Class AAA State Finals: Tigers Finish Strong, Finish #1

High School
Minnesota

Posted On: 03/24/18 7:32 PM

At one point Delano lost 6 of 7 and fell out of the rankings. Seasons change and the Tigers road a hit streak to a championship.

The Game

  1. Delano fell to 15-11 this season and at one point lost 6 of 7 games. They fell from 5th in state to out of the rankings. Fighting through the sections wasn’t a huge surprise as they had the talent to beat Monticello and Willmar. But could they? They did. Then they beat the 2, 3, and 4 seeds on their way to the title.
  2. Columbia Heights had a great season. Versus a tough schedule the Hylanders dropped some games but proved they should of never fell far from the championship picture. Coach Will Braziel used a zone that Delano had a lot of trouble with pushing the Hylanders up double figures.
  3. The game changed in the second half when Keegan O’Neill began to find space when Wishart drew all the attention and his numbers forced Columbia Heights to stop using the zone. O’Neill played the game of his life putting up 30 points on the board.
  4.  With his opponents coming out of the zone Calvin was able to produce more and more as he found a space including the game icing free throws. Wishart’s  steal late in the game was the clinching play for Delano’s first title.
  5. Remember all that controversy about the Delano coach not to long ago? Things worked out huh? Congrats Terry! There is a reason that when his name was called to get a medal the fans went so wild.

The Players

  1. Keegan O’Neill of Delano, senior. 30 points and 12 boards… Calvin? Nope. This was the high percentage finishing of 6-foot-8 Keegan O’Neill who had the game of his life at the most important hoops event at his life. O’Neill made 11 of 16 field goals with 8 of 9 foul shooting. O’Neill also chased down a dozen boards. His ability to face up and score as well as his ability to move around the length and finish resulted in a huge output.  There were several Division III schools talking to him consistently before but the amount is about to triple after that huge game on the big stage.
  2. Wendell Matthews of Columbia Heights, senior. Matthews is definitely taller and way longer than he was last summer. At his size Wendell should open up a whole new level of teams looking at him. His quick bounce to the basket allows him to finish before other bigs can react plus Matthews is so quick off his feet to block shots.  He got his hand on shots at the arc, straight up in the post, and helping over. Matthews had 21 on 9 of 13 shooting plus 11 rebounds.
  3. Calvin Wishart of Delano, senior. Columbia Heights gameplanned to limit Calvin she led to a tough 5 of 15 shooting game, but the more Calvin was the focus the more space others got to work in. And when he found his space later in the game he put his 19 points on the board plus dished out four assists and grabbed nine rebounds. At the end of the game Calvin had the game-winning steal and free-throw make. Now he’s a champ.
  4. Quentin Hardrict of Columbia Heights, senior. Not the shooting game he wanted to have in his final game but Quinten proved a lot in this year’s playoffs. And in the finals he dished out six assists and did some great things defensively. Scored 10.
  5. Derek Techam of Delano, junior. Derek did some things today you won’t see in the box score. Scored his nine but there were deflections, a loose ball grab, a key pass, and a key bucket that were big for momentum.