Hayden Miller’s place as one of the best players in Knight basketball history is assured. On Saturday, another layer of lore was added to Miller’s legacy as the Lourdes team became the fourth school to win back-to-back Class D1 state titles.
Defense seemed to be the key to the championship run this year, but in a different way than what it had been for the 2015-16 title squad.
“Last year, our defense led into offense,” said Miller. “This year it was a little different. When our offense hit a couple of big shots, it really sparked our defense, especially in the fourth quarter after Quinten (Vasa) hit that really big shot. It got people’s energy up.”
Saturday’s foe, Guardian Angels Central Catholic, did not go quietly, but Miller said he felt the team’s energy from offense helped the Knights battle through adversity and get the job done in the end.
This year’s senior class will be missed overall, particularly the top two guys in Brock Hogeland and Miller who were major minute contributors all season.
For Hogeland, the finish to the season was especially great. And Miller noticed.
Miller said Hogeland simply found his role. And then attacked.
“Brock, he is such a diverse player,” said Miller. “He took his role and he ran with it—literally. When he realized that he could beat people down the court and he could finish, that was tremendous for us.”
And the season’s finish, a championship, was just as tremendous.
So the senior class leaves. But what will next year’s team do?
Miller says expect more greatness.
The Knight star said leadership didn’t just come from the seniors. The juniors and sophomores were leaders too. Miller said the seniors made their share of mistakes for sure, but junior leaders like Thomas Ragland, Vasa, and others, were not afraid to come up and get the seniors back on track. The sophomores would get the seniors going if needed as well.
“We’ve got so many leaders on this team. I think they’ll be great,” he said. “They’ve just got to find their identity of what they are going to be next year.”

Brock Hogeland
Saturday’s game had its high points and challenging times. Senior Brock Hogeland said the Knights survived those trials because they have a bond.
“It was more of our trust in each other. We work so hard together,” he said. “We always have each other’s backs.”
Like his teammate, Hogeland said he felt defense was a big key to what the Knights were able to accomplish.
“We do the 2-3 and we really try to extend it and make it tough to reverse the ball,” said Hogeland.
Beyond just putting up a good strategy, Hogeland said the Knights were aggressive and noted that effort proved to be the winning difference.
For the last play of the game, Hogeland said the Knights were aware of their foul situation—they hadn’t committed many so they had some to give before GACC would have went to the free throw line—so the Knights were aggressive.
And, as a result, GACC didn’t get to even take a shot before the buzzer.
Right before the play, Hogeland said he was thinking a little bit about a 1-of-2 free throw trip that kept the game at a one-possession margin of three points.
“It was in the back of my head. I would have been sad if they would have been able to get a buzzer-beater off,” said Hogeland. “It doesn’t matter now.”
What does matter is going back-to-back. Hogeland said he was happy that he was able to have the experience with a senior star like Hayden.
“It’s just so special. Hayden is my brother. I love him to death,” Hogeland said.

Quinten’s shot
Did Quinten Vasa call glass on that buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter? Vasa wasn’t even playing a bit when answering a question about it in the post game.
No.
“I literally just caught the ball and shot it,” he said. “It felt all wrong and it went in.”
Although he might not have called glass, the idea that Vasa’s shot had a low percentage of going through the hoop might be a touch understated.
After all, Vasa has been drilling big shot after big shot all year long. Last year was no different as Vasa stepped up in key moments including at the state tournament.
Brock Hogeland had a good view of the late third quarter shot on Saturday. He seemed to feel a bit different about Vasa’s attempt.
“I saw him shoot and I thought, ‘He’s going to get that,’” said Hogeland. “He usually doesn’t miss those.”

Coach Joe Tynon
The Knight coach said his team didn’t talk about repeating as champs all year. With the tough schedule, keeping the team focused and on its game through challenges was task enough. But the coach did note that, once the team was in the finals, they might have talked about the history of the moment.
Lourdes cashed in and joined an elite list of four schools with back-to-back D1 titles.
Adding to it, Lourdes got to the title game and won it both years as a wild card entrant.
Whether it was the challenge of the season, recovering from a district final loss or keeping the faith during the twists and turns of the finals, Coach Tynon said he knew what his team was capable of and the Knights didn’t disappoint.
“This group of kids worked well together and battled through tough times because we had some pretty tough times today,” said Tynon. “They’re fighters. They come ready to play. They step up in the big moment.”