2018 Southside Showcase Notes

The 3rd annual Southside Showcase moved to Roseville and expanded to 2 courts for this edition.  Overall a fun day with some notable talent and fun games to take up the day. The box scores are often quite different than what I had on my sheet so I'll quote the official one.

Game 1: #6AAA Robbinsdale Cooper 72 St. Paul Central 69
After a tight 1st half, Cooper would take control of this one early in the 2nd. Cam Vaughn's offense comes alive and Daveonte Davis sits at 15:30 with his 4th foul thanks to Don Cheadle missing a flop by Vaughn in the post.  That's all part of a 17-0 Hawks run.  Only 1 Central FG in 6 minutes and they find themselves down 62-44 with 11:25 left after a Jalen Miller hoop.  But the tables turn quickly as Central counters with a 19-1 run.  Davis is on the bench for almost all of it but he comes back in with 4:30 left and promptly hits a 3 to tie the game at 63 late.  Bo Powell Jr with a late 3 point play for the lead for Cooper.  Luke McElroy has a 3 go around and out at the buzzer.  Dion Ford and Daveonte Davis carry the Central offense with 19 points each.  Ford was very active and when he gets to his left hand he's tough to deal with.  Cam Vaughn with 20, Jalen Miller with 18 to lead Cooper.  Once again liked the interior work of Damarri Bankhead for Cooper.

Game 2: #4AAAA Hopkins 77 Madison La Follette 63
The story here is simply too much Zeke Nnaji.  He goes for 35 and double digit rebounds.  Whenever Hopkins made a point of finding him in the post it was buckets.  La Follette with no size to deal with him.  Between Nnaji and Dane Zimmer, it was all Hopkins on the defensive glass.  But the Lancers guard play was solid and Hopkins was really sloppy turning the ball over.  Ben Probst with 4 3s and 20 points to lead La Follette.  Donneil Gray sat out 7 minutes of the 1st half after a nasty spill but he still finished with 17 points.  Troy Reeves added 3 triples and 17 points of his own.  Gritty performance from La Follette as they easily could have gotten blown out.  Andy Stafford and Kerwin Walton each chip in with 13 points for Hopkins.

Game 3: #5 D1 Madison East 59 Blaine 45
East improves to 9-0 with the win.  A 15-0 1st half run took care of things.  Blaine was pressured into a ton of turnovers and that was the difference.  Liked what I saw from junior Anthony Washington and once he adds a jump shot, he's got real upside.  He finished with 20 points.  Patrick Perrault with 15 points to lead Blaine.  Blaine played without top forward Jason Kaul.

Game 4: Spring Lake Park 66 #15AAAA Eastview 63
Spring Lake Park jumped out to a 16-3 lead thanks to 3 easy buckets off of turnovers.  Steven Crowl had 1st half foul trouble but in the 2nd half he led the comeback.  Eastview with an 18-4 run across the half to get right back in the game.  But it was Ryan Thissen would kept Eastview afloat as he's become the go to perimeter guy for the Lightning.  After a late missed front end, Eastview would get 1 last chance.  They draw up a great SLOB and get a wide open layup but miss it.  Steven Crowl and Ryan Thissen with 16 points each for Eastview.  Spring Lake Park gets 4 in double figures.  Gabe Myren and Blake Remme with 14 each to lead the Panthers.

Game 5: Burnsville 69 Benilde-St. Margaret's 59
Burnsville would have a 10 point 1st half lead but that was cut to 6 at the half.  The lead would grow to 11 but BSM would rally to tie at 43with just over 11 minutes left.  Burnsville would counter that immediately with a 12-0 run of their own and BSM would never be closer than 6 after that.  Hayden Johnson leads Burnsville with 17 points.  Julian Hutchinson adds 12.  Soph Derric Standifer with good minutes off the BSM bench at the point guard spot.  He leads the Red Knights with 15 points.  Dylan Drees with 14 and 2 other Red Knights also in double figures.

