Despite an early game back injury that had him wincing through today's Class A State Championship, Kevin Noreen led Minnesota Transitions to a 61-52 victory. With 24 points (11 of 17 shooting), 15 rebounds, 9 blocks, and 4 assists Kevin did a little of everything cementing his place as one of the better players in Minnesota history.
Early in the game Kevin went to block a John Clark shot in the paint but after making contact he was twisted in the air landing flat on his back. The game had to be stopped and Kevin certainly was feeling the pain.
Noreen missed all of two seconds. He stepped right back on the floor and scored with a fake right, attack left runner that was beautifully kissed off the glass. Two trips down the floor later Kevin sunk a triple from the right wing showcasing that extremely soft touch. The back pain certainly changed his motion but not the release or the final result. Kevin also had a couple hard cuts at the rim where he caught and finished over the athletic Clark and Joey Cuperus. But after every score you could see pain on Kevin's face as he worked his way back down the floor to play defense.
MTS went into the break with Kevin scoring a dozen but down 32-30. Noreen had blocked four shots earlier in the game but the five he had in half number two were a little more crucial. With each block as well as each strong two handed rebound Kevin turned and sent beautiful outlet passes flying in the other direction like his name was Kevin Love. These outlets most of the time found junior teammate Rodney Owens who slashed to the cup for 11 field goals and 22 points. Much of Rodney's production was thanks to Kevin's outlet passes after either a lengthy block or a rebound after clearing out Cuperus.
Noreen also scored on two buckets deep in the paint and two mid-range jumpers in the first eight minutes of the second half. With MTS up four field goals Noreen moved from a scorer to a ball handler/passer with the Wolves spreading the floor and dragging the clock down. Sebeka defenders scrambled doubling their defensive efforts but Kevin's quick ball reversals were untouchable. When Sebeka fell out of position Kevin moved in for the skill scoring one touch lay-up and assisting to his brother Kyle Noreen a couple other teams (I recalled at least eight assists for Kevin so the four was definitely light). Form there the lead was built to double figures and the medals were handed out.
Kevin's a Boston College signed player, he is the state's all time leading scorer, he's won a few player of the year awards already, and now Kevin is a state champion. This is the crown jewel for what Kevin and his team have been working for since he stepped on the varsity floor as a 7th grader in 2004. Six years later Noreen is going out on top.
The only drawback is that Kevin had to run to the doctor after the game to have his back checked out, as a precaution.