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Posted On: 02/12/18 3:37 PM
The tradition that never graduates reached a pinnacle on Saturday evening in St. Paul. Cretin-Derham Hall hosted DeLaSalle in the annual Christian Brothers Cup game at Joe Mauer Fieldhouse, where an unofficial 2500 spectators saw a fantastically entertaining game between no. 1’s in classes AAAA and AAA. The Raiders pulled out a 77-66 victory, continually pushing ahead by double digits despite multiple furious runs from the Islanders to make it a two-possession game. Gabe Kalscheur led De with 24 points, while CDH had four players in double figures.
Against the grain of today’s game. We all know smallball is the craze these days, with teams from high school all the way to the pros using four-guard lineups often for offensive and athletic advantage. CDH doesn’t have to go “small” because their bigs are so versatile on both ends. Future Gopher Daniel Oturu made his presence felt Rudy Gobert-style knocking several shots off the glass (10 of them, according to MN Basketball Hub) and poured in 25 points on dunks and dropoffs. Facing a much smaller De squad, his defensive impact cannot be overstated because his length deterred many an Islander drive from the painted area all game. Add in Sy Chatman to that frontcourt and you’ve got 6’8″ to go alongside 6’10” for the Raiders. High-low game has universally gone out of style, but CDH wants just about every score to happen around the basket.
Battle’s battle. The 6’7″ junior wing is going to be a very, very special player. He already is. Jamison Battle is a great complement to Gabe Kalscheur’s game because he can stretch the floor to 25 feet and also score off the bounce when defenders fly by on his shot fake. Battle scored 19 on four treys and was the key spark to De clawing back into range three different times in the second half. He was also tasked with guarding Oturu for most of the game, no easy feat. I’m going to remember his fight to keep the Islanders in the game thanks to his constant effort on both ends. A silky smooth shooter who’s not afraid to get dirty when he’s asked to.
Speed kills. Ryan Larson. I can’t say enough about how much he affects games on offense and defense. If Oturu and Chatman are altering shots and lowering field goal percentage, then Larson is the guy getting deflections and steals and increasing turnover totals. Twice last night he found himself in the air about to fall out of bounds and then turned to fire the ball off of the opponent without even looking. His awareness is at an all-time high no matter where he is on the court. A steal on the perimeter is almost guaranteed to be a streaking layup at the other end. He’s going to help a college team really quickly, wherever he ends up. Quickly becoming one of my favorite guys to watch this season.
Chatman: the answer is yes. Sy is the top unsigned senior in the state right now and he’s living up to the Division 1 offers that are accumulating lately. Recently offered by UMass, he told our guy Alex Conover about more of the programs in contact. Sy has every measurable, every statistic, every eye-test factor you need to garner this type of attention. He’s the real deal and will be a big pickup for a mid- to high-major down the road.
Both sides—what’s next? DeLaSalle is now 15-4, but only two of those losses are to Minnesota teams. Notable games to go? They have two matchups with Columbia Heights left on the schedule that will likely determine the Tri-Metro champion along with a tilt against Wayzata. Expect them to stay the course and grab a top two seed in section 6AAA (Orono is right there with them in terms of record and QRF, analyze that how you want to). The Islanders remain my pick in all of class AAA until proven otherwise, and will be shooting for their seventh straight state title.
Cretin-Derham Hall is 18-1, rolling opponents by a margin of 20 points and currently on a 16-game winning streak. The rest of their slate includes Iowa City West (the outcome of that game will not affect their standing), Woodbury and Eden Prairie. The Raiders are poised to be the top seed in section 4AAAA, which will be another dogfight this season from 1-5, but there can’t be much doubt in what they’ve got going right now. Save for a major slip-up, CDH is the state title favorite in AAAA.