Game 6: #20AAA Columbia Heights 76 Minneapolis Patrick Henry 66
Columbia Heights would use a 14-3 run to end the 1st half and open a 15 point halftime margin.  Glentrell Carter would try to lead the Patriots back as they would cut the lead to 6 midway thru the 2nd half.  Carter would keep it going as the margin was cut the 3 with just over 4 minutes left.  Heights closes the door with 3 of 4 FTs from frosh Muja Burton and 5 critical points from Jarvis Wright.  A table snafu allows a Henry player to play almost 2 minutes with 5 fouls before he has to leave when he commits foul number 6.  Jarvis Wright 22, Muja Burton 15, Jordan Jones 14 for Columbia Heights.  Mark Cambell 14, Glentrell Carter 12 to lead Henry. 

Touring the city and finding a rivalry

I end up with a full hoops week in the city.  Back to back nights in the Minneapolis City conference ends it with trips to both ends of town.  I skipped concessions both nights as they are hit and miss at Minneapolis Henry.  But of course I still smuggled in Pepsi.  Southwest did have pizza on Thursday but I did pregame BBQ instead. Though with the late nights for both, the waistline might suffer.  Southwest in December is also my Christmas lights tour and that never disappoints.

Thursday: Armstrong 55 Southwest 40
An Armstrong run of 11-2 in the 1st half with a couple of Devyn Frye buckets would push Armstrong to a 12 point halftime lead.  Then a quick 7-0 for the Falcons right after halftime to push the lead to 36-18.  But the blowout wasn't on.  Christo Polydorou with 2 triples and Casey Peterson adds another for an 11-0 Lakers run.  That cuts the margin to 7 with just over 11 minutes left but Southwest gets no closer.  Frye slams the door with a pair of triples and another hoop down the stretch.  That's part of a late 12-3 run.  Devyn Frye with 15 points to lead Armstrong.  Adam Biewen chips in with 10 for the Falcons.  Christo Polydorou 3 triples and 16 points to lead the Lakers.  Southwest also lost at home to Edison tonight to fall to 0-5, ouch.  Edison 2-0 in the city as they beat Washburn this week too.  Break up the Tommies!  Back to back section wins for Armstrong to draw even at 2-2.

Friday: Minneapolis North 99 Minneapolis Henry 60
Gotta love the drumlines on hand and going back and forth on the court at halftime.  That went long but highly enjoyable.  The game itself was incredibly sloppy, especially on the Henry side.  Transition defense optional too.  3 point game midway thru the 1st half.  Then North broke it open to 14 at the half.  2nd half more of the same and run away from there.  A couple of frustration technicals as part of that as the score got out of hand.  Great balance for North as they had their entire 7 man rotation in double figures.  The backcourt of Eli Campbell and Nasir El-Amin with 14 each to lead the Polars. Glentrell Carter 15 to lead Henry.  Jamar Gardner and Yusuf Abdullah 11 each off the Patriots bench.  Henry 8-20 FTs compared to 28-40 from the stripe for North.  Henry 3-3 with the quick turnaround in the late game vs Columbia Heights in the Southside Showcase in a game I'll see.  North is off until Washburn next Thursday when they start 3 games in 3 days.  They have a good one coming up a week from Saturday (the 21st) vs ranked Chicago Orr.

A Royal block party

Prologue
Its one of the monster regular non-conference games on the schedule as #2AAAA Hopkins visits #1AA Minnehaha.  Not even 2 weeks into the season and the 3rd time to see these 2 teams play.  Not like me to do that, especially in December, but the games are too good to avoid.  Standard Gatorade and Hot Dog on the menu.  Good crowd but not the wild crowd that one might have expected.  But being there always reminds of the coach Johnson recommendation for wild rice soup one afternoon.  Nice to be back at Bergstrom Court though I ended up going the long away around the building and thru the snow to find the new entrance which is the old secret passage I used.  So maybe I was fooled by the rocks they've got.

