Apple Valley guard Josh Arnold (1) drives against Lakeville North guard Tommy Jensen (22) in the first half. Photo: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER ¥ firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s become Apple Valley’s M.O. over the last half-dozen years, three of which have ended in state championships.
Have a superstar as a foundation. Play gutty, hard-nosed defense. Count on a different player to step forward in any given game.
It’s not always pretty, but it certainly is effective.
Thursday at Target Center was no exception. The Eagles advanced to the Class 4A championship game for this fourth time in six seasons with a 58-45 victory over Lakeville North.
Tre Jones, the Duke-bound superstar, led the Eagles with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The defense held Lakeville North, normally a good shooting bunch, to just five field goals after halftime and forced the Panthers into a dismal 1-for-17 from the three-point line.
After Apple Valley defeated Lakeville North 58-45 in the Class 4A semifinals, it’s time to appreciate the Eagles for something other than Tre Jones.
Sure, Jones is the star and team’s best player, but the senior point guard had an off-game Thursday, scoring 16 points, seven under his average.
But there was Zach Korba, chipping in with 12 points on five-of-six shooting. And Luke Martens, hitting three three-pointers en route to 11 points. Spencer Rolland and Logan Wangerin providing muscle inside and guards Josh Arnold and Nathan Macho showing up with athleticism and clutch baskets.
Jones certainly wasn’t bad. While his scoring might have been off, his overall excellence was evident in his entire line, which included 11 rebounds and seven assists.
With the two South Suburban Conference foes so familiar with each other, the first half was as expected, with neither team able to gain much of an edge at Target Center.