April 2018 Eye Catchers and Stockraisers

The 2 open periods have concluded and there have been many ups and downs.  Here are some notable team performances.
  • D1 Minnesota is 13-1 and they'll be in the Adidas Finals in New York to start July.  While the bench can be thin at times, the starting 5 is absolutely ridiculous.  Except for 1 stumble vs Exum Elite (formerly known as the Utah Prospects), they have been dominating opponents.
  • Grassroots showed a big improvement from last year's UA performance.  After going 1-15 last year in UA games, they are 4-4 this year.  Its a more balanced lineup than last year.
  • Howard Pulley had a very good win over Spiece Indy Heat in week 1.  But they've lost 5 out of their last 6 and sit dead last in Division C at 2-6 in EYBL play.  Unless they go on a huge run in the 2 May EYBL events, it looks like the Panthers will miss the Peach Jam for only the 2nd time ever.  The speed and athleticism of the EYBL game has been a major adjustment for the starting 2020 guards.
  • Fury Wilde has played in 2 championship games, losing both, and a quality quarterfinal finish in the highly regarded Pitt Jam Fest in the 1st open period.  They sit at 13-3.
  • Comets Lewis made the Comets semis losing to D1 and went on a nice 6-2 run in 2 weeks of NY2LA play.  They sit at 9-3 overall.  Along with Fury and Omaha Sports Academy, they should be one of the top teams in this month's Sanford league.
  • D1 16s lost in the quarterfinals of the Rock Spring Classic in Madison playing up in the 17U division.  They followed that up with an impressive 7-1 run in Adidas Gold play.
  • Fury Zurn is 15-1 with 2 championships (Comets and Proving Ground locally).  Their only loss was a 3 point loss to EYBL rep All Ohio Red.
  • WOTN Davis 16 are 12-1 with their only loss to Fury Zurn at the Comets tourney.  They ran the table 8-0 in 2 weeks of NY2LA play.  I loved Eastview's Steven Crowl last year and he's continued to play very well.
  • Gain Elite 16s are 11-4.  That splits into 7-2 in Adidas Silver play and 4-2 (Gold runner-up) in the Swish N Dish tourney to open the season.
Here are some players, not all inclusive of course, who in my humble opinion helped themselves the most during the April period.
  • Zeke Nnaji - D1 Minnesota.  Scouts were raving over his performance during both open weeks.  That earned him a Minnesota offer amongst others.  No Minnesota player saw his stock jump more this month.
  • Tyler Wahl - D1 Minnesota.  Picked up a Wisconsin offer during the open period.  His versatility to run the point when Tyrell Terry rests (or was out at the Comets tourney) really sticks out.  Perfect complimentary player.
  • Dawson Garcia -D1 Minnesota 16s.  Picked up offers from Texas and Minnesota just to name a couple.  Long, athletic and skilled.  Plenty to be excited about. 
  • Dain Dainja - Grassroots Sizzle UAA.  Showed off his handles in addition to his usual big bodied work and quality feet inside.  His name definitely moved up lots of lists.
  • David Roddy - Howard Pulley.  Far and away Pulley's best player during their difficult 2 week stretch.  As he did during the high school season for Breck, did a bit of everything from ballhandling to rebounding to scoring inside and out for the Panthers.  Picked up a St. Louis offer during the open period.
  • Ben Carlson - D1 Minnesota 16s.  Picked up a Minnesota offer right after the open period.  Long on the radar of teams like Wisconsin, his play has also been a notable part of the hot start for the D1 16s.
  • Jared Rainey - Heat Nelson.  Played very well at both the Comets tourney and at Proving Ground.  D2s have another couple of chances this month to see him locally with the Heat tourney and Battle At The Lakes coming up the next 2 weeks.
  • Brady Williams  - Fury Zurn 16s.  Every time you looked up this month it seems like he was dunking on somebody.  Classic example of a smaller town kid playing on the circuit and getting noticed.  Keep his name in the back of your mind.

2018 Open Period 1 17U Results

So Minnesota teams hit the road for the 1st open period.  Here's how the 17U teams did.

