Legacies prevalent at state tournaments

Travis Bledsoe (clapping hands) encourages his team during the Class 3A state boys’ basketball championship game.
Photo by Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

State champions Minnehaha Academy (Class AA), DeLaSalle (Class AA) and Hopkins (Class AAAA) brought home basketball titles from the girls’ and boys’ tournaments respectively while continuing legacies that reach back in time.

After covering my 32nd boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournaments the past two weeks, here are a few such legacies that come to mind.

DeLaSalle Coach Travis Bledsoe, a Mr. Basketball finalist in 2005, led his alma mater to the Class 3A state title.

While forward Jalen Travis was leading his team to the state crown last week, his brother Reid Travis — who accomplished the same feat three times from 2012-2014 and earned McDonald All-American honors — was leading Kentucky to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.

Minnehaha Academy guards Kaden Johnson, who played with power and intensity, and sharpshooting freshman guard Donavon Smith had me flashing back to the mid-1990s.

Johnson’s father Dridge Johnson was an all-state player as a senior forward for St. Paul Humboldt in 1995. Joe Smith, Donavon’s dad, was a dynamic point guard, teammate and classmate on the same team.

Hopkins point guard Jalen Dearring’s father Darren Dearring led DeLaSalle to a runner-up finish in 1992 and was Mr. Basketball finalist that year. His uncle Michael Dearring — a Mr. Basketball finalist in 1987 — starred at St. Paul Central, leading them to a third-place Class AA finish in 1986. Older brother Riley Dearring starred at Minnetonka and was a Mr. Basketball finalist in 2013.

Minnehaha Academy forward Naveah Galloway’s father Angelo Dungey starred at St. Paul Central from 1998-2000, and her grandfather is retired St. Paul Central athletic director Nate Galloway.

Gary New, teammate Avery New’s father, was a standout in football and basketball, leading St. Paul Central to a victory in the third-place game of the state boys’ basketball tournament in 1986.

About Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at mcdeezy05@gmail.com.

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