2019 Opening weekend AAU Results

The 1st weekend of the 2019 AAU season is in the books.   Here how's the Minnesota teams fared as many warm up for shoe circuit play or the Comets tourney next weekend.

NY2LA SWISH N DISH - Milwaukee
17s
GetShook 1-2 (lost both bracket)
Gain Elite 2-1 (lost 2nd bracket game)

16s
Gain Elite 4-2 (lost Silver bracket semi)

15s
Gain Elite 2-2
Get Shook 3-3 (lost 1st 2 games, lost in Silver semis)

SUPER 16 - Ames17U
Crossfire-Slagter 3-2 (lost 68-65 in pool to Phenon/Prodigy Elite, lost in semis)
Crossfire-Jorgenson 1-4 (the win was by forfeit)
Phenom/Prodigy Elite 3-1 (lost to Pulley bracket semis, swept pool, beat Crossfire Slagter 68-65 in pool)
Howard Pulley 5-0 won championship, beat Phenom/Prodigy Elite 69-63 in semis.

16U
Phenom/Prodigy Elite 2-3
Crossfire Stone  3-1 (swept pool, lost 71-66 to Pulley in semis, beat Crossfire Hedberg 63-54 for 3rd)
Crossfire Hedberg 3-2 (swept pool, lost to Crossfire Stone in 3rd place game)
Howard Pulley 5-0 won championship

15U
Phenom/Prodigy Elite 3-2, won 5th place game, lost to Pulley Black 65-41 in qtrs
Crossfire Terhaar 1-3, lost to Pulley Blue 73-55 in qtrs
Howard Pulley Blue 3-1, lost in semis
Howard Pulley Black 4-1, lost championship game

There was also 1 local event of note
MINNESOTA SELECT SPRING KICKOFF - Lakeville
17U
Select Cave 5-0, beat MN Matrix and Northern Lakers in bracket play to win the championship
Northern Lakers 4-1 lost championship game
MN Matrix 3-2, won 3rd place game

16U
Mpls Hawks went 4-1 and won 3 bracket games to win the 16U title.

15U
MN Rush and MN Select Davis ran thru the event undefeated until they met in the championship game.  No result available.

Stars and Lions punch their state tickets

Its 2 nights of section finals to close out the non-Target Center portion of the 2018-19 season.  First its section 3AAA final between St. Thomas Academy and one of the season's great surprise teams, Holy Angels.  Then the section 4A final at Anoka-Ramsey between top seed CHOF and 11 seed Hope Academy.  Though the seeding in 4A needs to desperately change as there was no way Hope was anything close to 11th (they beat the 5 on the road by 35 as an example).  Pepsi provided for the final night makes it all worthwhile.

Thursday 3AAA Final: 1 Holy Angels 85 2 St. Thomas Academy 78
Jack Thompson with 11 early points as St. Thomas Academy opens up a 26-18 lead at the 8:20 mark.  But Holy Angels counters that with a 2-3 zone and the top guards in that zone despite not applying a ton of ball pressure cause a ton of havoc deflecting passes.  Forward Aaron Engel off the AHA bench with a pair of hoops.  Matt Banovetz for 3 and 2 free throws as Holy Angels ties the game at 31 at the 5:51 mark.  Banovetz with the 3 point play attacking the hoop and why not from 3 in transition and he'll add a FT.  11-2 AHA run and that allows the Stars to build a 48-41 halftime lead.

Thor Holien dominating inside early in the 2nd half for AHA.  2 deep postups for easy hoops.  Run the floor for another easy score.  He'll add 3 FT and another hoop for a 62-52 AHA lead with 11:50 left.  Then St. Thomas Academy has their run.  Jack Thompson goes bonus free throws and later a steal for 2 FTs to put the Cadets ahead.  Soph Jamie Smith great bench minutes for the Cadets as well in the run with a couple of hoops and a free throw.  Thompson with a jumper to close the 20-6 run.  72-68 St. Thomas Academy ahead with 3:50 left.  Thompson backdoor off a set to keep the lead at 4.  Banovetz then steps behind a drive and behind the line for a 3 with 2:32 left to put AHA back on top. Frosh Emmett Johnson with a big time 3 with just over 2 minutes left for a 78-74 AHA lead.  STA scores and takes timeout.  Then the clock doesn't start out of the timeout.  Meanwhile the teams trade layups.  Somehow thru a long stretch of the clock not running, the officials only take 5 seconds off.  Holien with a layup and then AHA blocks a rim attack at the other end.  Emmett Johnson closes it with a free throw and layup.  Terrific night for the frosh Emmett Johnson with 28 points and he was a total nuisance on the defensive end too.  Thor Holien with 15 of his 23 in the 2nd half.  Jack Thompson with 21 points to lead the Cadets.  Charlie Fafinski adds 20 points for St. Thomas Academy.

