Section basketball: Andover boys’ clinch section; Panthers lose to DeLaSalle

Connor Wilke had 17 points and Kyle Kettler added 14 points as Andover clinched the Section 7AAAA title in a 41-37 win against Forest Lake Friday night at North Branch High School.

The Huskies overcame a nine-point deficit at the break with a 22-9 run in the second half to cut down the net. Jake McNallan had six points and Evan Olson rounded out the scoring with four points in a low-scoring affair.

Panthers senior Gary Cook, middle, goes up for a shot against a DeLaSalle player during the opening moments of the Section 3AAA final played at Coon Rapids High School March 15. Photo by Jason Olson

Panthers senior Gary Cook, middle, goes up for a shot against a DeLaSalle player during the opening moments of the Section 3AAA final played at Coon Rapids High School March 15. Photo by Jason Olson

DeLaSalle withstands Spring Lake Park to capture Section 3AAA glory

For the second year in a row DeLaSalle beat Spring Lake Park to capture the Section 3AAA title. This year the Islanders used a 71-61 score to do so as the No. 1 seed while Spring Lake Park was the top-seed last season.

This year the Panthers jumped to a 12-3 lead before DeLaSalle took a slim lead, entering halftime up 41-37. Spring Lake Park cut the game to one point a couple times and tied it at 50-50 with less than nine minutes left. Senior Gary Cook picked up a rebound from his own missed shot and put the ball back off the glass to tie the game.

Another highlight from the evening came with 13:08 left in the second half. Panthers sophomore Eji Ejiya blocked Islanders stand-out junior Reid Travis from behind to free the ball. Junior guard TC Robinson took the ball to end-to-end and as he attempted a lay-up, an Islanders player pulled the ball off the rim for a goaltending call.  Robinson was credited for the basket and two points of a game-high 17 points.  Travis was kept to 16 points to lead DeLaSalle.  Panthers senior Gary Cook had 15 points and senior Robert Ben added 14 points.

Not only did the Panthers have to deal with containing one of the state’s top recruits Travis (Tubby Smith was in the building) and his inside ability on both ends of the floor but they had to do so without senior post Justin Axelson for much of the contest. He picked up a third foul with 1:26 left in the first half and fouled out with 8:25 remaining. He finished with two points.

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