DeLaSalle 6-7 junior Jalen Travis camped out underneath the basket, and it worked to his advantage.
"He settled us in," second-year Islanders coach Travis Bledsoe said. "When we started getting the ball in to him, taking advantage of the defense, I think it calmed us down. It helped us build the lead, and then we had to grind one out."
Travis helped No. 1-ranked DeLaSalle to a 78-63 victory over Waconia for the Class 3A, Section 6 title Thursday at Chanhassen High School. Finding Travis down low has been the game plan all season, and he provided a "big-time double-double" in a big spot, his coach said.
"I like to play a physical, inside game," Travis said. "That's just what I do, keep going at them physically."
Travis had 11 rebounds by halftime and finished with a season-high 20 points, doubling his average points-per-game mark.
He was aided by Mr. Basketball finalist Tyrell Terry's team-high 25 points, with 18 coming in the second half. Senior Jamison Battle added 21 points, including 10 of the first 12 Islanders points to start the game.
Waconia junior PJ Hayes scored a game-high 27 points. The Wildcats (17-12) mostly kept the deficit to single digits before the Islanders (24-5) pulled away at the end. Whenever the Wildcats came close, the Islanders had a quick answer.
"I just think that what our kids did, and I'm proud of most, is that we just kept fighting," Waconia coach Pat Hayes said.
The Islanders have won 15 of their past 16 games. They will look to win a seventh state title in the past eight years. They lost in the state semifinals last year, ending their run of six consecutive Class 3A state titles.
Also in Class 3A
Mahtomedi 58, Totino-Grace 49: For the first time since 1961, the Zephyrs have clinched a berth in the state tournament after defeating the Eagles in the Section 4 title game.
Mahtomedi had four scorers in double figures, led by Sam Bell with 13. Riley Burger had a game-high 20 for Totino-Grace.
Holy Angels 85, St. Thomas Academy 78: The Stars ended the Cadets' two-year reign as Section 3 champions. They were led by freshman Emmett Johnson, who had 28 points. Thor Holien added 23. Jack Thompson scored 21 for St. Thomas Academy. This will be Holy Angels' third state tournament appearance. Its first two were in 2002 and 2004.
Austin 57, Northfield 54: Agwa Nywesh scored 16, including three three-pointers to lead the Packers in the Section 1 championship. Medi Obang added 14. Kip Schetnan scored 19 for the Raiders. The game marked the third consecutive year that Austin has defeated Northfield for the section title.