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2008-2009 School Year

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The 2008-2009 season was one for ages. The team succeeded where no other team has in the history of South Women’s Basketball.  After 35 years (43 if you count the early 1900’s seasons) South finally won the State Championship.  It was a sweet victory for a team that believed in itself.

The magical season began with fans wondering what happened to the great teams of the last three years.  The team opened with five non-conference games and a 3-2 record.  The opening game of the season was a rout of Andover, 69-25.  However, in the second game, Hopkins turned the tables on the Tigers and won 55-37.  A close game with Robbinsdale Armstrong followed, with the Tigers pulling out the win by a 61-54 score.  Lakeville North was rather easy game, with the Tigers winning by 15, 72-57.  A close loss to Maple Grove, 59-56, sent the Tigers into conference play.

Conference played opened against North.  The North team was young and inexperienced, but gave the Tigers all they could handle.  The final score as a six-point win for the Tigers, 71-65.  The second conference game was against Edison.  Edison was no match for the powerful Tigers, with South winning by 69 point, 97-29.

Winter Break came as did more non-conference games.  South played Park of Cottage Grove the day break began, winning convincingly 91-56.  The Tigers then played in a tournament, three games in three days with three wins.  Eastview fell 68-45.  Osseo was the next victim, 74-59.

South won the tournament championship earning a victory over Hopkins, 55-42.  This avenged their earlier loss in the second game of the season.

The first game after break was a 97 point victory of Henry, 109-12.  The 97 point difference was the largest victory in school history, breaking the 93 point mark set two years earlier, also against Henry. 

The Tigers then played Eden Prairie.  The game was back and forth, with South pulling out a 72-67 victory.  The game against Jordan was almost as close.  Jordan put up a good fight, but again the Tigers won 59-52.  Roosevelt was the next victim, losing to the Tigers 70-45.

The team then played two games in a tournament in Chicago, IL.  Their first opponent was against Chicago Marshall.  The team kept up the pressure and won 64-49.  They then played Evanston, Il and again came away the victor, 65-38.

After traveling all night to return to school, the Tigers faced Washburn.  South could have used the fatigue from the bus ride, but came out and easily won 68-27.  Southwest, 64-33, North, 74-52, Edison, 82-47 and Henry, 98-19, all fell in succession.

Rochester John Marshall tried to put up a fight, but the Tigers were just too good, winning 62-48.  Roosevelt, 71-58, and Washburn, 81-26, both lost to the Tigers.  The team then played Southwest, winning 71-44 and finishing their conference season with another perfect 12-0 record.  This stretched their conference winning streak to 28 games.  It gave the Tigers their fifth straight conference championship and a 57-3 record during that time.

With another unbeaten conference record, the Tigers headed to the Twin City game against St. Paul Central again!  The Tigers brought home the Twin City championship with a 60-42 win.

With the regular season over, the Tigers were now looking toward the elusive State title.  To win the crown, they first had to go through what most people believed was a very tough region.  The first opponent, Robbinsdale Cooper, fell easily, 64-40.  The second opponent, the Tigers defeated twice this year, Southwest.  The 80-37 score gave South a three-game sweep against the Lakers.  The Region Championship would be decided between South and Hopkins.  In two previous games, the teams split.  This was a low-scoring game for the Tigers, which may have favored Hopkins, but South pulled out a 14 point win, 59-45, sending the Tigers back to the State Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

The State Tournament opened on March 18.  The Tiger drew Blaine.  The north suburban school was no match for the Tigers.  The final, 73-34.  Game two on Mary 19 wan a struggle for the Tigers.  Eastview held South to just 58 points, but the Tigers held their opponent to only 54, sending the team back to the championship game for the third consecutive year.

The championship, played on March 21, pitted the Tigers against Centennial.  Some wondered if, as in the words of Yogi Berra, it was “déjà vu all over again.”  The game was close, but All-State player Tayler Hill took control of the game.  In order to slow her down, Centennial continually fouled her.  However, Hill took advantage of the fouls and made a Tournament single-game record 20 free throws!  In the end, South defeated Centennial 68-61 giving the Tigers their first State Title.  The team returned home to a celebration, held in the school gym.

The Junior Varsity team had a conference record of 11-1, losing only to North.  They finished with an overall record of 16-5.  The C-Squad finished with a conference record of 9-1, losing only to North. They finished with an overall record of 11-5.  Both teams won the conference title for their respective division. The C-Squad represented Minneapolis in the Twin City game, and beat St. Paul Central 60-42.  Since the JV tied with North, the North JV represented Minneapolis in the Twin City game.

Tayler Hill was again named All-Conference.

Head Coach Ahmil Jihad finished his fifth season at the helm of the Tigers.  He was again assisted by Steve Sutton.