Wayzata scorches the nets

Prologue
To Lakeville South for their non-conference game vs Wayzata.  It always seems to snow when I visit and tonight was no exception.  Only Gatorade tonight as McDonald's was the pre-game meal.  We get an appearance from the Lakeville South band. 

Song of the Day
Journey - Don't Stop Believing (Lakeville South pep band)

Number of Teams I've Seen: 36 (8 courts)

Beverage Ticker: 184 ounces (1860 Calories)
18 days, 18 games, 2 scrimmages added on
  • Pepsi: 40 ounces (500 calories)
  • Coke: 40 ounces (480 calories)
  • Sprite: 20 ounces (240 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 84 ounces (640 calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 2
Walking Taco Ticker: 2

Game Time:
Soph Jacob Beeninga starts with a 3 and Ryan Lindberg in transition for 3.  That puts Wayzata up 10-4 just over 3 minutes in.  Lakeville South counters with an 8-0 run to take the lead.  Jack Sorenson with a 3 and an assist for 3 in that run.  He adds 2 free throws, a pull up and then a touchdown pass to Shae Mitchell for a dunk.  Mitchell then adds a pretty skip pass out of the post to Cade Carlson for 3. 26-24 Lakeville South at 5:20.  The bombs keep falling.  Beeninga 2 more triples before a Mitchell triple.   Sorenson for 3 late in the half before 2 Beeninga layups.  Cooper Jackson's drive for 2 in the last minute gives Lakeville South a 39-38 halftime lead.

Lindberg blows up in the 2nd half.  He buries a drive and kick for 3 and a jumper off a BLOB.  7-0 Wayzata run to start the 2nd half.  Drew Galinson with a bomb before a Lindberg jumper.  Lakeville South within 6 before 2 offensive rebounds lead to another Lindberg 3 and a Luke Paulson jumper.  Lakeville South takes their 2nd timeout of the half to attempt to stop the bleeding.  57-46 with 11:47 left but they are getting outhustled.  None of this matters as this one gets out of hand.  Galinson with a pretty eurostep 3 point play and a triple before Lindberg hits 2 more from deep.  71-48 with 7:50 left.  The Wayzata run is 19-2 in about 4:30.  When it rains it pours as Gavin Baumgartner hits 2, Galinson with another and 2 more from Lindberg plus a Lindberg layup.  Call the dogs off with 3:40 left.   Wayzata wins 98-68.  After trailing by 1 at the half, Wayzata wins the 2nd half 60-29.

Post Game
Cade Carlson leads Lakeville South with 17 points.  Jack Sorenson 15 points with a handful of assists.  But he struggled from the floor as I had him in the neighborhood of 5-17 shooting.  Shae Mitchell adds 11.  A rough start for Lakeville South as they lost the home opener by 15 to New Prague.  Then the collapse in the 2nd half here.  Outworked, not getting to shooters, not taking good shots.  Very ugly half of basketball.  Coach Gruhlke tried 4 timeouts in the 2nd half to no avail.  It doesn't get any easier as the Cougars play Eden Prairie in the late game on the East court on Saturday at the Tip Off Classic.  Then they visit Hopkins and Brainerd next week.

Ryan Lindberg goes off for 32 points with 8 3s.  24 of those points and 6 3s in the 2nd half alone.  3 other starters in double figures as well.  Gavin Baumgartner and Jacob Beeninga with 16 points each.  All of Beeninga's points in the 1st half via 4 triples.  Drew Galinson with 3 triples and 14 points.  Wayzata hits 17 3s in the game, 11 of those in the blowout 2nd half.  Great patience out of their dribble drive looks not forcing shots in the paint and making the extra pass.  The Trojans are now 2-0.  They are off until next Friday when they open Lake Conference play vs Eden Prairie.

Running with Horses

Prologue
Its a trip to Breck to see the Mustangs take on the Brooklyn Center Centaurs.  A restaurant quality mascot indeed.  The concession stand is out of hot dogs and I'm impatient.  Therefore I settle for 250 calories worth of Snickers bar.  Vocal crowd on hand and a busy night at the Breck campus.  Breck's building is the old home of the Golden Valley Vikings (1957-1980).

