(Minneapolis, MN) -- Five points by junior guard Myles Sansted in the game's final 12 seconds capped off a miraculous Alexandria comeback win in the 2021 State Class AAA Boys' Basketball Tournament at the Target Center.
Falling behind by 13 points midway through the second half of Thursday's Class AAA Boys' Basketball Semifinal round game against Richfield, Alexandria surged down the stretch. The Cardinals closed the game on a 28-13 run to fuel a 66-64 victory to gain a spot in Saturday night's Class AAA Championship Game.
Despite being outrebounded in the contest 44-31, Alexandria gained two crucial rebounds in the last half-minute of the game. Richfield's Ryan Miles missed the front end of a one-and-one with his Spartans holding a 64-61 lead. The Cardinals' Erik Hedstrom tipped the ball to teammate Kobe Jenson, which led to a free throw opportunity for Myles Sansted on a three-point attempt that was not on target. Sansted made the first two freebies. However, following a Richfield timeout, he missed the third free throw which would have tied the game. Again, Hedstrom gained an offensive rebound by tipping the ball out to the top of the key to Colton Roderick. With time winding down, Roderick found Sansted open for a go-ahead three-point shot. Two minutes of KXRA audio to describe the go-ahead score are included below.
Though Sansted's second three-pointer of the game gave the Cardinals a two-point lead, Richfield had one final chance to win the game, or tie the score and force overtime. Miles' three pointer for the Richfield win rimmed off, capping off Alexandria's exhilarating victory.
The performances off the bench for Sansted and Jenson factored strongly in the Cardinals' win. Jenson led Alexandria in both scoring and rebounding, with 15 points and seven boards. He also blocked five Richfield shots. Sansted canned a triple in each half and finished with eight points.
Hedstrom tallied 13 points, with Roderick adding 12 for the game. Junior Carter Steffensmeier followed up with 11, and Kristen Hoskins scored seven.
The Richfield Spartans ended their season at 16-5, but not before senior guard Lamar Grayson -- a Mr. Basketball finalist -- scored 22 points. Two of Grayson's teammates also scored in double figures Thursday afternoon. Junior guard Mitchell January netted 17 points, with junior forward Jaden Wollmuth adding 15.
Alexandria will play for a Boys' Basketball State Championship for the first time since 1943 Saturday evening. The Cardinals will face the tournament favorite, Minnehaha Academy -- led by the consensus five-star Division I recruit Chet Holmgren -- for the Class AAA title. Minnehaha Academy defeated DeLaSalle 79-58 in the other Class AAA Semifinal Game on Thursday. The Red Hawks won three consecutive Class AA titles from 2017-2019. Minnehaha Academy's chance to play in the 2020 Class AAA State Tournament got cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday's Class AAA Championship Game is slated to start shortly after 6:00 in Downtown Minneapolis at Target Center. Radio coverage will be featured on KXRA (1490 AM/100.3 and 105.7 FM) and also on the Voice of Alexandria app.