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Chris Harrell / Forum Communications Co., Published March 15 2012

DeLaSalle tops Otters in Class 3A girls tourney

MINNEAPOLIS – A matchup between the top two ranked teams in Class 3A offered plenty of physical play, but top-ranked DeLaSalle held off a late push by the second-ranked Fergus Falls girls basketball team in a 59-51 victory during the semifinals of the Minnesota Class 3A state girls basketball tournament at the Target Center.

The second-seeded Otters (29-2) trailed for just 1 minute, 32 seconds in the first half, but the third-seeded Islanders (27-3) turned up their defensive pressure and forced 22 turnovers to advance to the championship game.

“Their physicality wore on us and wore on us,” Fergus Falls head coach Josh Mohagen said. “And that’s where they are so good. DeLaSalle played good pressure defense.”

Senior Mariah Monke led the Otters with 13 points. She also had five rebounds and a block despite playing much of the game in foul trouble.

“She’s a smart kid,” Mohagen said. “She plays with such composure. She played a great game.”

Senior Sydney Schultz added 12 points, five rebounds and two steals. Sophomores Anna Monke and Brianna Rasmusson each grabbed six rebounds. Senior Haylie Zenner finished with seven points, five rebounds and two steals.

DeLaSalle had four players score in double figures, led by Tyseanna Johnson’s 16 points. Mia Loyd scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds. Allina Starr tallied 11 points, five assists and five steals.

Fergus Falls had little trouble with the Islanders’ full-court pressure defense early in the first half, establishing a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes.

“I thought we attacked well,” Mohagen said.

But DeLaSalle kept chipping away at the lead and eventually tied the game 22-22 with 2:49 left in the first half.

“You give them anything and they capitalize,” Fergus Falls’ Mariah Monke said. “They pressure so hard on the ball. You got to take what they gave us and not force anything.”

The Otters move to the third-place game 2 p.m. at Concordia University in St. Paul today against Hutchinson, a team that lost 45-28 to top-seeded and third-ranked Richfield. A third-place finish would be the Otters’ highest since 1957, Mohagen said.

“It’s huge to be playing in that third-place game,” he said.

FF (29-2): Schultz 5 0-1 12, Rasmusson 2 3-4 7, Zenner 3 1-2 7, A. Monke 3 0-0 6, M. Monke 4 5-6 13, Swenson 2 2-4 6. Totals 19 11-17 51.

D (27-3): Thomas 1 0-0 2, Johnson 5 5-6 16, Dornsbach 2 0-1 4, Starr 5 1-3 11, Loyd 5 2-4 12, Adanene 4 6-6 14. Totals 22 14-20 59.

Half: D 28, FF 25. 3-point goals: Schultz 2, Johnson. Total fouls: FF 17, D 15. Fouled out: Schultz. Rebounds: FF 34 (Rasmusson, A. Monke 6), D 30 (Loyd 11). Assists: FF 7 (A. Monke 3), D 7 (Starr 5). Steals: FF 4 (Schultz, Zenner 2), D 9 (Starr 5). Turnovers: FF 22, D 15.

Harrell writes for the Red Wing Republican Eagle