Tag Archives: basketball

DeLaSalle is tops in AAA basketball, boys and girls

March 26, 2012

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Junior guard Luke Scott of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis keeps the ball away from a Minneapolis Washburn defender during the state Class AAA championship game March 24 at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Two story lines emerged from the state boys basketball tournament in Class AAA. One was the dramatic win by the DeLaSalle High School boys on Saturday, March 24 at Target Center in Minneapolis to complete the first boys-girls sweep of state titles in school history. The girls won the championship the week before, winning their second consecutive title.

The second was the fact that the Scott family now has produced its third state basketball champion. Junior Luke joins his older brother, Joe, and older sister, Veronica, as gold-medal winners. Joe played on the Islanders’ championship team of 2006, while Veronica played for Totino-Grace’s title team in 2008. Though records are not kept on things like this, it may be the most amazing family title run ever. All three made the all-tournament team.

I went to grade school (St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony) with the kids’ dad, Kelly, who played for the Gophers in the early 1980s with the likes of Randy Breuer, and was on the last Gopher team to win the Big Ten title (1982). Kelly was featured in The Catholic Spirit for a program he runs called Spirit and Sport. He also has written a book about his playing days called “Inspirations from the Bench.”

Kelly emailed me yesterday to make sure I was aware of yet another milestone in the Scott household. Indeed, I knew about Luke and was looking for him in the championship game, and was fortunate to get a few photos of him (see photo above). As excited as Kelly was about his son’s basketball success, something else fueled his pride even more. He writes:

“The neatest thing was what a neighbor said about Luke. He said his sons were so excited as Luke was named Player of the Game for Thursday’s game [62-49 win over Grand Rapids in the state quarterfinals]. But what really caught their hearts is when they went to the [eucharistic] adoration chapel that night – there was Luke in deep prayer. You see, Luke goes to the adoration chapel every day to lift up the family and the world in prayer. As much as it was very exciting to win a state championship, he knows what is even more exciting is to spend that time in the presence of our King and Savior.
I am blessed to have his example to the family.”

Perhaps, Luke may have lifted up a prayer to Brother Michael Collins, long-time president of the school who died Jan. 8 after a very short battle with lung cancer. Brother Michael’s name came up during the interviews after the state-championship game. I watched head coach Dave Thorson choke up when he started talking about Brother Michael.

“The last three months have been very tough. My best friend died in January – Brother Michael Collins,” Thorson said. “He’s smiling up there someplace.”

Thorson’s sentiments were echoed by assistant coach Todd Anderson, who said both the boys and girls teams were inspired by Brother Michael in a special way this season. In fact, players on both teams wore jerseys with the letters BMC embroidered on them, in a tribute to Brother Michael. Players from the boys team could be seen grabbing at their emblems and pointing to them after the championship game.

“He’s been with us the whole time, if you want to know the truth,” Anderson said. “You can almost feel that presence.”

Hearing those comments by Thorson and Anderson made me flash back to 2006, moments after the DeLaSalle boys had won their previous state title. Thorson and Brother Michael embraced, and I was able to capture that moment with my camera. Little did I know how meaningful that image would be.

The DeLaSalle boys and girls gave me lots to photograph this year. Congratulations to both teams – and the Scott family – for making history!

Q: What did you enjoy about the state boys and girls basketball tournaments?

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Priest has proud basketball moment

March 20, 2012

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Providence Academy senior AnnMarie Healy takes a moment during her state championship celebration to pose for a photo with her uncle, Father Andrew Cozzens, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

As the Providence Academy girls basketball team was celebrating its state Class AA championship at Target Center on Saturday, I scanned the crowd of pumped up fans that stayed to watch the post-game festivities.

I was looking for Father Andrew Cozzens, a priest of the archdiocese who currently serves at the St. Paul Seminary. Several weeks ago, I learned that his niece, senior AnnMarie Healy, is one of the team’s top players. This discovery came as I worked on a feature story on her scoring 1,000 points and, in turn, giving $1,000 to the charity of her choice, thanks to an anonymous donor.

Sure enough, Father Cozzens was in the stands watching Lions players cut down the net. With very little prompting, he came down from the stands and onto the court to greet his niece and get a photo taken with her. I was only too happy to oblige.

It was a touching scene, with Father Cozzens turning to hug her after I snapped a few photos. He was instrumental in helping Healy pick her charity, the newly-formed Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus in the Diocese of New Ulm. Who knows? Maybe Healy will join them someday. She certainly is open to that possibility.

But, for the moment, she is busy celebrating the first state title for her team. There could be more. She is only one of two seniors on the squad this year, along with forward Katie Nordick. There are a bunch of talented players returning next year who could make another run at the title. And, with a talented coach, Ray Finley, who now has won state titles with three different schools, there’s no telling what this team could do next year and beyond.

Congratulations to Healy and all of her teammates on a job well done! They appeared to be in trouble during the state finals against Sauk Centre, but they came on strong in the second half to erase a five-point deficit and win, 46-40. Don’t be surprised to see the Lions back in the state tournament next year!

Q: What is your favorite memory of this year’s state girls basketball tournament?

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Cretin-Derham Hall rally falls short, Wayzata takes Catholic Spirit b-ball tourney title

December 30, 2010

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Down by 20 points with 12 minutes to play, Cretin-Derham Hall’s boys team crept within two before falling to Wayzata in the championship game of the annual Catholic Spirit Christmas Basketball Tourney Thursday night, 68-64.

The Raiders struggled on offense, losing both starting guards Raijon Kelly and Cortez Tillman to early foul trouble, but Wayzata was taking apart the CD-H defense fairly easily through the first 10 minutes of the second half, thanks to guard Aaron Roth’s clever passing and timely scoring.

Roth, an all-tournament team selection, led the Trojans with 16. Forward Eric Robertson added  15 and guard Tanner Helgren 13 more for Wayzata.

Better defense got Cretin back in the game, and Kelly came off the bench — where he’s sat with four fouls — to spark the rally. He hit a triple, Taylor Montero came up with a steal and a driving layup, and Kelly scored down under to pull the Raiders within three at 61-58 with 2:10 to play.

Wayzata hit seven of eight freethrows down the stretch, though, and Cretin’s replies wouldn’t drop in the new baskets at the University of St. Thomas’ new Anderson Athletic Center.

Kelly finished with 21, and Raider forward CJ Neumann had 14. Both made the all-tourney team.

Eric Robertson and Chris Burt joined Roth on the all-tourney team for Wayzata.

In the third-place game, Hill-Murray took apart Totino-Grace, 72-52, behind the inspired play of 6-5 forward Jim Remke.

FULL ALL-TOURNEY TEAM

Damon Woods, Holy Angels

Alex Kreuser, Totino-Grace

Montrell Williams, St. Paul Central

Jim Remke, Hill-Murray

Dave Simmet, Hill-Murray

Raijon Kelly, Cretin-Derham Hall

CJ Neumann, Cretin-Derham Hall

Aaron Roth, Wayzata

Chris Burt, Wayzata

Eric Robertson, Wayzata

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