Song of the Day: Jenny From the Block - Jennifer Lopez

Number of Teams I've Seen: 39 (25 games, 13 days, 10 buildings, 2 online)

Beverage Ticker: 193.8 ounces (2140 Calories)

  • A&W Root Beer: 12 ounces (170 calories)
  • Dr. Pepper: 12 ounces (150 calories)
  • Fruit Punch Gatorade: 48.9 ounces (340 calories)
  • Pepsi: 72 ounces (900 calories)
  • Sprite: 48.9 ounces (580 calories) 
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs: 5
  • Pizza: 1
  • Walking Tacos: 2 
  • Extras
    • Lays Chips (160 calories)
    • 2 Snickers (500 calories)
Game Time:
Andy Stafford productive early for Hopkins.  The Royals use a 10-0 run to take a 20-12 lead at 9:06 with a couple of Stafford hoops.  Minnehaha right back with their own 11-0 run and they're back in the lead 23-20 at 6:17.  Jalen Suggs once again living at the foul line.  But his night was different as his shots weren't falling.  Kerwin Walton with a 3 to beat the halftime buzzer.  That gives Hopkins a 35-32 lead at the break.

Walton and Stafford with triples.  Dane Zimmer and Walton add buckets and Stafford converts a turnover for a 47-35 Hopkins lead with 13:25 left.  Minnehaha rallies with 4 Suggs free throws and a converted turnover along with a Chet Holmgren jumper.  But Suggs has to sit with 9:49 left with his 4th foul.  Walton buries a 3 and Hopkins is up 10 and Minnehaha looks in trouble.  Holmgren with a tip dunk and he's swatting everything on the other end.  Zeke Nnaji sits with his 4th at 6:55 while Suggs is already back in.  Donovan Smith adds a 3.  Suggs up high to Holmgren for the dunk.  Then its Suggs for 3 and coast to coast for 2 free throws.  56-55 Hopkins hanging on to the lead with 3:40 left after the 12-3 Minnehaha run.

Zimmer and Nnaji with buckets to push the lead back to 5.  They look to hold with that lead but Holmgren with yet another block to give Minnehaha a chance.  Suggs misses a front end but recovers with a steal for 2 free throws and its a 1 possession game with 1:09 left.  But Suggs misses a couple late 3s and Hopkins makes enough free throws to seal it.  Hopkins wins 66-59.

Post Game
Jalen Suggs finishes with another huge night at the line with 15 of 18 FTs and 25 points.  I had him 4-16 from the floor on my sheet.  I also had him for 6 rebounds and 4 assists.  Chet Holmgren gigantic night with 18 points, 9 blocks on my sheet and others had 10 rebounds for him.  He gave Nnaji and Zimmer fits at the rim all night.  Saying breakout game is too much since he's already known but doing this against the high level front line of Hopkins was eye opening.  The rest of the roster with only 16 points.  Will teams start playing off the big 3?  Minnehaha falls to 3-1 overall.  They'll host St. Louis Park on Friday and then be done until the Augsburg Holiday Tournament.  That championship game is mapped out to be a likely rematch of this game.

Kerwin Walton leads Hopkins with 21 points.  He knocks down 4 3s and seals the game late with 3 of 4 FTs.  Andy Stafford with 17 points in another solid supporting effort.  Zeke Nnaji with 13 points and 10 boards on my sheet.  But Holmgren's length helped hold him to 6-16 FGs as well.  Overall they took care of the ball and limited the transition opportunities for Minnehaha.  When you can run your stuff and not turn it over, Minnehaha will break down defensively.  Hopkins will host #3AAA Robbinsdale Cooper on Thursday before playing Madison LaFollette in the Southside Showcase on Saturday afternoon at Roseville.

The Lions share of the buzzer

Prologue
An unexpected second visit to Hope Academy to see them take on Legacy Christian.  My original trip of AFSA at Chesterton was a wreck, show up and nothing there, oooof.  But at least we still get some TCAC representation.  A&W Root Beer tonight and another Snickers to squash my travel issues.  That means we've already hit the 2000 calories mark for beverages.

Song of the Day: All The Ways - Meghan Trainor

Number of Teams I've Seen: 39 (24 games, 12 days, 9 buildings, 2 online)

Beverage Ticker: 173.8 ounces (2000 Calories)
  • A&W Root Beer: 12 ounces (170 calories)
  • Dr. Pepper: 12 ounces (150 calories)
  • Fruit Punch Gatorade: 28.9 ounces (200 calories)
  • Pepsi: 72 ounces (900 calories)
  • Sprite: 48.9 ounces (580 calories) 
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs: 4
  • Pizza: 1
  • Walking Tacos: 2 
  • Extras
    • Lays Chips (160 calories)
    • 2 Snickers (500 calories)
Game Time:
Legacy jumps out to a 9-0 lead.  Hope coach Kelby Brothen not happy and he takes 2 quick timeouts.  That jump starts Hope with Caleb Hoilien scoring the next 12 points of the game to put Hope on top.  The rest of the half is back and forth.  Jordan Sperl with a late 3 (looked easily on the line) to send Legacy to the half with a 26-24 lead.

