State Boys Basketball: Title Games Set For 3A and 4A

Photo Credit: Sam Ekstrom

Class AAA Semi-Final: DeLaSalle 93, Princeton 54

Top AAA seed DeLaSalle had a sour taste in their mouth after seeing their six consecutive Class AAA title streak end last year when they were upset by Columbia Heights 71-69 in the semifinals. That bad taste has dissipated after the Islanders defeated Princeton 93-54 in the semifinals at Target Center to advance to Saturday’s title game.

DeLaSalle (26-5) went on a 14-0 run in the first half after the Tigers had tied the score at 10-10. The Islanders led 42-30 at the half as they shot 59 percent from the field.

The Islanders scored the first eight points of the second half and went on a 20-6 run to put the game away.

DeLaSalle was led by Stanford signee Tyrell Terry and fellow senior Jamison Battle. Terry had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds and added six assists. Battle, who signed with George Washington last fall, had a game-high 28 points. Senior guard Kameron Givens scored 19 points and junior center Jalen Travis added 14 points and six caroms in the win.

The Islanders relied heavily on getting easy looks as they had 64 points in the paint and converted 31 points off fast breaks.

Princeton, who made their first state tournament appearance since Herbert Hoover was the president (1932), had four players with more than 1,000 career points and averaged 85 points per game. However, the Islanders held them to 31 points below their scoring average.

Senior guard Adam Williams had 21 points and center Jon Stimmler added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers, who fell to 27-4.

Class AAA Semi-Final: Waseca 79, Austin 69

Waseca, the second seed, defeated third seed Austin 79-69 in the semifinals at Target Center to advance to Saturday’s title game. The Bluejays (30-1) will be going for their second state title in school history and first since 1918.

Sophomore guard Ryan Dufault had 30 points, including 10 during a game-ending 21-12 run over the final five minutes of play. Andrew Morgan, a 6-foot-8 sophomore center, chipped in with 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Austin (24-6) was led by senior guard Medi Obang with 28 points and five steals. Junior guard Agwa Nywesh added 11 points. Austin was hoping for its fourth Class AAA final appearance since 2013. However, the Packers haven’t won a state title since 1958 during the single-class era.

Class AAAA Semi-Final: Lakeville North 47, Park Center 45

Lakeville North advanced to the Class AAAA championship game for the fourth time in eight years. However, they didn’t make it easy as they survived a valiant comeback from top seed Park Center in a 47-45 win in the semifinals.

The Panthers jumped out to a 21-4 lead with 5:17 left in the first half and led 31-14 at the break.

Lakeville North (27-4) led 40-24 with 12:06 left in the game, but the Pirates started to rally. The Panthers still led 45-34 with 5:55 left but failed to score for the next five minutes.

Lakeville North had a chance to salt the game away with 9.4 seconds left, but Carter Patterson missed both free throws. Park Center had a chance to tie the game, but Manny Tamba’s shot at the buzzer came up short.

Lakeville North was led in scoring by outside shooter Tommy Jensen with 16 points and four three-pointers. He paced the Panthers with 23 points and five shots from beyond the arc in their 73-48 quarterfinal win over Eden Prairie. Wisconsin signee Tyler Wahl had 11 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Jack Rusch added nine points.

The Panthers have won 15 straight games, while the Pirates saw their 20 game-winning streak snapped.

Tamba had 16 points and nine steals and junior center Dain Dainja added 11 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Park Center was also the top seed in 2013, losing to Apple Valley 74-57 in the championship game. They fell to 29-2 with the loss.

Class AAAA Semi-Final: Hopkins 71, East Ridge 47

Second seed Hopkins (26-4) advanced to their third Class AAAA title game versus Lakeville North in the past six years with a 71-47 win over third seed East Ridge in the semifinals at Target Center.

Hopkins led 26-24 at the half but continued to use a strong inside-outside game to pull away from the Raptors in the second half as they shot 73 percent from the field.

Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year Zeke Nnaji made 10 of 21 shots as he finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Kerwin Walton, who missed the Royals’ season-opening 74-65 loss to East Ridge due to an injury, added 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting. Andy Stafford added 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists as he made 6 of 8 from the field. Jalen Dearring added 10 points and Dane Zimmer grabbed 13 rebounds for the Royals.

Hopkins outscored the Raptors 48-26 in the paint and outrebounded them 35-27. They shot the ball much better after a slow start for both teams, making 59 percent from the field, while East Ridge shot just 35 percent.

East Ridge saw their 25 game-winning streak snapped as they scored a season-low 47 points. The Raptors had four players in double figures in their 78-41 quarterfinal win over Eastview. However, Courtney Brown was the only player to reach that mark in the semifinals as he finished with 13 points.

This will be the third time in six seasons the Panthers and Royals have met in the championship. Lakeville North defeated Hopkins 84-82 in the 2014 title game, and the Royals got revenge in 2016 with a 64-55 win.

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