No more “Unfinished Business” for Lyle/Pacelli

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Sunday, March 18, 2018
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No more “Unfinished Business” for Lyle/Pacelli

By Marc Hugunin
Posted On: 03/18/18 10:15 AM

There were a variety of different themes expressed in the thousands of green Lyle/Pacelli T-shirts in Target Center Saturday afternoon. One of them was “Unfinished Business.” Well, there’s no more unfinished business for the Athletics and their loyal fans, as they methodically picked apart Sleepy Eye 57-33 in the Class A championship game.

6-5 Mankato State-bound Kristi Fett was dominant for the A’s, scoring 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting and 8-of-11 FT, and grabbing 16 rebounds. She also blocked 5 shots, and intimidated and altered many more. And, with Fett guarding the rim, Lyle/Pacelli defenders could cheat toward the perimeter a step or two and close out on 3-point shooters effectively. As a result, Sleepy Eye shot just 11-for-46 from the field (24 percent). And, after making 14 3-pointers in their 1st 2 tournament wins, they made just 4-of-12 this time out.

Sleepy Eye stayed closed to 17-15 Lyle/Pacelli at 9:03. Sleepy Eye then missed their next 9 shots and also missed 3-of-4 FT to fall behind 31-22 at the half. The A’s then blew the game open with the 1st 10 points of the 2nd half, 5 by Fett, to lead by 19. The closest Sleepy Eye could get after that was 16.

“Unfinished Business” refers to what might have been. In 2015, the A’s led Ada by as many as 10 points in a state tournament semi-final. They still led by 3 at 3:09, but failed to score the rest of the way and lost to a Miki Lee jumper for Ada. Then, a year later, they led Goodhue 41-24 with 9 minutes remaining, yet lost 43-42 in the Section 1A final.

So now, there is no “Unfinished Business” for Lyle/Pacelli or for coach Justin Morris, who has very improbably commuted to work in Lyle, MN, for Omaha, NE, this year. Well, that can’t continue, clearly, and so Morris’s coaching career at Lyle/Pacelli is now over. He went out on top, to say the least.

Three Stars

Kristi Fett, Lyle/Austin Pacell, 6-5, senior, post, dominated all 3 tournament games and was generally regarded as the Class A tournament MVP with 72 points and 50 rebounds. None of LPA’s opponents stayed within a double digit margin of defeat against Fett and the A’s

Brooke Walter, Lyle/Austin Pacelli, 5-7, senior, point guard. Walter scored 55 points in the 2015 state tournament as a freshman. Then Kristi Fett came along and Lyle/Pacelli coach Justin Morris asked Walter to eschew the shot and to orchestrate the A’s game and feed Fett. She has done that. She scored just 6 points in this game with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. For the tournament, she scored just 16 points with 16 rebounds and 19 assists.

Olivia Christianson, Lyle/Austin Pacelli, 5-10, sophomore, forward. A strong, athletic wing, Christianson did a little bit of everything, inside and on the perimeter. She finished with 8 points, 7 boards and 2 assists for the A’s, and was their 2nd ball handler against a pressure defense. Christianson will return next year to lead a different team with a new coach and a new era in Lyle/Pacelli basketball.