Class AAA Boys Basketball State Championship Totino Grace 50, DeLaSalle 44
Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2022 - 7:15 PM
A week ago, the Totino-Grace Girls Basketball team won the Class AAA girls championship for the second time since 2008. The ink has barely dried from updating that achievement in the record book and it will need to be summoned again. The boys’ side has one of their own now, too, to bring back to the Fridley-based school.
Top-seeded Totino-Grace, making its first appearance in a state championship game in six tournament trips, seized the opportunity to win an historic first championship with a 50-44 victory over No. 2 DeLaSalle in the Class AAA championship game on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. Junior guard Taison Chatman, playing the entire second half with three fouls, scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists to help rally the Eagles (25-6), who used a late surge to fend off an upset bid by DeLaSalle (22-8).
Chatman pulled the Eagles into a 41-all tie on a field goal outside the paint with 3:59 remaining in regulation time. That deadlock disappeared 20 seconds later when DeLaSalle junior point guard Nasir Whitlock made a three-pointer to give him 18 points for the game. That would be DeLaSalle’s final basket of the game. Totino-Grace, meanwhile, patiently and methodically, chipped away at the deficit by going inside to senior Ahjany Lee, a 6-foot-10 forward for either dunks or lay-ins on three consecutive possessions for a 47-44 lead with 19.8 seconds remaining. Chatman finished it off from there with three free throws.
DeLaSalle, seeking its ninth state championship since 2006, led for nearly 22 minutes of the 36-minute contest. In addition to Whitlock, senior guard Kyle Johnson contributed 12 points. Johnson had seven points in the first half. Totino-Grace made a defensive switch on Johnson in the second half assigning the task to senior forward Demarion Watson.
DeLaSalle built a 29-26 lead at the break behind 12 points from senior guard Kyle Johnson and another 10 from junior guard Nasir Whitlock. Johnson was 3 of 4 from three-point range in the first half when the Islanders led by as many as seven points.
Totino-Grace was in control early, building a seven-point lead in the early minutes. Junior forward Tommy Humphries and junior guard Taison Chatmon each had seven points for the Eagles.