Girls State Basketball: Benilde-St. Margeret’s beats DeLaSalle to claim second straight Class championship

Girls State Basketball: Class 3A Championship – Benilde-St. Margaret’s vs. DeLaSalle

For decades, the Christian Brothers Cup has been awarded annually to the winner of the girls basketball game between DeLaSalle and Benilde-St. Margaret’s. The game is typically played just before the holiday break so the traveling trophy can be enjoyed by players, family and community supporters.

This season, DeLaSalle took possession with a nine-point victory on Dec. 22. At the time, the victory extended an Islanders’ winning streak to four games. Meanwhile, the loss put the Red Knights at 3-5 to start the season. A key factor in each: Benilde-St. Margaret’s was without standout Olivia Olson, a senior guard, who missed seven games with a broken hand.

The longtime rivals, located 13 minutes and 5.4 miles away from one another, squared off again on Saturday, March 16 for another significant annual award: The Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Basketball Class AAA State Championship trophy.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s now has that following an 81-58 victory over DeLaSalle in the title game at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. Olson, a University of Michigan recruit, scored 30 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to power the Red Knights to their 24th consecutive victory and a successful defense of their Class AAA crown. Olson returned after that loss to DeLaSalle and the Red Knights ran the table en route to winning a championship for the fourth time in program history. The Red Knights (27-5) also captured titles in 2006 and 2010.

Ninth-grader Pressley Watkins led the Red Knights’ supporting cast with 18 points while ninth-grader Sidney Friedly and junior Zahara Bishop had 11 each in an up tempo attack that turned a five-point halftime lead into a championship with a 37-19 run over the final 18 minutes.

DeLaSalle (27-4) was attempting to win its first Class AAA title since 2019 and fourth overall. Junior guard Aneisha Scott scored 15 points and sophomore guard Madalyn Blaylock added 14. The Islanders, which had a 16-game winning streak snapped, kept things close in the first half and even had a two-point lead in the final minutes.

A year ago, Benilde-St. Margaret’s also defeated DeLaSalle in the state tournament, but that came in the Class AAA quarterfinals. While Benilde-St. Margaret’s went on to win the state title, DeLaSalle would go onto record two victories in the consolation round.

Third place:

Alexandria Area 69, Stewartville 55: Junior forward Hadley Thull scored 24 points while junior guards MaCee Linow and ninth-grade guard Allie Haabala each contributed 17 to send Alexandria Area (27-5) past Stewartville (23-10) at the Gangelhoff Center on the Concordia (St. Paul) campus. The Cardinals led by a point at the half and stretched that with a dominant final 18 minutes. Senior guard Taylor Klement had 18 points for the Tigers.