Wednesday morning, on the home floor of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Champlin Park High Rebels opened up the state tourney with a 53-50 win over the Chaska High Hawks in spectacular, rabbit-out-of-the-hat lucky fashion. We pick up the Target Center quarterfinal game late, after the Rebels erased an eight-point halftime deficit behind 30 from McKinely Wright, the Metro Player of the Year who is headed to the University of Dayton.
All tied up with six seconds left, Wright takes it himself, gets the step, and fires from ten feet. He bricks, the ball bounces around a bit, until the Chaska center slaps the orange out... to the three-point line, where Champlin senior guard Sam Dubois whips around in one fluid jitterbug motion to fling an old one-handed runner. Ball game.
The Rebels do a delirious full-court dogpile that ends right in front of the Hawks bench. The Chaska players hang their heads and collapse to the floor as the season, and the upset, becomes nothing more than a note in the yearbook. "I love you, man. HAWKLIFE4EVAH! "
It's a cruel fate, but here's to the effort. And here's another fan view of Madness Jr.