The 2003 state boys’ basketball tournament was pretty special. Minneapolis City Conference rivals North and Central captured state titles in Class 4a and Class 3A respectively.
Defending Class 4A champion Hopkins finished third, Class 2A power DeLaSalle finished as runner-up, and St. Paul Como Park made a surprise tournament run with a third-place finish in Class 3A competition.
While Hopkins had Kris Humphries, Dan Coleman and Daren Clarke, DeLaSalle had Travis Bledsoe, Jadde Jones and Richard Rucker, and Como Park likewise with Andre Smith and Jamil Lott.
In this flashback article, however, let’s take a look at how North and Henry captured their crowns. North guard Kammron Taylor was already one of the state’s premier players, but it was center James Davis who led the Polars to victory with a performance to remember.
The seven-foot 260-pound senior led the way with 26 points and 14 rebounds, leading to an 82-73 double-overtime victory over Osseo.
North, coached by alum Brett McNeal and current Minneapolis Edison athletic director, also got 21 points from Taylor, 16 from Justyn Burgess, and seven apiece from Kevin Henderson and Jared Moore.
Earlier that evening Henry, coached by current Hall of Fame coach Larry McKenzie, captured their fourth consecutive Class 3A state boys’ basketball title with a 69-55 victory over Sauk Rapids as North looked on.
Guard Lawrence McKenzie, a point guard who was a four-year varsity player, completed his outstanding career by scoring 20 points. Calvin Walls added the same number, and Steve Neal added 15.
Oh, the rivalry!
On December 23, 2002, at the Target Center, Henderson scored 17 points to lead North to a 77-72 victory over Henry, led by McKenzie’s 25 points. The Patriots avenged the loss on February 17, playing again at the Target Center, with Walls leading the way with 20 points. Taylor led North that evening with 17.