Islanders survive late Cadet comeback

Prologue
Its the first of back to back trips to De La Salle. Tonight its St. Thomas Academy visiting. We've got St. Olaf and St. Mary's in the house looking on. Rene Pulley and Willie Braziel make a late appearance and John Moore also makes an appearance. No Taco In A Bag tonight, aw shucks. Hot Dog OK, bun needs a bit of work. Can't go wrong with Mug Root Beer.  Jalen Jaspers awarded a ball for passing the 1000 career points mark vs Minnehaha a couple of weeks ago.  Best of all, you can't go wrong with a De La Salle teacher playing the national anthem on the saxophone.  Not the first time I've seen it there, but still absolutely outstanding and about the only thing that would be a quality replacement for their jazz band doing it.

Game Time
Billy Chapman with a couple of quick assists for layups and St. Thomas is up 8-6 at the 12 minute mark.  Marcus Dorsey with a putback for a 3 point play and Jonah Travis adds a putback for De La Salle.  St. Thomas playing triangle and 2 on Jaspers and Bretson McNeal.  Interesting twist.  Out of a DLS timeout at 8:20, St. Thomas goes 3-2 zone.  Add in a pair of Charlie Aslesen triples and St. Thomas is within 18-16 at the 5:20 mark.  Then John Hertle for 3, Walter Franklin with a great tip out of a rebound and Jaspers takes it the other way for a 2 handed flush and a putback.  St. Thomas back to the triangle and 2 as DLS is up 25-16.  They go to halftime with a 30-23 lead.

The Cadets stay with the triangle and 2 to start the second half.  Hertle with another 3 for a double digit lead.  Coach Thorson then gets a technical as 2 of the 3 officials really let the kids play tonight (both did the JV game too, same thing).  The Cadets get nothing on the possession and only make 1 of 2 free throws.  Jaspers then with a nice baseline drive and reverse layup and then Travis on the post for 2 and St. Thomas needs a timeout.  37-24 they're down with 14:50 left.  Coach Sjoberg has seen enough of the gimmicks as the Cadets go straight man the rest of the way.  Soph lefty shooter Thomas Sjoberg with back to back triples to force a De La Salle timeout with 8:20 left.  Cadets still hanging around down 48-36.  Then an 11-2 run blows this one open.  John Hertle with 1 great dribble to the baseline for a better passing angle and that's a 2 handed dunk for Travis on the postup.  Jaspers backdoor off the secondary break from Travis.  Jaspers with a layup and McNeal from deep and its 57-38 Islanders with 6 minutes left.  The only post presence for the Cadets, Will Patt, fouls out moments later.

Then Billy Chapman, who was 2-15 shooting with 8 points at this stage, decides to go off and DLS puts it on cruise.  Chapman for 3, then he creates space for 2, then a pair of free throws and then a 3 point play at 2:34.  The lead is down to 61-50.  Chapman with a putback at 2:01 and then a turnover gives him a 3 and another turnover results in him grabbing a miss and making 2 free throws.  Holy cow its 61-57 De La Salle with 1:16 left and its a game.  DLS doesn't beat the 10 count on the clock but they do beat the ref's 10 count and that's 2 Jaspers free throws.  Chapman gets a good look at a 3 and its short with 50 seconds left and that's really the last gasp.  Chapman tacks on a 30 footer at the end for 21 points in the last 5:10.  DLS hangs on 69-61.

For St. Thomas, Billy Chapman finishes with 29 points on 8-25 shooting (6-10 in last 5:10).  Thomas Sjoberg and Charlie Aslesen both reach double figures with 10 points.  I'd like to see Aslesen get more shots.  Will Patt had foul issues and was held to 4 points.  The Cadets fall to 14-9 overall but still should hang on for the 2 seed over league rival Mahtomedi in section 4AAA.  The wildcard would be if Mahtomedi knocks off Sibley next week.

For De La Salle, they improve to 19-3 and didn't get trapped before the big one that I'm at on Saturday vs Benilde-St. Margaret's.  Jonah Travis with 16 of his 22 points in the second half.  Jalen Jaspers 17 points. Once thing that showed again for me in this one is that you can run basic zone stuff (short corner, dive the high post etc) vs junk defenses.  Too many teams panic.  St. Thomas took advantage of some sloppy play at the end with the big lead.  Not something coach Thorson will be happy about.

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