DeLaSalle’s boys’ basketball team earned the Minnesota State Class AAA Championship on March 23 with a 63-56 victory over the Waseca Bluejays. The Islanders captured their 24th overall state title in the program’s history, the 12th since being allowed to join the Minnesota State High School League in 1975. Over the course of a four-day State Tournament, DeLaSalle defeated Bemidji in the quarter-finals and Princeton in the semi-finals leading up to the championship tilt in Target Center.
Congratulations to the State Champions! Jamison Battle `19, Kameron Givens `19, Kresean Greer `19, Tyrell Terry `19, Julian Wright `19, Semaj Hart `20, Andrew Irvin `20, Matthew Seawood `20, Jalen Travis `20, Amir Whitlock `20, Evan Boyd `21, Cade Haskins `21, and Keijuan White `21 made up the tournament roster. Head coach, Travis Bledsoe `05, captured his first state title in his second consecutive trip to the tournament as a coach, assisted by Todd Anderson, Thomas Gorilla, and Dan Rubishko. Anderson and Rubishko, longtime outstanding assistant coaches, were on the bench when Bledsoe played in the 2003 and 2005 State Tournaments. Student managers were Eldrick Dossavi-Alipoeh `20, J.W. Person `19, Jake Sullivan `19, and Darlington Yonly`19.
Following up on the State Championship earned by the girls’ basketball team the week before, the boys’ team played well throughout the tourney, and three Islanders earned a place on the ten-player, all-tournament team as chosen by all tournament coaches and media: Jamison Battle, Kameron Givens, and Tyrell Terry. (It’s the third time that De has won both the girls’ and boys’ state titles in the same year, as the Islanders also captured both in 2012 and 2013.)
The Islanders finished the year with a 27-5 overall record, capturing the Tri-Metro Conference championship with an undefeated 12-0 record, three games ahead of conference rivals St. Croix Lutheran and Holy Angels, and later captured the Section 6AAA title with a section title win over Waconia.
In fact, the team played a number of tough opponents during the season, including six games against teams that qualified for the Minnesota State Tournament — defeating Class AAAA champ Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Minneapolis North and Holy Angels (twice) — as well as a victory over the #11 ranked team in the country, Mountain Brook High School, the 2018 and 2019 State champion in Alabama. De also earned victories against three other teams that finished as section runners-up — Wayzata, Cretin-Derham Hall and Waconia.
Individually, the post-season accolades have rolled in for the Islanders as Battle, Givens, Terry, Irvin, and Travis all earned All-Conference recognition. Two seniors have earned even more recognition as among the most lauded in DeLaSalle history. Close friends for many years, Tyrell Terry and Jamison Battle were also named to various all-metro and all-state teams, including the honor of both being named to the Minnesota Academic All-State Team, in recognition of their outstanding academic performance as well as their athletic success.
Tyrell, a four- year varsity member and three-year starter is listed among the top 75 players (and sixth-ranked point guard) in the country according to Rivals and 24/7. He has signed to attend and play basketball at Stanford University. Jamison is a two-year starter at DeLaSalle and has signed to attend and play basketball at George Washington University. Tyrell and Jamison were each named semi-finalists for the Mr. Basketball and McDonald Awards (Tyrell advanced to a finalist status for each.), and they both played on a summer 17U team in 2018 that was ranked among the five best in the nation.
DeLaSalle’s tradition of boys’ basketball excellence goes back to the 1920s. The Islanders have now won 12 State Championships since the MSHSL welcomed Catholic and private schools into one tournament in 1975 (1985-1988-1998-1999-2006 and 2012 through 2017, and now 2019). In total, this was the 24th appearance for DeLaSalle in the MSHLS State Tournament — in only 45 years. Only Austin (32 tourneys since their first appearance in 1913), Bemidji (30th appearance since 1915), and Red Wing (26 trips since 1913) have appeared in more total MSHSL tourneys. The twelve MSHSL state championships earned by the Islanders is the most of any school, two more than second-place, Hopkins. All of these numbers are additions to the legacy of the Islanders winning 12 additional Catholic-school or Independent-school State titles from 1921 through 1974, including a year in which they were both State and National Catholic School Champions (1931). The tradition is rich and it is certain that DeLaSalle basketball history has been among the nation’s best for a long time.