Friday 4A Final: 1 CHOF 65 11 Hope Academy 50
CHOF boys trying to get a win in the section final that the girls couldn't get last week.  10-2 CHOF run to build a 19-9 lead midway thru the 1st half.  Hope sees the 3 ball start to fall with 3 those from Caleb Hoilien and 1 each from Elijah Wade and Kaleb Dube.  Its a 19-5 Hope run and they take the lead 28-24.  Wade gets in the post and adds 2 free throws for a 30-28 Hope lead at the half.

CHOF goes on a 16-0 run after Hoilien starts the half with a putback.  Drake Eckman off the CHOF bench with 7 in a row during the run.  Hope center and rebounding ace Samuel Ojebode sits with 4th foul during the run.  CHOF was tough crashing the glass all night vs the Hope 1-2-2 zone and Ojebode's foul trouble didn't help that.  3 putbacks for CHOF during the run.  44-34 CHOF with exactly 10 minutes left.  The lead grows to 11 but Hope has a late rally in them.  Its the freshman Wade with the jumper and a putback that he's fouled on.  He misses the free throw but Hope gets it back and he'll convert that too.  He adds another jumper for 8 in a row.  That cuts the lead to 50-45 with 4:47 left.

After a couple missed Hope triples, CHOF will take timeout and go 4 corners with 3:10 left.  Clay Bluhm with a layup, then an over and back call on Hope with 1:56 left.  A frustration kick of the ball to get the call and its a technical.  The rest is free throws.  McCaleb Alleman with 11 of his 18 in the 2nd half to lead CHOF.  Isaac Collins with 14, Preston Alleman with 10 of his 12 in the 1st half.  Caleb Hoilien with 22 points.  Elijah Wade with 17 points.  But those 2 had no help as the rest of the roster combined for 13. It will be very interesting to see where CHOF gets seeded.  On 1 hand you say their section was awful and therefore they get no seed.  But a deeper look reveals they play a mostly AA schedule that has inflated their QRF and they beat fellow tourney entrant Spring Grove head to head.

2019 2AAAA Semifinals Thoughts

To a PACKED house at Prior Lake for the 2AAAA semifinals.  The rivalry between Prior Lake and Shakopee starts the night and then a 3rd meeting of Lake Conference foes Edina and Eden Prairie in the 2nd semifinal.  People 3 deep on the rails once we get goign and the stands were full 40 minutes before game when I arrived.  As much as I love a band it would have taken up a ton of needed room.  But still great music all night with Ozzy Osborne, Journey, Scorpions and the Beastie Boys.  Plus a jelly filled cupcake in the stands too.  Why not since it was too full to deal with concessions.

Game 1: 1 Prior Lake 75  5 Shakopee 59
A very tight 1st half.  Shakopee using an 11-2 run to take a 17-15 lead.  Will Cordes with a bucket and pair of free throws in that run.  Brooks Allen doing a very nice job harassing Dawson Garcia on the defensive end.  Allen also doing it on offense with a triple and late bucket in the half.  24-23 Prior Lake at the break.

In the 2nd half the Prior Lake size and defense takes over.  Robert Jones layup, Tyree Ihenacho putback, an offensive board for a Sam Nissen triple, Garcia scoring in the post. 36-27 Prior Lake with over 13 minutes left.  Ihenacho a 3 point play, Nissen a triple, Ihenacho to the reverse and a Garcia free throw.  52-37 Prior Lake with 7:30 left as Shakopee has no defensive answer.  Shakopee with a couple of 3s to hang around.  But Ihenacho with the breakaway dunk of a turnover, Garcia lays in a dump off pass and why not Robert Jones for 3.61-45 with under 4 minutes left and no real danger from there.  Robert Jones with 17 of his 23 after halftime.  Dawson Garcia adds 21 for Prior Lake.  Brooks Allen outstanding with 20 points for Shakopee.  Will Cordes adds 14 for the Sabers.

