March 14, 2019 03:06 PM
Junior forward Nurjei Weems muscled in a layup with 8.6 seconds remaining in regulation time to send top-ranked and top-seeded DeLaSalle to a 61-59 victory over No. 4 Holy Angels in the Class AAA semifinals of the girls basketball state tournament on Thursday, March 14 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
The victory propels the Islanders (23-5) into the Class AAA championship game for the first time since 2013 when the Minneapolis-based private school won the last of three crowns in a row.
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Weems scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half when the Islanders and Stars battled back-and-forth when the lead changed numerous times in the final minutes. She also had 10 rebounds. Senior center Mary Claire Francois added 15 points and six rebounds.
Moments before Weems made what proved to be the winning basket, Holy Angels sophomore guard Francesca Vascellaro made two free throws with 46.9 seconds remaining in regulation time to tie the score at 59-all. She finished with a game-high 35 points for the Stars (22-8).
It was DeLaSalle’s third victory over the Stars this season. The other two meetings came during Tri-Metro Conference matchups and were double-digit margins.
Holy Angels sprinted from the opening tap and opened an 8-2 advantage in the game’s first three minutes. But DeLaSalle eventually found its rhythm and turned the early deficit into a 10-point lead with 4:31 left in the first half. Senior center Mary Claire Francois paced the Islanders in the first half with seven points as DeLaSalle settled for a 26-23 lead at the break. Freshman forward Sydney Runsewe and sophomore center Nora Francois added six points each for the Islanders.
Sophomore guard Francesca Vascellaro scored 17 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Stars. She made 3 of 4 three-point attempts in her 14 minutes of play. Holy Angels was attempting to qualify for the first time since 2016 when it went on an upset binge en route to the Class AAA championship.
Updated: March 14, 2019 03:06 PM
Created: March 14, 2019 03:01 PM
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