It would’ve been a great Cinderella story for the Saint Thomas Academy basketball team. Unfortunately, the second-seeded Cadets saw their shot at going to the ball come to an end with a 65-48 loss to top-seeded DeLaSalle in the Section 3AAA boy’s basketball final on March 16.
The Cadets had already bested Harding and South Saint Paul in their first two section rounds, and had lost only one game since last December 29 in compiling a 23-5 over record (15-1 in the Metro East Conference) going into the section final versus the Islanders.
STA lost four of its first five games to start the season. Two of the setbacks were 76-50 against Columbia Heights in the season opener and 69-41 to conference co-leader Mahtomedi in early January.
Section loss ends 18-game win streak
The Cadets was desperately searching for a spark at that point. They found it as they ran off an 18-game winning streak following that Mahtomedi loss. Among their big wins this year were two victories over conference rival Tartan, and another in a rematch against Mahtomedi. The Cadets also were able to grind out a 58-49 section semifinal win over South Saint Paul in a game many said could have gone either way.
There appeared to have been some hope for the Cadets at halftime during the section final, when they were trailing by only 31-23. But the Islanders, who will be making their 12th straight state tournament appearance, never let the Cadets get within striking distance.
The Cadets got 26 points from senior Michael Kirchner and 12 from senior Jack Chamberlain. However, there wasn’t much from the rest of the cast as the Islanders pulled away.
— Bill Wagner
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