Game 2: 2 Eden Prairie 63 3 Edina 40
Story of this one was the Eden Prairie defense.  Edina goes scoreless for the last 7:30 of the 1st half as they couldn't buy a shot or many good looks.  That allows Eden Prairie to double a 10 point lead to 20 at the half and they cruise from there.  Ariel Bland was terrific with 14 of his 20 points in the 1st half.  Eden Prairie wanted to use his quickness and that of Austin Andrews to attack Jacob Hutson off the bounce.  Hutson was the only notable offense for Edina with 17 points.  Jack Middleton held to 2 1st half points and a game total of 12 with only 3 field goals.  The defensive work of Drew Edwards off the EP bench deserves a ton of praise for that.  Drake Dobbs with 14 of his 21 in the 2nd half to keep the game out of reach.  Just to show how much the Edina offense struggled.  They had only 2 games this year under 60 points (59 vs BSM a couple weeks ago when I watched and 57 vs Orono) before tonight.  The other 2 games vs Eden Prairie they scored 71 and 77.

That means Prior Lake will host Eden Prairie on Friday night for the 2AAAA championship and a trip to state.  Expect a big time grind it out defensive struggle there as both teams are really good on that end.  But how does Eden Prairie deal with the big front line of Prior Lake?  A shame that this game is a section title game because its worthy of being a state title game.  EP has now won 5 in a row including wins over Minneapolis North and Hopkins in that stretch to go with Edina and Minnetonka twice.

2019 4AAAA Semifinals Thoughts

Its a rare final playoff Monday of the season.  Usually this is an off night but thanks to the weather a bunch of games rescheduled for tonight.  That includes the 4AAAA semifinals with an early start in Hastings.  T-Rod and Stoney get whistles for the games.  Hot Dog and Powerade on the menu.

Semifinal #1: 2 CDH 81 3 Tartan 76
Early pace favored Tartan.  I like them going to 5 out curls with Antwan Kimmons being the top guy popping back.  Jaeden King with a crazy 3 point play and puts back his own miss.  He'll add a floater, a tough 2 and a big time 3 for a 25-14 CDH lead at the 6:17 mark.  Kimmons not letting Tartan go away.  He'll go coast to coast for 2 and add a pair of FTs.  M'akil Weems with a drive for a dunk and another nifty finish scooping around defenders for 2 more.  Tartan within 32-28 at the half.  Kimmons and King carrying the offenses but more help for King thanks to Amari Carter knocking down a pair of 3s in the half.

That theme continues in the 2nd half.  Critical sequence in the middle of the half.  Will Burke scoring in the post, Kimmons misses 2 FTs, King with a pretty cut for a layup, Kimmons misses a dunk after a steal and Ben Gallaher buries a 3 on the other end for CDH.  All of a sudden the lead is 13 with 9:30 left and Tartan is in deep trouble.  Kimmons keeping it interesting with a 3 point play and another bucket.  Weems with a nice backcut for a layup on a BLOB.  He's fouled, Tartan gets the board but misses an open 3 that would have cut the lead to 6 with just over 6 minutes left.

CDH closes from there.  Tre Holloman finds Carter running the floor for a layup.  Holloman adds a floater and then a frozen rope from halfcourt to Burke for a layup to push the lead to 64-50.  Carter adds another triple and another floater from Holloman keeps the lead at 13 with 2:37 left.  A couple late 3s don't matter and CDH advances.  Jaeden King with 27 points and 4 triples.  He hit a bunch of really tough shots.  Amari Carter adds 17 with 3 triples of his own.  He definitely has taken his game up a notch this season.  Quiet night for Curtis Jones adding 12 for the Raiders.  Antwan Kimmons leads Tartan with 41 points and 3 triples.  He was aggressive on the glass too.  Langston Binns turned in a great outing with 18 points off the bench.  M'akil Weems adds 13.  But 3 starters go for 1 basket until the final 12 seconds.  Just not enough offense for the Titans.  But CDH also shot it very well which didn't allow Tartan to take those and run the other way.

