One thing was certain even before the tip to start the Class AAAA Boys Basketball Championship Game between top-seeded Park Center and No. 3 Wayzata late Saturday, March 25 at Target Center: One team was going to win a second big-school title within the past three seasons. Through the ebbs and flows that come with championship-level basketball, it was too close to call as the margin between the two powers was razor thin.
One team would build a lead, but it was short-lived. Trading leads was the norm during a Championship Saturday when close title games spanned the day.
Things were so tight in the Class AAAA championship game that bonus basketball was required. That’s when Wayzata made its move.
Junior post Jackson McAndrew scored eight of the Trojans’ nine points in overtime to send Wayzata to a 75-71 victory over Park Center in the final game of the five-day Minnesota State High School League Boys Basketball State Tournament at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. The Trojans’ victory was two-fold: In dethroning the Pirates, it brought a measure of revenge for losing to Park Center in the Class AAAA championship game in 2022. It also sent the Trojans back to the winners circle for the first time since winning it all in 2021. Prior to that, Wayzata’s only boys basketball championship game in 1959 when there was a one-class state tournament format.
After not being able to determine a winner over 36 minutes of regulation time, the teams were tied at 66-all.
McAndrew set the tone for the Trojans (27-4) with the first points of the overtime, which resulted in a three-point play. Just more than a minute later, he had a jaw-dropping dribble drive that began at midcourt and finished with a reverse layup. Later, a single free throw by senior guard Hayden Tibbits with 34.7 seconds remaining gave Wayzata the 75-71 advantage.
McAndrew finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Tibbits, Wayzata’s spark plug on both sides of the court, had 18 points and five assists.
Senior guard CJ O’Hara was a major force for the Pirates (28-3) with 21 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals in the game that was played at a frenetic pace. Junior guard Casmir Chavis added 16 points and four assists.
From MSHSL staff.
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