The Class 4A, Section 5 boys basketball tournament was destined for an upset or two in its quarterfinal round March 7, and as many expected, a pair of lower seeded teams did just that.
Robbinsdale Cooper was one, as the fifth-seeded Hawks beat No. 4 Maple Grove 78-67.
The other ended Champlin Park’s season.
The sixth-seeded Rebels lost to No. 3 Centennial 62-57, sending Champlin Park home without a trip into at least the section semifinals for the first time since 2007.
“It is disappointing,” said head coach Mark Tuchscherer. “We wanted a chance at Osseo. We wanted to be playing next week.”
That they won’t be playing then can be directed to one obvious issue that arose in the worst possible time.
The Rebels went cold against Centennial, scoring just 22 first half points on their way to shooting just 34-percent in their final game of the year.
Tuchscherer said it was the worst shooting night his team endured all winter, and it ended up being a season killer.
“It was like there was a lid on the bucket,” said Tuchscherer. “We missed all sorts of layups, and I think we were 6-of-24 from three. That’s not us. We are better than that.”
Evidenced by the season Champlin Park turned in, the coach is probably right.
Champlin Park won 19 games this year, finishing with a 19-8 overall record and a 13-7 mark in what was arguably the most difficult Northwest Suburban Conference season in recent history.
It was the fourth season in a row that the Rebels won at least 18-games.
“And our seniors were apart of most of those,” said Tuchscherer. “It felt really bad for them, because they have done so much for us. I wish we could have gotten them at least another game, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Senior Trevor Garrison went out with a team-best 13 points. Junior Brennan Witt also had 13. Sophomore JT Gibson finished with 11 and senior Andrew Aakre had 10 in his final game.
That was enough to allow the Rebels to erase what was a seven-point halftime deficit, as the teams were even in the final minute. But after a scrum on the floor when without a whistle, Centennial hit a three from the corner to go up for good.
“They dove for the ball, and we dove for the ball,” Tuchscherer said. “There were a couple travels on them that they could have called. And then they reverse the ball and get a wide-open three. That killed us. We had tied it, and then that. It was tough to take.”
Contact Nick Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org