Photo: Alex Conover Prep Hoops MN

Posted On: 04/10/21 5:10 PM

In a complete slugfest, Waseca edged Caledonia on a game winning shot by Ryan Dufault Ryan Dufault 6'0" | PG Waseca | 2021 State MN with just under two seconds to go.  We review the talent at the Class AA title game at Prep Hoops! 

MVP. Ryan Dufault Ryan Dufault 6'0" | PG Waseca | 2021 State MN .  With 30 plus seconds to go Waseca called a timeout.  It was clear that they wanted the ball in the hands of their leader and after 20 seconds of delay game, Dufault weaved through three defenders and found himself on the baseline for a 14 foot game winner.  Halfway through the second half, Dufault hadn’t scored a point.  All of a sudden Dufault had two attacking scores, a couple free throws and a Jays 49-43 lead.  The Jays let that lead slip but in the end, Dufault’s 8th make earned his team the championship.  Ryan finished the game with 23 points, five boards, and five assists and now he will enjoy this and get ready for division one basketball at St. Thomas.  The Waseca Ice Man has brought his team a state championship. 

Top Prospect to Know. Andrew Morgan Andrew Morgan 6'9" | C Waseca | 2021 State #178 Nation MN Caledonia’s double team in the post took Andrew out of the game offensively but even on a rough day, Morgan hit five of seven foul shots, scored twice at the rim, and finished just short of a double double (9 points, 8 rebounds). Morgan’s defensive rebounding was very important because the Warriors attack the offensive glass hard.  Waseca needed every one of his eight boards, two blocks, two steals, and five foul shot makes. Headed to NDSU. 

Surprise Performer.  Austin Klug Austin Klug 6'4" | SG Caledonia | 2021 State MN .  I think this is a good spot to talk about Austin’s day.  Klug is an excellent player for Caledonia and on the big stage he went from strong contributor to the go to guy in the state title game.  Austin’s ability to use his skill, his 6-foot-5 frame, and that touch over extending arms led to his game high 25 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the field (7 of 8 shooting from the foul line).  Austin grabbed nine rebounds AND he was the Caledonia ball handler most of the contest.  A memorable final performance for an excellent all around athlete. Headed to NIACC to play baseball. 

Defensive Player of the Game 1. Kyreese Willingham Kyreese Willingham 6'5" | SF Waseca | 2021 State MN This wasn’t Kyreese Willingham Kyreese Willingham 6'5" | SF Waseca | 2021 State MN ’s best defensive game but his defense certainly played a big part. Kyreese’s length was the biggest reason Klug had eight turnovers.  Kyreese intercepted some passes, deflected some passes, poked the ball away, and was a constant bother.  Willingham also jumped a passing lane on that final Caledonia play forcing a pause on Caledonia’s desperate heave. Headed to Minnesota State-Mankato. 

Defensive Player of the Game 2. Casey Schultz Casey Schultz 6'3" | SF Caledonia | 2021 MN .  Caledonia did a fantastic job doubling Morgan in the post and it completely threw off the Jays for parts of the game, and took Morgan’s offense out of the game.  Schultz was either the player doubling Morgan or he was the player battling behind Andrew.  Throw in a couple blocks and a dozen boards (most of them on the defensive end) and you had a great defensive performance.  

Waseca returns…. Nobody.  Nobody from their varsity rotation that is.  Six-foot-1 junior Parker Link is the only guy to see even a shred of varsity rotation time over the year.  The Jays will be taking this year’s JV and making it their varsity next year. 

Caledonia returns… A contender.  The Warriors of course lose valuable seniors (Klug, Sam Privet Sam Privet 6'9" | PF Caledonia | 2021 State MN , Schultz, Andrew Kunelius Andrew Kunelius 6'0" | SG Caledonia | 2021 MN ).  However, nationally ranked Eli King Eli King 6'3" | PG Caledonia | 2022 State #135 Nation MN will be back, this year’s Caledonia leading scorer Jackson Koepke Jackson Koepke 6'2" | SG Caledonia | 2022 State MN will be back, and 6th Man Ja’Shon Simpson returns.  A lot of Warriors missed a lot of time this year for various injuries and illnesses so there is more experience returning from the deeper bench (Caledonia played 8-9 guys a game before entering the state tournament).   Current junior guard Thane Meiers scored 6-7 points a game, 6’2 forward Chris Pieper was a valuable reserve, and freshman guard Lewis Doyle is a name to know.  There isn’t any size back so they will be small, but very talented.  Caledonia will be in the mix for the title again next year. 

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