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Posted On: 03/19/18 1:46 PM
DeLaSalle goes for their 7th straight state title. What stands in their way? We break it down in What You Need to Know.
NHR State Rankings: 1) DeLaSalle, 2) Austin, 3) Mankato East, 8) Columbia Heights, 10) St. Thomas, NR) Sauk Rapids-Rice, Hermantown, Delano
Seedings: 1) DeLaSalle, 2) Austin, 3) Mankato East, 4) Columbia Heights, 5) St. Thomas, NR) Sauk Rapids-Rice, Hermantown, Delano
DeLaSalle (24-4) vs Hermantown (14-15). This is the David vs Goliath in all ways. The team working for a seventh straight state title and the team that’s been number one all season long, against a team that is under .500 for the season. Expectations? A blow out. Will it be? Most likely. But…. UMBC did just beat Virginia. After many many many years of 16s losing to 1s.
Columbia Heights (20-6) vs St. Thomas Academy (20-9). The Hylanders lost five of their last eight regular season games before putting things together to win three section games. STA lost six of nine early in the year, but then went on a run of 16 wins in 20 games once league play started. Both squads have went through tough schedules to prepare themselves for this game, and for the state tournament.
Austin (26-2) vs Sauk Rapids-Rice (21-8). The Packers come into this game where they were expected to be. Actually, above expectations really. The team has come along way since they were written off early in the fall (they were always expected to get to state, but being a top contender was not an expectation early in the season and they proved that wrong). The Storm won 11 of 13 to finish the season where they are today, a section winner and playing at state.
Mankato East (24-5) vs Delano (18-11). Both teams have been riding waves and those waves are coming into the state tournament in the right way. East beat JM, Waseca, Marshall, and Orono early in the year before being swept in the season series by Austin and Owatonna, plus a loss to JM. East put things back together in sections though. Delano lost 6 of 7 games about the time that Calvin Wishart was sick and had a sprained ankle. But once he was healthy it was wins in eight of their last ten games.
Top Player Match-Ups:
David Birkeland (6-2, Sr, Guard) of Hermantown vs Gabe Kalscheur (6-4 Sr, SG) of DeLaSalle. If Hermantown is to pull the biggest upset of my basketball media coverage life, the Hawks will have to slow Gabe, get a big game from Birkeland who is scoring 18 a game, and get a big game from everyone. Gabe is coming off a 38 point game against Orono that ranks with one of the best playoff performances I’ve ever seen.
Jack Thompson (6-1 Jr, Guard) of St. Thomas vs Deundra Roberson (6-1 Sr, Guard) of Columbia Heights. Sit back and watch these two guys go. It’s quickness versus explosiveness. It’s one of the shiftiest players with the ball against one of the quickest first steps with the ball. Two very exciting players and two very good players.
Duoth Gach (6-4 Sr, Wing) of Austin vs Cody Landwehr (6-6 Sr, Power Forward) of Sauk Rapids-Rice. The two leading scorers for the respective teams, both are strong shooters but Cody is also a banger while Gach is a slasher.
Calvin Wishart (6-3 Sr, Guard) of Delano vs Damani Hayes (6-4 Sr, Small Forward) of Mankato East. East has a lot of good players but I expect a veteran to be defending Calvin Wishart. Will it be Damani, one of the best defenders in the state? I feel like it will be often. Could be others too but Hayes should see Wishart often. And Wishart is playing at an elite level.
Top 25 Senior Prospects at Class AAAA State: 1) Gabe Kalscheur of DeLaSalle, 2) Calvin Wishart of Delano, 3) Damani Hayes of Mankato East, 4) Cody Landwehr of Sauk Rapids-Rice, 5) Wendell Matthews of Columbia Heights, 6) Duoth Gach of Austin, 8) Uhana Ochan of Mankato East, 9) Deundra Roberson of Columbia Heights, 10) Sam Vascellaro of St. Thomas, 11) Keegan O’Neill of Delano, 12) CJ Dickson of DeLaSalle, 13) Tate Hebrink of Austin, 14) Moses Issa of Austin, 15) Edmon Oyet of Mankato East, 16) George Stewart of St. Thomas, 17) Quentin Hardrict of Columbia Heights, 18) Chris Kelly of Columbia Heights, 19) Sage Booker of DeLaSalle, 20) Rayquan Moore of DeLaSalle, 21) David Birkeland of Hermantown, 22) Nyagoa Obang of Austin, 23) Kong Kong of Mankato East, 24) Anthony Massman of Sauk Rapids-Rice, 25) Gram O’Malley of St. Thomas.
Top 10 Junior Prospects at Class AAAA State: 1) Tyrell Terry of DeLaSalle, 2) Jamison Battle of DeLaSalle, 3) Jack Thompson of St. Thomas, 4) Malik Lamin of DeLaSalle, 5) Derek Techam of Delano, 6) Medi Obang of Austin, 7) Noah Chamberlain of St. Thomas, 8) Jarvis Wright of Columbia Heights, 9) Amir Davis of Columbia Heights, 10) Connor Bich of Hermantown
Top 5 Sophomore Prospects at Class AAAA State: 1) Jax Madson of Mankato East, 2) Joich Gong of Mankato East, 3) Jordan Merseth of Mankato East, 4) Jordan Jones of Columbia Heights, 5) Max Otto of Delano, 5) Peter Soumis of Hermantown