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Boys Basketball State Tournament 2024: Class AAA semifinals

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2024 - 6:00 PM

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Totino-Grace flirted with losing its reign as the Class AAA champion before digging deep with an overwhelming game-deciding run that has the Eagles in the title game for the third consecutive season.

The top-ranked Eagles used a 20-9 run over the final eight minutes to turn a deficit into a 74-67 victory over No. 5 DeLaSalle in the Class AAA semifinals on Thursday, March 21 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. Senior 6-foot-7 power forward Isaiah Johnson-Arigu aptly showed why he is a Division I recruit by scoring nine points in the definitive run and finishing with 28 points. The Miami (Fla.) recruit also had 15 rebounds and six assists while junior guard Chase Watley had 15 points.

The spree was part of a second-half run when the Eagles (26-5) outscored the Islanders (21-10), 37-24. Totino-Grace is attempting to win three consecutive Class AAA crowns for the first time since DeLaSalle won a string of six in a row from 2012-2017.

DeLaSalle, looking to add to its championship legacy, appeared poised to earn yet another title berth as it built a 43-37 halftime lead. Junior guard Dorian Pruitt had 11 of his 13 points for the Islanders during that spirited first-half spree. Senior guard Justin Johnson had 7 of his 14 points in the first half, too.

But the Islanders suffered a dry spell in the wake of the Eagles’ second-half run, going scoreless for stretches of many minutes.

Opposite Totino-Grace for the Class AAA championship is No. 2 Mankato East. The Cougars earned that berth with a 65-62 victory over No. 3 Alexandria Area in the second semifinal. It will be the first state championship game appearance for Mankato East (28-2) in 12 tournament appearances.

In traveling to the state championship game, Mankato East took a tenuous path. Alexandria Area (25-6) burst from the start, building a 14-0 lead and then 16-2 in the first five minutes of the game. Once the Cougars got going, they were tough to stop. Mankato East used a 25-9 run to finish the first half in building a 27-25 lead.

From there, Mankato East outscored the Cardinals by five in the second half, but things got tense in the final moments where free throws were needed by the Cougars to seal the victory. Senior post Carson Schweim had 15 points to lead a balanced attack of seven players that scored. Senior guard Manaow Omot added 10 points.

Senior forward Grayson Grove had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals.

Consolation semifinals

  • Stewartville 72, Orono 69, OT: Senior guard Henry Tschetter made two free throws with five seconds remaining in overtime to provide Stewartville (27-4) with some insurance points in its victory over Orono (19-11) in the consolation semifinals at the Gangelhoff Center at Concordia (St. Paul). He finished with a team-best 21 points and six assists. Junior guard Parker Wangen contributed 11 points. Junior guard Nolan Groves had 22 points for the Spartans.
  • Minneapolis South 77, Chisago Lakes 73: Minneapolis South (22-6), making its first state tournament appearance since 1992, maintained its lead in the final minutes to hold off Chisago Lakes (22-9) in the second Class AAA consolation semifinal. Senior guard Jumarion Weh paced the Tigers with 18 points senior guard Kevaughn Fields added 15. Senior Patrick Rowe, a 6-foot-7 guard, scored 26 points and had five assists for the Wildcats. Senior guard Zander Schmidt led the supporting cast with 20.

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Boys Basketball State Tournament 2024: Class A quarterfinals