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DeLaSalle wins 7th state title in last 8 years

March 23, 2019 11:36 PM

Top-seeded DeLaSalle added to its already-rich tradition of basketball success, and dominance in the Class AAA field, with a 63-56 victory over No. 2 Waseca in the championship game on Saturday, March 22 at Target Center. It was the eighth Class AAA crown since 2012 for the Islanders (27-5), which included a state-record six crowns in a row from 2012-2017. The only non-title season in that span came during the 2018 tournament when DeLaSalle finished third.

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Senior forward Jamison Battle, a 6-foot-7 force in the low post as well as on the perimeter, scored 26 points, and senior guard Tyrell Terry added 19 points and 10 assists to fuel DeLaSalle’s latest championship run. DeLaSalle, which also won a Class AAA crown in 2006, finished the season on an eight-game winning streak. In the third-to-last game of the regular season, the Islanders suffered a 79-71 setback to Minnehaha Academy, which would later win its third consecutive Class AA championship.

In its latest championship victory, DeLaSalle used 60.9 percent shooting in the second half to keep upset-minded Waseca at bay. The Bluejays (30-2) pulled to within 48-44 with just more than five minutes remaining in regulation time when senior forward Matt Olsem muscled in a layup. But that only spurred the Islanders, who answered with a 14-9 run that stretched their lead to 62-53 with 29.5 seconds remaining. Battle ignited the run with a three-pointer from the deep left corner and Terry had five free throws in the spree.

Waseca tried to mount a late surge, including getting farther-than NBA-range three-pointers from senior guard Malik Willingham in the closing minutes, but DeLaSalle’s lead remained intact. Willingham finished with 21 points and sophomore center Andrew Morgan had 19 points. Waseca was attempting to win its first state championship since capturing its first, and only, title in 1918. That season, Waseca went undefeated at 13-0 and defeated Duluth Central 29-10 in the championship game. Lester Juhnke led Waseca in tournament scoring that championship year with 14 points per game over the course of four games.

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