Huskies start strong, defeat Jr. Blues 53-41, to win state title for third year in a row

The boys varsity basketball team finished a 23-2 season by defeating the Washburn Rural Jr. Blues 53-41 in the state championship game. Senior Mike Peake finished with a game-high 17 points for the Huskies.

Senior+Christian+Braun+drives+the+ball+in+the+game+against+Saint+Thomas+Aquinas+on+Friday+Jan.+25+at+STA.+The+Huskies+defeated+the+Saints%2C+67-58.
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Huskies start strong, defeat Jr. Blues 53-41, to win state title for third year in a row

Senior Christian Braun drives the ball in the game against Saint Thomas Aquinas on Friday Jan. 25 at STA. The Huskies defeated the Saints, 67-58.

Senior Christian Braun drives the ball in the game against Saint Thomas Aquinas on Friday Jan. 25 at STA. The Huskies defeated the Saints, 67-58.

Emily Farthing

Senior Christian Braun drives the ball in the game against Saint Thomas Aquinas on Friday Jan. 25 at STA. The Huskies defeated the Saints, 67-58.

Emily Farthing

Emily Farthing

Senior Christian Braun drives the ball in the game against Saint Thomas Aquinas on Friday Jan. 25 at STA. The Huskies defeated the Saints, 67-58.

Jonny Isaacson, Writer

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Coming into the state championship game, the Huskies defense allowed 63.5 points per game in their previous two matchups.

Knowing that BVNW needed to start with a strong defense, head coach Ed Fritz decided to start the game in their zone.

“We played 1-3-1 the whole night tonight,” Fritz said. “Our length bothered them a little bit, so that was the adjustment we made.”

The Huskies strong defense helped them jump out to a quick 14-0 lead to start the first quarter. The Huskies length and size on the inside also helped them start off the game with a big lead.

According to senior Christian Braun, the Huskies game plan was to pound it inside because Washburn Rural was a smaller team.

“We knew their biggest guy was about [the size of] our smallest guy,” Braun said. “We started early and pounded down low, and they couldn’t stop that.”

Braun would finish the first quarter with six points, helping te Huskies jump out to a 18-3 lead. Allowing just three points in the first quarter, senior Mike Peake said the coaches made sure they started out strong on defense.

“We made sure we focused on our defense first and let it translate to offense,” Peake said. “The coaches got on us yesterday about our first half defense, so we just started off playing good defense first.”

In the second quarter, the Jr. Blues were able to chip into the lead, getting it within eight points before Braun would hit a step-back three to send the Huskies to the half with a 25-14 lead. Able to cut the lead down to ten entering the fourth quarter, the Jr. Blues again were looking to close the gap.

The Huskies’ zone was able to weather the storm in the fourth quarter, enabling BVNW to extend their lead as high as 15 points. The Huskies’ zone, Braun said, was a big factor in the win.

“We just stuck with [the zone] throughout the game, and that led to a win,” Braun said. “They do a really good job of running their system, running their plays, but we did a really good job of taking them out of their rhythm with the zone.”

Tearing his meniscus a few days before substate play began, the Huskies were playing to win for senior Matthew Chapman. According to sophomore Jack Chapman, the team played their hearts out to win it for Matthew.

“That’s all I wanted to do, win it for him,” Chapman said. “He didn’t deserve what happened to him, that was unfortunate, but we played our hearts out and won it for him.”

Being on the team for all three state titles and leading the team in scoring this season, Braun said he was happy he could lead the team to a third consecutive title.

“This one means a lot to me. I’ve already done this before, so it means a lot to get these guys who haven’t been to state before a win,” Braun said. “It means a lot more to me that I can do it for other people. We had some guys go down, so it means a lot to do it for Matt.”