Goanar Mar, right, drives to the basket on Orono defender Blake O’Connor. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
It came down to the final seconds, but DeLaSalle, seeking its sixth consecutive state title, avoided an upset.
The No. 1-ranked Islanders (24-3) defeated No. 4-ranked Orono 71-68 in the Class 3A, Section 6 championship Thursday at Chanhassen High School. The Islanders held the lead for much of the game before Orono nearly came all the way back.
Islanders coach Dave Thorson said he expected this kind of close game.
“The intensity and the atmosphere of this was like a state semifinal or a state championship,” Thorson said.
His team missed five of its last six free throws in the final minute, but senior Goanar Mar hit the last one for his 25th point of the game.
The Spartans (23-6) led early before the Islanders found their rhythm and went on a 17-0 run. Nine of those points came from junior guard Gabe Kalscheur, who scored 21 of his 28 points in the first half, when he made three three-pointers. The ball movement and up-tempo play helped the Islanders a lot, Kalscheur said.
The Spartans, who trailed by 10 at halftime, came back with solid three-point shooting and an 8-0 run to keep it close. Junior Jarvis Thompson finished with 20 points and junior Max Bjorklund had 19.
“I thought we really battled back,” coach Barry Wohler said. “When you have a section with five teams ranked in the top 10, you’re going to get a game like this.”
The Islanders (24-3) have won 17 of their past 18 games. Starting Wednesday they will try to win three more and take home their sixth consecutive Class 3A state title.
It got close at the end but DeLaSalle will get its shot at six in a row.
The No. 1-ranked Islanders (24-3), winners of five consecutive Class 3A state titles, escaped with a 71-68 victory over No. 4-ranked Orono in the Section 6 championship Thursday at Chanhassen High School. They held the lead for much of the game, which came down to a thrilling finish and a near-comeback from Orono.
It was the Spartans (23-6) who took an early lead, up 15-10 before the Islanders found their rhythm and went on a 17-0 run. Nine of those points came from junior guard Gabe Kalscheur, who scored 21 of his 28 the first half. He made three three-pointers in the first half, including two in a row as the Islanders went back-to-back-to-back from long distance. They led by 10 at the half.
In the second half, the Spartans came back with solid three-point shooting and cut the deficit to just two at late in the game more than once, as late as with just 26 seconds left.
Check back later for more on the game.
Orono's Jarvis Thomas (10) blocks a shot by Goanar Mar. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine