Down to the wire with the top of class 3A

Prologue
There's the Hatfields and McCoys, the Bears and Packers, the Yankees and Red Sox etc.  But the biggest "rivalries" throughout history have been based on religion.  Which brings us to #5 De La Salle and their home battle with #3 Benilde-St. Margaret's.  A disappointing crowd but eventually we fill in.  A little extra salsa on the Taco in a Bag but that adds a little kick to it.  St. Mary's and St. Olaf again in the house.  We have a ton of AAU guys, Krosschell, Harris, Pulley and Nick Carroll from Fury in the house.  And a special appearance by Washington Wizards assistant Don Zierden.

I normally don't talk JV ball here but I have to in this instance.  BSM without their 4 star sophomores (all stayed up on varsity for this one) was up 39-19 with 12+ left.  Then a foul on a rebound on DLS.  We get some yapping and a minor 1 handed shove from a DLS player.  The BSM player goes into Charles Barkley mode and slams the ball off the DLS player's skull.  The official only gives the DLS player a T which means his certification to do any officiating should be immediately revoked.   The DLS JV coach finds out this result and he too gets a T.  BSM misses both of those freebies and the whole disaster lights a fire under the Islanders who come back and win 56-53.

Game Time
We have 3 officials working this one who either worked state last year or previously.  I'm not a fan of at least 2 of them and the officiating was not state tourney quality in this one.  To the real deal, we're 6 all at the 15:25 mark before Bretson McNeal caps a 9-0 Islander run with a 3.  McNeal and Jaspers with 2 more from deep and its 21-11 Islanders at 11:10.  A bad charge call on Peter Crawford sends Benilde's top player to the bench at 10:37.  Jonah Travis picks up his 2nd cheap foul of the day and he's on the bench at 9:37.  Red Knights on a 9-0 run capped by 2 Nick Meyer free throws at 6:13.  23-22 De La Salle leads.  Isaiah Zierden drives and gives the Red Knights their first lead at the 4:30 mark, 26-25.  Myles Barnes with a dunk and a 3 point play before McNeal flares for another triple to tie the game at 33.  37-35 De La Salle at the half.

The start of the second half is the Peter Crawford show.  A putback, a pullup jumper, a backcut for a 3 point play, a tough 2 and another backcut for 2 more and he'll top it off with a foul line pullup jumper.  All of that in just over 4 minutes.  48-46 Red Knights as De La Salle takes a timeout at the 12:48 mark.  Crawford with all 13 points for the Red Knights in the half.  Zierden and McNeal trade shots from deep.  Evan Battle and Travis trade post hoops.  Zierden then with another 3.  Timeout De La Salle with 8:25 left down 56-51.    And that starts the run that ultimately puts them ahead.  Travis on the post for 2 more and a putback to cut the lead to 1.  Then a sweet baseline spin off of Battle from the left block for a reverse layup.  Jaspers with a foul line jumper off the secondary break and he finds McNeal for 3 before knocking down his own 3 with 3:38 left.  65-59 De La Salle after a 14-3 run in 4:47.  Crawford strong to the hoop and he finishes over Travis, wow.  Nick Meyer and Jaspers trade drives before a Red Knights timeout at 2:40.  69-63 De La Salle.

Double flare screen for Zierden that the Islanders jump out on.  Crawford slips it and is fouled for 2 freebies at 2:10.  Jaspers misses a front end that Travis rebounds but he misses a 1:40. Seth Marx puts back a miss at 1:30 and its 69-67 De La Salle.  Red Knights choose to stay with their run and jump pressure and the Islanders take time with 51.4 left.  Out of the timeout, they can't get it in and its a 5 second call.  Meyer then called for a questionable pushoff with 38.1 left to give De La Salle the ball back.  Red Knights want to foul Islander point guard Walter Franklin but it takes them until 8.5 seconds left to do that.  Instructions to Zierden during the free throws are to push the ball to halfcourt and get a timeout.  Franklin makes 1 of 2 but Zierden is on the sideline in front of the BSM bench with 3.4 left and coach Moore slams his hand on the scorer's table in disgust.  Jalen Jaspers makes 1 of 2 freebies with 2.2 left to seal a 71-67 De La Salle victory.

For Benilde-St. Margaret's, Peter Crawford with 18 of his 22 in the second half.  Isaiah Zierden with 3 triples and 15 points.  Seth Marx held to 4 points after his big game earlier this week against Columbia Heights.  Evan Battle off the bench with 8 points.  Myles Barnes with 7 points before fouling out.  We talked about section 6 earlier in the week but based on the eye test, you have to keep them the top seed at 19-5.

For De La Salle, they improve to 20-3 and this should lock up the top seed in section 6AAA.  Jalen Jaspers leads the way with 25 points.  Bretson McNeal with 6 more triples and 20 points.  Red Knights did not do a good job of defending the flare screens for him.  Jonah Travis finishes with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.  Most of that in the second half due to foul trouble in the first half.  Marcus Dorsey 5 points and played well, especially early, off the bench.  They really were rattled by the run and jump pressure though which is not a good sign against teams like Henry or Columbia Heights in the section final and especially not against Johnson at the state level.  On the road at Henry on Tuesday will be an interesting test for the Islanders.

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