In the DeLaSalle student section, one sign of support read "Turn Up for Jesus."
On the floor at Target Center Saturday evening, the Catholic college preparatory school turned up their third straight class AAA state championship, defeating Red Wing 65-50.
The win added to the legendary coaching career of Faith Johnson-Patterson, cementing her eighth overall state tournament trophy and her second three-peat, following her dynasty at Minneapolis North in the last decade.
If DeLaSalle (28-4) needed further motivation, senior guard Joi Jones ensured a resource. Jones, a starter for the Islanders, tore her ACL in the first round of the section playoffs, knocking her out for the tournament run.
Following a close first half where Red Wing (23-8) hung with DeLaSalle through baseline drives, Jones spoke in the locker room, urging her teammates to step up to compensate for her absence; DeLaSalle held a slim 30-28 lead after Red Wing rallied from a 28-16 deficit.
The speech clearly worked, as the lovable winners from Nicollet Island neutralized Red Wing's top player, Tesha Buck, and made another state championship look easy.
The Islanders scored 23 points off 23 Wingers turnovers, and posted a 21-9 lead in second chance points.
Tyseanna Johnson and Allina Starr, both varsity players since eighth grade, showcased their fluency in for the final time. Johnson hit the boards, using her speed to overpower Red Wing defenders. She recorded 25 points, 12 steals and five rebounds before fouling out. Upon her final walk to the bench, DeLaSalle fans serenaded the niece of Johnson-Patterson with chants of "MVP!"
Starr's shot vanished, but she handled charity stripe duties. She made a pedestrian 14 of 22 free throw attempts, but worked her way to 20 points and five rebounds, giving Islanders fans multiple tries at "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."
Buck finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds to end her varsity career with a double-double, but only three points came in the second half. Macy Kelly led the Wingers in scoring with 17.