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Class 3A championship preview: Columbia Heights vs. Delano

By Ron Haggstrom, Star Tribune, 03/23/18, 11:27PM CDT


One team will win its first state title — either Columbia Heights, which ended DeLaSalle's run of six consecutive championships, or Delano, which is getting plenty of help around its Division I recruit.

Quentin Hardrict (5) celebrated at the end of the game. Columbia Heights beat DeLaSalle 71-69. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ ï cgonzalez@startribune.com ñ March 22, 2018, Minneapolis, MN, Target Center, Prep High School Boys Basketball State Tourname


Columbia Heights (22-6) vs. Delano (20-11)

5 p.m., Target Center

Why Columbia Heights will win: Hylanders coach Willie Braziel returned to the school two years ago and said he would never leave again. He previously coached there from 2007-13. He was brought back after an 0-27 season at Bloomington Kennedy. “I was humbled,” Braziel said. He and his players would like nothing better than to prove what a great decision it was to bring him back to No. 7-ranked Columbia Heights.

Why Delano will win: The Tigers’ supporting cast around Georgia Southern recruit Calvin Wishart is contributing more than it has all season. Three teammates — Trey Longstreet, Keegan O’Neill and Derek Techam — have been in double figures in both state tournament games while Max Otto has added eight in each. Wishart is good enough to carry the team but will need help against the Hylanders.

Key to the game: Delano must take care of the basketball so Columbia Heights can’t get out in transition. The unranked Tigers only had 10 turnovers in their quarterfinal victory but 16 in the semifinals. They need to return to first-round form.

One thing to know: Neither school has played for a state basketball championship before.

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