MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — For Reid Travis, his basketball career has only begun. Still, his last game for DeLaSalle was hard to let go.
Finishing with a third straight state championship, then, was the way to do it.
Travis scored 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting, and DeLaSalle overwhelmed Austin again for the Class 3A title during a 60-40 victory on Saturday night.
“It’s hard to say that it’s over, but it’s nice to end it on a high note,” said Travis, with a cardinal-colored Stanford stocking hat stuffed in a pocket in his DeLaSalle letter jacket, a clothing collision of his present and future teams.
His college career could wait while his Islanders (26-3) took the court for one more crown following last year’s 50-33 breeze past the Packers (28-4). The 6-foot-8 Travis had four inches on Austin’s tallest player, and the Islanders had too much athleticism for the Packers to match. Oh, and the Islanders made an astounding 26 of their 38 attempts from the floor, 68.4 percent.
Ajuda Nywesh kept the margin manageable early by fearlessly flinging 3-pointers — he made 4 of 5 in the first half — and finished with 24 points. Zach Wessels, the all-time leading scorer in Austin’s program history, had only four points on 2-for-9 shooting.
“We rode our horses, but it just wasn’t good enough. But there’s no shame in losing to that team,” Packers coach Kris Fadness said.
The Packers played a zone defense to try to box in Travis, but he’s too strong — with too high of a vertical jump — for that. He has plenty of help, too. Sacar Anim added 13 points, Geno Crandall had four points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and James Lawson scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“When you’ve got Reid Travis in the middle, you’re giving up something,” said Fadness, who beat DeLaSalle for the 1997 Class 2A championship when he was the head coach at Caledonia.
Austin’s last championship in this sport was in 1958, but Fadness has help restore the Packers into a state power again.
Lawson and Wessels will be teammates next season, at the University of Sioux Falls, the NCAA Division-II school in South Dakota.
The Islanders outscored the Packers 19-6 over the last 12½ minutes of the first half to take control. Their lead never fell below 11 points after that, and the “Three-peat! Three-peat!” chant soon rang out from the DeLaSalle student section. Then came “Just like last year!”
In the closing seconds, the seniors Travis, Crandall and Lawson came out of the game to bear hugs in front of the bench from Dave Thorson, the long-time head coach at the Minneapolis Catholic school in the middle of the Mississippi River. Thorson praised the unselfishness and work ethic of his senior class, especially Travis, who stood out even in this program with a sustained tradition of athletics excellence.
“His name is going to be at the top of the list,” Thorson said.
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