Editor’s Note: “Prep Flashbacks” is the third in a series of seven columns highlighting the teams and players that Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald has covered as a prep photojournalist since 1987. The column will run once a month.
After graduating from Central State University in 1987, I began my career as a prep sports columnist at Insight News. In 1996, I moved on to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.
This week’s column features one event or accomplishment from each year 2002-2006. Highlights include a Minneapolis team’s third-straight state boys basketball championship, another Minneapolis team achieving the same feat a year later, a St. Paul team’s two state tournament appearances in boys basketball, and a Minneapolis team winning the City and Twin City boys basketball titles.
2002: Terry Pettis, Tyrell Sledge, Walter Power, Lawrence McKenzie, Calvin Walls, Tyrell Thorton, Brandon Smith, Steven Neal and Zerek Knight led Minneapolis Patrick Henry to its third consecutive Class 3A state boys basketball championship, defeating Red Wing 61-44. The Patriots were coached by Larry McKenzie.
2003: Kammron Taylor, Justyn Burgess, Kevin Henderson, Jared Moore and James Davis led Minneapolis North, coached by Brett McNeal, to the Class 4A state boys basketball championship with an 82-73 double overtime victory over Osseo.
2004: Head Coach Vern Simmons, along with players Walter Haynes, Terry Courneyea, Donnell Gibson, Sal Simmons and Mario Smith, led St. Paul Johnson to a fourth-place finish in the Class 4A state boys basketball tournament.
2005: Michael Betts, Ricky Batsell-Parks, Romaine Martin, Jared Moore and Brian Cole led Minneapolis North, coached by Brett McNeal, to the Minneapolis City Conference and Twin City boys basketball championship.
2006: Head Coach Vern Simmons, along with players Freddy Coleman, Sammy Ricks, JeffClark-Neal, Demetrius Smith, Sal Simmons, and Dion Suggs, led St. Paul Johnson to a third-place finish in the Class 4A state boys basketball tournament.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.