Washburn, St. Paul Johnson will see each other in semis

  • Article by: STAFF REPORTS
  • Updated: March 21, 2012 - 9:03 PM

The city schools advanced with single-digit victories. DeLaSalle also moved on.

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Jerry Pratt spent 34 minutes being frustrated. He spent two minutes making amends.

The Minneapolis Washburn senior forward scored six points in the last 1:41 of the game to lift the No. 1-seeded Millers to a 52-49 victory Wednesday over upset-minded Rocori in the Class 3A boys' basketball quarterfinals at Williams Arena. Pratt finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, seven of them offensive.

"I was determined," Pratt said. "Like we always say, 'Let's go eat.' I went to eat."

Up to that point, Rocori had played a nearly flawless game. The Spartans, playing to extend coach Bob Brinks' career, controlled the game's tempo and were not fazed by Washburn's half-court defense. They led 45-39 with seven minutes left after three consecutive layups by forward Jonah Eisenschenk.

"We had to withstand their run," Washburn coach Reggie Perkins said.

The Millers (28-2) cranked up their defense, closing off passing lanes that Rocori had found earlier. The Spartans turned over the ball six times as Washburn finished with a 13-4 run.

"Maybe they wanted it for me a little too much," said Brink, who plans to retire at the end of the season after 41 years as the school's only coach. "But it's not about me. It's about them and I'm proud of this team and what they accomplished this season."

Nick Anderson added 13 points for Washburn, including two clutch second-half three-pointers. Rocori (18-12) was led by Mac Mueller's 18 points.

JIM PAULSEN

St. Paul Johnson 71, Austin 66

Feeling unloved and disrespected, St. Paul Johnson communicated its feelings with a victory over No. 4-seeded Austin.

"It was kind of a statement game for us," said guard Marcus Marshall, Johnson's leading scorer with 23 points. "Austin got the fourth seed and we didn't get seeded, so we had to make a statement."

For the first half, Austin played even with Johnson, with the Packers' height advantage negating the Governors' quickness. Austin scored nine of the final 11 points of the first half to take a 37-35 halftime lead.

"Our program is always about the next play," Johnson coach Vern Simmons said. "The next rebound, the next free throw. We don't worry about what happened before."

Johnson (21-8) gained control of the game with a 16-5 run midway through the second half, then put the game on cruise control and held off a late Austin comeback attempt by making 13 of their final 18 free-throw attempts.

"It felt like we didn't make that many," Simmons said. "We should have closed it out earlier, but we didn't step on the gas. If I have one concern, it's that we don't have that killer instinct. But, hey, we won the game."

Joe Aase led Austin (23-6) with 25 points before fouling out in the final minute of the game.

JIM PAULSEN

DeLaSalle 65, Detroit Lakes 46

This time, Jarvis Johnson is getting noticed because of his play on the court.

Johnson, a freshman point guard, showed maturity and poise beyond his age, scoring a team-leading 22 points to pace DeLaSalle past Detroit Lakes.

Last year, Johnson, then a guard for Prairie Seeds Academy, collapsed on the court during practice. He missed the rest of the season and transferred to DeLaSalle last summer. He's the brother of Tyseanna Johnson, a guard for DeLaSalle's state-champion girls' team, and nephew of DeLaSalle girls' coach Faith Johnson Patterson.

Johnson was unshakable Wednesday, making nine of 12 shots from the field and adding nine rebounds and three assists without a turnover.

"He's always one step ahead because he sees the game slower than most people do,'' Islanders coach Dave Thorson said. "He never gets rattled. I keep pinching myself and saying 'Ninth grade, ninth grade' because he doesn't seem that young."

Detroit Lakes made its first state tournament appearance since 1918. The Lakers (22-8) were led by Joe Mollberg's 20 points.

JIM PAULSEN

Grand Rapids 62, Mankato East 49

Senior guard Austin Pohlen and freshman forward Alex Illikainen combined to outscore the Cougars in the first half, leading the Thunderhawks (25-5) to another victory over the Section 2 champion. Grand Rapids used a second-half rally to beat the Cougars 81-63 nearly two months ago.

"We wanted to get out to an early lead, and keep the pressure on them," said Pohlen, appearing in his fifth consecutive state tournament with the Thunderhawks.

Pohlen (17 points) and Illikainen (10 points) had 27 points as Grand Rapids reached halftime with a 38-23 lead. Pohlen, a Division II recruit, finished with a game-high 33 points. The 6-9 Illikianen, regarded as one of the best freshmen in the state, had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Illikainen also held the Cougars' leading scorer, senior forward Brody Ziegler, scoreless until 12 minutes was left on the clock. Grand Rapids led 45-27 lead at the time.

RON HAGGSTROM

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