Howard Pulley 2-2
David Roddy and Blaise Beauchamp solid weekends for the Panthers.

Grassroots Sizzle 2-2
That's more games won they all of last year in the UA Association.
Jalen Suggs 12/10/12 in win vs C2K Elite out of Ohio.  Breakout weekend for Dain Dainja

NY2LA Association
Comets Lewis 4-0
Comets DLR 2-2
WOTN Swedberg 1-3
Select Leafblad 1-3

Adidas Silver
Mentality Minnesota 3-1
44 Elite 1-2

D1 Minnesota 4-0, no game closer than 15 points.
They beat the Omaha Crusaders who beat Howard Pulley earlier this month.
Matt Hurt did what he normally does.  Zeke Nnaji with a nice breakout weekend.

D1 Prospects 2-2 in Adidas Silver division

Fury Wilde 4-1 in Pittsburgh, made final 8

St. Louis
Grassroots II 0-4

Crossfire II 2-2

43 Hoops 1-3
Fury Kaupa 2-2
Heat MacDonald 4-1 (lost championship game)
Heat Nelson 2-2
Heat Henderson 3-1 (won their 2nd round losers bracket)
Twin Cities Pirates 3-1 (lost 1st game and then swept their bracket)
MN Magic Team Nike 3-2 (lost 2nd division championship)

Sioux Falls
Crossfire Bellefeuille 4-0 champions
SW MN Stars  3-1
Comets Kirchner 2-2
D1 Rise 2-2
MN Bulldogs 3-1

The 2018 AAU Road Adventure Begins

This weekend marks the 1st of the 5 D1 open periods for the 2018 AAU season.  This weekend and next are the 1st 2 periods with the rest being in July.  No certified events locally so our teams will scatter across the country this week.  I count no fewer than 6 different out of state locations to find our teams this weekend.  Can you say tons of online viewing?  Let's go through all of it.

Dallas is the center of activity this week with no fewer than 5 circuits and 10 different events going on.  Minnesota teams are well represented in the following events.

Howard Pulley
The 16s play an absolutely loaded Phenom U team out of Wisconsin on Friday night.  I saw them in Milwaukee at the start of the month and they are scary good.  The 17s end their 4 game weekend vs one of the top 2 players in the country, Vernon Carey, and Nike Team Florida.

Under Armour Association
Grassroots Sizzle top 17s.  They open vs top 20 player Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and KC Run GMC

Adidas Silver
44 Elite (old Net Gain squad)
Mentality MN
These 2 teams have multiple possibilities of meeting in their final game on Sunday.

NY2LA Association17s
Midwest Unsigned
Comets Lewis
Comets DLR
WOTN Swedberg
Select Leafblad

NY2LA Association 16s
Comets Stumpf
Team GetShook
WOTN Davis
Select Cave

NY2LA Association 15s
Select Ohnstad
Comets Servaty
Team GetShook

Powerade Platform
MN Phenom.  Their 16s and 17s are on the road again this week after playing in Chicago last weekend.  In a bit of interesting scheduling, Pure Prep and elite big guy Xavier Foster from Iowa is in their pool but the teams don't play each other.

St. Louis
Grassroots Sizzle has another team representing Minnesota in the Recruit Look Hoops league.

Adidas is going to 4 regions for the 1st week of play.  Their midwest region visits Indianapolis with everybody else coming to town next week.  All of Adidas visits Atlanta next week.

Adidas Gold
D1 MN 15s, 16s and 17s.  The D1 17s end vs the Omaha Crusaders on Sunday.  Omaha beat Howard Pulley for an Iowa title on the same weekend as the Comets Shootout.  D1 17s also play EG10 (Eric Gordon's team) which tweaks my interest since the Rockets are playing the TWolves right now.

Adidas Silver
D1 Propsects 17s
Gain Elite 16s (old Net Gain)
Gain Elite 15s (old Net Gain)

The Pitt Jam Fest is a very well regarded event for east coast teams.  Its also rare in that the schedule is setup for 2 games on Friday night.  Also rare in that it takes a heck of a run just to have a Sunday game.  Its easy to be out early Saturday afternoon.

