Most fans of Mahtomedi boys' basketball wouldn’t remember the last time the program made a state tournament.
In fact, many were not even alive yet.
Until Thursday, the Zephyrs had not won a section championship in 58 years. Now the drought is over, as Mahtomedi held off a late charge from Totino-Grace to claim a 58-49 victory over the Bison in the Class 3A, Section 4 championship game.
“It's awesome," said senior Sam Bell, who finished the game with a team-high 13 points. "We've had so many close years, and this year we finally got it."
The Zephyrs (24-5) have recently had some quality teams, but they just hadn’t been able to break through to earn a tourney bid. Last year they finished 21-8, and the 2016-17 team finished 24-4, however, both seasons Columbia Heights ended Mahtomedi's run in the section championship, including last year when the Hylanders lost in the Class 3A state championship game.
Until Thursday, Mahtomedi's boys' basketball program had not won a section championship since 1961.
That changed when Mahtomedi (24-5) used an eight-point run in a tied game to pull away from Totino-Grace in the final three minutes for a 58-49 victory in the Class 3A, Section 4 championship game.
Sam Bell scored 13 points to lead the Zephyrs' offense. Devin Melzer added 11, and J'Vonne Hadley and Zac Centers each scored 10 points.
Riley Burger scored 20 points to lead Totino-Grace's (13-16) offense.
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