Song of the Day
Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses

Number of Teams I've Seen: 34 (7 courts)

Beverage Ticker: 164 ounces (1720 Calories)
16 days, 17 games, 2 scrimmages added on

  • Pepsi: 40 ounces (500 calories)
  • Coke: 40 ounces (480 calories)
  • Sprite: 20 ounces (240 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 64 ounces (500 calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 2
Walking Taco Ticker: 2

Game Time:
Its an ugly start.  Breck goes 2-3 zone and Brooklyn Center settles for a bunch of 3s.  The only one that goes in is from Lu'Cye Patterson.  That was on a kickout of a rebound which often leads to a great look.  Meanwhile Breck struggling to take care of the rock as they turnover it over a ton.  Breck finally gets on the board with a run out for a layup at 13:30.  A quiet half for Breck star David Roddy but he scores on UCLA cut to a post up.  Sam Willey puts back a miss and that cuts the Brooklyn Center lead to 12-7 at 9:34.  Patterson with a layup off a turnover before a possible flop is Roddy's 2nd foul on a charge.  Deshawn Pickford buries a 3 and takes a steal for a free throw.  The run is 10-2 over 3:25.  That allows Brooklyn Center to take a 31-17 lead to the break.

Down 14, Breck is forced to come out of their 2-3 zone.  Brooklyn Center attacks that with their dribble drive motion.  Adreone Sprinkles buries a pair of 3s via kick-out and an elevator BLOB.  Devonta Prince with a putback, free throw and a dunk.  That blows this one open.  Brooklyn Center up 48-25 with 10:30 left after a 10-2 run.  Roddy gets going with a pair of baseline drives for easy dunks.  They with 4 fouls he strips Prince on an isolation and takes it for another dunk.  He fouls out on another dicey charge call.  Breck coach Marcus Hill gets 2 quick technicals for that and he's tossed.  Brooklyn Center wins 67-44.

Post Game
This was Breck's opener so they fall to 0-1.  They have another critical section game at home on Thursday vs Southwest Christian.  Then its trips to Kennedy and Holy Family on the next 2 Saturdays.  David Roddy with 13 points to lead the Mustangs.  Freshman Kerwin Walton with 10 off the bench.  Breck going with 4 in and 4 out with Roddy staying on the floor for their rotations.  3 of those 4 bench guys being underclassmen.  When Roddy touched the ball, good things happened.  Otherwise the night was an adventure keeping possession.

Brooklyn Center improves to 2-0 with 2 road wins.  Soph Adreone Sprinkles leads the way with 16 points and 5 triples.  Freshman PG Lu'Cye Patterson with 11 points and a handful of assists.  All 7 members of the rotation score and 6 players end up with at least 6 points.  They hit enough shots and forced enough turnovers to take control.  But they aren't big and they showed struggles with shooting.  Next up is the home opener on Friday vs Spectrum.  Then they play in the St. Paul Johnson event on Saturday.

Ring the Bell for another 1000 point scorer

Prologue
Early season Monday nights are always a good time to take a look at some of the lesser known A and AA teams locally.  Tonight is no exception as its a trip to St. Paul Washington to see them take on the Charter Stars.  A vocal crowd on hand for these closely located St. Paul schools.  Standard hot dog and Sprite make up the menu.

Song of the Day
Metallica - For Whom The Bell Tolls

Number of Teams I've Seen: 32 (6 courts)

Beverage Ticker: 152 ounces (1600 Calories)
15 days, 16 games, 2 scrimmages added on

  • Pepsi: 40 ounces (500 calories)
  • Coke: 40 ounces (480 calories)
  • Sprite: 20 ounces (240 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 52 ounces (380 calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 2
Walking Taco Ticker: 2

