Cretin-Derham Hall kept within six points of East Ridge in the first half of the Class 4A, Section 4 boys' basketball championship game Thursday by taking 45 seconds on some offensive possessions. Even a minute. Almost two minutes.
Early in the second half, East Ridge used its own brand of patience to break away from the Raiders and earn its first appearance in the state tournament.
The Raptors (27-2) used a series of quality offensive possessions to produce a 15-1 run, led by junior forward Ben Carlson. It helped them build a 20-plus-point lead en route to a 71-45 victory over the defending state champion Raiders at Hastings High School.
"It's not the first time we've had to play against that style, and we've learned our lessons through the regular season," East Ridge coach Bryce Tesdahl said. "We stayed patient, we picked our spots, and our guys just overall stayed reserved and stayed together."
Carlson scored six consecutive points during the run before senior forward Courtney Brown capped it with a dunk to make the score 40-22. Carlson finished with 22 second-half points and 26 overall, while Brown added 11.
"The second half, we kind of opened it up," Carlson said. "We got up and down a lot more, which is good. That's the way we like to play."
Sophomore guard Kendall Brown scored 11 second-half points, mostly on layups, and had 15 for the game. Senior point guard Zach Zebrowski added 12, including eight in the second half.
The victory also avenges a loss to Cretin-Derham Hall in last year's section championship.
"It's really satisfying to know that our hard work pays off, 'cause we haven't stopped working since that point," Courtney Brown said.
Freshman guard Tre Holloman led Cretin-Derham Hall (22-7) with 17 points, and junior guard Curtis Jones scored 13 for the Raiders.