Unbelievable finishes in high school playoff games are always one part thrilling and another part heartbreaking, as was the case Friday night in a boys basketball game between Melrose and Albany.
With a trip to the state tournament on the line, their section championship game at Halenbeck Hall on the campus of St. Cloud State University ended in spectacular fashion.
Trailing 51-50 with 16.2 seconds left in the game, top-seeded Melrose (26-4) took the lead 52-51 on a shot by Preston Keaveny with 2.3 seconds to go.
Albany (24-6), the No. 2 seed in Section 6AA, inbounded the ball and appeared to win the game on a buzzer beater by Andrew Hahn, and as soon as the ball went through the hoop the student section rushed the court thinking they were headed to next week's state tournament.
For 35 seconds Albany fans were celebrating while Melrose players, coaches and fans were anxiously awaiting a ruling from the officials, who huddled in the corner to discuss if the basket was good or if the ball was still in the player's hand when the clock hit zero.
They ruled it no good and Melrose fans stormed the court, and all of it was caught on video.
It's a heartbreaking loss for Albany, who got a double dose of heartbreak as its girls' basketball team lost by three points in the state tournament semifinals at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
MN Girls' Basketball State Tournament championship games
The girls' tourney wraps up Saturday with four state title games, all of them at Williams Arena and all of them on 45TV (KSTC).
12 p.m. - Minneota vs. Goodhue (Class A)
2 p.m. - Minnehaha Academy vs. Caledonia (Class AA)
6 p.m. - DeLaSalle vs. Becker (Class AAA)
8 p.m. - Hopkins vs. Stillwater (Class AAAA)
MN Boys' Basketball State Tournament qualifiers
The brackets for the tournament will be released this weekend, but the eight teams in all four classes are set with the exception of a Class AA section championship Saturday night between Hawley and Perham.
Class AAAA qualifiers: Lakeville North, Eden Prairie, Eastview, East Ridge, Park Center, Hopkins, Cambridge-Isanti, Maple Grove
Class AAA qualifiers: Austin, Waseca, Holy Angels, Mahtomedi, Monticello, DeLaSalle, Princeton, Bemidji
Class AA qualifiers: Lake City, St. Peter, Redwood Valley, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis North, Melrose, Esko.
Class A qualifiers: Spring Grove, Springfield, Westbrook-Walnut Grove, CHOF, Cromwell-Wright, Henning, North Woods, Ada-Borup West.