The postseason is where titles are earned and reputations are made. And perhaps no team in the state understands that concept better than DeLaSalle.
After their thorough dismantling of Park Center in the Section 3, 3A championship game, an 80-48 rout that seemed almost predetermined, it’s apparent that the Islanders are ready to defend their back-to-back Class 3A state championships.
With just three regulars back from their 2012 Class 3A state championship team, the Islanders spent much of the season tinkering with lineups and finding the right players to complement their two Division I cornerstones, Tyseanna Johnson and Allina Starr.
“We had to get everyone playing time,” said DeLaSalle coach Faith Johnson Patterson. “We had to get them ready and make sure they know they’re part of this team.”
It starts with Starr, a complete guard who can score and pass with equal aptitude, and Johnson, a scorer so adept that points seem to find her. Starr, who committed to Auburn last fall, got DeLaSalle (25-4) off to a strong start, scoring eight of their first 10 points and finishing with 13.
Johnson, an Iowa State recruit, exploded when the Park Center defense adjusted, scoring 20 of her 28 points in the first half as the Islanders cruised to a 53-23 halftime lead.
The second half was about getting playing time for newbies. DeLaSalle scored 27 points after halftime, but those points were scored by eight different players.
“We’re leaders on this team, so it’s our responsibility to help the other girls,” Johnson said.
Osseo 57, Roseville 53: Osseo outhustled and outran Roseville for most of the game, then hung on through a frenzied rally to beat the top-seeded Raiders to win the Section 5, 4A championship and advance to the Class 4A state tournament for the second year in row.
Janay Morton scored 19 points for Osseo, which began the season 7-6 before winning 14 of its past 16 games.
“We learned from every game we lost,” said Morton. “Our motto has been ‘One Game, One Team, One Voice.’ ”
When Orioles forward Ayo Porte hit a reverse layup, giving Osseo a 37-23 second half-lead, it appeared that the Orioles had the game locked up.
But Roseville’s Jacqlyn Poss hit two three-pointers in the second half, helping cut Osseo’s lead to five at 49-44.
The Raiders (24-3) closed within a point twice in the final minute, but Morton and Belinda Barfknecht answered with baskets of their own.