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Either Minnehaha Academy won Saturday night’s contest against Caledonia on the free-throw line, or the Warriors, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A by Minnesota Basketball News, lost a chance to upset the No. 2-2A Redhawks because of missed opportunities at the charity stripe.
Host Minnehaha Academy won 79-75 in this Class 2A top-five matchup at St. Thomas Academy after shooting 15 of 18 from the free-throw line, including a perfect 8-for-8 night from senior forward and Denver commit JaVonni Bickham. Bickham came into the Caledonia game averaging 14 points per game, and finished with 13. But eight of his points might have helped the Redhawks squeak out the win.
“The free throws I made really came at crunch time and that’s what was most effective,” Bickham said. “We won by four points, so I think those extra free throws were really needed.”
Minnehaha Academy, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A by Minnesota Basketball News, held off a late surge from No.4-2A Caledonia Saturday night at St. Thomas Academy to win 79-75, despite losing Jalen Suggs and JaVonni Bickham to foul trouble as the clock waned.
Suggs finished with 19 points, including a 2-for-3 night from the free-throw line. Bickham, a 6-foot-6 senior forward averaging 13 points per game, added 14, including a perfect 8 for 8 from the charity stripe.
But it wasn’t Suggs or Bickham or any other member of the Redhawks (20-4, 7-0) who led all scorers. Instead, senior guard Owen King carried Caledonia (18-4, 6-1) with a 27-point night. Sam Barthel, a 5-foot-11 senior guard, contributed 18, including 2 for 3 in three-pointers -- always when the Warriors needed it the most.
Barthel drained a first half buzzer-beating three-pointer as he was falling down, pulling the Warriors within four. Coming out of the break, Caledonia went on a 4-0 run before Minnehaha Academy found its stride and went up big, as much as 12 points at one point.
The Warriors fought back, ultimately pulling within two with 44.9 seconds remaining after King stole a ball down low from the Redhawks, and found a streaking Marten Morem way down court for an open layup. King was fouled during their next possession, but missed both free throws.
With Suggs and Bickham out, the Warriors fouled Siegel Howard III, who found the bottom of the net to push the Redhawks out of range.
The MN Basketball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.