Minnetonka Wins Sweet 16 for First Time

After two straight years of being a runner-up in the Sweet 16 Tournament Minnetonka finished on top with a 62-59 win over Providence. And let’s just add in both situations it was snatching victories from the jaws of defeat. The Skippers dethroned last year’s champion, and Lake Conference and 2AAAA rival,  Eden Prairie 55-53 in the semifinals.

With the win Minnetonka has kept the title within the Lake Conference for the last nine years (no champ in 2020 the virus year). The last time a non-Lake team won the Sweet 16 was in 2013 when Eastview was crowned champ. Rochester Lourdes broke out the bubbly in 2004 (bubbly being soda pop) when they were the last AA Sweet 16 champ. The Skippers’ win on Sunday kept that 19 year string of AAAA champions alive. This was Minnetonka’s first title in four attempts. In 2012 they lost to fellow Lake Conference rival Hopkins. Hopkins and Eden Prairie were the 2021, and 2022 champs when Minnetonka finished with silver.

First off, the Sweet 16 was down to a “delightful” dozen. The AA and AAAA divisions only provided two teams. Two late exits the week prior to the event by Hopkins and Lakeville North left only Eden Prairie and Minnetonka to represent the big schools. Providence and Albany, the two finalists in AA in March, were the only teams to attend. AAA and A both fulfilled their four slots. Another quirk in this year’s event was the timing/scheduling. Teams turned right around and played back-to-back. Rest and recovery was not available.

As is true most of the times in summer the rosters are not fully there. Several key (expected) performers were either injured or missing due to travel/family scheduling. That is true of most if not all teams. And the rosters can flip 180 degrees from the week before. Minnetonka did not have Tori McKinney, and several others, last weekend at the Breakdown event at Jefferson. Then the Skippers were 0-4. On Sunday she delivered 24 points in the win over Eden Prairie and 16 in the win over Providence. Minnetonka on both weekends were without the services of Aaliyah Crump and Lanelle Wright.

If you notice both the semis and championship were all one possession games. That showcased parity and provided a good show for writers and fans. This was the closest final looking back at the final scores from 2006 on in this event—17 seasons total. I have no final scores prior to that. On Sunday the Skippers delivered two come from behind victories. In the semis the Skippers finished with a 10-2 run over the course of the last five minutes to move to the title game. In the finals it was a 10-3 finish.

After Tori Schlagel of Eden Prairie connected on her sixth 3 of the game (a perfect six) the Eagles led 51-44. Minnetonka started their rise on the third opportunity on the ninth possession of the fourth quarter. After two misses Della Horton-Faye scored an &1 from the right block. Two possessions later Grace Hamdorf nailed a 3 from the right corner. McKinney then closed out the scoring with five of six free throws in the last four possessions (10/12 for the game). The two game winning tosses came with eleven seconds left. EP turned it over their last two possessions.

In the championship, the Skippers trailed 56-52 with about five minutes remaining. Minnetonka was gold down the stretch scoring their last four possessions. The lone Providence score in the last five minutes came on a 3 from Emma Millerbernd which tied the score at 59 all after Horton-Faye came up with another &1 to put Minnetonka in front. With 22 seconds left, Delaney Eggert made the first free throw. A last chance drive did not fall for Providence. Eggert rebounded and got the ball to McKinney who was fouled and provided the two insurance points with three seconds left. After a time out, the Providence pass was snapped up by Eggert.

Minnetonka had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat twice on Sunday.

In the title game, two other Skippers helped in scoring the scoring load with a pair of double-digit performances, right at ten, from Hamdorf and CeCe Nesseth.

The effects of back-to-back games was evident in the pp100s. Now you might attribute the drops in production to better defense/competition, but the format of playing right away again did have to take a toll. Players were not able to even partially recover.

Minnetonka had a 90.2 pp100 in the semis, and a more subdued 81.6 in the championship, a drop of 8.6.

McKinney had a 40 score for the 31 Club in the semis with a 126.3 pp100. Her pp100s dropped to 84.2 while the 31 Club score was two points shy with a 29.

Schlagel just missed out of the 31 Club in the semis with a 30 score and a 120 pp100.

Maddyn Greenway of Providence had the best 31 Club score of the day with 48. Hope Counts joined her with a 32 score, one more than necessary. The pp100s did not reach the century mark with Greenway at 88.9, Counts at 63.6.




Eden Prairie 82, Grand Rapids 34

Eden Prairie 78, Hancock 50

Hancock 70, Grand Rapids 38


Minnetonka 57, Totino-Grace 54

Minnetonka 57, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 22

Totino-Grace 81, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 47


Albany 69, Stewartville 57

Albany 52, Cass Lake-Bena 26

Stewartville 62, Cass Lake-Bena 41


Providence 80, Hill-Murray 60

Providence 84, Kelliher-Northome 58

Hill-Murray 71, Kelliher-Northome 63



Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 57, Grand Rapids 46

Kelliher-Northome 58, Cass Lake-Bena 42

3rd: Grand Rapids 58, Cass Lake-Bena 51

1st: Kelliher-Northome 55, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 52


Hancock 55, Totino-Grace 50

Stewartville 70, Hill-Murray 51

3rd: Hill-Murray 58, Totino-Grace 51

1st: Stewartville 46, Hancock 34


Minnetonka 55, Eden Prairie 53

Providence 63, Albany 62

3rd: Eden Prairie 69, Albany 60

1st: Minnetonka 62, Eden Prairie 59



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