Fury Wilde 17s
Fury Zurn 16s
Heat Tauer 15s

Omaha (Midwest Live)
Now 1 of the 2 notable regional events that our teams are attending.
43 Hoops
Fury Kaupa
Heat Macdonald
Heat Nelson
Heat Henderson
TC Pirates (another part of the Net Gain split)
MN Magic (2nd division)

Grassroots Sizzle
Fury Kline
Heat Moberg
Heat Presbi
MN Matrix
MN Suns
Mpls FAB
Heat Lang (2nd division)

D1 Prospects
Heat Bohrer
Heat Johnson
MN Suns
Team Tyus 14s

Sioux Falls (Spring Jam)
Sioux Falls has the shortest trip for our teams going out of town with their annual 1st open period event.

MN Bulldogs
Crossfire I
SW MN Stars
D1 MN Rise
Comets Kirchner

SW MN Stars
WC United

WC United
Crossfire Bertsch
Fury Poppen
SW MN Stars

Minneapolis (Minnesota Select tourney)
This is the 1 local event going on.  You of course have the non-NY2LA Select teams.  But the notables here are in 15U.  Both Howard Pulley 15s are attending along with Fury Syverson.

2018 Comets Shootout Preview

Its the annual kickoff to the AAU season with the 2018 Comets Shootout in St. Cloud.  While its not on ACT weekend, the concepts and scheduling remain the same.  Here's what to look for.

In 17U, there are 40 teams.  That means 16 of them kickoff at 3:00 or 4:10 with pigtail games into the 32 team championship bracket.  The regular bracket games start at 4:10 and end with Round of 16 games at 10:00 Saturday night.  That leads into the quarterfinals starting later Sunday morning.  We'll break this down into the 4 bracket sections of 10 teams that provide 2 teams each to the quarterfinals. 

Section 1:
This section holds the top seeded Comets.  Other teams of note are Crossfire's top team (very underestimated, had a great year last year), Heat Henderson and the top Select squad.  The hosts have to be the favorite to make the semis from this bracket.  I'll take the Comets over Select Leafblad in the quarters.

Players to Watch:
Jack Thompson, Issac Fink, Noah Christensen (NDSU commit) - Comets Lewis 
Jason Kaul - Crossfire Bellefeuille
Jeremy Beckler - Heat Henderson
Malik Willingham - Select Leafblad

Section 2:
In this section you have Fury's 2nd team, the NY2LA team from the WI Playmakers, Heat Nelson and another Select squad.  But the big elephant in the room is D1 Minnesota.  Their loaded 17s are scheduled to attend.  If their 16s show up to play up instead there will be a riot.  That includes Tyrell Terry, Tyler Wahl, Zeke Nnaji, Matt Hurt and big addition Patrick McCaffrey from Iowa who's a top 30 kid nationally.  D1 MN a heavy favorite to advance to play the Comets in the semis.  I'll take them over Fury Kaupa in the quarters.

Players to Watch:
Matt Hurt, Patrick McCaffrey, Tyrell Terry, Zeke Nnaji, Tyler Wahl, Robert Jones - D1 MN
Luke Paulson, Carson Schoeller - Fury Kaupa
Jared Rainey - Heat Nelson

Section 3:
Here you have a solid group of teams as well.  Fury Wilde headlines this quarter.  D1 MN Prospects, Comets DLR and the top ECI crew also lurk here.    Fury is the pick to take out Comets DLR to advance to the semis.

Players to Watch:
Matt Schlottman - D1 MN Prospects
Jacob Beeninga, Cole Nicholson, Dane Zimmer - Fury Wilde
Jenson Beachy, Josh Jeziorski - Comets  DLR
Joe Jahner, Isaac Undlin - ECI Prospects

Section 4:
This is the quarter of death.  There's always 1 round of 16 game that jumps out and its here.  44 Elite, Heat and WOTN top teams and the sleeper Comets 3rd team are here.  44 Elite is the reformation of last year's Net Gain crew with modfications.  They are dangerous and like they've done in past years I'd expect a ringer or 2.  But they have the toughest road as they'll have to take out Heat MacDonald in the round of 16 before a quarterfinal matchup likely with the top WOTN squad.  I'll take them to pull it off.

