Waseca senior guard Malik Willingham ran the floor, fired a pass inside to younger brother Kyreese for a layup, then turned to face the Bluejays' faithful with a look of delight.
Holy Angels, trailing by 13 points after second-half basket, called timeout and confirmed the importance of the sequence.
No. 2 seed Waseca was too much for the Stars in a 82-62 Class 3A quarterfinal victory. Malik Willingham scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and tallied six assists.
Holy Angels, located in Richfield, focused on the Bluejays' three-point shooting. But Waseca (29-1) had much more to offer.
"My shots weren't going in today, so my coaches told me to take it to the hole, try to get fouled or dish to a teammate," Willingham said.
The plan worked against the Stars (24-5). The sophomore trio of center Andrew Morgan (21 points), forward Kyreese Willingham (17) and guard Ryan Dufault (12) added good numbers despite the team shooting 3-of-20 from the three-point arc.
A 46-26 advantage in points in the paint made up for the long-distance disconnect.
"They can beat you in many ways," said Holy Angels senior guard Max Gerstner, who tied for the team lead with 15 points. "They did a good job getting inside today so props to them."
DAVID LA VAQUE
Austin 68, Monticello 52: The third-seeded Packers were a little out of sync on offense, but their ball-hawking defense sparked them to a quarterfinal victory at Williams Arena.
The Packers (24-5) had 22 steals and forced Monticello into 31 turnovers as they pulled away in the second half.
"We struggled there for a while," said Packers coach Kris Fadness. " But we got a little momentum and relaxed a little."
Midway through the first half the teams were tied 9-9. Back-to-back three-pointers by reserve Moses Idris gave the Packers a 15-11 lead with 7:20 left in the first half. The Packers eventually opened a 32-24 halftime lead.
"Our bench played well for us," Fadness said. "They stepped up."
The Packers scored the first seven points of the second half to open a 15-point lead. The closest the Magic got in the final 15 minutes was 13 points.
Medi Obang scored 16 points and had seven steals to lead the Packers. Gavin Owens contributed 12 points — all in the second half — for the Packers.
Austin Wetter had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the Magic. Austin Puppe added 11 points and Blake Thompson 10.
DeLaSalle 76, Bemidji 45: Islanders senior point guard Tyrell Terry called teammate Jamison Battle's first-half shot, holding his right arm up before Battle released his three-pointer: Good.
But then, his team's remarkable three-point shooting against the Lumberjacks would have made Terry right six out of 10 times.
No. 1 seed DeLaSalle's 13 three-pointers were made at a 61.9-percent clip. Blistering shooting coupled with the Islanders' usual stifling defense helped them assert control early.
"Our coach tells us we're not a jump-shooting team," Terry said. "We like to attack the rim. But when we had it going from three, we wanted to keep going with that."
Battle, who was 4-for-4 on three-pointers, led all scorers with 21 points. Terry made three of six from deep as part of his 15 points.
"We thought we contested pretty well in the first half, but they started out really hot and it's hard to recover against a team like that," Bemidji coach Travis Peterson said.
The Islanders (25-5) also dominated on defense, grabbing 11 steals, forcing 19 turnovers and netting 35 points off miscues by Bemidji (23-5).
"I thought if we came out, applied our pressure and do what we do, we had a chance to put the game away early," DeLaSalle coach Travis Bledsoe said.
DAVID LA VAQUE