Goanar Mar, called "Go" by DeLaSalle coach Dave Thorson, helped the Islanders get up and go in their Class 3A semifinal victory.
Whether draining three-pointers, grabbing steals or pulling down rebounds, Mar showcased the full spectrum of his talents. With Mar feeling it early, top-ranked DeLaSalle rolled to an 86-60 demolition of Columbia Heights on Thursday at Target Center.
Mar, a Star Tribune All-Metro first-team selection who signed to play at George Mason University, finished with game highs in points (20) and rebounds (15). He added three assists, three blocks and three steals. The versatile 6-7 forward hit three of his four three-point attempts as well.
With Mar leading the way, No. 1 seed DeLaSalle (26-3) booked its spot in Saturday's championship game. The Islanders are pursuing their sixth consecutive state title.
Mar's fast start redeemed his first-half performance in the quarterfinals. He managed just three points and two rebounds as DeLaSalle struggled with Big Lake's zone defense. Rather than forcing his way into the Columbia Heights game, Mar returned to the basics.
"[Wednesday] I was looking more to get going offensively," Mar said. "[Thursday] I went back to what we do and get going defensively — get some steals, run-outs and pushing the ball off rebounds."
DeLaSalle followed Mar's lead. An initial 12-2 run saw the Islanders hit five of their first six shots while forcing three Columbia Heights turnovers. The Hylanders were hit with five-second violations three times in the first half, meaning the DeLaSalle on-ball defender kept his man from passing or shooting within that time.
"Dom Bledsoe, the way he guards the ball, plays like that really helped to energize our team," Mar said.
Columbia Heights, which in 2011 handed DeLaSalle its most recent postseason loss, got its energy sapped.
"We didn't shoot well, we didn't play well today," said Willie Braziel, coach of the fifth-seeded Hylanders (22-9). "DeLaSalle played a really up-tempo game and we started the game out with a monstrous group of turnovers — that doesn't help."
Neither did Mar's finding an early rhythm.
"Goanar can shoot it," Braziel said. "He hit threes in Target Center. Maybe the Wolves might want to take a look."
Austin 73, Marshall 53: Austin senior forward Oman Oman forgot his No. 32 jersey at home and wore No. 5 against Marshall. No matter. The Packers had the Tigers' number throughout the game.
No. 2 seed Austin (28-2) and its high-flying, high-scoring act earned a Class 3A championship game appearance against nemesis DeLaSalle, which defeated the Packers for the title in 2013 and 2014.
Austin blitzed No. 3 seed Marshall (27-4) for a 12-1 lead to start the game.
"We talked before the game that we wanted to apply as much pressure as possible," Austin coach Kris Fadness said. "By extending full-court right away with our trapping game, it allowed us to be more aggressive overall."
The Tigers took a 16-14 lead before again getting buried. Austin led 33-20 at halftime.
"Austin went on another run and we were never able to recover," Marshall coach Travis Carroll said. "We looked very tentative today. Austin's athleticism and their length is something we haven't seen this year."
Duoth Gach led Austin with 29 points and Oman added 14. The Packers punctuated their dominance with several crowd-pleasing dunks.