Top 10 moments of the 2023 boys basketball postseason
There were a lot of exciting playoff games played by Section 1 boys basketball teams this season. Here is a look back at the top 10 postseason games from the 2022-23 season.
ROCHESTER — The 2022-23 boys basketball season concluded a week ago with three area teams out of Section 1 playing in state tournaments.
Spring Grove had the top finish for an area team by placing third in the state in Class A. Stewartville managed to place fifth in Class AAA. Plainview-Elgin-Millville earned a state berth in Class AA, but finished 0-2 at state.
There were a lot of thrilling games played by teams in Section 1 all during the postseason. Here is a look back at the top 10 postseason moments that occurred during section and state tournament play:
1. Peters' 3-pointer lifts P-E-M
No. 2 seed Plainview-Elgin-Millville and No. 1 Lake City played a thriller in the Section 1AA championship game.
P-E-M had lost in the Section 1AA title game to Caledonia a season ago in triple overtime. This year’s 1AA title game looked like it was headed for extra time as well.
But senior Kaiden Peters ended this classic in regulation as he took an in-bounds pass with 1.7 seconds left, took one dribble, head faked a defender and then popped in a 25-foot 3-pointer to give P-E-M a 58-55 victory and a Class AA state berth.
Senior Aeron Stevens was stellar for P-E-M with 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Peters added 12 points. Hunter Lorenson led the hard-luck Tigers with 17 points and Ryan Heise added 15.
2. Stewartville claims fifth on late 3
In its first state berth in program history, the Stewartville boys basketball team was playing for fifth place in the Class AAA state tournament.
After falling 71-66 to DeLaSalle in the state quarterfinals and then topping Hermantown 85-67 in the consolation semifinals, the Tigers were in a tussle with St. Francis in the fifth-place game.
Stewartville had led St. Francis by 11 at halftime, but the Tigers found themselves down 55-53 in the final minute of play. Sophomore Parker Wangen then stepped up and drilled a 3-point shot with 33 seconds remaining to give the Tigers a 56-55 victory. Stewartville had a late defensive stand to seal the win.
Wangen had hit a shot from over halfcourt at the buzzer to give Stewartville a 37-26 lead at the half. He finished with nine points while Henry Tschetter led the team with 19 points.
3. No state magic for P-E-M
In the Class AAA state quarterfinals, No. 3 seed Plainview-Elgin-Millville didn’t have the late-game magic touch that propelled it into the state tournament.
The Bulldogs won in dramatic fashion in the Section 1AA championship game, but in the state opener, unseeded Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton ended P-E-M’s title hopes with a 63-61 victory.
Kaiden Peters had a steal and fed Aeron Stevens, who hit a driving bucket to put the Bulldogs up 60-59 with 21 seconds to play, but the lead didn’t last.
Owen Leach, who led D-G-F with 28 points, made two free throws to put the Rebels up 61-60 with 8.8 seconds left. After P-E-M turned the ball over, Drew Sheeley made two free throws to give the Rebels a 63-60 lead with 4.4 seconds left.
Nick Wozney made a free throw for P-E-M with 3.4 seconds left to make the score 63-61. D-G-F missed two free throws with 2.2 seconds left, but Stevens' desperation heave from halfcourt at the buzzer was well off the mark as the Bulldogs suffered a tough loss.
4. Spring Grove holds off Goodhue
No. 2 seed Spring Grove looked like it was headed for a relatively easy win over No. 1 Goodhue in the Section 1A title game. The Lions led 46-28 with just over six minutes to play.
But Goodhue cranked up its defensive pressure and went on a 16-0 run in just over three minutes to play. Spring Grove’s lead was suddenly down to 46-44 with 2:56 still to play.
Spring Grove was finally able to solve Goodhue’s defensive pressure, however, and closed the contest with an 11-4 run to post a 57-48 victory. The Lions made 16 of 21 free throws in the second half to help seal the victory.
