Christian Kelly (11) blocked a shot by Christian Dickson (24) in the first half. Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ * firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbia Heights and DeLaSalle are accustomed to squaring off twice each season in Tri-Metro Conference play. A third meeting in the state tournament Thursday brought even more intensity.
“The emotions were getting really high in the second half,” Columbia Heights junior forward Jarvis Wright said after the Hylanders’ 71-69 upset victory over the six-time state champion and No. 1-ranked Islanders in the Class 3A semifinals Thursday at Target Center.
Not to mention his own.
The reserve forward’s three-pointer with 4 minutes, 19 seconds left gave Columbia Heights a 61-59 lead. He was also quickly assessed a technical foul for taunting.
“The crowd was going crazy, and I got involved in the craziness,” Wright said. “I understood the call.”
DeLaSalle made Wright pay for his mistake. Junior guard Tyrell Terry turned it into a five-point swing, making both free throws and then sinking a three-pointer.
“I need to take that emotion and put it into my game,” Wright said.
The mistake didn’t cost Columbia Heights. Wright’s basket with 2:41 left put the Hylanders back in front 65-64. He scored 15 points off the bench, going 6-for-7 from the floor and hitting all three of his three-point attempts.
“He was the key for us in the game,” Columbia Heights coach Willie Braziel said. “He can really shoot it. The kid is special.”
Braham shows love
Two years ago, Ryan Larson was playing the point and scoring 28 points for Braham in the Bombers’ 96-90 victory over Jackson County Central in the Class 2A championship game.
Larson, now a senior, is playing the same position for Cretin-Derham Hall after moving to the Twin Cities area before his junior year. He stays in contact with his Braham friends.
“They show love all the time,” Larson said. “It’s almost like I still go to school up there sometimes.”
Larson has some advice for his teammates going into Saturday’s Class 4A championship game.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” he said. “Enjoy the moment.”
All in for North Woods
Minneapolis North wasn’t even done with its demolition of North Woods in last year’s Class 1A state championship when e-mails notified Grizzlies coach Will Kleppe that he lost more than the game.
The lopsided 96-49 result concerned critics less than Kleppe’s inability to empty his bench in a lost cause.
One year later, North Woods got a win-win. The Grizzlies cruised to 74-36 quarterfinal victory against Heritage Christian Academy of Maple Grove and all 18 members of the North Woods roster saw action.
“It’s a memory and I’m sure they appreciated an opportunity to get out on the big floor under the lights,” Kleppe said.
DAVID LA VAQUE