Hoilien with the 1st 8 of the half for Hope but Legacy extends the lead to 43-32 with just over 12 minutes left.  Carter Franze with 2 free throws and converts a turnover in that spurt.  Justin Demars with a putback and jumper to keep the Legacy lead at 12 with 10:40 left.  But Hope would fight their way back.  Hoilien with 2 bombs around a coast to coast bucket from frosh guard Elijah Wade.  Wade with a 3 point play and its Hoilien from the deep beyond again.  57-56 Hope regains the lead inside 4:30 to play.  That's an 11-2 run in just 2 minutes. 

Wade adds bonus free throws and Hope with 2 more freebies at the 2:09 mark for a 4 pt lead.  Total run is 16-2 in 4:18 for a 61-56 lead.  Legacy rallies with 2 Trenton Harrison free throws and a Harley Kendall freebie off a turnover.  Hope had a timeout called to avoid that turnover and the officials didn't see it.  Wade makes 1 of 2 with 35 seconds left.  Legacy goes quick and Demars scores inside with 20 seconds left to cut the lead to 1.  Hope inbounds and gets it across the timeline to Hoilien.  He gets trapped and throws it to the backcourt for an Over and Back violation with 10 seconds left.  out of the Legacy timeout, PG Carson Sharp goes left baseline and Nash like under the rim.  He kicks out to the right slot to a wide open Primeau Hill who buries the 3 at the buzzer.  Legacy steals one late 64-62.  They trailed by 5 with under 2 min left.

Post Game
Caleb Hoilien another big night for Hope Academy.  He hits 6 3s and finishes with 33 points.  19 of those points with 5 3s in the 2nd half.  Frosh guard Elijah Wade with 11 of his 14 in the 2nd half.  Both players are sleepers to watch.  Hope as usual living by the 3 point shot with a total of 11 of them tonight.  This loss will hurt though as they missed a free throw and committed 2 turnovers in the last 45 seconds.  The Lions fall to 1-4 overall.  Cleveland comes calling tomorrow.  2 years ago these teams played a classic with Hope winning at the buzzer.  Teams are having success faceguarding Hoilien so they'll need to find a solution for that.  They really don't move much or set screens which makes the tactic more effective.

Legacy improves to 3-1 with the win for new coach Nate Bellefeuille.  They also have the quick turnaround with St. Paul Academy making the trip north tomorrow.  Then a tough league trip to St. Croix Prep on Friday.  Great balance for Legacy with Jordan Sperl, Justin Demars and Harley Kendall all scoring 13 points.  Loved how they moved the ball and played their game.  They aren't overly talented, quick or big but they're unselfish and don't make crazy mistakes.  They made a nice adjustment in each half to put a bigger defender on Hoilien when he took advantage of a smaller guard in the post.

2018 Tipoff Classic Notes

What a day at the 2018 Boys Tipoff Classic.  Its always the biggest day of the season and this year didn't disappoint.  Now granted there wasn't the gigantic big game appeal of past years so you didn't have the total zoo atmosphere we've seen in other years.  But don't let that fool you, there was plenty to see in the 16 games.  I took in bits and pieces of the east court and the full day on the main court.  The number of outstanding individual performances really stuck out to me.  Here's a recap of the day.


