Alexandria comes from behind to beat Richfield in closing seconds

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Alexandria staged a dramatic comeback capped by the shooting heroics of junior guard Myles Sansted to record a stunning 66-64 victory over Richfield in the Class AAA boys basketball semifinals on Thursday, April 8 at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. The victory sends Alexandria (22-1), which trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, to a boys basketball championship game for the first time in nearly seven decades when it finished runner up in the event when just one champion was crowned.

***To see extended highlights between Richfield vs. Alexandria in the Class 3A semifinals, CLICK THE PLAY ICON***

Sansted finished with eight points, but none were more important than his final five.

With the Cardinals scrambling to catch up, he was followed on an three-point attempt with 11.4 seconds remaining in regulation and Alexandria trailing 64-61. He calmly made the first two and Richfield called a timeout, presumably to have Sansted think about the next free throw and to set up a court-length play. While Sanstad missed his third free throw, teammate Colton Roderick, a senior guard, gobbled up the rebound and found Sansted unattended in the far corner. He launch a three-point try that was true with seven seconds remaining that gave the Cardinals an eye-popping 66-64 lead.

Richfield was looking to match the long-range heroics, but the horn-beating attempt by senior forward Ryan Miles rimmed out.

The Spartans (16-5) were looking for an opportunity to atone for a loss late in the regular season. If the Spartans were to have reached the championship game, they would have faced either Minnehaha Academy or DeLaSalle, teams they know well this season. Richfield ended the regular season with a 75-43 loss to Minnehaha Academy, who is playing DeLaSalle in the other Class AAA semifinal. Two games prior to the loss to Minnehaha Academy, the Spartans had a 72-54 setback to DeLaSalle. But Richfield also had an 81-74 victory over DeLaSalle on Feb. 9.

Richfield extended an existing advantage to 55-46 behind two free throws from senior guard Lamar Grayson with 5:51 remaining in regulation. Alexandria, though, pulled to within 55-50 behind two muscle-in putbacks by senior forward Kobe Jenson. Richfield answered with a mini-spurt to push the advantage back to 61-50. Alexandria wasn’t deterred and put together a 7-0 to draw within 61-57 with 1:54 left in regulation.

Richfield built a 29-23 advantage at the break behind nine points from senior guard Lamar Grayson and eight points each from junior guard Mitchell January and junior forward Jordan Wollmuth. Grayson finished with a game-best 22 points. The Spartans had a 20-16 scoring edge in the paint and had eight points off of fast breaks to just five for the Cardinals.

Alexandria has earned a spot it hasn’t seen since 1943.