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State boys basketball: Morris/CA Tigers fall to mighty Minneapolis North

Top-seeded Minneapolis North ends Morris/Chokio-Alberta's title hopes in semifinals, 71-63. It's also nearly the end for Tigers head coach Mark Torgerson, who is retiring after 35 seasons.

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Morris/CA senior Jackson Loge, 22, lauches a shot late in the second half during the Class AA state semifinals against Minneapolis North on Friday, March 25, 2022 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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MINNEAPOLIS — Two of the state's most successful coaches finally got to have their highly successful boys basketball teams play each other Friday night.
And it was the guy from the city of 420,324 residents that prevailed against the guy whose main city has 5,334 people.
Top-seeded Minneapolis North beat fifth-seeded Morris/Chokio-Alberta 71-63 in the state Class AA semifinals at Williams Arena.
North (27-6) plays Annandale for the state championship at 1 p.m. Saturday at The Barn. In the other Class AA semifinal, No. 3 Annandale beat No. 2 Caledonia, 62-55.

Top-seeded Polars beat No. 5 Tigers 71-63 at Williams Arena

The Polars' head coach is Larry McKenzie, who is being inducted into the Minnesota State High School League's Hall of Fame this year. And while the North community just makes up a small segment of Minnesota's largest city, McKenzie's record is impressive. He's in his 24th season and has a career record of 481-165, which makes him the young guy in Friday's matchup.

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Morris/CA senior Brandon Jergenson looks for a passing lane against a pair of Minneapolis North defenders during the Class AA state semifinals on Friday, March 25, 2022 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

North beat Morris' Mark Torgerson, who is in his 35th year coaching the Tigers with a 592-310 record. Torgerson is retiring after Saturday's third-place game.
"It's time for me to turn it over," Torgerson said afterward, praising his coaches and the program's overall strength, including strong C-squad and JV teams.

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Morris/CA head coach Mark Torgerson instructs his players during the first half of the Class AA state semifinals against Minneapolis North on Friday, March 25, 2022 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Also going out Saturday will be one of Morris' all-time greats, Jackson Loge.
The 6-foot-8 senior had 37 points, 14 rebounds, eight block shots. The Augustana University recruit was 14-for-26 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. He was the main reason the Tigers were able to stay close to the top-ranked Polars.
"The Augustana people are going to be happy," Torgerson said. "I could go on and on (about Loge). Do you guys have a half hour?"

Loge's 37 points tied his season-best. His career mark was 51 points against Benson. He'll wind among MACA's all-time leaders or the leader in almost every statistical category. Torgerson also said that he's ranked No. 1 in his class of 92.
North, meanwhile, is on a mission. McKenzie's group of four seniors whom he calls his "Core Four," have yet to win a state championship after taking second in 2020 and losing in the state semifinals last year.
"All year long, it's been about winning a state championship," McKenzie said.

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Against the Tigers, Demeiko Anderson led the way with 19 points. Along the way, he scored his 1,000th career point. Senior forward Jacob Butler added 14 points and 18 rebounds. He credited North's tough schedule for getting them prepared for MACA.
"Like the coach said, we've played a tough, tough schedule," he said.
While Morris never led in the second half, the Tigers kept it close. Ultimately, North nailed its free throws down the stretch to put this one away. The Polars made 18 of 21 from the foul line, 85.7%. It's the kind of number that wins championships, something the Polars aim for Saturday.

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State Class AA semifinal

Minneapolis North 71, Morris/CA 63

Minneapolis North (26-6)      43   28 — 71
Morris/CA (28-2)       37   26 — 63
MINNEAPOLIS NORTH - Scoring: Rio Sanders 11, Demeiko Anderson 19, Jacob Butler 14, Willie Wilson 10, Gani Stevens 6, AuVon Sager 7, Datrell McCrimmon 4  … 3-point shots: Anderson 4, Sager 1… Rebound leader: Butler 18 … Assist leader: Sanders 5 … Steal leader: Wilson 3, Sanders 2, Butler 2, Stevens 2 ... Block leader: Stevens 3
MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - Scoring: Durgin Decker 2, Cole Wente 6, Brandon Jergenson 4, Thomas Tiernan 7, Jackson Loge 37, Tyler Berlinger 4, Samuel Kleinwolterink 3 … 3-point shots: Kleinwolterink 1, Wente 2, Tiernan 1, Loge 3 … Rebound leaders: Loge 14, Decker 6 … Assist leaders: Decker 5, Tiernan 5, Jergenson 3 … Steal leaders: Decker 1, Tiernan 1, Loge 1, Berlinger 1 ... Block leader: Loge 8

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