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Boys State Basketball: Minnetonka snaps 19-game losing streak against Wayzata to claim Class 4A state championship

Minnetonka is no longer on the short side of the scoreboard with Wayzata. The losing streak that the Minnetonka boys basketball team has endured against their Lake Conference rivals had reached 19 consecutive games dating to Jan. 16, 2015. Try as they might in those previous meetings, Minnetonka kept falling short.

But on Saturday, March 23, they flipped the script and had had enough. And the Skippers couldn’t have picked a better time to do so.

Minnetonka, the No. 3 seed to open the Minnesota State High School League’s Boys Basketball State Tournament, used a championship game setting in front of a bountiful, electric crowd at Williams Arena to stop the dry spell in style. Minnetonka led from the start and didn’t falter in recording a 72-61 victory over the Trojans.

Senior forward Kayden Wells scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while senior guard Andrew Stefonowicz also had 19 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists as Minnetonka (25-6) won a big-school championship for the fourth time. The others were the single-class title in 1965, the Class AAAA crown in 1998 and another Class AAAA championship in 2008.

The Class AAAA finale to the boys basketball season had a similar feeling to a week ago during the Girls Basketball State Tournament. Minnetonka, the No. 2 seed in the girls’ field upended top-seeded Hopkins in another clash of Lake Conference powers.

Minnetonka’s losing streak to Wayzata reached 19 in a 103-88 setback on March 1 in the Lake Conference regular-season finale. It was the second loss of the season to the Trojans. Despite the lopsided result, the Skippers were eager for a rematch in the postseason. While Minnetonka won the Section 2AAAA championship, Wayzata did the same in Section 6AAAA. The path materialized even more when Minnetonka and Wayzata were in opposite brackets for the state tournament.

The Skippers led by as many as 14 in the first half, and even when the Trojans (29-2) made pushes to close the gap, Minnetonka was staunch in coming up with key stops or converting on offensive chances.

Stefonowicz sealed the Skippers’ emotional victory with three free throws in the final 28 seconds.

Wayzata’s Jackson McAndrew, Minnesota’s top-rated senior and a Creighton University recruit, had 17 points in the first half, but then limited to just four in the second. Sophomore guard Christian Wiggins added 18 points.

Minnetonka’s head coach is Bryce Tesdahl, the grandson of legendary Minnesota boys basketball coach, Bob McDonald, whose first title at Chisholm was in 1973. He won other championships in 1975 and 1991. Fifty-one years later, Tesdahl has brought another state championship to the family.

Third place

  • Eagan 84, Cretin-Derham Hall 65: Unseeded Eagan began the state tournament with an upset victory in the quarterfinals and added another with a win over Cretin-Derham Hall for the third-place trophy at the Gangelhoff Center on the Concordia (St. Paul) campus. Seniors Charles Birk and Liam Madigan had 20 points each to lead the Wildcats (19-13) past the Raiders (25-6), who were seeded No. 5. Sophomore guard Joe Mitchell had 17 points.

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