Elijah Solum led Spring Grove with 22 points, Tysen Grinde had 14 and Jaxon Strinmoen added 12. Will Opshal kept Goodhue in the game with 28 points.
5. Spring Grove nips Mankato Loyola
Spring Grove reached the Class A state semifinals by holding off Mankato Loyola 39-38 in the state quarterfinal round.
The No. 3 seed Lions led 36-26 with 6:35 to play. Caleb Griffin's 3-point shot with 2:18 left gave the Lions a 39-31 lead and they survived Loyola closing the game on a 7-0 run. Loyola had a shot from beyond halfcourt to win the game at the buzzer, but it was well off the mark.
Junior Elijah Solum led the Lions with 16 points while Griffin added nine.
6. Stewartville earns first state berth
Stewartville claimed its first ever state berth in boys basketball by topping Winona 56-48 in the Section 1AAA championship game.
The game didn’t come down to a last-second shot, but the two teams were locked in a tight contest most of the way. The game was tied at 46 with three minutes to play before Stewartville closed the contest with a 10-2 run.
Stewartville, guided by second-year coach Parker Lyga, played tough defense against the Winhawks to win the section title.
The Tigers, who trailed 28-25 at the half, had a balanced scoring attack as Caleb Bancroft came off the bench to score 10 points and Ayden Helder added nine.
7. Winona beats Austin at buzzer in OT
Winona, the No. 3 seed, needed some late-game heroics to slip past No. 2 Austin 61-58 in overtime of Section 1AAA semifinal play.
Charlie VandeBerg launched and drained about a 30-foot shot right before the buzzer to snap a tie and give the Winhawks the victory.
Ater Manyuon had tied the game for Austin with 40 seconds left in the overtime with a 3-pointer of his own.
Winona then ran down the clock and called timeout with eight seconds left to call a play. After VandeBerg took a pass in the backcourt, he just dribbled across the center line, then while being well beyond the top of the key and fired up the game-winning shot.
8. Century falls in double overtime
No. 5 seed Century was close to pulling off a road victory over No. 4 Owatonna in the Section 1AAAA quarterfinals.
Century held a two-point lead late in the first overtime but Collin Vick hit a fadeaway 4-foot shot in traffic in the waning seconds to tie the contest and send it into a second extra session.
The Huskies went on to post an 80-72 win.
Senior Ryan Ohm had an excellent final game for the Panthers He scored 32 points, had eight rebounds and hit three 3-pointers to help Century rally from an eight-point deficit at the half.
Guard Collin Vick led Owatonna with 27 points.
9. Goodhue rallies from 10 down
Goodhue didn’t quite have enough energy to pull off a massive comeback in the Section 1A title game, but the Wildcats did overcome a 10-point deficit to win in the semifinals.
No. 4 seed Lyle/Austin Pacelli led No. Goodhue 46-36 with nine minutes to play before the Wildcats again relied on their defense to rally.
Goodhue put the clamps on L/P and closed the game with an 18-5 run to post a narrow 54-51 victory.
Senior Adam Poncelet, who finished with 10 points, had two big baskets late for the Wildcats. His hoop with 3:22 left gave Goodhue the lead for good at 49-48. He then scored 1:18 left after an L/P turnover to give Goodhue a 52-48 lead.
Will Opsahl, who led Goodhue with 22 points, sealed the win with two free throws with 24 seconds left.
10. Last-second shot gives Cannon Falls win
Junior Aiden Johnson hit a runner with 1.5 seconds left to snap a tie and lift No. 4 Cannon Falls past No. 5 La Crescent-Hokah 55-53 in Section 1AA quarterfinal play.
The Bombers had the ball out of bounds under the La Crescent basket with just under 7 seconds to play before the 6-foot-5 Johnson scored the game-winning basket. He took a pass outside of the 3-point line, took one dribble, a step and a half and lofted an 8-foot shot over a defender.
Johnson led the Bombers with 23 points and Dylan Banks added 16 as Cannon Falls rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half.
Carter Todd had 21 points for the Lancers.