Rebounding from winless season Cherry secures 1st state berth in 25 years

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The Cherry boys basketball team will tip off their Minnesota State High School tournament journey on Wednesday. The whole town showed their support on Tuesday giving the Tigers a proper sendoff from the police department, fire department, and local fans.

Cherry held off Deer River Friday to secure their program’s second ever section title and first state berth since 1997.

"These guys won zero games four years ago. Zero games. No one quit, no one gave up, no one stopped playing, no one stopped competing," head coach Jordan Christianson said. "We knew we had special stuff coming up here and they just kept working at it."

The Tigers are led by three sets of twins in the Mancinis, Ruotsalainens, and Sernas, plus a trio of high scoring brothers/cousins in the Asumas.

Sophomore Isaac Asuma finished their 68-57 Section 7A final win over the Warrior with a game-high 24 points.

"We’re trying to win it, obviously, so I’m excited to go down there for the experience," Asuma said. "When we were little we went down there and watched it so it’s super cool to actually go down there."

Senior Sam Serna, who was on that winless 2018-19 team, added 16 points in the victory.

"You know the history, we weren’t so good for a long time and now that we’re back on top [it] feels good," Serna said. "Hopefully we can keep the tradition going."

Fifth seeded Cherry will face fourth seeded Nevis in the Class A state quarterfinals Wednesday at 1pm at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Nevis earned the 67-45 win in their sole regular season meeting with the Tigers on January 18.