Unselfish basketball and relentless defense helped Melrose defeat St. Croix Lutheran, 55-40, in the 2A boys’ basketball state semifinal.

The Dutchmen are just one win away from claiming their first state title since 1974.                      

“I’m kind of surprised,” said sophomore guard Dillon Haider, who had a game-high 19 points. “At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t really expecting it. But I started believing the farther we got. …I thought we’d be good. I didn’t think we’d be state championship worthy, but I guess we are.”

Melrose dominated most of the game, shooting 50 percent in the game. It led at halftime, 25-13, with 10 of its 11 field goals coming off assists. The Dutchmen went on a 12-0 run midway through the first to take the lead. Junior forward Colton Meyer had four points and an assist during the stretch. He finished with 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting.

“Colton Meyer is by far the smartest player on the team,” Melrose head coach Ryan Dusha said. “He’s always in the right spot.”

The Crusaders shot just 33.3 percent. Junior guard Ade Lamu was limited to 18 points on 9 of 20 shooting. He also had nine rebounds.

St. Croix Lutheran shot 6 of 21 from the field in the first half, missing all four three-point attempts. It finished just 2 of 13 from behind the arc. Junior forward Trenton Krueger added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Crusaders.

“The ride has been fun,” Dusha said. “It’s the journey, not the destination. But if we were to win state championship, it’d be an amazing feat for these guys. The community probably wouldn’t sleep for a week.”

First Report

Melrose defeated St. Croix Lutheran, 55-40, to advance to the 2A boys’ basketball state championship on Friday at Target Center.

Sophomore guard Dillon Haider led the Dutchmen with 18 points off the bench, while junior forward Colton Meyer added 12 points.

Melrose dominated for most of the game, jumping out to a 25-13 at halftime. It shot 50 percent from the floor, collecting assists on 10 of their 11 first half field goals.

The Crusaders shot just 6 of 21 from the field in the first half, missing all four of their three-point attempts. They never held a lead during the final 34 minutes of the game. Junior guard Ade Lamu had 18 points and nine rebounds.

Melrose will have a chance to win its first state title since 1974 on Saturday against the winner of Maple River, Mapelton and Caledonia.

Photo gallery: Melrose 55, St. Croix Lutheran 40