BY DAVID PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Delano warmed up for the section boys basketball tournament but handily winning two games last week to secure the No. 1 seed in Class 3A, Section 5.
The Tigers opened the playoffs at home Tuesday, after this issue went to press. The winner of the Delano-Becker game goes against either No. 4 seed Rocori (14-12) or No. 5 Orono (11-15), 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9 at St. Cloud State. The section title game is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at St. Cloud State.
In the 79-53 win over Hutchinson, Delano got off to a good 22-7 start, taking a 35-27 halftime lead after Hutchinson hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer.
As often has been the case this season, Delano started strong in the second half, going on a 13-2 run. A 20-point lead was maintained the rest of the way.
Damon Longstreet led with 21 points and eight rebounds. Toby Hanson scored 20 points with five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Zach Checkal added 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Dalton Pulis had 10 points and six rebounds.
Coach Terry Techam said despite not scoring, senior guard Adam Schleper had a great game with eight assists, five steals and two rebounds. Zach Muchenhirn was strong on defense off the bench, as was Arick Neisen with two blocked shots.
Delano ended the regular season with a 68-51 win over Orono, a possible opponent in the section tourney. Neisen and Muckenhirn started on senior night along with Checkal, Pulis and Schleper.
The Tigers scored the first seven points in the game and first six in the second half, creating a lead it maintained.
Pulis had a very nice all-around game with 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Longstreet scored 17 points with eight rebounds. Checkal added 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Hanson and Schleper both scored eight points.
Delano has by far the best record in the section tourney at 23-3. No. 2 seed St. Cloud Apollo is 14-12 and lost at Delano early in the season. No. 3 Big Lake is 14-11. The only section team to beat Delano is Mound-Westonka (10-15). The Tigers won the rematch handily.
Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]