Updated: DeLaSalle defense shuts down Magic in 67-42 semifinal defeat

DeLaSalle 67, Magic 42

Monticello struck first in the state semifinal, but DeLaSalle struck back hard. The Magic grabbed a 2-0 lead Thursday afternoon, but after that it was all Islanders.

The two-time defending state champions forced 27 turnovers and held the Magic to 32 percent shooting as they pulled away for a 67-42 victory.

Monticello kept the deficit between six and 10 for much of the first half, but a late three-pointer from Tyseanna Johnson sent the Islanders into the half with a 34-31 lead.

For four minutes of the second half, the Magic hung around. But with the game at 36-23, DeLaSalle kicked it into another gear. The Islanders went on a 17-3 run spanning five minutes to put the Magic away for good.

Monticello was led by Grace Sawatzke, who scored a team-high 13 points, and Bailey Bechtold, who chipped in ten points.  Patiance Griffin came off the bench to hit six threes for the Islanders and finished with a game-high 18 points.

Monticello now moves to the third place game where they’ll take on the No. 1 seed Richfield Spartans who were upset by Red Wing in the other Class AAA semifinal Thursday. That game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul.

With a win, the Magic would become the first Monticello basketball team, boys or girls, to finish third in the MSHSL state tournament. For a recap of that game, and the tournament, check out the March 21 edition of the Monticello Times.

Magic 79, Fergus Falls 78

With 12 minutes remaining in the game, it appeared the same amount of time was left in Monticello’s season.

The Magic trailed undefeated Fergus Falls by 15 points, and dreams of a state tournament win were slipping away. But just as quickly as things had fallen apart for Monticello, they came back together. And over an incredible next 20 minutes of basketball, the Lady Magic grabbed the game back, and realized their dreams.

With less than two minutes remaining in double overtime, a steal and score from Alyssa Lentner gave the Magic the lead for good, and Bailey Bechtold iced the game at the line as Monticello shocked Fergus Falls 79-78 at Williams Arena.

But, it took a gigantic effort for the Magic to even find themselves in that position.

The Magic showed signs of life shortly after falling down by 15, but with less than six minutes remaining the Magic found themselves still down 12. Then, drama.

A three-pointer from Grace Sawatzke, and a basket and a free throw for Lentner brought the Magic to within six. A free throw from Kallie Gau dropped in.  When Bechtold added two more free throws, it was suddenly a 56-53 game with over four minutes to go.

For the next two minutes, the teams traded baskets and free throws. The Magic could never quite pull even, but Fergus could never quite put the underdog away. When Lentner buried a triple from the top of the key, it was 62-60 with two minutes left. With less than a minute left, the Magic rebounded a Fergus miss and Sawatzke came down the court intent on getting to the rim. She was fouled on her way.

The junior made her first free throw but missed the second, forcing the Magic to foul with 20 seconds remaining. Fergus Falls returned the favor, hitting one out of two and setting Monticello up with a chance to tie.

Sawatzke took advantage. She took the outlet and went coast to coast, finishing at the rim with just 15 seconds left. When Fergus missed a contest jump shot, the Magic had secured more basketball.

In the first overtime the teams traded two point leads before eventually settling into a tie that would force a second extra session.

The Otters grabbed the lead first in that overtime, but with less than two minutes left, Lentner grabbed it back. The Magic never let go.

Sawatzke finished with a team-high 23 points to go with 8 assists despite battling foul trouble for much of the game. Lentner added 18 points and 11 rebounds while Bechtold and Gabby Laimer each added 16 points.

With the program’s first-ever state tournament win under their belt, Monticello advances to the state semifinals against second-seeded DeLaSalle. The Islanders beat Chisago Lakes 73-49 to advance to the semifinals. The game will be played at 2 p.m. Thursday at Target Center. Visit www.monticellotimes.com Thursday morning for a short preview. For a full story on today’s game, and the rest of the tournament, check the March 21 edition of the Monticello Times.