Game Time:
Junior Ezekiel Olakunle gets the Stars on the board with an early triple for a 3-1 lead.  Washington star Curtis Bell with an offensive board for a free throw.  Then he'll drive the lane for a dunk.  He also played the top of the 3-2 zone and was very active there.  Washington extends that zone to pressure the ball and the Stars have no answer.  Olakunle hits another 3 but those are the only 2 field goals of the half for the Charter Stars.  Bell with a free throw, then a steal and assist for 2 more.  2 more offensive boards for free throws.  That gets him to 1000 career points at the 7:45 mark of the half.  Those 2 free throws are the 1st of a 23-0 run to end the half.  Charter Stars go the last 11:20 without a field goal. 45-9 Washington at the break.  The field goal streak is broken right away to start the half.  Bell adds in some quick points in limited 2nd half time (he was basically done at the 14 minute mark except for 1 more quick shift).  Washington rolls to 66-19 win.

Post Game
Charter Stars fall to 0-1.  They will host CHOF in their home opener on Thursday.  Ezekiel Olakunde's 2 3s leads the way with 6 points.  Its a junior heavy lineup as expected so they're looking forward.  Also liked what I saw from freshman Isaiah Long (hope the MSHSL site is right on that number).

Washington star wing Curtis Bell leads everybody with 22 points.  Very active on the glass and on the defensive end.  Much better passer than I realized too.  Adding a consistent jump shot is the next step for him.  Maurice Carter adds 10.  Freshman Drewjuan White started on the wing as well.  He showed a nice attacking side to his game early. He's worth keeping an eye on.  Washington only made 2 shots outside the paint all night.  They were able to get out and run either off misses or via turnovers generated by their zone.  The Eagles have the rest of the week off before trips east to St. Croix Prep and Hill-Murray next week.

Thoughts from the 1st 2016 Tipoff Classic

The Breakdown Tipoff Classic (Girls Version) took the spotlight on the 1st week of the schedule.  4 boys games on the slate, here's what caught my eye.

Game 1: #3AAAA Hopkins vs Cedar Falls (IA)
We knew AJ Green would be highlight for Cedar Falls but the expectation was that Hopkins would pull away for a comfortable win in the end.  Not quite what we ended up with.  Green was outstanding with 8 3s and 41 points.  Cedar Falls would use a late 1st half run and lead 44-42 at the break.  Ishmael El-Amin with a big 2nd half to match Green.  His 23 in the half outdoes the 21 in the half from Green.  Hopkins would go on one of their runs to start the 2nd half (15-4 in the 1st 5 min) and go up double digits.  Green hit a handful of tough jumpers as he refused to let his team get blown out.  In the end, he doesn't get enough help as Hopkins wins 85-77.  Hopkins with 4 in double figures.  Ish El-Amin 32, Simon Wright 14, Zeke Nnaji 12, Anthony Davis 10.  Ben Gerdes with 14 for Cedar Falls in addition to the 41 from Green.

Game 2: #1AAAA Champlin Park vs Rochester John Marshall
This looked like a heavyweight battle on paper with JM looking to prove a point that they deserve to be in the discussion of elite teams in AAAA.  This one is tight for the 1st half of the opening half.  Then Champlin Park's 1-3-1 really held JM in check.  Brian Smith would score 14 of 16 Rebels points as Champlin Park opened the game up.  A late 1st half bloody nose would cost Rockets star Matt Hurt 3 minutes of playing time and a couple of free throws.  JM up 57-42 at the break.  The Rebels just kept running in the 2nd half as they steam roll to a 113-74 win.  McKinley Wright with a game high 27 to lead Champlin Park.  Theo John stepped his game up in the 2nd half on his way to 19 points.  Brian Smith with 20 of his 22 in the 1st half.  DJ Hunter with 14 points and a respectable job guarding Matt Hurt.  Matt Hurt ends up with 24 points.  Dedoch Chan with 11 of his 16 in a productive 1st half for the Rockets.  It doesn't get any easier for JM as they have Hopkins in the Boys Tipoff Classic.  13 3s for Champlin Park as JM had no answers on defense.  Very impressive opening statement from them.  They have the late game against Apple Valley in the Boys Tipoff Classic

