Guts and Glory

The Class A championship game between the Minnesota Transitions Wolves and the Sebeka Trojans started out with a frantic pace that would not let up. Both teams were running as often as the defense would allow and Sebeka started with their full court pressure after the first made basket. MTC received an early scare as after a Sebeka bucket, Kevin Noreen went down hard under the basket. Noreen would not miss any time and score inside on the very next offensive possession.
After a fast start, both defenses dug in and took control of the next portion of the game. Although back in the game Noreen was laboring up and down the floor. After nearly every whistle he would grab his back in pain. Pressure defense spurred an early Trojan run and built a Sebeka five point lead. MTC turned the tables and used a quick run of their own to stay in the game.
Defensive pressure by Sebeka controlled much of the first half. They generated a number of turnovers off of the press and forced MTC into a number of rushed shots as they tried to finish the break with Trojans defenders flying all over the court. MTC stayed in the game by forcing turnovers of their own. They closed to within one point off of an under the basket steal and three point play by Kyle Noreen. With the score 22-21 Sebeka it looked like who ever could hold onto the ball and stay relaxed on offense was going to control the play.
Both offenses settled in a bit with both Noreen's doing most of the scoring for MTC and Joey Cuperus working hard on the inside and leading Sebeka with ten first half points. Despite his injury, Kevin Noreen led all scorers with 16. Sebeka went into the locker room with a 32-30 lead. Sebeka was helped by Cody Pulju and his eight points - mainly from the outside.
The second half started frantically just like the first half. Both teams were getting up and down the floor. Kevin Noreen kept up the scoring from the inside and MTC was able to break the Trojan press for and converted the break opportunities into points. Sebeka used some nice passing plays in the half court to keep up with the Wolves.
With its first lead of the game, MTC started to get more controlled with their offense. It was a great move as they made Sebeka play defense and worked the ball around for a good shot. More often than not that good shot came from Kevin Noreen. A transition basket gave MTC its biggest lead of six with under seven minutes to play.
Kevin Noreen continued to dominate on the inside. If his teammates were able to get the ball to him down low he usually converted. He was becoming more and more of a force on the defensive end as well and keyed his team's second half surge. Sebeka turned up the defensive heat and the game again took on a frantic pace. As MTC could slow it down they were able to control the game. When Sebeka could speed it up they could chip away at the deficit. With less than four to go, MTC still held a five point lead.
If it wasn't Noreen scoring MTC's Rodney Owens was able to carry the load. With 22 points he gave his team a great option going to the basket and in the mid-range area. As MTC started to pull away, they took care of the ball and played a smart offensive game in the second half. Kevin Noreen imposed his will on the inside on the defensive end more in the second half as well. Smart basketball and an inspired effort by one of the state's best players keyed the 61-52 win.