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Boys Basketball State Tournament 2024: Class A semifinals

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2024 - 6:02 PM

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Cherry became Minnesota’s first Boys Basketball team this season to reach 30 victories following its 76-58 victory over Nevis in the Minnesota State High School League’s Boys Basketball State Tournament at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. But more important than the statistical milestone, it’s the destination as a result of the victory is it what the Tigers care about most.

For the first time in four state tournament appearances, the top-seeded Tigers (30-2) advance to the state championship game and did so with a dynamic attack that uses the entire floor and runs past opponents. Senior guard Isaac Asuma, who next season will be playing on the same court as a member of the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team, scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half when the Tigers built a 15-point lead at the break.

Those were identical figures for his younger brother, Noah, a sophomore forward. Ninth-grade guard Isaiah Asuma contributed 14 points.

Junior Alex Lester, a 6-foot-7 center, had 18 points for Nevis (24-8).

A year ago, Cherry was seeded fourth in the Class A field and finished in that spot. The Tigers are hoping this season’s top seed is accurate as well.

Filling the other berth in the Class A Championship game is No. 3-seeded Fertile-Beltrami. The Falcons (27-6) outlasted No. 2 West Central Area by gaining separation in the third overtime to eventually record a draining 84-73 victory. Fertile-Beltrami outscored the Knights (28-4) 17-4 in the third extra session.

Senior guard Derek Sorenson scored seven points in the third extra session in sending Fertile-Beltrami to the Class A championship game for the first time since being the Sweet Sixteen runner-up in 1996. He finished with 13 points and five assists. He made the first basket of the third overtime, a three-pointer, that sent the Falcons on their way. Sophomore forward Preston Hanson had 23 points, including a key three-point play early in the third overtime that gave the Falcons a six-point advantage. Hanson also forced the third overtime session with two free throws with 53.6 seconds left in the second overtime.

West Central Area (28-4) forced overtime in dramatic fashion when senior guard Mitch Dewey banked in a three-point on a shot-put type shot from between the college three-point line and midcourt just a heartbeat before the final horn to end regulation. He finished with 11 points. Later, Fertile-Beltrami senior guard Masen Nowacki hit a three-pointer from the wing with six seconds remaining in the first overtime to force a second extra session.

Consolation semifinals

  • Heritage Christian Academy 68, Goodhue 54: Heritage Christian Academy bounced back from a quarterfinal loss to West Central Area to record a 14-point victory over Goodhue in the consolation semifinals at the Gangelhoff Center at Concordia (St. Paul). Junior forward Abu Tarawallie scored 21 points to pace the Eagles (21-8). Junior Joshua Sokeye added 16. Goodhue eighth-grade guard Alex Loos had 18 points.
  • Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 83, Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey 65: Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, the Class A champion a year ago, advanced to the consolation final by racing past the Wolverines. Senior center Drew Werkman was a dominant force in the post with 26 points and 16 rebounds. Senior guard Carson Gylling added 17 for the Knights (24-8). Senior guard Carter Olson scored 23 points and had six assists for Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey (27-5).

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