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Maple Grove outlasts Osseo, headed to state

By Amelia Rayno, Star Tribune Staff Writer, 03/11/11, 10:15PM CST


The Crimson lost twice to No. 1-seeded Osseo during the season.

Considering the long tradition, it was only fitting that it came down to this: a gut-it-out game between cross-town rivals Osseo and Maple Grove.

But in a game that featured six lead changes early and was tied at the half, the Crimson -- behind double-digit performances by four players -- outlasted the Orioles, gained yet another boost of confidence in a smooth-sailing season’s end and went on to win the Section 5, Class 4A championship 63-55 on Friday night.

“We actually wanted it to come down to this because we wanted to go in playing a tough team, to finish on a strong game,” said Stephanie Pappas, who finished with 16 points. “We just went out there and said, ‘You know what? We’re not going to let them get to us.’”

In the second half, Maple Grove came out on a 7-2 run and built as large as a nine-point lead. But Osseo cut the deficit to two with 7 minutes remaining. And while the Crimson built a small cushion back, the game did not lose any intensity. A sign of the aggressive play by both teams, there were 14 shooting fouls in the final five minutes.

“There are no secrets,” Maple Grove coach Mark Cook said of the rivalry that has played out eight times in four years. “We knew it was going to be a tight game.”

Osseo won the first two games of the head-to-head this year, and Maple Grove took the last one.

“I told (Osseo coach) Joey (Waters) after that (second game), ‘I’ll trade you this one for one in March,'" Cook said.

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