royals topped Mounds View 83-63.
Mounds View got double-digit efforts from three players but it wasn’t enough as Woodbury had four players score 10 or more.
Ryan Kaczynski led Mounds View and was one point shy of game-high honors with 21 points. Tim Hanson added 17 and Ky Christenson scored 10. Matt Ambriz of Woodbury led all scorers with 22.
Woodbury followed up its win over Mounds View by beating Mahtomedi 91-85 in the semifinals on Saturday. The Royals take on Stillwater in the section final on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at East Ridge High School.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.
Section 3AAA boys basketball playoffs
DeLaSalle 91, St. Paul Como Park 47
Fridley 56, Totino-Grace 54
Spring Lake Park 78, Minneapolis Patrick Henry 67
St. Anthony Village 58, Columbia Heights 57
Semifinals, Tuesday at Coon Rapids High School
Fridley vs. DeLaSalle, 6 p.m.
St. Anthony Village vs. Spring Lake Park, 8 p.m.
Friday, 7 p.m. at Coon Rapids High School