St. Thomas at DeLaSalle down to the wire

Wasn't I just here. I think I left my cot in the upper deck. Where's my sleeping bag? These teams had a classic 2 years ago when STA came to the island. Bryce Webster had a monster 1st half to give STA a 20 pt halftime lead, but Cameron Rundles brought DLS back for a 5 pt win. DLS then won by 19 in the state semis before beating Cory Johnson and Duluth East 65-47 to win the state title. My 1st chance to see St. Thomas Academy this season. They come in at 18-6 and ranked #5 this week in 3A. Their 6 losses are 2 pts at home to Armstrong in their opener (a game they were leading by 15 at the half), 7 pts to Cretin-Derham Hall, 12 pts to Hopkins in the Joe Hutton title game at Hamline, and then league losses at Simley, Sibley and Tartan. Something has to give in this game. STA comes in averaging 67.1 PPG (13th in AAA), DLS only allows 54.2 (5th in 3A). STA #7 in that category only allowing 55.9 PPG. That's a +11.3 differential for STA, #6 in AAA.

Danny Traeger puts STA on the board at 13:40 and its 4-2 DLS. Jalen Jaspers from Jeremy Randle at 11:40 to give DLS a 10-7 lead. Mike Ratelle with a 2 at 10:50 to cut it to 10-9. Jaspers picks up his 2nd foul at 10:02 and goes to the bench at 9:36 for the rest of the half with DLS still leading 10-9. AJ Barker with a tough runner to give DLS a 14-10 lead with 7:35 to go in the half. STA can't make a shot. Fritz Valdvogel gets a steal and hits a 3 @ 6:17 to cut the lead to 1. 1st STA FG in 4:33. Alex Schneider picks up his 2nd foul with 4:56 to go in the half and he'll sit. Jake Szymanski hits a 3 @4:15 to give STA their 1st lead of the night at 16-14. After the teams trade 1 of 2 FTs (Barker and Ratelle), Jeremy Randle hits 3 tough buckets from 2:15 to :54 to give DLS a 21-17 lead. Mike Fitzgerald gets his only points of the half with a tough layup after a backdoor cut with 40 seconds to go in the half. DLS with a 21-19 lead going to halftime. Jeremy Randle with 10 as his late 6 points keep DLS above water with Jaspers out with fouls. Tom Anderson with 5 points to lead STA. Valdvogel (avg 10.9) 3, Fitzgerald (avg 14.9) has 2 and big man Alex Schneider (avg 17.4) goes bagel. Great defense on both sides. Tim Swords is doing a great job on Schneider and Tim O'Keefe is holding down Fitzgerald. Valdvogel is really hounding Randle despite the 10 points.

Schneider doesn't start the 2nd half as Anderson is in for him. Bobby Knight thought process there as a bench player who plays well in the 1st half (Anderson) starts the 2nd half. Jaspers with a bucket to extend the lead to 4 @ 16:30. Anderson responds with a bucket with 15:45 left. Schneider returns to the lineup at the 15:08 mark. Jaspers gets a 3 pt play on the block to give DLS a 26-21 lead with 13:15 to play. Bryce Hawkins rolls back to the ball on an inbounds for his 1 FG of the night and its 28-21 DLS with 12:40 left. After more than 4 minutes without a score, Mike Ratelle gets a bucket after a steal with 11:15 remaining. 28-23 DLS. Anderson gets another score to cut it to 29-25 DLS @ 9:40. AJ Barker with a tough baseline pullup at 7:06 for a 31-25 DLS lead. Ratelle rebounds his own missed 3 and puts it back for a 3 pt play at 6:44 and Schneider gets his only points of the night on a bucket at 5:22. After 2 Bryce Hawkins FTs at 4:55, Ratelle hits a 3 from Schneider at 3:40 to tie it at 33. DLS turns it over on 2 straight possessions and Schneider commits an offensive foul at 2:19 (his 4th). Barker has a 3 ball go in and out from the corner with 2 minutes left. Schneider misses 2 FTs with 1:44 to play. Barker comes back and makes 1 of 2 to give DLS a 34-33 lead with 1:22 to play. Swords is back in for Hawkins for defense on Schneider (great move by Coach Thorson). Schneider does get it off the right block and goes baseline but gets nothing due to good DLS help so he kicks it cross court and then its immediately kicked to Fitzgerald in the left corner. It's not the 1st pass that beats the defense, its the 2nd one. He's got a great look and misses, but Swords runs thru him rushing out to challenge the shot. He make calmly knocks down all 3 FTs to give STA a 36-44 lead with 58.1 to play. Randle hits a jumper in the lane to tie it with 42 seconds to go. STA no timeout comes back and turns it over with 30 seconds to play. DLS back with no timeout. STA looks like they're trying to foul. Really strange as DLS was in the 1 and 1. But no call and Barker takes a FT line J with about 11 seconds left. STA rebounds and away they go. They kick it up the sideline and Ratelle knocks down a left wing 3 with 5.2 to go to give STA the lead. After a DLS timeout, Randle gets the ball at his own foul line and takes to the top of the key and misses a 3 at the buzzer. 39-36 STA wins an exciting defensive struggle.

Mike Ratelle with a big 2nd half. He finishes with 15 points to lead STA. Tom Anderson with 9 points off the bench. The trio of Valdvogel, Fitzgerald, and Schneider got a total of 10 points vs their average of 43.2. Tim Swords did a great job fronting Schneider and O'Keefe did a great job on Fitzgerald with the entire DLS team doing a great job of back side help. I would have liked to seen more aggression from Schneider throughout the game. He really wasn't aggressive until the last 4 minutes or so. But they're probably the 1 seed in 1AAA but could have an interesting game with New Prague in the section final (which unfortunately is in Rochester). They'll open the playoffs at home on Wednesday night against Albert Lea or Waseca (if they get the 2 seed) before trips to Rochester.

As to DLS, great defense as mentioned and they were balanced again like last night. Randle leads the way with 13, but only 3 in the 2nd half. Jalen Jaspers with 9 and AJ Barker with 8. They're playing really well right now defensively so don't be shocked if they end up seeing Benilde-St. Margaret's again in the section final. They start that quest in Orono on Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that DLS is good enough to get past Orono and AHA as a lower seed, but Washburn could also give Benilde a tough game in the 1 vs. 4game. Washburn made it to the final last year (losing to Benilde) as a 3 seed. DLS actually lost in the semifinals to Benilde last year. Should be a fun section to watch!

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