Nasir Whitlock took the inbounds pass with 10 seconds left in regulation, his DeLaSalle team trailing by three points in the Class 3A state championship game. He had the length of the court to go and one objective on his mind.
He needed to shoot a three-pointer.
Taison Chatman has known Whitlock since they were little kids. Since second or third grade. They played together on travel teams and in AAU. Whitlock calls Chatman "my brother."
In those final 10 seconds, with a state title on the line, Chatman was the opponent, the Totino-Grace player assigned to guard Whitlock.
"We knew he was going to try to get his shot," Chatman said.
Everybody inside Target Center knew it too.
Whitlock came down the sideline with Chatman smothering him and appeared to lose his footing as he elevated for an off-balance three-pointer that fell short with two seconds left. Totino-Grace added a free throw to secure a repeat as state champions with a 50-46 win.
"I felt like I had a good shot," Whitlock said. "I just ended up slipping."
Target Center hosted four championship games Saturday, and those who love and appreciate high-level point guard play were treated to a double feature in the evening session.
Four of the state's premier point guards going head-to-head.
Totino-Grace's Chatman, an Ohio State signee, finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
DeLaSalle's Whitlock, a Lehigh signee, posted a team-high 19 points that included an NBA-range three-pointer with 11 seconds left.
In the Class 4A game, Wayzata's Hayden Tibbits and Park Center's Casmir Chavis squared off in another duel that went to overtime where Wayzata won 75-71.
Four points guards. Four different styles. Four different skill sets. Four dynamic players who control the game in different ways.
"In the last decade, we've had a pretty historic run of talent [in Minnesota]," Totino-Grace coach Nick Carroll said. "It seems like across the state some of our best talent is our backcourt players."
That list this season also includes Bloomington Jefferson's Daniel Freitag and Cherry's Isaac Asuma. Minnesota has become fertile ground for point guards.
"That's good that we're building a culture of really good point guards," said Whitlock, the Star Tribune's Metro Player of the Year.
They are all familiar with one another, having either played together as AAU teammates or faced off as opponents, or because the world is smaller and more connected in the social media age. There is a mutual respect within that fraternity.
"Basketball players know each other," Whitlock said.
Chatman has the highest talent upside of any guard in the state. At 6-4, he is both strong and smooth. An offseason knee injury affected his season, but he showed no ill-effects on Saturday.
"I haven't been around very many kids as a player or a coach who have the ability to impact the game and create offense in the way that he does," said Carroll, Totino-Grace's coach.
All those point guards leave an imprint in their own way. Whitlock thrives more on guile than explosiveness. He's always under control, always looking to set up teammates for scoring opportunities. Totino-Grace rotated five different defenders on him hoping to wear him down.
"Nas is a special talent," Carroll said. "He's a really cerebral talent."
The Class 4A championship featured two sports cars running the point in Tibbits and Chavis. Both play turbo speed.
Chavis is a blur flying down the court on the attack. Few players can match, or handle, his explosiveness. His speed occasionally gets him in trouble. He had eight turnovers in the title game.
Tibbits confounds defenses by changing speeds. He goes fast, then slower, then fast again. At 5-11, he is fearless driving to the basket against taller players, his passing is slick, and his midrange pullup jumper is a throwback move.
Tibbits finished his night by taking selfies with young Wayzata fans in the stands. Then he carried the championship trophy back to the locker room.