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Minneapolis North beats Esko in Class 2A quarterfinals

March 20, 2019 10:11 PM

#2 seed Minneapolis North (22-9) returns to the state semifinals following a 61-53 quarterfinal win over Esko (21-10) on Wednesday evening at Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

The Polars, winners of the 2016 and 2017 Class A state titles, will now head to the Class AA semifinals in the program’s 22nd overall state tournament appearance where they’ll face the Redwood Valley vs. #3 Perham quarterfinal winner on Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m. at Target Center in Minneapolis.

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The Eskomos will square off against the loser of that quarterfinal in the consolation semifinal on Thursday, March 21 at 8 p.m. at Gangelhoff Center on the campus of Concordia University, St. Paul.

The game was as intense as it was close, with the largest lead of the game of eight points being held by each team. The game featured 10 ties and nine lead changes throughout but the Polars closed the game on an 8-0 run and held Esko scoreless for the final three minutes of play.

The contrasting styles produced a 22-8 advantage in points off turnovers for North as the Polars forced 23 Esko turnovers while committing just eight. But the Eskomos buried seven three-pointers (7-18) while defending the arc on the other end, limiting the Polars to just one three in the game (1-7).

The turnover disparity ultimately won the day, as North had 18 steals to Esko’s four and used it to run up a 25-2 margin on the fastbreak.

North freshman Willie Wilson had a game-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting while sophomore Davon Townley, Jr. had the game’s only double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds including six on the offensive glass. Seniors Eli Campbell and Omar Brown sparked the backcourt with seven and six steals, respectively and each had four assists. 

Esko was led by junior Payton Wefel with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting including 4-of-8 from the arc. Senior Christian Berger added 12 points for the Eskomos.

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