The Polars return to the state tournament after a 13-year absence with a goal of honoring their past.

Minneapolis Star Tribune (March 8, 2016)

The basketball history is so rich at Minneapolis North that there are times before practice starts when coach Larry McKenzie calls his players over, has them sit on the court and just look at the championship banners hanging on the wall.

“We use that as motivation,”senior guard Tyler Johnson said. “Do we want to make a name for ourselves? Can we be remembered as one of the great teams in North history?”

The Polars, once considered a yearly state tournament shoo-in, have been conspicuously absent for more than a decade. The last time North – a program with five state titles, 19 state tournament appearances and its distinguished alumni – qualified for the state tournament was 2003.

“Who would have thought North would have a 13-year drought?” McKenzie asked.

That lengthy hiatus is over. Ranked No. 1 for most of the season, the Polars cruised through the Section 4 playoffs and earned the top seed in the Class 1A bracket. They play first-time entrant St. Clair in Thursday’s quarterfinals at Williams Arena, their first step on a path the entire north side of Minneapolis hopes will lead to another state championship. READ MORE…