Huskies clinch EMAC title

The North Lakes Academy boys basketball team celebrates winning the Eastern Minnesota Athletic Conference title on Saturday night.

The North Lakes Academy boys basketball team celebrates winning the Eastern Minnesota Athletic Conference title on Saturday night.

 

North Lakes Academy capped its regular season with an Eastern Minnesota Athletic Conference title by defeating the International School of Minnesota on Friday and Christian Life Academy on Saturday.

This season, a new format was used in the EMAC tournament. The top four schools competed in their own championship bracket, while the lower schools competed for fifth place. The Huskies were the third seed going in behind the International School of Minnesota and Christian Life Academy, which beat North Lakes by 14 in late January.

Senior Jake Ozment led the scoring effort in the semifinal on Friday, scoring 21 points and recording seven rebounds despite a separated shoulder three days before. Senior Chris Rosencrantz contributed 20 points and nine rebounds, while senior Cody Warren put up nine points and 22 rebounds.

The championship game on Saturday began in Christian Life’s favor, which had a two-point lead at the half, 34-32. But three Huskies came out from the break on fire.

Junior Derek Beatty went on a scoring frenzy in the second half to total 23 points, seven rebounds and two steals on the night. Rosencrantz and Ozment both scored 22 points to accompany their nine and eight rebounds, respectively. Warren put up eight points, eight rebounds and one block despite foul trouble that forced him to sit much of the first half.

Collectively, the squad shot 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc. Beatty and Rosencrantz both drained five 3-pointers in the win.

During the title game, Ozment also joined Rosencrantz in breaking 1,000 points. Head coach Judd Yaeger wasn’t short on compliments for his players.

“He (Ozment) was great, Derek was on fire, Chris did a great job handling the pressure and running the offense, and if foul trouble doesn’t get us, Cody never leaves the game,” Yaeger said. “Last year we were eliminated in the semifinals by a senior-laden team, and this year we’re the senior-laden team.”

The Huskies also defeated Shattuck-St. Mary’s on the road last Tuesday, 85-63.

Just four seasons ago, North Lakes was winless. This season, the Huskies are 14-12.

“It’s been a good journey to come from where we were,” Yaeger said. “I’ve only graduated five seniors, and this year I’m graduating seven. Yeah, we’ve just built a nice program.”

The Huskies kick off Section 4A play at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Southwest Christian.

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