Minnehaha Academy's Chet Holmgren (34) scored from the low post over the heads of four DeLaSalle defenders in the first half Thursday of the Class 3A semifinal at Target Center. Photo: Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine
So much has been made about the versatility of Minnehaha Academy’s 7-foot-1 forward Chet Holmgren that it’s easy to forget he excels in traditional roles, too.
He dominated in the lane in the first half of the Redhawks 79-58 Class 3A semifinals victory over DeLaSalle with 19 points and 10 rebounds before the break. Most of those points and many of those rebounds came right around the basket, where his size and wingspan gave him a considerable advantage.
“We knew we had a height advantage, so we insisted this week he do some rim-running,” Minnehaha Academy coach Lance Johnson said. “We wanted to get it inside.”
Johnson admitted the Redhawks (19-1) had gotten a little sloppy in their execution in the past few weeks, but saw much to be pleased about in Thursday’s victory. Most notably, the way the played defense and got their transition game going.
“Defensively, we were locked in,” Johnson said. “They were doing what we told them to do.”
Thursday is exactly what Minnehaha Academy was hoping for.
The Redhawks (18-1), seeking their fourth consecutive state championship (2020 not withstanding), completely controlled DeLaSalle en route to a 79-58 victory.
With Chet Holmgren controlling play on the interior, Minnehaha Academy finished the first half on a 9-0 run to take a 38-19 halftime lead. Holmgren had 19 points and 10 rebounds at the break.
The Redhawks spread the scoring in the second half. Donovan Smith, who missed much of the season with a broken hand, provided a spark, scoring eight consecutive points out of the break and finished with 15 points.
Ten players scored for Minnehaha Academy, led by Holmgren’s 25 points. The Redhawks shot 56.7 percent from the floor (34 of 60).
Nasir Whitlock scored 16 points to lead DeLaSalle (14-6).
Check back later for more on the game.