Game 3: #1AAA De La Salle vs Des Moines Hoover
This game as expected was not the up and down type of game that we saw in the previous 2.  Hoover forward Douglas Wilson gave the Islanders some trouble inside.  He had to sit the last 6:28 of the 1st half with 3 fouls (2 charges).  That allowed De La Salle to take an even game and open up a 37-28 halftime lead.  The Islanders would quickly open that lead to 15 to start the 2nd half.  No danger from there as De La Salle wins 65-50.  Goanar Mar with 3 triples and 10-11 FTs on his way to a game high 27 points.  Gabe Kalscheur struggled with his shot but still managed 15 points.  Douglas Wilson with 22 to lead Hoover.  Devonte Thedford with 16 of his 20 in the 1st half for Hoover.  De La Salle gets Maple Grove in the Boys Tipoff Classic.

Game 4: #6AAAA Apple Valley vs #1A Minneapolis North
North did a fine job in their halfcourt defense early in the game and got out running on misses for baskets.  That propelled the Polars to a 26-21 lead midway through the first half.  Apple Valley would rally behind Tre Jones.  He finds Mohamed Kone and Luke Martens for 3s to tie the game.  Martens adds a free throw and another bomb to give Apple Valley a 42-35 lead at the break.  Ely Hendrickson 2 3s to open the 2nd half.  Tre Jones adds another bomb and just over 3 minutes into the 2nd half the Eagles fly out to a 58-42 lead.  North would try to make it interesting with Jaquan Sanders-Smith scoring and then burying a 3.  Isaac Johnson with a spin move for 2 more.  North within 66-61 with 6:35 left and their crowd is into it.  Odell Wilson was a handful inside.  He seals on the weakside of a BLOB for a 3 point play with 4:25 left.  70-66 Apple Valley hanging on.  Tre Jones was the difference in this one and he made the big plays late.  He counters Wilson's 3 point play with one of his own.  Then he adds a free throw.  He'll steal an inbounds and then give a sweet up fake for an easy jumper.  78-68 Apple Valley with 2:40 left and they're out of danger.  Jones adds another 3 point play late.  Apple Valley wins 84-70.  Tre Jones with an absolutely sick triple double of 29 pts, 13 rbs, 11 ast, 3 stl, 5 blk.  Luke Martens adds 15 for the Eagles.  9 3s from 5 Eagles not named Jones plus 2 more from Tre.  That is going to be big for Apple Valley this season.  Isaac Johnson with 21 points, Jaquan Sanders-Smith 20, Odell Wilson 19 for North.  North gets Minnehaha in a battle of number ones in the Boys Tipoff Classic.

Another night with Eagles

Prologue
Opening Friday takes me to The Sal in St. Paul for New Life Academy at CHOF.  The always vocal CHOF fans not disappointing tonight.  No worries about the food tonight as its the Downtowner Woodfire Grill with The Emperor and Her Majesty after the game.  But a beverage is always mandatory so let's add more Gatorade to the tally.  Interesting to see 9 seniors starting in an era where we see so many youngsters seeing time.

Song of the Day
The Eagles - Desperado

Number of Teams I've Seen: 16 (4 courts)

Beverage Ticker: 92 ounces (880 Calories)
12 days, 8 games, 2 scrimmages added on
  • Pepsi: 40 ounces (500 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 52 ounces (380 calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 1
Walking Taco Ticker: 1

Game Time:
The game starts quietly with New Life making 5 of 6 free throws early on.  Kyle Kaemingk for 3 and he adds 2 more free throws off an offensive rebound.  Meanwhile CHOF can't get anything to go in.  Dillon Alleman finally breaks the opening 17-2 run with a 3 at the 9:25 mark.  Only 1 tough contested jumper for CHOF before that.  Kaemingk gets 3 layups, 2 from Adam Busch passes.  Chris Ketema 2 free throws and a layup around a New Life triple and the lead is 30 just before the half.  48-22 at the break.

This one could easily have gotten way out of hand but Jackson Rohlf's shooting kept CHOF from seeing running time.  He knocks down 3 bombs in the 1st 3 minutes of the 2nd half but the lead is still 57-35 for New Life.  The lead teeters around 20 for about 10 more minutes.  Drew Wynia with a handful of buckets inside late stretches the lead out.  The game takes forever due to a ton of fouls and 58 combined free throw attempts.  New Life wins 90-65.

