Prep athletes of the week: Do-it-all Wayzata guard really did it all in final two games of championship season

Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune
·2 min read

DREW BERKLANDWayzata • basketball

In the minutes following Wayzata's 75-61 victory over Cretin-Derham Hall in the Class 4A championship game, coach Bryan Schnettler made a bold statement.

"Drew Berkland might be the best athlete in school history," Schnettler said after the junior guard's standout efforts in the state tournament. "He's won a state championship in football and now in basketball. And baseball might be his best sport."

Berkland was a whirlwind of energy in the Trojans' run to the title. Not only was he playing his typical tight on-ball defense, he had his best back-to-back offensive games of the season. He scored 17 points, 15 in the first half, in a 72-43 semifinal victory over Shakopee and 19 points in the finals. He shot 8-for-12 from three-point range and led the team in scoring both games.

Berkland, a catcher who has committed to play baseball for the Gophers, summed up his play simply.

"I love playing in games like that, on the big stage," he said.

JULIA BENGSTONBecker • basketball

After consecutive seasons of disappointment, the senior guard led Becker to the Class 3A state championship. The Bulldogs had lost in the finals in 2019 and had the chance to play for a state title ripped from them in 2020 when championship game as canceled. Sufficiently motivated, Bengston had 20 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 70-58 victory over Marshall in the championship game. Three days earlier, the future Eastern Illinois guard posted 19 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds to pace Becker over Hill-Murray 84-51 in the semifinals.

HERCY MILLERMinnehaha Academy • basketball

While the majority of attention tends to be directed at Chet Holmgren, Miller quietly completed an exceptional state tournament. In the Redhawks' 80-29 rout of Alexandria in the Class 3A championship game, Miller, a senior guard and the oldest of the Miller brothers (Mercy is a freshman), led the team with a game-high 24 points, along with four rebounds and four assists. Miller had 45 points overall in three tournament games.

KAYLEE VAN EPSChaska • basketball

The senior guard, a stalwart for the Hawks for five varsity seasons, put her stamp on her career by scoring the game-winning basket with 5.7 seconds left in Chaska's 45-43 victory over Rosemount in the Class 4A championship game. Van Eps, who tied with teammate Kelsey Willems with a game-high 11 points, took a backdoor bounce pass from Mallory Heyer at the elbow and laid it in for the crucial basket. "It was the perfect play at the perfect time and Mallory made a perfect pass," said Van Eps, who will play for Lehigh next year.