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The final score: 143-4. Larry McKenzie tells what led to his North Polars’ blowout win

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 03/11/22, 1:30PM CST


The coach says he asked before and during the game against Ubah Medical Academy whether it should be stopped and was told the opponents “were having fun.”

Minneapolis North coach Larry McKenzie said he took steps to limit ugliness in a 143-4 blowout Thursday. Photo by ANTHONY SOUFFLE, Star Tribune

Minneapolis North coach Larry McKenzie didn’t want to play Thursday’s game. For this reason:

Minneapolis North 143, Ubah Medical Academy 4.

A first-round game of the Class 2A, Section 4 playoffs pitted the No. 1-seeded Polars and their legacy of basketball excellence against a charter school from Hopkins that had played only five games in 2022.

McKenzie said Friday he called Ubah Medical Academy before the game and asked if the school wanted to forego the game.

“I asked the coach if they really wanted to play, because we knew it would be very lopsided,” McKenzie said. “The coach told me, ‘I take this as an insult. Of course we want to play.’”

It was a section playoff game, so “of course we’re going to play,” McKenzie said. “They wanted to play, so we’re going to play the way we play.”

North’s starters barely broke a sweat and McKenzie went deep into his bench as the Polars built a 98-2 halftime lead.

“At halftime, I went to the coach and said, ‘Are we done?’ He said, ‘Let me go talk to the kids.’ He came back and said, ‘We want to play.’ Their kids were having fun, shooting from halfcourt and doing dribbling exhibitions.”

McKenzie didn’t use any of his regulars after halftime. “I don’t know what else I could do,” he said. “Are we going to tell kids don’t play hard this game but play hard next game? And how do I tell kids who don’t get much chance to play to take the day off? That’s not fair to them.”

The root cause of the mismatch, McKenzie said, was that the Minnesota State High School League’s requirements to qualify for section play were not strict enough.

“How does a team get to play that only play five games?” he asked. “We were in a no-win situation. This is a game that never should have been played.”

A Ubah Medical Academy representative said Friday that nobody was available to answer questions.

The Minnesota high school state record for points in a game is 165 by Prairie Seeds Academy in 2012.

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