Players to Watch:
Jalen Dearring - 44 Elite
Cade Goggleye - Comets Kirchner
Sam Schwartz, Malik Spearman - Heat MacDonald
Tyler Robarge - WI City Select
Tyler Kemp - WOTN

As is usual the 16U kids take the stage for the morning and early afternoon sessions.  Always a great opportunity to see some young kids.  There's always somebody who jumps onto the scene.  These games are 2 pool games on Saturday into a 16 team 4 game bracket on Sunday.  D1 MN 15s are playing up.  Team GetShook made a run here in 15U last year and they're back so don't be shocked to see them do that again.  Expect a wide open bracket here with depth being valuable for the championship game (4th game in 9 hours)

Players to Watch:
Jacob Hutson - Fury Kline
Charlie Katona, Cameron Steele - Fury Zurn
Tait Nelson, Cole Chapman, Daydor Phillips - Heat Moberg
Nick Hendler, Walker Johnson - Select Cave
Nate Heise, Tate Machacek, Steven Crowl, Ryan Samuelson - WOTN Davis

2018 State Tourney Preview

Its state tournament time and thankfully no blizzard in the forecast.  Here is what catches my eye.

Class A
Bracket (1st round at Williams Arena on Thursday)
Mahnomen/Waubun vs 1 Mayer Lutheran
5 Hinckley-Finlayson vs 4 Russell-Tyler-Ruthton
Heritage Christian vs 2 North Woods
Rushford-Peterson vs 3 Cass Lake-Bena

Beware of underdog team: Rushford-Peterson
I love the draw for Rushford-Peterson here.  They are 23-7 with 3 1 point losses against bigger school schedule.  North Woods and Cass Lake-Bena have beaten up on many weak teams up north.  In my bold predictions in the Breakdown book at the start of the year I said an unseeded team would make the final in class A.  Rushford-Peterson is that team.

Mayer Lutheran has all the pieces of size and shooting.  They've won 20 in a row and their losses are all to big schools.  That includes AA state opponents Minnehaha and Jordan. Hinckley-Finlayson is experienced.  They lost to AA Virginia by 3 at Virginia while North Woods at home beat Virginia by 3.  RTR is from the always tough section 3 with a record of 30-1 so expect that to be a terrific 4 vs 5 game and the winner can give Mayer Lutheran a run.  In the end, I take Mayer Lutheran over Rushford-Peterson for the title.

Class AA
Bracket (top half qtrs at Target Center, bottom half at Williams Arena on Wednesday night)
Jordan vs 1 Minnehaha
5 St. Cloud Cathedral vs 4 Esko
Breckenridge vs 2 Brooklyn Center
Minnewaska vs 3 Caledonia

Minnehaha's road opened up when Minneapolis North collapsed in the section 5AA final.  I saw Jordan lose to Minneapolis South on MLK day, quickness was a problem then and will be a problem here.  The state tourney lights will be on so I expect Jalen Suggs to raise his game to a championship level.  Esko is always dangerous with 7'3" Adam Trapp in the middle.  But Cathedral is making a return trip with a pair of stars in Michael Schaefer and Mitch Plombom.  If they get a lead, Esko can't leave Trapp in the middle of a zone.

Noah Christensen has been fantastic for Breckenridge.  They took out undefeated Perham in the section final so don't sleep on the Cowboys.  Brooklyn Center doesn't like to defend but they'll find a way to survive round 1.  That won't be the case in the semis.  The King clan has been fantastic, including Mr Basketball finalist, Owen King.  The Warriors will be motivated for another shot at Minnehaha and I think they get it.  Caledonia let Minnehaha get a 16 point lead last month before losing by 4.  Owen King was huge in that game despite some foul trouble.  I think they keep it interesting.  Minnehaha wins their 2nd straight AA title.  The wildcard for the Redhawks is Terry Lockett.  He's been out with an injury.  If he doesn't play, that means the already thin bench gets thinner and Jalen Suggs handles the ball much much more.

