Here are five girls’ basketball players and state championship performances I will never forget.
Tamara Moore (Minneapolis North, 1998)
The 5’10” guard scored 26 points in leading the Polars to their first Class AAA state title in 1998 in a 66-33 victory over Chaska. They finished with a 29-0 record.
Moore, who was the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and Ms. Basketball during her senior season, went on to a stellar career at the University of Wisconsin and the WNBA. She was inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.
Mauri Horton (Minneapolis North, 1999)
The 5’9” guard displayed leadership and passion in scoring 14 points to lead the Polars to their second-straight Class AAA crown, beating Owatonna 72-44 in 1999.
Horton, after being named the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and Ms. Basketball as a senior that year, played four years at Rutgers University. She played on the Scarlet Knights’ NCAA Women’s Final Four team as a freshman in 2000.
Jenna Smith (Bloomington Kennedy, 2006)
The 6’3” Smith scored 20 points in leading the Eagles to the 2005 Class AAAA state championship during her junior year with a 44-38 win over Hopkins. She led them back to the title game the following season (losing to Hopkins) while earning Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and Ms. Basketball honors before an outstanding career at the University of Illinois.
Smith was named All-Big Ten twice during her collegiate career.
Angel Robinson (St. Paul Central, 2007)
The 5’9” guard, also one of the state’s top defensive players, led the Minutemen to an 81-63 victory over Minneapolis South in the Class AAAA state title game in 2007. Her dominance that year earned her the titles of Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and Ms. Basketball as the Minutemen finished 32-0 while setting numerous records.
Robinson went on to play at Marquette University. She was inducted into the Marquette Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018.
Tayler Hill (Minneapolis South, 2009)
The 5’10” guard scored 47 points in a 68-61 Class AAAA state championship victory over Centennial for the 2009 title.
Hill, who currently plays for the Dallas Wings of the WNBA, played five years for South’s varsity, was a two-time Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, was named Ms. Basketball as a senior, and was a two-time member of the All-Big Ten team during her four-year collegiate career at Ohio State University.
She led the Tigers to the Class AAA title game three consecutive seasons.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.