ST. CLOUD — The Hibbing High School boys basketball team found out why Cade Haskins is going to Dartmouth.
The DeLaSalle senior scored 32 points, including six 3-pointers, as the Islanders beat the Bluejackets 92-72 in a quarterfinal State Class 3A contest Wednesday at St. Cloud Tech High School.
Hibbing coach Joel McDonald knew Haskins was going to be a handful, but it didn’t help that his team came out and made some uncharacteristic mistakes.
The Islanders would take advantage of those mistakes by shooting the lights out in the first half.
“They didn’t miss,” McDonald said. “When you’re doing some things defensively and rolling the dice on perimeter shooting and they’re knocking just about everything down, you’re in for a long night.
“What we saw on film was a couple of guys with the ability to do that, and those were the guys that were hurting us, which was the disappointing part of it. I thought we were a little late to rotate, especially to Haskins. That kid can flat-out shoot.”
The Islanders went on to hit five 3-pointers in the first eight minutes to take a 24-10 lead.
The Bluejackets couldn’t find a 3-pointer anywhere on the floor until Ayden McDonald hit one with just over six minutes to play.
DeLaSalle would hit three more 3-pointers, including an exclamation point by Cade Haskins at the buzzer to make it 46-22 at the half.
Haskins totalled 19 points in the first half.
“You have to give them credit,” McDonald said. “They’re a battle-tested group of guys. We had an issue with impatience early, but part of that was because of the pressure they were putting on the perimeter with us.”
McDonald had three things on his board before the game started — defending the paint, defensive rebounding and taking care of the ball.
In the first half, Hibbing came up a little short in all of those areas.
“They made us uncomfortable,” McDonald said. “They knocked down threes, but in these situations, teams get rolling from the perimeter when they’re also getting shots at the rim and second chances from getting rebounds.
“I thought in that stretch where we dug ourselves too big of a hole. We gave up too many second-chance opportunities, which settles people down. You have to be one-and-done to stop them from doing anything. Taking care of the ball was the biggest disappointment from today.”
The Bluejackets needed to slow down a little bit and be a little more patient.
“As much as we want to get the ball up the floor, and get into some type of offense, we had a tough time doing that, and settling down on the offensive end to do that,” McDonald said. “What happened as a result of that was is we played faster, we played more impatiently and that led to a bigger and bigger hole we dug for ourselves.”
Hibbing would go down by as much as 30 points in the second half, but the Bluejackets didn’t go down without a fight.
Hibbing did cut the deficit to 18 at one point, but the Bluejackets couldn’t get any closer than that.
McDonald wasn’t surprised at all by the fight of his team.
“These guys have been around the block,” McDonald said. “They’ve played in so many tournaments. That tournament might have been a Metro-area tournament from the fifth-, sixth- or seventh-grade or a Pacesetter tournament from back-in-the-day, too.
“They’ve been through a lot of experiences on the floor. This isn’t where we wanted to be today, but we’ve been through it before, and we’ve stuck to it. They kept grinding away at it.”
The problem was that DeLaSalle never let the Bluejackets make a serious run.
“Everytime we started to put something together, DeLaSalle moved the ball well and took advantage of an open spot,” McDonald said. “They took the wind out of our sails.”
Ayden McDonald led Hibbing with 26 points. Parker Maki had 15, Eli Erickson eight and Mayson Brown seven.
“There were a lot of things that were disappointing, but I told the guys that I’m not going to cry about this because they’ve done some things here that should resonate for quite some time moving forward in Bluejacket basketball,” McDonald said.
Also hitting double figures for the Islanders were Evan Boyd with 17, Casmir Chavis 12, Nasir Whitlock 11 and Kyle Johnson 10.
HHS 22 50 — 72
DLS 43 49 — 92
Hibbing: Zach Rusich 3, Mayson Brown 7, Jack Grzybowski 5, Tre Homes 2, Parker Maki 15, Amari Manning 4, Jacob Jensrud 2, Eli Erickson 8, Ayden McDonald 26.
DeLaSalle: Casmir Chavis 12, Keijuan White 4, Malik Fason 2, Cade Haskins 32, PJ Edwards II 2, Kyle Johnson 10, Evan Boyd 17, Elijah Blaylark 2, Nasir Whitlock 11.
Total Fouls: Hibbing 18; DeLaSalle 13; Fouled Out: None; Free Throws: Hibbing 9-11; DeLaSalle 21-26; 3-pointers: Rusich, Brown, Maki 2, McDonald 4, Haskins 6, Johnson 2 Boyd 2, Whitlock.