ST. CLOUD — Hibbing tried to simulate DeLaSalle’s perimeter attack in practice but it’s hard to simulate players the caliber of Dartmouth recruit Cade Haskins and his Islander teammates unless you’re going to go hit up an area college.
The Bluejackets discovered first-hand what they had already seen on tape: you give Haskins an inch, he’ll take a mile.
Haskins hit six 3-pointers and scored 32 points to lead DeLaSalle to a 92-72 victory over Hibbing Wednesday in the Class AAA quarterfinals at St. Cloud Tech High School.
“Haskins is a special player, and we knew that going in,” Hibbing coach Joel McDonald said. “We’ve been working hard on the things we’ve seen on film, and I don’t know if we were caught in the moment, with it being a state tournament game or whatever the case was, we were slow to rotate when they were cutting into the spots that we knew they wanted to get to.
“We were a little disappointed, a little lack of focus on our part, but you’ve got to give them credit. Every time we were slow to react, Haskins made us pay for it.”
DeLaSalle (15-5) advances to play Minnehaha Academy (18-1) in the AAA semifinals at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at Target Center in Minnneapolis.
Hibbing, which got four 3-pointers and 26 points from junior Ayden McDonald, the Bluejackets’ only non-senior starter, finished 16-4. McDonald said he looks up to Hibbing’s seven seniors and said they’re best friends.
Hibbing had an impressive 50 points in the second half against one of the state’s most highly regarded programs.
“We dug ourselves into a hole right away and it was hard to recover after that,” Ayden McDonald said. “But there’s a lot of fight in this team and we never quit. I grew up with these seniors. We’re definitely going to miss them. We definitely have some big shoes to fill but I think we’re going come back ready.”
Haskins scored 19 points in the first half as DeLaSalle led 46-22 at the break. Haskins was smoking hot from long range early but then cooled — not because he was clanking shots — but because he wasn’t shooting. It’s like he was letting his teammates get in on the action until right before the break when he drained a drop-step 3-pointer at the buzzer and looked his the Islanders’ bench as if to say, “Remember me?”
DeLaSalle finished 11-for-19 3-point shooting, including 6 of 9 from Haskins.
“Tonight’s game was the product of an intense couple days of practice,” Islanders coach Travis Bledsoe said. “I’m so proud of my players for staying focused on the Hibbing scouting report and coming out and executing the game plan. Cade saved his best game of the season for today and was lights out from start to finish.”
Hibbing couldn’t say the same thing but certainly wasn’t intimidated. The Bluejackets weren’t playing a machine, they were playing a high school basketball team. They just need to come out with more spark, more energy and certainly, more defensive focus.
“We wouldn’t have had to play perfectly to beat them, but we were going to have to be very fundamental in some real key areas,” Joel McDonald said. “They’re simple on paper but tough to execute in reality. We kind of missed on our game plan and DeLaSalle took advantage of it.”
Hibbing — Zach Rusich 3, Mayson Brown 7, Jack Grzybowski 5, Tre Holmes 2, Parker Maki 15, Amari Manning 4, Jacob Jensrud 2, Eli Erickson 8, Ayden McDonald 26. Totals 28 8-10 72
3-point goals — Rusich, Brown, Grzybowski, Maki, McDonald 4.
DeLaSalle — Casmir Chavis 12, Keijuan White 4, Malik Eason 2, Cade Haskins 32, P.J. Pounds II 2, Kyle Johnson 10, Evan Boyd 17, Elijah Blaylark 2, Nasir Whitlock 11. Totals 15-21 92.
3-point goals — Haskins 6, Johnson 2, Boyd 2, Whitlock.