In past seasons, Columbia Heights would make trips down to Rochester. Not for a tournament, not to win a trophy, but just to bond, play a couple games and build chemistry as a team.
This season amid the pandemic, the Hylanders (9-1) couldn’t make the trip. Instead, they’ve been bonding on the floor — and it’s been working. The No. 3 team in the Minnesota Basketball News’ Class 3A ranking has rattled off three consecutive wins, including a 62-60 nail-biting, comeback victory over No. 5-3A DeLaSalle (7-4) on Tuesday at DeLaSalle High School.
But what’s more impressive is Columbia Heights is doing it with a new-look roster. Junior Hassan Kamara transferred from Osseo and junior Donnavin Hinsz came in from Fargo. They didn’t need the trip to Rochester, or the usual preseason to make themselves standouts alongside junior Muja Burton in coach Willie Braziel’s starting lineup.
“It was pretty easy (adjusting to the new team) because we all love to hoop. We all love to be out here and compete,” Hinsz said.
Columbia Heights overcame a 14-point second half deficit to earn a narrow 62-60 victory over DeLaSalle at DeLaSalle High School on Tuesday.
Junior Donnavin Hinsz led the way for Columbia Heights (9-1), the No. 3 ranked team in Class 3A by Minnesota Basketball News, and it was no different down the stretch. His name was called on a pick and roll that put the Hylanders up 62-60 with just five seconds remaining. He also hit the game-tying free throw just moments earlier. Hinsz finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds and a pair of assists.
Evan Boyd led the way for No. 5-3A DeLaSalle (7-4) with 20 points and seven rebounds but couldn’t hit a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game. Cade Haskins added 13 points for the Islanders but was in foul trouble late in the second half.
Hylanders’ junior Hassan Kamara also came up big down the stretch, hitting a pair of late three-pointers that dug Columbia Heights out of a 14-point hole. He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two assists. Guard Muja Burton added another 14 points for the Hylanders.
The MN Basketball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.