Post Game
CHOF falls to 0-1.  Its no easier on Tuesday when they host another top MCAA team, Heritage.  Jackson Rohlf leads all scorers with 7 triples and 28 on the night.  Those points came off the bench.  Dillon Allemon chips in with 15 points to lead the starters. 

New Life is now 1-0.  They will open their home slate with Humboldt on Tuesday.  Then they'll visit Concordia on Friday.  Kyle Kaemingk leads the Eagles with 22 points, 15 of those in the 1st half.  Drew Wynia patrolling the paint with 14 of his 19 in the 2nd half.  Chris Ketema with 14 points as well.  He got the task of slowing down Rohlf in the 2nd half after the initial streak of 3s.  Leading returning scorer Adam Busch held to 5 points with some early foul trouble.

This one was sloppy which is a bit understandable with this being each team's season opener.   Not just because of the fouls.  Lots of moments where the game felt like a youth game where a team would get a rebound and end up 3 on 1 the other way, miss the layup and the other team would come right back with the same thing.  New Life wins the battle at the charity stripe going 23-31 compared to 9-27 for CHOF.  That difference in makes was 16 to 2 in the 1st half.  New Life's intensity level dropped in the 2nd half and allowed CHOF to keep a little drama for their crowd until late.

2016-17 Minnesota Opener

Prologue
Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin... into the future.  Year 10 is underway in Minnesota as I travel to Totino-Grace to see the Eagles take on Minneapolis Southwest.  In an incredible bit of bad luck, the 1st person I saw in the gym was none other than John Lithgow.  After missing him for almost all of last year, I get him on opening night.  I'm cursed.  But I wasn't cursed at the concession stand thanks to an outstanding pulled pork sandwich with free chips thrown in by the hard working Totino-Grace parents.  3 members of the Totino-Grace rotation just got started yesterday thanks to their football state championship.  Would that have any impact?  Today's song is a bit of swerve from our usual bit.  I did see the Steve Miller Band perform Fly Like An Eagle in person this summer and it was played after the game.  But I'm going to go with another song from the game that I saw in person recently as well.

Song of the Day
Rick Springfield - Jesse's Girl 
Question: What if Jesse's Girl was Stacy's Mom and her number was 867-5309?
Springfield did a hilarious take on this in concert.

Number of Teams I've Seen: 14 (3 courts)

Beverage Ticker: 72 ounces (740 Calories)
11 days, 7 game, 2 scrimmages added on

  • Pepsi: 40 ounces (500 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 32 ounces (240 calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 1
Walking Taco Ticker: 1

Game Time:
Its a good start for Minneapolis Southwest.  Their star forward Brennan Hawkins scores right before a dicey Lithgow call against TG star Rocky Kreuser trying to gain post position.  That sends Kreuser to the bench with 2 foul just 3 minutes in.  Hawkins then buries a 3 and converts 3 the old fashion way.  9-4 Southwest just 3:35 into the game.  But Hawkins picks up his 2nd right after that and has to sit.  Totino-Grace gains some momentum which forces Hawkins to come back in.  But he picks up a quick 3rd at the 10:30 mark and is done for the half with the Lakers down by 4.  Totino-Grace goes on the game clinching run from there.  Kreuser with 2 layups.  Nate Kavolak with a transition 3.  Kreuser takes a kickout and buries a 3 and then runs out for a dunk.  All told Minneapolis Southwest goes 8:15 without a field goal which leads to a 25-2 Eagles run over 7 minutes.  41-15 Totino-Grace on top late in the 1st half after the initial 9-4 deficit.  Kreuser would pick up 2 quick fouls to sit with 4 fouls at the 14:22 mark but this one is never in doubt.  The lead was down to 21 with 12:25 to go but another big Totino-Grace run pushes the lead to 40 and gets the game to running time with 7:14 left.  Totino-Grace rolls to an 85-50 win.
 
