Brandon Courts will remember this winter for a few reasons.
The Lake Region Christian School Hornets point guard missed a few games during Christmas break to visit an uncle who is a missionary in Argentina.
Courts said the experience was memorable.
March 1, 2003, might be as memorable as the junior earned the most valuable player award at the Minnesota Association of Christian Schools state boys' basketball tournament.
Courts won the award and helped his team win its third straight state title.
"I just played my game, I guess," said Courts. "As a team we played really good defense. My knee kind of hurt, but it was a lot of fun."
Courts scored 24 points and had five assists in the championship game against First Baptist.
In Lake Region's first-round win against Chisago, Courts scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. In the semifinals the junior scored 32 points.
"He just takes games into his own hands," said Hornets coach Joel Newton. "We played three games and two of the teams we played had more natural talent then us. But we just played more disciplined and we ran our plays better.
"Brandon and our center ran a pick and roll to perfection. Brandon just lit it up. Whatever you asked of him, a three-pointer, driving to the basket, dishing off, he did it."
Newton enjoyed watching Courts grow into a leader and become a dominant player. Even though he plays point guard, the Hornets ran plays specifically for Courts.
"He's been a very pleasant surprise," said Newton. "We knew he had the talent but at the beginning of the year he was trying to do it all himself. We incorporated some plays for him and the team soon realized he was the go-to guy. He makes everyone look good."
Courts is good on and off the court. He's a 4.0 student. Quick thinking helps the 5-foot-11 guard take on any challenge.
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Wyatt Carr, Verndale, scored 22 points vs. Laporte.
Tyler Scull, Crosby-Ironton, scored 25 points vs. Moose Lake-Willow River and 30 vs. Deer River.
Mark Poepping, Pierz, scored 20 points vs. Rockford and had 22 points and 17 rebounds vs. Holdingford.
Jon Schulz, Little Falls, scored 21 points vs. Sauk Rapids.
Roman Haberkorn, Aitkin, scored 20 points vs. Pine River-Backus.
Cory Umland, Verndale, scored 30 points vs. Nevis and 18 vs. Laporte.
Tim Ranweiler, LRCS, was named to the Minnesota Association of Christian Schools all-state tournament team.
Wrestling -- Craig Luberts, Pierz, won the 140-pound Class 1A state championship.
Casey Finck, Verndale, won the 215-pound Class 1A state championship.
Peter Hayes, Wadena-Deer Creek, won the 140-pound Class 2A state championship.
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