Class AAA
Bracket (1st round at Williams Arena on Wednesday)
Hermantown vs 1 De La Salle
5 St. Thomas Academy vs 4 Columbia Heights
Sauk Rapids-Rice vs 2 Austin
Delano vs 3 Mankato East

Beware of underdog team: Delano
Mr Basketball finalist Calvin Wishart leads a very talented roster that has also has a shooter/handler in Derek Techam and a very solid man in the middle in Keegan O'Neill.  They can spread the floor and can score a bunch of points.  Their lack of depth and Mankato East's athletic size present a big challenge in round 1.  Austin and De La Salle no problems in round 1.  Columbia Heights will probably use the 4 seed as motivation.  I like the draw against a St. Thomas Academy team that will have a tough time matching up athletically.  But Columbia Heights isn't deep and St. Thomas Academy can hit enough shots to win.  De La Salle and Austin move on to the final and the curse and streak continue.  De La Salle wins #7 in a row.

Class AAAA
Bracket (1st round at Target Center on Wednesday)
Wayzata vs 1 Cretin-Derham Hall
5 Osseo vs 4 Eden Prairie
Forest Lake vs 2 Apple Valley
Maple Grove vs 3 Lakeville North

Beware of underdog team: Wayzata
Wayzata got a great draw.  They just knocked off a team with bigs in Hopkins in the 6AAAA final.  With their ball and player movement, this is the draw that CDH didn't want.  Not to mention, CDH would be looking at EP (who beat them) and Apple Valley after that.  That's as tough a road as you could have created for the 1 seed.  Jacob Beeninga is tough as nails physically and competitively to will his team to wins.  They went small in the section final taking Tanner Jonas off the floor which would force Daniel Oturu to defend away from the rim.  Does CDH dare play 1-3-1 against the shooting potential.  Shooting teams are great but the big building is a great equalizer.  If Wayzata advances, they split with Eden Prairie in the regular season and Osseo is banged up right now.

But don't discount how Osseo is defending right now.  Plus Emmette Page has been fantastic all year getting buckets.  They'll need every bucket with forward Anthony Williams out and guard Zach Theisen hobbled.  Eden Prairie too sound and too balanced.  Expect a fairly low scoring game with Eden Prairie moving on.  Apple Valley will find a way to contain Manny Jingco and move on.  Lakeville North too deep and too good defensively, they'll move on over Maple Grove.

That sets up the top 4 seeds by my picks for a couple of terrific semifinals.  Eden Prairie beat CDH at the buzzer at the end of the year.  I think they do it again by getting Oturu and Sy Chatman away from the basket with pick and roll.  That's been the magic potion against the Raiders all year.  CDH has gotten away with Sy Chatman away from the rim defensively (he's a center by trade and still learning perimeter defense where he often gets lost), it bit them in the last meeting and will do so again here.  Apple Valley won the rematch with Apple Valley with Luke Martens back in the lineup.  I won't bet against Tre Jones after what he did last year.  He leads them to the title with 2 big games in the semis and championship.

Heritage wears the Cinderella slipper

To Anoka-Ramsey Community College for the section 4A final between 5 seed Heritage Christian (12-17) and 6 seed Mounds Park Academy (9-19).  Once upon a time I used to do the combined 4A/4AA finals at Holy Angels.  Once that went away, I stayed away.  But the story of one of these Cinderella teams making it was too good to pass up.  Hollywood on the call with black sleeves tonight.  The good folks at ARCC taking care of me for a rare evening of the low angle view at the scorer's table.

Game Time
Heritage comes out 2-3 zone and that's just part of a slow early pace.  MPA patient in their zone offense.  Heritage patient in their Swing Offense.  Yahya Mader 2 early 3s for Mounds Park.  Ben Allen a deep Heritage 3.  Seth Halvorsen adds a putback and 2 FTs at the 9:15 mark for Heritage.  13-12 Mounds Park Academy on top.  The free throws come on Madar's 2nd foul.  He stays in but MPA goes 3-2 to try to save him. 