The Star Performances
  • Tartan - Antwan Kimmons 45 pts
  • Minnetonka - Cam Steele 43 pts (19 rbs)
  • Rochester John Marshall - Matt Hurt 42 pts
  • De La Salle - Jamison Battle 40 pts (11 rbs)
  • St. Thomas Academy - Jack Thompson 37 pts
  • Edina - Jack Middleton 34 pts
  • Minnehaha - Jalen Suggs 34 pts
  • Eastview - Steven Crowl 30 pts 
  • St. Thomas Academy - Noah Chamberlain 27 pts
  • Champlin Park - Bennett Otto 26 pts
  • North Woods - Cade Goggleye 25 pts
  • Prior Lake - Dawson Garcia 25 pts (15 rbs)
  • Hopkins - Zeke Nnaji 25 pts (11 rbs)
  • Lakeville North - Tyler Wahl 24 pts (12 rbs)
  • Cretin-Derham Hall - Amari Carter 23 pts  
  • Breck - David Roddy 22 pts (11 rbs)
Quick Notes from the East Court
  • Brooklyn Center played without Maxsamus Wilson in their loss
  • Big day for Cam Steele for Minnetonka but Mayo getting blown out by giving up 52 in the 2nd half was a surprise.
  • Roosevelt was without Deszi Sims in the loss.
  • Resume win for Perham over Caledonia in AA. This one was tight the whole way and would be really fun to see a rematch at state.
  • Solid win for Edina over Tartan with Jack Middleton coming up large to offset a monster day from Antawn Kimmons.
  • The late game between Minneapolis North and Eastview was an overtime thriller that Eastview pulled out.  Funny that the during that ending, the Minnehaha game was warming up.  The main court turned to watch the ending while the 2nd court turned to watch Minnehaha warmups.  North with no good answer for Steven Crowl in that game.
Main Court Notes
Game 1: #16AAA St. Thomas Academy 78 #3AAA Robbinsdale Cooper 77
Jack Thompson and Noah Chamberlain on fire in this one for St. Thomas Academy.  They combined for all but 4 of the Cadets 1st half points.  Cooper would trail by 16 with 9:30 remaining but make a big comeback.  The Hawks quickness should have been a major advantage but somehow they gave up a enough easy layups to fill the vaults at Fort Knox.  The dynamic Jalen duo for Cooper (Miller and Justice) held to 9 points each.  The post play of Damarri Bankhead was a nice highlight for Cooper in the 2nd half.

Game 2: #10AA Breck 57 #4AA Lake City 52
Lake City with 42 of their 52 points from the 3 point line (14 3s).  Nothing in the paint for the Tigers.  David Roddy was passive in the 1st half but took his play inside in the 2nd half where there was no answer for him.  Lake City's shooting would rally them from 12 down.  They had 1 last chance at the end but couldn't get a look at a 3 to tie.  Roddy sealed it with 2 free throws with 2.1 left.

Game 3: #1AAA De La Salle 70 #7AAAA Wayzata 49
De La Salle played without star PG Tyrell Terry who's out with an injured arm until sometime late in the season.  No problem for the Islanders though.  Jamison Battle goes absolutely nuts for 27 of his 40 points in the 1st half.  Terrific movement without the ball and a quick release.  Didn't help Wayzata that they couldn't but a shot either.  They hit only 3 triples and the 1st was until almost midway thru the 2nd half.  Wayzata would use a mid 2nd half run of 15-2 to cut a 26 point margin in half.  But Battle would slam the door with 7 straight points.

Game 4: #8AAAA Cretin-Derham Hall 81 #10AAAA Rochester John Marshall 64
Matt Hurt 42 points in this one but he doesn't have much help around him.  But I do like how they move him around in their 2-3 high offense to try to get different looks.  Curtis Jones with 7 3s for his 21 points in the game including 4 of them early as CDH jumped out to a 21-4 lead.  JM was able to hang around in the 1st half when PG Tre Holloman sat the last 13:35 with 2 fouls.  Amari Carter had 23 points.  The junior is reminding me of how Sy Chatman broke out last year.  Very similar usage and he's been very productive so far.

Game 5: #2AAAA Hopkins 78 #3AAAA Lakeville North 72
Hopkins with a 16-2 run late in the 2nd half to put this one out of reach.  Zeke Nnaji with a big 2nd half to lead the Royals.  Tyler Wahl largely cancelled him out. Tommy Jensen and Kerwin Walton each with 5 3s and 17 points to cancel each other out.  Andy Stafford with 16 points and nice offense to offset the 4 3s for Jack Rusch off the Lakeville North bench.  North tried to double Nnaji in the post but he handled that fairly well getting the ball out without turning it over.