Semifinal #2: 1 East Ridge 64 St. Paul Central 52
Central flat out running East Ridge out of the building and out working them in the 1st half.  East Ridge with a couple of early time outs trying to get their bearings.  Dion Ford back to back hoops, Daveonte Davis pops a jumper and Khai West with a layup off a double clutch Ronnell Porter feed.  23-19 Central at 7:35.  East Ridge counters with a tough 2 and lob dunk from Kendall Brown.  Ben Carlson adds a putback, post hoop and a swat as East Ridge gets their rhythm.  West for 3 and then he'll leak out for a layup to put Central up 30-29 going to the half.

Second half is all East Ridge.  Carlson in the post.  Kendall Brown with his big height advantage on Porter bullies him in the post for 2.  Carlson with 1 bucket and then flashes to the elbow for another jumper.  Then a Carlson dunk. Courtney Brown scores and he'll add a 3 after a Carlson block.  49-39 East Ridge takes control.  Davis with a 3 and a nice cut from Ford cuts the lead to 5.  But the Raptors fly away with another Courtney Brown 3.  Kendall Brown with a free throw and an open court bucket.  Carlson caps the 8-0 run with a dunk.  57-44 East Ridge at that point and no more danger.  Ben Carlson with 14 of his 22 in the 2nd half as he was the major factor in East Ridge pulling away.  Kendall Brown with 16 points.  Courtney Brown with a pair of 3s in the 2nd half as part of the big run as well.  He finishes with 15.  Dion Ford leads Central with 16.  Daveonte Davis finishes with 14. 

The Final
East Ridge vs Cretin-Derham Hall part 3 for the 4AAAA section title is Thursday night in Hastings. East Ridge won both regular season meetings by double figures.  Jaeden King with 29 in the 1st meeting and did not play in the rescheduled game at CDH due to injury.  Ben Carlson and Courtney Brown had big games in both meetings.

Tracking 4AA and semis in 8AAAA

A fun 3 days of hoops on the schedule.  A pair of coin flip type matchups in section 4AA start and end the stretch.  A pair of quality semifinals in section 8AAAA gets sandwiched inbetween.  Quality pizza and Pepsi at Monticello in my 1st visit to that quality setup.  A rare appearance from Chipotle Gal for the Saturday matinee.  Bethel and Crown staff also appear there.

Thursday: 9 Concordia 82 8 Humboldt 65
This was the 8 vs 9 game in Section 4AA.  Both teams go zone.  Humboldt straight 2-3 while Concordia goes matchup out of their 2-3.  Concordia knocks down 10 3s in the 1st half against that zone.  That is part of opening up a 35-8 lead just 11 minutes into the game.  Humboldt stays man too long but once they go man they manage to get the lead all the way down to 8 with 7 minutes left.  Concordia no flow on their offense and everything going in for the Hawks in the 2nd half.  But a silly Humboldt technical switches the momentum.  That results in a free throw.  A pair of sets result in a backdoor 3 point play and a triple.  Concordia coasts from there.  Aaron TerHaar with 5 triples and 26 points to lead Concordia.  Barnabas Preble adds 19 points.  Desmond Lugo 4 3s and 3 FTs being fouled on a 3 for 15 points to lead Humboldt.

Friday Game 1: 1 Maple Grove 65 4 St. Michael-Albertville 48
Maple Grove would use a 23-7 spurt in the 1st half to open up a 32-13 lead late in the 1st half.  Hot shooting from Kyle Dreyer included 3 triples and 11 points in that run.  STMA with 4 late 3s after that to close the half on a 12-2 run and cut the lead to 34-25 at the break.  STMA would cut the lead to 5 a couple of times in the 2nd half.  Peyton McLean with 3s during a couple of different spurts to keep the game tight.  Maple Grove slows the pace.  Nate Adams starts with a bucket and then a dagger 3 after a long possession pushes the lead back to 14 and the Crimson are out of danger.  Nate Adams 17 points, Kyle Dreyer 16, Jared Rainey 15 for great Crimson guard production.  Ryan McGinnis good backup center minutes as well for Maple Grove.  Peyton McLean and Evan Wieker lead STMA with 11 points each.  The Knights have a talented junior class for next year when they'll join the Lake Conference.

