Apple Valley returns to state in boys hoops

Rosemount proves strong test for south metro powerhouse

The Apple Valley boys basketball team will return to the state tournament for the third straight year after it defeated Rosemount, 72-60, during a 4A section final on Thursday in Farmington.

The Irish gave a spirited effort, but the firepower of the experienced Eagles was too much in the end.

Rosemount raced out to a 12-6 advantage to start the game. The lead changed hands a few times in the first half as the score was all knotted up at 36 at the intermission.

Alec Loehr led the way for the Irish with 18 first-half points, while the Eagles’ all-star guard Tre Jones had 13 at the break.

The Eagles started clicking in the second half as a 16-5 run spotted it a 52-41 lead that it would never surrender.

Rosemount chipped away at the lead shrinking it to 61-56 with under four minutes left to play, but Apple Valley pushed the lead to 69-60 with 1:29 left to go.

Jones finished with 23 points, while Kone had 15. Luke Martens poured in 12 points and dished out 10 assists.

For the Irish, Loehr had 24 points and 11 rebounds. Myka Edmond scored 17, while Luke Loehr finished with 12 points.

The Eagles enter the state tournament with a 27-2 record. It is possible that the “odds” are in their favor as the team has won state championships in each of the past two odd years — 2013 and 2015.

Apple Valley will play on Wednesday, March 22, at Target Center in Minneapolis in the first round of the state tournament. The top five teams in the tournament are seeded, while the bottom three will be placed in the bracket at random. The No. 1 seed will start the day by playing an unseeded team at 10 a.m. and the No. 2 seed will close the action with a game against an unseeded team at 4 p.m.

Game flow and statistical information is from the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.