DeLaSalle back to try to win a third state title in a row

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2014 - 9:58 PM

As their coach predicted, the DeLaSalle Islanders will defend their Class 3A title.

hide

DeLaSalle coach Dave Thorson, front center, huddled with his players last week after the two-time defending state champion defeated Totino-Grace for another trip to the Class 3A boys’ basketball tournament.

Photo: DAVID JOLES • djoles@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Even before DeLaSalle’s basketball team departed the Target Center floor as back-to-back state champion last March, coach Dave Thorson booked a return trip.

“As we were getting our medals, Thorson came up behind myself and a couple other guys and said, ‘We’re coming right back here next year,’ ” senior guard Mike Pucci said.

And here the Islanders are, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A and favored to complete the three-peat. Thorson’s bold declaration failed to unnerve the team. Neither did an injury that delayed star senior forward Reid Travis from joining the lineup, nor the resulting 4-3 slow start this season.

Travis, who has signed with Stanford, returned to help Geno Crandall (North Dakota), James Lawson (Sioux Falls) and additional talented players post a 19-0 run. The Islanders begin the state tournament against St. Paul Central at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena.

The spotlight will be more intense on a team going for three consecutive state titles led by Travis, the only member of Minnesota’s “Big Three” recruiting class in the state tournament. Rashad Vaughn, who committed to UNLV a month ago, played in Las Vegas this season while Apple Valley and Duke-bound Tyus Jones were upset in the section finals.

Rather than wilt, the Islanders are taking a cue from their confident coach.

“It’s nice to have more focus on you because people can appreciate how hard we’ve worked to get to this point,” Crandall said.

Playing without Travis, a 6-8, 235-pound specimen, forced the team to run the offense differently. Three players took turns leading the team in scoring in the first nine games without Travis: Crandall and juniors Jarvis Johnson and Sacar Anim.

“Coach Thorson is probably going to hate me for saying this, but with Reid out, Coach probably let us play a little bit more free,” Crandall said. “Your instinct as a guard is to throw it to the open man, and Reid is always so open.”

Basketball fans, Pucci said, will enjoy watching Reid’s final games.

“Reid might not be as flashy as Rashad or Tyus, but nobody works harder than him,” Pucci said. “It shows on the court when he’s got four guys hanging on him and he still finishes the play.”

Travis, who averaged more than 19 points and eight rebounds per game, felt frustration watching teammates battle in losses to Apple Valley and Eden Prairie.

“We sweated it because we want to win every game we play in, but we understood that the real test is in March,” Travis said. “Falling a little bit did help make us a better team now.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 6:05 PM
Minnesota
New York 6:00 PM
Indiana
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Orlando
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Toronto
Utah 6:30 PM
Boston
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Denver 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Detroit 7:00 PM
New Orleans
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Miami
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Memphis 7:00 PM
Houston
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Winnipeg
NY Rangers 7:00 PM
Detroit
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Colorado
Montreal 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 18 1st Half 8:00
UNC-Asheville 20
Ohio State 15 1st Half 9:47
Penn State 14
Maine 6:00 PM
Albany
Duquesne 6:00 PM
Fordham
George Washington 6:00 PM
George Mason
Tennessee 6:00 PM
LSU
Notre Dame 6:00 PM
Louisville
SE Missouri St 6:00 PM
Morehead State
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Hartford 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Wagner 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Long Island 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
La Salle 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Providence 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
UCF 6:00 PM
South Florida
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
UMBC 6:00 PM
Vermont
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Bryant
Richmond 6:30 PM
Massachusetts
Wake Forest 7:00 PM
Duke
Purdue 7:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
St Bonaventure 7:00 PM
Saint Louis
New Mexico St 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Houston 7:00 PM
Tulane
Howard 7:00 PM
NJIT
SIU Edwardsville 8:00 PM
Eastern Ill
St Johns 8:00 PM
Marquette
TCU 8:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cincinnati 8:00 PM
Tulsa
USC 8:00 PM
UCLA
Miss State 8:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Air Force 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nebraska 9:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:00 PM
San Jose St
San Diego St 10:00 PM
UNLV
Oregon 10:00 PM
Oregon State
UC Santa Barbara 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 49 2nd Half 0:49
St Bonaventure 46
Auburn 45 2nd Half 13:09
Florida 26
Penn State 16 1st Half 7:52
Indiana 25
Clemson 5:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Davidson 6:00 PM
La Salle
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
Lafayette
Boston U 6:00 PM
Colgate
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
James Madison
Delaware 6:00 PM
Elon
Drexel 6:00 PM
Northeastern
Hofstra 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Towson 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Akron
Ball State 6:00 PM
Central Michigan
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Western Mich 6:00 PM
Eastern Michigan
Ohio U 6:00 PM
Kent State
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Cleveland State
Illinois-Chicago 6:00 PM
Wright State
Alabama 6:25 PM
Vanderbilt
Detroit 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Purdue 7:25 PM
Wisconsin

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close