McKinley Wright turned a frustrating first half into a fulfilling second, lifting Champlin Park to a 75-68 victory over DeLaSalle in the Breakdown Sports Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at Minnetonka.
Wright, a senior guard whose all-around play was a key element in the Rebels' Class 4A runner-up finish in 2014-15, battled DeLaSalle's hounding defense and his own issues in the first half, scoring just seven points and turning the ball over four times as the Islanders built a 38-34 halftime lead.
"It was mostly me," Wright said. "I had to pick myself up."
He did, scoring 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the second half, finishing with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
"He had a tough first half," Champlin Park coach Mark Tuchscherer said. "We got some different sets for him in the second half and things flowed a lot better."
With just three regulars back from last season, Wright said he felt it was important that he play well in the second half.
"We have a lot of guys still learning," Wright said. "This was a big victory for us, a confidence-builder."
Champlin Park stayed close in the first half on the back of 6-8 junior post Theo John's 14 points. He finished with 22.
"He has worked so hard on improving," Tuchscherer said.
Four-time defending Class 3A champion DeLaSalle (1-2) suffered its second loss in as many nights. The Islanders lost 67-54 to Atascocita (Texas) on Friday at St. Paul Johnson. The Islanders have played all three of their games this season on neutral courts.
Gabe Kalscheur led the Islanders with 30 points but had just five in the second half.