3A story lines

1. Chasing lucky No. 7

No coach faces higher expectations than DeLaSalle's Travis Bledsoe, a 2005 alumnus who inherited a program that won the past six consecutive Class 3A state titles. So far, so good. The Islanders' only losses to Minnesota teams came against Class 4A opponents. DeLaSalle (24-4) features a talented roster led by Jamison Battle, Sage Booker, Tyrell Terry and Gabe Kalscheur, who has signed with the Gophers. Former coach Dave Thorson earned praise and scorn for his team's ability to consistently win state tournaments. Now it's up to Bledsoe to maintain DeLaSalle's March mastery.

2. Showdown looms

The path to DeLaSalle's seventh title could mean a fourth title-game showdown with Austin. The Islanders dispatched the Packers in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Once again, No. 1 seed DeLaSalle and No. 2 Austin (26-2) are on opposite sides of the bracket. And both have enjoyed success against the field. Austin defeated No. 3 seed Mankato East twice while DeLaSalle topped No. 4 seed Columbia Heights in both meetings. The Hylanders are the last program to hand DeLaSalle a postseason loss. That game was in a 2011 section final.

3. Scorers aplenty

Kalscheur, the catalyst for a DeLaSalle team leading all Class 3A programs with a scoring average of 79.6 points per game, is the best-known name in the field. But it won't take long to notice Delano guard Calvin Wishart (32.4 points per game), Columbia Heights guard Deundra Roberson (18.7), Austin wing Duoth Gach (16.3) and Sauk Rapids-Rice forward Deng Deang (19). Deang's teammate, Cody Landwehr, is 10 points from becoming his program's career leading scorer.

David La Vaque