Hayfield players celebrated after their 61-60 victory over Hancock to win the school's first boys' basketball state title. Photo: Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
Hayfield coach Chris Pack’s eyes grew moist as he tried to keep tears of joy from forming.
His players were on the Target Center floor jumping around and celebrating the Vikings' first boys' basketball state championship in program history.
“It kind of hit me all at once,” Pack said. “It’s an amazing, incredible feeling.”
It wasn’t until junior forward Easton Fritcher’s free throw rippled through the net cords — much like they had done much of Saturday when Hayfield put up a shot — with five seconds left did the Hayfield contingent start celebrating after a hectic and discombobulated final minute against Hancock.
The Vikings shot 59% from the field, with all five starters sinking a three-pointer, en route to a 61-60 victory to win the Class 1A championship.
“It was stressful to be in a big spot like that,” said Fritcher, who had 13 points, connecting of five of six field goal attempts. “I was confident, and did what I needed to do making the first one.”
Hayfield’s Ethan Slaathaug goes up for a layup against Hancock defenders in the first half of the Class 1A championship Saturday afternoon. Photo: Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
The basketball swished through the hoop. The cords rippled, much to the delight of the shooter.
Hayfield’s first state championship in program history was all touch. It didn’t matter who was putting up the shot.
The Vikings shot 59 percent from the floor, with all five starters sinking a three-pointer, en route to a 61-60 victory over Hancock to with the Class 1A championship Saturday at Target Center. They were the runner-up in 2001, their only previous appearance in the championship.
Senior guard Ethan Slaathaug had 20 points to pace three Hayfield (21-4) players in double figures.
Hancock (19-6) was led by junior center Matt Thompson’s 18 points.
Check back later for more on the game.