Sam Gubbrud, Abdikalak Muse, and Ja’Quantay Winston have plenty in common. All are members of the St. Paul Central boys’ basketball team. All start for the Minutemen, and most importantly
all came through when their teammates needed them.
The trio’s clutch play came through as each player contributed to Central’s 77-75 double-overtime victory over Orono, a Class 3A state power who made an appearance in last year’s state tournament.
In the game’s final minutes with Orono holding a seven-point lead, Muse, a 6’-3” forward, stole a pass at half court, dribbled into traffic, and spun around a defender for an easy layup. Gubbrud, a 6’-4” senior guard, buried a three-pointer and Winston, who plays point guard, added a coast-coast driving layup to set up the first extra period.
Gubbrud added a three-point play, and Muse had a timely tip in to force double OT.
Gubbrud, who also played quarterback for Central’s football team this past fall, simply took over the game — scoring all of his team’s points in the final extra period — before finishing with a game-high 30 points.
Winston finished with 10 points. Point guard Jamal Galato, John Gubbrud and Shawn Blanchard Jr. chipped in eight points apiece.
Muse finished with four points — scored during the game’s most crucial moments.
Alexander Kill led Orono with 26 points.
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Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.