Senior Charlie Katona (24) came down with one of his 15 rebounds in the second half of Shakopee's 61-50 victory over Chaska. He also scored 19 points. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
With Shakopee leading Chaska by just two points in the final minutes of Saturday’s game, Sabers’ sophomore forward Nick Katona drove to the hoop. Laying the ball off the glass and in while being fouled, he sent the Shakopee crowd into a frenzy as Shakopee’s lead grew to four.
Up to that point the Shakopee offense had struggled to find scoring production. Then, Katona’s bucket got things moving in the right direction as No. 3 seed Shakopee pulled away to defeat No. 2 seed Chaska 61-50 at Eden Prairie High School to advance to next week’s Class 4A, Section 2 final.
In the first half, the Sabers (23-5) found ways around Chaska’s staunch defense. Shakopee found success with three-point shooting, specifically with senior guard Will Cordes who knocked down three of the Sabers’ seven first-half three-pointers.
While shining from beyond the arc, Shakopee gave the Hawks offense fits throughout. Chaska, ranked No. 6 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, fell behind by as many as 14 points in the first half while no Hawks player failed registered double figures in the game’s first 18 minutes.
Shakopee sophomore Nick Katona looked for an opening in the Chaska defense. His basket in the second half broke a scoring drought and ignited a 9-1 Shakopee run to break a close game open. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
After Saturday’s first Class 4A, Section 2 semifinal produced a combined 173 points, the second part of the afternoon’s doubleheader at Eden Prairie High School was a more defensive affair.
No. 3 seed Shakopee proved to be the better defensive unit of the two as the Sabers, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News, hunkered down and won their fight against No. 2 seed Chaska 61-50 to advance to next Friday’s section championship against top-seeded Eden Prairie.
In the opening half, Shakopee (23-5) built a lead as large as 14 points behind some hot shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Four different Sabers, including Charlie Katona, knocked down three-pointers in the game’s first 17 minutes.
Katona, a senior forward, helped keep his high school career alive with a game-high 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Katona was one of three Sabers in double figures. Senior guard Will Cordes finished with 16 points while sophomore forward Nick Katona added 12 points.
The No. 6-4A Hawks (24-4) cut the deficit to as little as two in the second half but couldn’t quite even the score. Junior guard Luke Strazzanti led Chaska with 24 points while senior guard Zach Lea finished with 14 points.
Chaska's Zach Lea (2) took the ball to the basket against Shakopee's Jacob Schmidt. Lea scored 14 points. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
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