Later, the teams trade triples and Halverson hits from deep as he starts to turn it on.  Heritage takes the lead 22-19.  MPA then starts to turn it over.  Halvorsen adds a free throw and a bucket on 2 of those.  That's inbetween 2 putbacks by MPA soph Alex Nicoski.  27-25 Heritage before an end to end trip by Nick Guiang ties it.  .  MPA 1 last possession to tie it, they go a few seconds too quick and Halvorsen runs out for a hammer 1 handed slam just before the buzzer. 31-27 Heritage at the break.  Halvorsen 15 points with the momentum dunk.  Madar 9 before sitting late in the half with the fouls.

The stars keep it going to start the 2nd half.  Madar 2 blocks on 1 possession and he'll take it the other way for the hoop and harm.  Halverson converts a turnover on a pretty Eurostep move.  Soph TJ Guggenberger comes up big for Heritage off their bench with 8 in a row via 2 triples and a drive for a nice scoop finish.  43-33 Heritage stretching the lead with 11:35 left.  Halvorsen adds a 3 for a Mokiller timeout and a free throw.  9:32 left as Heritage leads 49-35 after a 14-4 run in under 4 minutes.  Sam Frederickson adds 2 layups to stretch the lead to 16 with 8:20 left.

Mounds Park Academy won't go away.  Ben Nippolt with his 3rd and 4th triples of the night before fouling out with 4:23 left.  Those cut the lead to 10.  Madar with a pair of 3s to cut the lead to 6 with 1:30 left.  They'll press and force a turnover as Heritage ducks the shoulder trying to gain space with 1:05 left.  But turnovers will seal it.  Ben Allen converts 1 into 2 free throws.  Then a Halvorsen steal and an absolutely nasty monster 2 handed dunk on Madar with the foul.  Easily the best dunk I've seen all year (Here's the video).  Heritage Christian Academy advances to the state tournament with the 64-56.

Post Game
Junior Yahya Madar leads Mounds Park Academy with 4 triples and 19 points.  Junior guard Ben Nippolt adds 4 triples of his own off the bench for 12 points.  Nick Guiang chips in with 10 points.  The Panthers finish their season 9-20.  That's more wins than they had in the last 2 years.  That included breaking a 10 year 100+ game losing streak in conference games and a win over Larpenteur Ave neighbor Hill-Murray.  Lots for head coach Jake Schwartz to be proud of in his 1st year.

Seth Halvorsen was terrific for Heritage.  He leads the Eagles with 26 points.  Him and Ben Allen really controlled the pace of the game.  Sam Frederickson and soph TJ Guggenberger each add 10 critical points.  The Eagles defense generated enough turnovers to be the difference.  Heritage is pretty thin depth wise but they're well coached and who ever they draw at state will have to work to knock them out.

A Section Final For the Ages

To Chanhassen for the highly anticipated 6AAA final between Orono and De La Salle.  These teams regarded as state title contenders when the season began and both have lived up to that expectation.  Its a full house in the bleachers and on the rails.  Lithgow, a JMOA rep and a 3rd on the whistles.  A quality performance as usual from the De La Salle pep band.  Richard Pitino in the house to watch his 2 Gopher recruits Gabe Kalscheur and Jarvis Omersa

Game Time
Max Bjorklund carrying the Orono offense early.  He goes floater, drifts to the weakside corner for 3, adds a free throw and hits a kickout 3.  12 all at the 10:16 mark.  CJ Dickson runs the floor hard for a layup, Gabe Kalscheur 2 FTs and a slick drive by Tyrell Terry for a 18-15 DLS lead.  Griffin Sage then knocks down 2 3s in a personal 8-0 run.  Then a Jarvis Omersa block and he'll grab that and find Bjorklund running out for a dunk.  10-0 Orono run and DLS needs a timeout.  25-18 Spartans lead at the 6:10 mark.  Kalscheur quickly responds with a 3 and a 3 point play.  Bjorklund with a jumper and 3 in a 8-0 Orono run.  Kalscheur answers that too with a pair of bombs.  Then a turnover and nobody finds Tyrell Terry so he says why not and buries a 3.  Kalscheur adds 2 free throws to end the half.  35 all going to halftime.  Kalscheur with 20 and 3 triples.  Bjorklund 16 with 3 triples of his own.