Game 6: #6AAAA Prior Lake 70 #1AAAA East Ridge 62
Another day, another day of too much Dawson Garcia inside.  I had him for 25 and 15 just about all of them inside.  I'd still like to see his shot develop.  Robert Jones with another double double of 13 and 13.  Much better shot selection for him this week.  Kendall Brown and Courtney Brown each with 20 points to lead East Ridge.   Kendall Brown with steals early to generate his offense.  Courtney Brown struggled with his shooting at 6 of 21 on my sheet.  Ben Carlson no field goals but 10 rebounds on my sheet.  So with 2 of the big 3 struggling East Ridge was still able to stay close the entire way.

Game 7: #5AAAA Park Center 49 #4AAAA Eden Prairie 46
Offense was hard to come by in this one.  Park Center had 1 FG in the last 9:25 of the 1st half.  Eden Prairie had 1 FG in the last 7 min of the 1st half.  A 9-0 EP run during the half would push them to a 27-21 lead at the half.  The lead would still be there late.  Dain Dainja with a dunk off strong post position.  Then Park Center stops EP on a 1 minute possession and Emmanuel Tamba takes the turnover for a layup to tie the game at 44 with 3:20 left.  Big momentum swing there.  We come down to the end tied.  Park Center advances the ball and takes time with 9.6 left.  Eden Prairie comes out in a zone but blows the coverage.  That leads David Ijadimbola wide open at the top of the key for the straight away 3 with 2 seconds left for the win.  Eden Prairie threw the ball in and hit a 3 from halfcourt but it was after the buzzer.  Detavious Frierson with 10 early points including 2 3s and 16 total to lead Park Center.  Drake Dobbs 21 to lead Eden Prairie.

Game 8: #1AA Minnehaha 79 #16AAAA Champlin Park 68
Minnehaha would pull away with a 14-2 run in the 2nd half.  Once again the story was Jalen Suggs playing very well.  He finishes with 34 points and 16 of them from the charity stripe.  He drew a ton of handcheck calls With Lithgow on hand evaluating refs at courtside its no shock that the game was tightly called.  Chet Holmgren with 18 points, Prince Aligbe 17 as well for Minnehaha.  Bennett Otto was very good for Champlin Park too along with Jacob Johnson.  Johnson is a sleeper worth keeping an eye on. 

Green with envy

Prologue
Its off to Concordia Academy for their all green showdown in section 4AA with New Life Academy.  Dr. Pepper and a 1/4 pound Nathan's Hot Dog on the menu. Concordia coach Eric Schutte dapper as usual but shockingly outdressed by a member of his own staff wearing a bowtie.  I'm told an emergency staff meeting will be called to address this serious breach of protocol.  Speaking of clothing protocol, when did warmups with short-sleeves and hoods become popular?  Not a fan.  Kevin Hart one of the officials on the call for the game.  All of this accompanied by holiday music during throughout the night.  We get the Boston Pops, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and even some Gloria Estefan for that theme.  But you can never go wrong with a traditional classic.

Song of the Day: Carol of the Bells - Manheim Steamroller

Number of Teams I've Seen: 30 (15 games, 9 days, 8 buildings, 2 online)

Beverage Ticker: 125.8 ounces (1380 Calories)

  • Dr. Pepper: 12 ounces (150 calories)
  • Fruit Punch Gatorade: 28.9 ounces (200 calories)
  • Pepsi: 36 ounces (450 calories)
  • Sprite: 48.9 ounces (580 calories) 
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs: 3
  • Pizza: 1
  • Walking Tacos: 2 
  • Extras
    • Lays Chips (160 calories)
    • Snickers (250 calories)
Game Time:
Luke Raymond with a nice start inside for Concordia with 7 of the 1st 9.  Then Concordia turns on the Diamond press. That opens the margin up to 26-9 at the 8:20 mark.  Then foul trouble sets in and New Life is able to stabilize for the rest of the half.  40-27 Beacons at the break.  Michael Reader the beneficiary of many of the fouls as he shot 14 FTs tonight.  He makes 2 and Cooper St. Cyr buries a 3 and New Life is within 10 with about 13:30 to go.  But the Eagles go the next 7+ minutes without a field goal.  Concordia pounces with a set play for a Barnabas Preble layup, a nice simple BLOB for a Luke Raymond layup vs the zone and back to back Aaron TerHaar triples.  Preble adds a triple and TerHaar again from deep.  The run is 18-2 and blows the game wide open.  Concordia goes on to win 72-51.

