One way or another, history was going to be made Thursday night in Rosemount.
Third-seeded Rosemount was hosting a section championship for the first time since 1987, the same year the Irish last advanced to the state tournament. Fourth-seeded Park of Cottage Grove, meanwhile, saw that drought and raised it 14 years. The Wolfpack were seeking their first trip to the state tourney since their maiden voyage in 1973.
But it was Rosemount that kept its Cinderella postseason run alive, thrashing Park of Cottage Grove 66-41 to claim the Class 4A, Section 3 hardware to advance to the state tournament.
“When I got here four years ago we were in a pretty bad place. We got two wins the first year, four wins the second year, then really took a big step last year to be more competitive,” said Rosemount coach Lance Walsten, referencing a squad that reached the section semifinals a year ago. “This just has not been a basketball powerhouse; it's been a football school. So we've really concentrated on getting more commitment and offseason work. These guys have just put in hours and hours.”
Rosemount (15-6) got off to a 2-2 start this season and battled three separate two-game skids before reaching Thursday’s apex. Then the Irish fell behind in the opening minutes of Thursday’s tilt.
Rosemount is headed to the state tournament for the first time since 1987.
The No. 3 seeded Irish defeated No. 4 seed Park of Cottage Grove 66-41 Thursday night at Rosemount High School in the Class 4A, Section 3 championship game.
Rosemount (15-6) closed the first half on a 15-5 run to lead 38-23 at halftime, as the Irish were hitting from deep and at the foul line while limiting the Wolfpack to one shot on most possessions.
Rosemount got a game-high 20 points from Caleb Siwek, followed by 19 points on five three-pointers from Sean Sullivan. Sullivan had 14 points in the first half and Siwek 12 in the second half.
Park of Cottage Grove was led offensively by Jayden Lane and Evan Bearth, who each had nine points.
The Wolfpack (11-10) opened the second half scoring with a layup, but the Irish quickly began to pull away and stretched the lead past 20 points near the midway mark.
Park of Cottage Grove, which achieved its first winning season since the 2005-06 season, was just a win away from reaching the state tournament for the first time since 1973 — the program’s lone appearance.
Rosemount, which hosted its first section final since 1987 on Thursday, will make its fourth state tourney appearance.
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