Last year, DeLaSalle needed a last-second shot to win the Class 3A state championship by a point in overtime, a buzzer-beater in the truest sense of the word.
For the encore, no such drama was necessary.
The top-ranked Islanders, who held the top spot in the Minnesota Basketball News poll from the first day to the last, put on an impressive display of lock-down defense to validate that spot in the poll. They held previously undefeated Austin to just 33 points and got a strong game from big man Reid Travis to pick up a 50-33 victory and win their second straight Class 3A championship.
Austin, who was making their 26th appearance at state in school history, had their large contingent of fans at the Target Center rocking early thanks to a three-pointer from Collin Weisert and a dunk from Tom Aase. Those buckets gave Austin a 5-0 lead, but that lead was short-lived as DeLaSalle scored seven of the next nine points and never trailed again. Austin was last able to draw even at 13-13 with 9:29 remaining in the first half, but could only manage four more points in the half as the Islanders methodically extended their lead to 11 points at the half.
DeLaSalle then landed the knockout blow early in the second. Luke Scott hit a three-pointer on DeLaSalle’s first possession of the half, and another three from Scott two possessions later had the Islanders out in front by 15. Travis then stuffed home an alley-oop dunk from Geno Crandall the next time the Islanders had the ball, pushing the lead to 36-19.
Austin, the #2 seed in the tournament and the #2 team in the Minnesota Basketball News poll for the majority of the season, tried to make one final push against the DeLaSalle defense, drawing to within ten points at 40-30 with 6:39 left on the clock. However, that push was stopped by the Islanders’ tough defense, as Austin could only manage one more field goal the rest of the way, a tip-in by Tom Aase with 56 seconds left on the clock. By then, DeLaSalle was counting down seconds until their second straight title was official, and a breakaway dunk by Jarvis Johnson in the final half-minute provided a fitting cap to a dominant season from the Islanders.
Reid Travis led DeLaSalle with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Luke Scott added 10 points. Austin was led by Tom Aase with 14 points and six rebounds; Zach Wessels added eight for the Packers. DeLaSalle enjoyed a 36-22 edge in rebounds and had assists on eight baskets compared to four assists for the Packers. Both teams ended the season with 30-1 win/loss records.
In the third place game, Marshall defeated St. Paul Johnson 71-62.