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Boys' Basketball: MSA basketball season ends on a high note

A season-long goal was realized for the Math and Science Academy boys' basketball team when it finished top in its division of the Twin Cities Athletic Conference tournament earlier this month.

The Dragons defeated Liberty Classical Academy 54-43 in the finals March 4 to clinch the tournament title. Math and Science Academy won a first-round game Feb. 27 against Christian Life Academy 61-56 before defeating Nova Classical Academy 54-43 on March 3 in the semifinals.

The team's two senior career 1,000-point scorers played significant roles on offense for Math and Science Academy in the tournament wins.

Senior guard Brian Smith scored 22 points against Christian Life Academy, 23 against Nova Classical and 16 in the championship game.

"He was pretty dominant," head coach Nathan Schroeder said about Smith.

Senior forward Andrew Jeyachandran scored 23 points against Nova Classical.

While Math and Science Academy won each conference playoff game by a margin of at least five points, the final two were closer than the score indicates. Nova Classical led by eight points at halftime in the TCAC semifinals game. Against Liberty Classical, the Dragons fell behind by one point at halftime.

"We just kind of locked down on defense and didn't let them score a whole lot after that point," Schroeder said about the championship game.

Math and Science Academy's season ended Thursday with a 54-24 loss to St. Agnes in the Class 2A, Section 4 round of 16. St. Agnes followed the win with a 57-54 win Saturday against third-seeded New Life Academy.

"They are pretty deep," Schroeder said about St. Agnes. "We are still very young. I have three freshmen on my varsity squad, so we are pretty darn young."

Math and Science Academy finished with a record of 15-8 this season, which is in line with most other seasons in recent history. The program won 15 games in 2015 and 17 last season. This year was the first as a member of the 22-school TCAC mega conference.

Four seniors are graduating from this year's squad, including the school's only 1,000-point scorers Smith and Jeyachandran.

The Dragons know they have a young roster returning, but Schroeder expects them to contend in the TCAC tournament again if everything comes together.

"We'll still be competitive and everything," he said. "I still see us having a chance to win the conference title. But we'll have to really win some tough games to make that happen."

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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