Boys State Basketball: Hayfield wins second straight Class 1A title

[anvplayer video=”5098937″ station=”998122″]

Hayfield fought off the final challenge of the 2021-22 boys basketball season and put any doubt to rest on Saturday, March 26, 2022. The Vikings were indeed the best Class A team and more than capable of successfully defending its championship.

Top-seeded Hayfield punctuated its season with a 51-49 victory over No. 2 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus to capture the Class A championship for the second consecutive season. Junior guard Isaac Matti scored 27 points and senior forward Easton Fritcher added 13 points to send the Vikings (32-2) to their second championship in three state title-game appearances. In 2001, Hayfield was the Class AA runner-up.

Hayfield becomes the first Class A-enrollment school to win consecutive boys basketball championships since Minneapolis North won the second of two in a row in 2017.

The Vikings, however, couldn’t completely celebrate until rallying past Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (28-5) and holding off the Jaguars in a finish when every possession was tense, dramatic and critical. Junior guard Ethan Pack scored just two points for Hayfield, but they couldn’t have been more crucial. He made two free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining that gave the Vikings a 51-46 lead.

On the inbounds, Hayfield did not defend and allowed Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa senior forward Ashton Dingman to make an uncontested three-pointer at the final horn. The Jaguars, making their fourth trip to a state championship game in as many tournament trips, was attempting to win a title to go with ones captured in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Hayfield made seven free throws over the final minutes to gain the separation it was seeking throughout.

Ashton Dingmann led the Jaguars with 20 points and Luke Dingmann, a sophomore guard, added 15.