Friday Game 2: 2 Buffalo 84 3 Moorhead 71
Buffalo would open a 18 point halftime lead behind the interior play of Aidan Bouman and the attacking of Tony Dahl.  Moorhead star Maleeck Harden-Hayes sits with 2 fouls at the 7:19 mark and Buffalo goes +12 with him sitting.  Bouman picks up his 4th foul with 12:54 left and sits.  Harden-Hayes nicely attacking in the half and that draws that 4th foul.  He adds a bucket and a putback and the lead is down to 7 with just over 11 minutes left.  Buffalo coach Josh Ortmann not messing around and he'll roll the dice by putting Bouman right back in the game.  That pays off as Bouman plays the rest of the game.  Harden-Hayes fouls out on a tough reach and strip call with 4:44 left.  Drew Hagen fouls out with 3:22 left.  Soph Brady Walthall trying to keep Moorhead close at the charity stripe but there's not enough left.  Aidan Bouman leads Buffalo with 28 points dominating the blocks.  Tony Dahl very effective out of the 2-1-2 dribble drive for 22 points.  Good minutes from freshman point guard Antonio Bluiett as well.  Moorhead gets 19 points from Brady Walthall.  Maleeck Harden-Hayes with 12 of his 14 in the 2nd half.  Both teams return a ton for next year.  Buffalo has their top 6 coming back.  Moorhead returns everybody except Harden-Hayes.  Buffalo and Maple Grove meet on Thursday in St. Michael for the 8AAAA championship.

Saturday: 5 Trinity 45 4 Minneapolis Edison 42
Edison would make the game hectic early.  But Trinity would settle down after a couple of minutes. Edison goes over 9 minutes without a field goal.  But a 3 from Jeremiah Thompson to break that streak cuts the lead to 12-9 just outside the 6 minute mark.  Trinity beats the buzzer with a jumper off an offensive rebound for a 24-15 halftime lead.

Ben Maslow 2 early 3s in the 2nd half.  The 2nd is at the 13:12 mark for a 32-19 Trinity lead.  That's the last Trinity FG of the game.  After the lead grows to 34-20, Edison's defensive chaos pressure starts to take effect.  Edison goes on an 18-3 run for the lead.  Antonio Simmons with a nice slip of an elevator screen for a layup and then 2 free throws to cap that run.  38-37 Edison with 3:38 left.  Simmons and Jermaine Cornell with steals for layups.  42-40 Edison 1:45 left and we have a loud gym.  Maslow ties it with 2 freebies with 1:38 left.  Edison turns it over and Anthony Rumpza with 2 free throws for the lead with 9-0 seconds left.  Edison runs offense and misses.  Trinity rebounds and holds.  Trinity misses both FTs with 17 seconds left and Edison still has a chance down 2.  They miss with 7 seconds left.  1 Trinity free throw gives Edison 1 last possession.  But they dribble it off a foot and time runs out.  Antonio Simmons 13 points to lead Edison.  Ben Maslow 15 points to lead Trinity.  Michael Ennis adds 14 points.  Trinity advances to play Minnehaha on Tuesday.

AAA belongs in the city

Its back to back AAA playoff nights in St. Paul.

Tuesday: Bloomington Kennedy 78 St. Paul Harding 51
In 3AAA, 6 seed Kennedy gave up the opening FT and then proceeded to go on a 37-6 run.  Harding giving up a bunch of points thanks to turnovers.  Only 2 FGs for Harding in almost the 1st 13 minutes.  Jaylen Williams 3 early bombs.  Laronte Marmont drawing 4 fouls on forward Alex Addai in the 1st half.  There wasn't an answer for him in the post.  Soph Amarion Hanspard adds 11 points in the 1st half as well.  That 30 point gets down to 22 at a couple of points but never closer than that as Kennedy rolls.  They'll play St. Thomas Academy in the semis on Friday.  Terrell Barber leads Kennedy with 16 points, Amarion Hanspard 14, Laronte Marmont with 13.  Simeon Sharp with 18 and Jovan Christian with 16 to lead Harding.  Christian finishes his career with 1645 career points.  That ties him for the Harding school record with current Brooklyn Center assistant coach Steve Priestley.