Kalscheur shot 5-5 from the line in the 1st half but incredibly had a stretch where he missed 7 out of 9 in the 2nd half.  He makes 1 of 3 FTs and a layup off a turnover to start the half.  Omersa very quiet in the 1st half on offense with only 2 FTs.  He picks that up in the 2nd half.  His back to back buckets put Orono back on top before Colton Codute sits with his 4th foul with 13:59 left.  Thomas Lecy for 3 and a Omersa putback for a 3 point play.  The Orono run is 11-2 for a 49-43 lead with 11:37 left.

An extra pass finds Jamison Battle for a left corner 3.  Omersa counters that with his own 3 to keep the lead at 4.  Codute back in the game and makes 4-4 FTs, all on the 1 and 1.  That counters a couple of Dickson buckets.  58-56 Orono inside of 7 minutes left.  Then 2 offensive boards for Orono leads to another Bjorklund 3.  Then its bang again from deep for Bjorklund.  Bjorklund then kicks to Sage for another bomb.  Omersa then smacks away a Kalscheur drive and Codute finishes that.  69-57 Orono with 4:47 left.  Orono crowd erupts and De La Salle needs a timeout.  Islanders in real trouble here.  Its an 11-1 Orono run in about 1:20.  Everything on their side.

But champions don't go away and Kalscheur rises to the occasion.  Terry scores, Orono misses a front end.  Rayquan Moore for 3.  Kalscheur an offensive board for 2 free throws after an Orono timeout.  Then its Kalscheur with a block and he turns that into a 3 on the other end.  Bjorklund 2 FTs to keep the lead at 4.  Then Kalscheur for 3 as Battle gets run over setting the screen.  Count the basket and Battle makes both ends of the bonus.  De La Salle has the lead back 72-71 with 1:39 left.  OH MY!  15-2 Islanders run in under 3 minutes.

Oh the fun is just beginning.  The fans will stand for the rest of the game.  Bjorklund responds with a clutch 3.  Kalscheur with a charge at the 1:15 mark.  Orono has the ball back up 2 and Codute makes 2 FTs with 46.8 left for a 4 point lead.  Kalscheur with a 3, Omersa 2 free throws and its Kalscheur again for 3.  78 all with 13.9 left.  How clutch is that!  De La Salle takes timeout on the make to set the defense.

But in this game, you know the fun can't be over yet.  Orono gets into nothing out of the timeout and a pass is knocked out of bounds with 5.2 left.  Orono has it on the side in front of their bench.  Omersa sets a zipper screen and gets the ball a step off the right block.  He takes 1 rhythm dribble and then spins right shoulder to the basket.  His attempt is short, Dickson grabs the rebound and time has not run out before Omersa fouls him on the frustration foul with 0.5 left.  The entire building is stunned and in disbelief.  Dickson makes both free throws to win it.  Heartbreak city for Orono after leading by 12 with 4:47 left and 4 with 46.8 left.  De La Salle wins 80-78.

Post Game:
Orono finishes the season 23-6.  Max Bjorklund was fantastic with 28 points and 6 triples to lead the Orono offense.  Colton Codute 17 points.  Griffen Sage with 11 ponits.  Jarvis Omersa 16 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks.  You have to feel terrible for him having his high school career end that way.  Without his play during the season and in the 2nd half of this one, the Spartans likely don't make it this far.  He had a great look inside at the end to win it and that's all you can ask.

Gabe Kalscheur with 7 3s and 38 points to lead the Islanders despite 9-16 FTs.  He scored 14 out of 16 De La Salle points to bring them back to tied at the end.  That included 4 3s in the last 2 minutes.  Couldn't have asked for a better game from him.  CJ Dickson with 12 points off the bench.  He ran the floor and attacked the basket in the full court and half court very effectively.  De La Salle's shot at a 7th straight class AAA title stays alive.  They'll be the top seed in next week's state tourney.

What a fantastic game that will go down in the memory bank.  Great environment, high quality play.  De La Salle just so sound defensively.  Orono solid play on their end as well.  Both teams making big time plays.   Star players making star plays.  And oh by the way, an absolutely improbable ending.  It doesn't get better than all of that.