Totino-Grace Wins First MSHSL Class 3A Title in Thriller
The Totino-Grace Eagles won their first boys basketball title 50-44 over perennial state entrant DeLaSalle Islanders Saturday.
The Eagles (25-6) and Islanders (22-8) hooked up in a defensive battle that was fun to watch because even though it was physical it was not a free throw shooting contest.
Totino-Grace had 12 turnovers that DeLaSalle turned into 14 points. The Eagles scored 22 points in the paint, 11 second chance points while the Islanders had 6 points and 0 points respectively.
There were 6 lead changes, 2 ties in the game with DeLaSalle ahead most of the contest (21:56). The Islanders led 29-26 at the half.
In the second half DeLaSalle had some long possessions when they had the lead. It appeared they were trying to limit the talented Eagles possessions. You can't score if you don't have the ball.
With 7:36 to go DeLaSalle was ahead 41-36 when junior 6'4 Taison Chatman nailed a 3 point basket to pull the Eagles to within 2 points.
Following regaining possession of the ball on a turnover with 6:40 to go the Islanders would slow their offense down. They didn't shoot until the 5:35 mark but came up empty. Following repeated missed shots and put back opportunities they brought the ball out to restart their offense and use up more time.
The next basket by Chatman with 3:59 to go in regulation tied the game at 41.
Junior 6'1 Nasir Whitlock swished a 3 point basket with 3:39 left in regulation to make the score 44-41 in favor of DeLaSalle.
3:13 senior 6'10 Ahjany Lee put back a missed shot to bring Totino-Grace back to within a point.
The Islanders would be methodical in their next possession also. At 2:24 mark Whitlock missed a shot that Chatman rebounded.
The Eagles took the lead when Chatman dished a beautiful pass to Lee that he converted with a layup at 2:04.
I fully expected DeLaSalle to go for the last shot but with 1:20 to go a shot attempt by senior 6'1 Kyle Johnson was blocked by Eagles senior 6'8 Demarion Watson.
With :43 to go Chatman executed another dime to Lee ending in a dunk to make the score 47-44 in favor of Totino-Grace.
Islanders Head Coach Travis Bledsoe took a time out with 31 seconds on the clock. Whitlock missed a three point basket. Watson got the rebound and was fouled.
Eagles Head Coach Nick Carroll took a time out with 19 seconds left. DeLaSalle had to foul quickly a couple of times to get to the bonus and stop the clock.
Chatman hit two free throws to give Totino-Grace a 49-44 lead. DeLaSalle missed a three point attempt with 12 seconds to go. Chatman got the rebound was fouled and made one of two free throws with 11 seconds to go sealing the fate of the Islanders.
The complete list of MSHSL All-Tournament teams in each class is here.
The championship is the first in boys basketball for Totino-Grace in Fridley.
Boy does this bring back memories.
50 Famous Brands That No Longer Exist