For the first time in Minnesota basketball history Saturday, two high schools completely within Minneapolis' city limits, Washburn and DeLaSalle, squared off with a championship on the line.
Regulation time wasn't enough to decide the Class 3A championship game, and somehow that seemed fitting. Potential game-winning free throws and hotly contested layups would not drop.
In the end, it was a baseline jumper by DeLaSalle senior Ross Barker with .7 seconds left in overtime that lifted the Islanders to a 57-56 victory over Washburn.
"I practice that shot all the time," Barker said. "I knew it was good as soon as it left my fingertips."
The game was exhaustingly intense from the opening tip. The players on both teams know each other well. This was about bragging rights, playground juice. A medal is nice; being able to say you are the best is priceless.
DeLaSalle (26-6) took a 34-33 halftime lead, largely due to the tough inside play of sophomore center Reid Travis, who scored 12 points before halftime. Washburn (29-3) countered with the slashing drives of Joseph Doby, who kept the Millers close with 12 of his game-high 21 points.
The second half was nearly a carbon copy of the first. DeLaSalle routinely staved off Washburn's attempts to catch up. Time and again, the Millers got close to the lead but could not reach the goal.
Washburn finally managed to tie the score twice in the final minutes of regulation and had a chance to win it with 2.9 seconds left, but Dwight Anderson, the Minneapolis City Conference MVP, had a pair of free throws roll off the rim, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra session, a free throw by Travis, who finished with 20 points, gave DeLaSalle one-point lead, Washburn followed by taking its first lead of the game on two free throws by guard Nick Anderson. The lead then changed hands twice before Barker stroked the game-winner.
"That was senior leadership," said DeLaSalle coach Dave Thorson. "One senior, Tyler Moore, made the pass and another hit the shot. That's the way it's supposed to be."