It’s a reluctant feeling to look ahead having just lost a state semifinal game, but amid tears and emotion Thursday that’s exactly what the Benilde-St. Margaret’s girls basketball team tried to do.
After suffering a 55-46 loss to DeLaSalle in the Class 3A semifinals at Target Center in Minneapolis—officially dethroning the defending state champion Red Knights—BSM seniors tried to focus the team’s energy toward one more game.
The Red Knights, senior Sidney Pilarski pointed out, have a chance to finish the season with a win. BSM will face Alexandria in the third place game Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
The Islanders will face unbeaten Hill-Murray for the title.
“We wanted them to know that we all played hard and to realize how much DeLaSalle celebrated after the game shows how hard it is and how big it is to beat the defending state champs,” Pilarski said. “We want everyone to know we have another game left. It’s not over. We can still win and end the season winning.”
The Red Knights (25-6) played the entire season getting the best effort each opponent, coach Bob Lyons said, and in the end BSM still found itself on the doorstep of a second straight championship game.
Early on, the Red Knights looked poised to play for the title. BSM sank three 3-pointers in the first seven minutes and opened up a 17-10 lead.
But DeLaSalle kept chipping away—thanks in large part to big efforts from guards Tyseanna Johnson and Mariah Adanene. The backcourt duo scored 19 and 20 points in the game, respectively, a and by halftime the Islanders (26-4) had a two-point lead.
The Red Knights held two one-point leads and a two-point lead early in the second half, but after a Johnson basket put DeLaSalle up 37-36 with 10:02 remaining the Islanders would never look back.
Down the stretch, free throws helped DeLaSalle ice the game. The Islanders went 13-for-25 from the line in the second half—including five made in the final 2:47.
“They did a nice job of hitting their free throws down the stretch,” Lyons said. “We thought we’d have some opportunities maybe in the bonus or missing the front ends, but they did a nice job converting those.”
BSM junior Khadijah Shumpert finished with 16 points, while freshman Grace Coughlin had 13 points and Josie Dillon finished with six.
Lyons said it’s important that the team realize there is one more game to play, and that finishing with that third place trophy is still an important goal.
“There are only two teams in the state (in Class 3A) that can go away having won their last game played,” Lyons said. “That’s the message I tell them. Let the seniors go out on a winning note. The season ends Saturday no matter what, so we might as well go out with a win.”
DeLaSalle 26 29 — 55
Benilde-St. Margaret’s 24 22 — 46
Scoring — BSM: Josie Dillon 6, Lindsay Kaminski 5, Olivia Antilla 2, Khadijah Shumpert 16, Sidney Pilarski 4, Grace Coughlin 13. DLS: Teseanna Johnson 19, Mariah Adanene 20, Allina Starr 8, Claire Thomas 5, Samantha Dornsbach 3. Assists leaders — BSM: O. Antilla 3, S. Pilarski 2. Rebound leaders — BSM: K. Shumpert 9. Turnovers — BSM: 16, DLS: 14. Fouls — BSM: 21, DLS: 16.