Tyseanna Jonson of DeLaSalle ran down the court after stealing the ball from Kallie Gau of Monticello during a Class 3A girls' semifinal game Thursday at Target Center. DeLaSalle beat Monticello 67-42. Photo: JERRY HOLT * email@example.com
Faith Johnson Patterson is a coach, mentor, mother hen and even, at times, a taskmaster. And this year, add scientist to the DeLaSalle coach’s resume.
The Islanders’ convincing 67-42 victory over Monticello in the Class 3A semifinals was the product of tinkering this season with lineups that include two future Division I players. Her search for the right combinations has the team set to play for its third consecutive state championship.
“Sometimes it was a little hard for [the players] to grasp,” said Johnson Patterson, who will be coaching for her eighth state championship Saturday. She won five while at Minneapolis North. “But I played a lot of girls with a purpose. We were teaching them what it takes.”
The recipe displayed Thursday included typically strong games from superstars Tyseanna Johnson (15 points, eight rebounds, five assists) and Allina Starr (17 points, four rebounds, seven assists), a large dose of athleticism and contributions from others at key moments.
Thursday, the latter came from sophomore Patiance Griffin, who knocked down six three-pointers en route to a game-high 18 points.
“That’s great to see,” said Tyseanna Johnson. “That’s a boost to us. It shows that we’re ready.”
1. Allina Starr, DeLaSalle
Starr was the floor general for the Islanders all game. She was usually content playing the facilitator role but wasn't afraid to drive to the basket and create her own shot when necessary. She finished with 17 points and 7 assists and played all but 1 minute for DeLaSalle.
2. Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle
Johnson scored 15 points but her scoring was just one of the many ways she made an impact on the game. She also chipped in with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. Her strong defense helped keep Monticello off the scoreboard for long stretches in the second half.
3. Patiance Griffin, DeLaSalle
The sophomore's outside shooting carried the Islanders for a stretch in the second half and allowed them to pull away. She went 4-7 from three point range in the second and made 6 threes total. With her quick release there was little Monticello could do to stop her. She led the Islanders with 18 points.
-John Kelsey, MN Girls Basketball Hub