Post Game
Junior Niko Polydorou leads Minneapolis Southwest with 13 points.  Ari Bogen-Groce with 11 and Brennan Hawkins with 10.  Minneapolis Southwest really saw their offense bog down with Hawkins being in foul trouble.  The Lakers fall to 0-1.  They get the early start to Minneapolis City play with their next 4 games being in conference.  South and Washburn visit next week, then the following week its a trip to Henry and a visit from Roosevelt.

Totino-Grace puts 4 in double figures.  Rocky Kreuser with 18, Charlie Jacob with 15 and Braeden Mischke with 11.  Nick Flottmeier with a great night off the bench with 19 points.  Loved his energy on both ends.  He had to fill in the starting lineup in the 2nd half due to a Tyler Kittelson injury.  Kreuser got his despite foul trouble.  Jacob and Mischke also very aggressive attacking.  The Eagles open 1-0 and have a tough trip to Minnehaha on Tuesday.

2016 Preseason Thoughts

Its finally time for the 2016-17 season to get underway with as late of a start as I can remember.  I took the opportunity over the preseason practice period to watch a couple of local jamborees along with a pair of trips in The Old Kingdom to watch real live games.  Here are some of the things that stuck out to me.

I won't go into all of the Wisconsin details but I did manage to see a couple of stars in big performances.  Wisconsin commit Tyler Herro went for 43 on opening night but also had 11 turnovers in a loss to the top Division 4 team in the state.  Cold night from 3 but was still fun to watch.  Then it was 44 points in the nightcap at UW-Milwaukee for Milwaukee Riverside's Terrence Lewis.  Lewis is an Iowa State commit ranked in the Rivals top 150.  Riverside is ranked #1 in Wisconsin's top class.  Woodbury plays them at the Midwest Players Classic in La Crosse in January and then 2 weeks later the Tigers play at Apple Valley in the Border Battle.  Definitely going to miss the Lewis vs Trent matchup.  But don't sleep on the Tre Jones vs Carlos Curtis battle in that game.  Riverside got beat up in a pair of Minnesota matchups last year, we'll see how they fare this year.

As to the local jamborees, I took in the CDH jamboree last week end and the Spring Lake Park jamboree tonight.  Bullet point thoughts on those.

  • De La Salle, Osseo and Mounds View put together some vacuum packed defense but in different fashions.  De La Salle's half court switching took Apple Valley out of their pick and roll game.  Osseo's full court run and jump and scrambling in the half court totally blew up anything St. Francis wanted to do.  Mounds View packed it in and Coon Rapids couldn't throw it in the ocean against that.  If only Forest Lake would have done the same with some 1-3-1 zone I could complete the list of defenses.
  • Apple Valley played without injured Luke Martens in that jamboree.  But even then, the offensive load that Tre Jones is going to have to bear may be bigger than any year that Tyus had to carry them.
  • Brad Davison was back for the 2nd jamboree for Maple Grove.  No shock that he was a huge difference maker.  But the fact that they played small and still seemed to be hugely dependent on Davison was a surprise.  With all of the other guys they have coming back, I thought they'd play better than they did without him.  It reminds me of 2 years ago and last year after Tywhon Pickford got hurt.  High PNR for Brad and get out of the way and nothing else.  We'll see if they can figure out the offensive flow they had early in the year last year.  Forest Lake gave them all they wanted until a late Davison jumper and steal put the game away.
  • It was easy to say on paper that Ryan Larson was a massive addition for CDH.  Seeing it in person definitely showed it was true.  His ballhandling, shooting and ability to really push the pace for an athletic squad makes them an entirely different team.
  • We've already mentioned Coon Rapids rough shooting night vs Mounds View.  However, they got plenty of reasonable looks out of their Swing Offense.  Add in a nice group of athletes and I think things look as good as they ever have for the Cardinals in the Mike Ogorek era.  Don't get me wrong, there's still a ton of work to be done as well.
  • Mounds View loses a ton and just reloads with a bunch of guys no one has heard of.  But they execute, play incredibly hard on defense and don't beat themselves.  Their style is so different and almost refreshing.  Its a win 40-37 type style that you just don't see today.