It took less than a minute for Cretin-Derham Hall, a team known for offense and above-the-rim flair, to make a defensive statement in its 70-48 victory over Wayzata in the Class 4A quarterfinals.
Trojans guard Drew Galinson drove down the lane and looked to have an open layup. But Galinson had strayed into dangerous territory. The ball had barely left his hand when Daniel Oturu, Cretin-Derham Hall's 6-10 force of nature, extended an arm and smacked the ball out of bounds.
"I just like to intimidate the paint," Oturu said.
Clearly, the Raiders had defense on their minds Wednesday at Target Center. With Oturu patrolling the lane, Cretin-Derham Hall was free to extend its defense to the perimeter to challenge Wayzata's strength, outside shooting. The Raiders built a lead that they extended to 18 points, 40-22, at halftime.
"I couldn't sleep last night," Cretin-Derham Hall coach Jerry Kline said. "I kept visualizing Wayzata threes. Our goal was to make them put it on the ground. When you have a shot blocker, you can see what can happen."
Oturu was more than a defensive presence. The future Gopher showed off a polished offensive game as well. He led the Raiders with 24 points on 12-for-14 shooting and added nine rebounds and eight blocked shots. Forward Sy Chatman added 22 points as both Raiders used their length and athleticism to overwhelm the shorter Trojans.
While Cretin-Derham Hall did get the chance to unleash its "Showtime" offense on occasion — Oturu and Chatman combined for four dunks during a 12-3 late first-half run — it was the Raiders defense that was the talk of the game.
"For us to make those highlight plays, it starts with defense," Chatman said. "Our defense creates our offense."