Boys’ Basketball: 2017 State Champions!
The young Minnehaha Academy Redhawks boys’ basketball team entered the Class AA state tournament ranked as the #1 team. After a successful season, 26-5, they knew they had their work cut out for them in order to continue their success at the tournament. The average grade level of this Redhawks basketball is 10th grade, with five of the 15 boys on the roster being in 7th, 8th, or 9th grade.
The Redhawks pulled off their first win at the state tournament on Wednesday, March 22nd against Lake City. The final Score was 77-63. Freshman Jalen Suggs led this game with 27 points. Junior JaVonni Bickham was not far behind with 19 points, and freshman Terry Lockett had 12 points.
The state tournament semi-finals were played on March 24th. The Redhawks beat Annandale High School 76-44. Suggs was again the leading scorer with 23 points, Bickham had 16 point. However, many would argue that the highlight of this semi-final game for the Redhawks came near the very end. With the Redhawks holding a large lead, Junior Hussein Farah was put in the game by Coach Lance Johnson after some encouragement from the stands. Farah hasn’t seen much playing time this season and has never scored a varsity basket, but with 37 seconds left in the game he pitched the ball towards the net from outside the NBA three-point line. The shot went in clean while the crowd and bench exploded in cheers. To watch a video of Farah’s basket and to see the excitement from his teammates and the crowd, click here. Coach Lance Johnson was quoted as saying, “He gets 20 seconds here and 20 seconds there, and when he heaved that one up and it went in the basket, I’m telling you, tonight’s a good night. Fate obviously was on our side.”
The state tournament finals took place on Saturday, March 25th with the #1 Redhawks playing against the #3 Crosby-Ironton Rangers. The game was close, and with eight minutes left in the game, the Redhawks were only up by one point. Scoring over 70% of the points this game, freshmen Suggs (22 points) and Lockett (12 points) helped carry the team to a 47-36 win and the 2017 championship title. The Redhawks last won a boys’ basketball state tournament four years ago, in 2013.
Jalen Suggs, JaVonni Bickham, and Terry Lockett were all named to the 2017 Class AA Minnesota State Boys’ Basketball All-Tournament team.