The Wayzata Trojans have put their trust in each other during the last month and the result has been a string of impressive wins.

Now the Trojans are on the doorstep of state Class 4A tournament thanks to that confidence, which helped third-seeded Wayzata advance to the Class 4A, Section 5 championship after recording a 77-62 upset of second-seeded Maple Grove in a semifinal game at Osseo Junior High School on Tuesday night. 

"We have guys who can distribute and guys who can knock down the three," said Trojans junior Jack Sowada, who finished with 21 points. "But it's just trust. Trusting in one another and playing the best basketball at the end of the year."

Wayzata coach Bryan Schnettler said a 71-57 loss to Eden Prairie on Feb. 13 did more good than harm for his team.

"I think that (loss) was kind of a turning point for us," Schnettler said. "We really bought in to trusting each other, and since then, we've been putting up some points."

The Trojans averaged 67.3 points per game through the Eden Prairie game, but Wayzata has scored 74, 89, 79 and 77 points in four consecutive games after the loss, including a 15-point victory over Minnetonka, ranked No. 10 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, in the regular-season finale on Feb. 19.

The victory Tuesday night did not come easy. Maple Grove's Brad Davison finished with a season-high 42 points, but that was about all the Crimson could muster against Wayzata's defense.

"Davison's a great player, and we knew we had to try and to contain him because he's going to get his every single night," Sowada said. "But with no one else scoring for (Maple Grove), it really created opportunities for us on offense."

Sowada said he felt the Trojans' balance was one big factor in the victory over the No. 3-4A Crimson.

Sowada, a 6-foot-4 guard who is the Trojans’ second-leading scorer, had help carrying the scoring load from fellow juniors Austin Slater and Johnny Beeninga, who notched 17 and 13 points, respectively, and sophomore Gavin Baumgartner, who posted 12.

"I think (balance) opens up everything because with five people working the ball around, anybody can shoot it," Sowada said. "One person is bound to get open at some point."

Sowada has been the one getting open the most for Wayzata lately. He scored a season-high 23 points in a 79-56 victory over Park Center in the section quarterfinals on Feb 26.

Sowada's now averaging 14.8 points per game and has posted 20 or more points in three of his last seven contests.

"Jack can shoot it and he's confident, and there's days in practice where we're going up and down and he hits like seven straight threes," Schnettler said. "It's nothing out of the ordinary, so what you saw tonight, we've been seeing for awhile."

After hitting three three-pointers and scoring 17 points in the first half, Sowada said he felt he needed to help in other aspects of the game for the second half.

"I felt good in the first half," Sowada said. "Second half I did other things, such as screen and get other people open. It's not always going to be you knocking down the shots if your team's gonna win."

Wayzata will need all hands on deck Friday night against undefeated Champlin Park (28-0), the top-ranked team in Class 4A. But trust and confidence must continue to be the key for the Trojans to score another upset.

"Bottom line is we hit a lot of shots tonight," Schnettler said. "We've got guys who can really shoot it. The guys are confident, and they've been confident (since losing to Eden Prairie)."


Maple Grove sophomore Jack Hutchison scores a layup in the Crimson loss. Photo by Mark Hvidsten

First Report

Junior guard Jack Sowada scored 21 points as third-seeded Wayzata upset second-seeded Maple Grove 77-62 in the Class 4A, Section 5 semifinals at Osseo Junior High School on Tuesday night.

Junior forward Austin Slater posted 17 points, junior guard Johnny Beeninga had 13 and sophomore guard Gavin Baumgartner added 12 for the Trojans (21-7).

Sophomore guard Brad Davison finished with a game-high 42 points and junior center Reed Nikko had 11 for Maple Grove (23-4), ranked No. 3 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News.

Spotlight Game Coverage