ST. MICHAEL — A trip to a second-consecutive state tournament and the chance to defend the Class 3A crown appeared to be a real possibility for Delano, which swept through five section opponents during the regular season.
When it comes to the postseason, though, the regular season matters no more. That proved to be the case March 8, when the top-seeded Tigers were upset by No. 4 Big Lake 56-52 at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
Delano’s offense sputtered, especially in the first half when it was held to 17 points.
Big Lake was slightly better, and took a 23-17 lead into halftime. That six-point advantage proved to be enough for the Hornets to hold on. Delano won the second half 35-33.
“We struggled on the offensive end all night,” said Delano coach Terry Techam.
The Hornets helped themselves by going 15-for-17 at the free throw line.
Big Lake found scoring from just four players. Three of those players accounted for 55 points.
Spencer Hinrichs and Logan Nagorski led everybody but each other with 19 points each. DeVonne Harris scored 18 points for the Hornets, and Jake Ireland finished with one point.
Senior Derek Techam led Delano with 16 points. Keagen Smith finished with 14; Trey Longstreet 11; Max Otto nine; and Terron O’Neill two.
Smith had a nice all-around game. He complimented his 14 points with six rebounds and three assists.
Otto collected 10 rebounds.
O’Neill had five assists and three steals.
Delano finished the season with an 18-10 record. The Tigers defeated Big Lake 57-44 in December.
The Hornets are 13-15. That was the same record held by Monticello — Big Lake’s opponent Thursday night in the section championship game.