Post Game
New Life falls to 1-1 with the loss.  They have the Big 10 like early conference opener vs Heritage on Tuesday.  Cooper St Cyr 3 triples and 12 points to lead the Eagles.  Forward Michael Reader attacking inside for 9-14 free throws and a field goal for his 11 points.  Like last year, New Life had trouble handling the press and it cost them in the 1st half.  They lose a couple of guards but have a nice group coming back next year to start Skyline play.

Concordia improves to 2-1 with the win.  They host PACT and visit old Tri-Metro foe St. Paul Academy in a section game next week.  Forward Barnabas Preble leads the Beacons with 21 points.  Forward Luke Raymond controlling the blocks with 14 of his 18 in the 1st half despite some foul trouble.  Guard Aaron TerHaar hit 4 of his 5 3s in the 2nd half on the way to 17 points.  Fouls were a 1st half issue and likely took them out of the press in the 2nd half.  Despite some sloppy turnovers, I like their discipline looking for great shots over good shots.  Fun to see a very unselfish group.  TerHaar is one of the better shooters that people don't talk about.  Raymond is as good in the post as anybody in their league.  The Beacons will definitely be there in the Tri-Metro East and a tough out in sections.

Packers put away the Lions

Prologue
Its the 2nd Thursday of the season and another night in the city with South St. Paul visiting Hope Academy.  No concessions and another night where a JV team scores 2 points in the 1st half.  Off.  Czar have a Snickers, you know how you are in a blowout.  A small bottle of fruit punch Gatorade to go with it.  Its the final opening night at Hope's gym.  They open a new gym next season.

Song of the Day: Leader of the Pack - Shangri-Las

Number of Teams I've Seen: 28 (14 games, 8 days, 7 buildings, 2 online)

Beverage Ticker: 113.8 ounces (1230 Calories)
  • Fruit Punch Gatorade: 28.9 ounces (200 calories)
  • Pepsi: 36 ounces (450 calories)
  • Sprite: 48.9 ounces (580 calories) 
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs: 2
  • Pizza: 1
  • Walking Tacos: 2 
  • Extras
    • Lays Chips (160 calories)
    • Snickers (250 calories)
Game Time:
As to the game itself, not much to talk about here.  South St. Paul out to a 17 point lead midway thru the 1st half.  Its 43-23 at the half.  The lead pushes to around 30 before the Packers win 74-47.  Both rosters very young with both teams only having 1 senior each.  Hope with only 1 junior on the roster as well.  South St. Paul with only 1 junior in their rotation too.  Loved the activity of forward Marquise Gleb for South St. Paul.  His 100% motor got him a ton of rebounds inside.  Elijah Wade is a nice freshman guard with quickness off the bounce for Hope Academy.  Between him and big shooting guard Caleb Hoilien, that is a nice duo to build around for league play.

Post Game
Hope Academy falls to 1-3 with the loss.  They continue a stretch of 8 straight home games into mid-January with Legacy Christian on Monday.  Elijah Wade with 19 points to lead the Lions. Caleb Hoilien with 15.  Lots of 3s is expected from Hope Academy but 4-38 according to the online box score makes for a very long evening.  Makes putting the ball on the deck for 15-27 look even better but its a young group who will learn that.

South St. Paul improves to 2-0 with the win.  They have the quick turnaround at Mounds Park Academy on Friday.  Then section games with Kennedy and Richfield before the tough league opener vs Mahtomedi in the final week before the holidays.  Marquise Gleb 18 points and had to have double digit boards to go with it.  Tim Smith 4 bombs on his way to 14 points.  Freshman guard Alonzo Dodd with 12.  The Packers definitely better than the complete doormat years.  They may be young but they have some quickness and more talent in players like Dodd than they've had in the past.