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Lakeville North Panthers rally to win Class AAAA championship

What a winter sports season for the Lakeville North Panthers. After coming up short in boys and girls hockey they come up big in boys basketball as JP Macura scored 43 points to beat the Hopkins Royals 84-82 in the Class AAAA championship game Saturday night at Target Center in Minneapolis.

It was the first state title for Lakeville North in their fourth trip to state.

The Royals struck first, scoring the game's first three points. Macura's first basket cut the lead to one. The Panthers went on a run that put them into a 13-6 lead until Kamaki Chambers hit a three pointer to cut the lead to four. As the first half progressed, both teams remained even. The score was tied at 27, 29, 31 and 33. John Warren's basket sent Hopkins on a 6-0 run. Chambers hit a shot on a rebound that was reviewed on replay and it did count. Hopkins led at the half 41-36.

In the second half, the Royals Stephon Sharp picked up his fourth foul 2:09 into the half but it didn't keep the top seeded Royals from going on a 9-0 run. Macura showed why he's a Mr. Basketball candidate as he scored six straight points. Alex Reiland's three pointer would cut the lead to three. Hopkins would widen their lead on a pair of threes from Chambers. Calvin Pesola would cut the lead to three with a three pointer and Jacob Wright would hit two free throws to widen the lead to five. Macura would acheive his highest scoring game since Prior Lake on February 21 when he hit a three pointer. Drew Stewart's three vaulted the Panthers into the lead as he was fouled, setting up a four point play. But he missed the free throw and Connor Flack scored on a jumper with :10 left to earn the South Suburban Conference school the state title.

Other Lakevile North players in double figures were Bronson Bruneau with 16 points. Stewart added 10. Chambers led Hopkins with 24 points. Wright had 16 and Warren scored 11.

In the Class AAAA third place game at Ganglehoff Center on the Concordia University campus in St. Paul, Shakopee defeated Cretin-Derham Hall 63-56.

Lakeville North head coach John Oxton commented after the game on the Xavier, Ohio bound Macura.

"JP's an unbelievable talent. He's super competitive and he loves to win."

Attendance at the Saturday evening session was 11,344