State preview: Magic take on defending state champs

Coming off the most monumental win in program history, Monticello will look to regroup quickly as they are about to be tasked with their toughest test yet.

Now in the state semifinals, Monticello will square off with DeLaSalle, the two-time defending Class AAA state champions, at 2 p.m. today at Target Center.

The Islanders, who got to the game by virtue of a 73-49 defeat of Chisago Lakes in the state quarterfinals, are led by two major Division I basketball players. Tyseanna Johnson is headed to Iowa State after this season to begin her collegiate career and was recently named to the Star Tribune First Team All-Metro. Johnson is a physical and extremely talented forward, and the Magic will have to attempt to keep her away from the rim if they’re going to have any shot of slowing down the Islanders attack. In the quarterfinal round, Johnson scored 16 points and pulled down 13 rebounds (seven offensive) to help lead DeLaSalle.

The second seed’s other Div. I player is guard Allina Starr who is committed to Auburn. The star guard averaged 18.9 points and 9.1 assists per game this year as she earned All-Metro Second Team honors.

After the top two, the Islanders aren’t exactly left searching for talent. They have multiple other plays capable of stepping up when called upon, including Taylor Toney who went 7 for 10 from the field yesterday on her way to a team-high 17 points.

Monticello meanwhile will be looking to carry over momentum from their biggest comeback of the year. Trailing by 15 in the second half of the state quarterfinals, Monticello turned up the aggressiveness just in time to prove that they belong with the state’s elite. If they are to send the same message today, they’ll need to rely on standout guard Grace Sawatzke to be dynamic from the start, and they’ll be looking for help from the usual suspects of Alyssa Lentner and Gabby Laimer, as well as Bailey Bechtold who is coming off perhaps the best game of her career.

The game is a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal, which was won by DeLaSalle 79-50. Tickets cost $14 for adults and $9 for students and can be purchased at the door.

For those who can’t make it to the Target Center, there will be a radio broadcast of the game on BOB 106.1 FM, as well as a television broadcast on KSTC channel 45. There is also a web feed which can be found at