Wednesday: St. Paul Johnson 43 Fridley 39
Back to St. Paul for the 4AAA 3 vs 6 game.   But the real reason I'm attending is to get in 1 last walking taco for the season.  Have to wash that down with quality Pepsi.  Fridley comes out in a common delay game as they try to pass and cut/backcut against the Governors pressure defense.  The 1st possession lasts 99 seconds.  Not a stall, but patience.  Casey Fisher for 3 off the elevator screen for an 11-6 lead at the 7:07 mark.  Julian Borney back to back hoops for Johnson as they regain the lead 14-13 last in the half.  Micah Coewenhoeven with a floater in the last minute for a 17-16 Fridley lead at the half.

Johnson's played 11 guys and their defense got to Fridley to force a bunch of sloppy turnovers.  Kevin Knox 4 easy hoops in a 12-1 Johnson run for a 30-20 Govs lead with 11-2 left.  Fridley might have let it go too long before their timeout (but thankfully no MoKiller). They score the next 7 to pull within 3 with 6 minutes left.  They'll get a couple chances to tie but can't convert.

Fridley with a miss inside the 2 minute mark but they'll steal it back for 2 Isaac Burns free throws. That cuts the Govs lead to 34-33.  Then a Fridley pick pocket and they'll go the other way for a missed layup.  Johnson immediately lays it in on the other end.  After a quick Fridley missed 3, Johnson will hold.  On a drive, Fridley tries to foul, no whistle and the foul finally gets called as frosh Mac Thomas lays the ball in.  Frustrating call.  That pushes the Johnson lead to 6 with 53.7 left.  Burns counters with a 3, Johnson makes 1-2 FTs and Hassan Kamara hits a 3 with 12 seconds left.  That cuts the lead to 1.  Johnson makes 2 free throws, Fridley misses a forced 3 and Thomas seals it with 1 of 2 FTs with 1.8 left.  Govs advance to play Totino-Grace in the semifinals.  That's currently scheduled for Saturday night but we'll see if the weather changes that.  Freshman Hassan Kamara with 15 points to lead Fridley but he struggled with his shot and turnovers.  Issac Burns adds 12 points.  Mac Thomas leads Johnson with 10 points.  Johnson struggled shooting it but they absolutely crushed Fridley on the offensive glass with pure effort.

Flaming Comets strike

Prologue
Its the best month of the year, March.  That means playoff time!  What better way to start that by finishing up my Monday nights for the season with a visit to a TCAC school.  That's been a Monday theme throughout this season so its fitting that I take in the section 4A 16 vs 17 game at Groves Academy vs Kaleidoscope.  Its Kaleidoscope's 1st year so this is their 1st ever playoff game.  They lost the regular season meeting by 9.  I arrive early but don't take in any beverages.  We get a 3 man recognized officiating crew for this game which was a major surprise.  In the TCAC, you never know what you'll  get.

Game Time
Story of this game was the Kaleidoscope duo of junior Jacob Donnett and freshman guard AJ Kargel.  After a 14 all tie, the game was all Kaleidoscope.  Donnett already with 8 and 2 3s decides to add another 5 triples and 27 points...in the first half.  The lefty Kargel not getting cheated either.  He adds 8 of his 23 in the half during a 10-0 run that blows the game wide open.  46-25 Comets at 5:40 and they aren't threatened after that.  62-39 Comets at the break.  Donnett was ice cold in the 2nd half but still knocked down a couple more 3s.  Kargel with 4 more bombs of his own during the 2nd half.  Kaleidoscope cruises to a 103-65 win.  Jacob Donnett finishes with 47 points and double digit rebounds.  He makes 9 3s on the night.  AJ Kargel adds 7 triples of his own on the way to a 41 point night.  Can't remember if I've ever seen teammates put up 40 in a game before.  Makes me think of Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe during their Nuggets days.  Almost all of those treys of the uncontested variety.  Sam Goldstein leads Groves with 19 points.  He had his way working in the post.  Larry Mohamed adds 18 for the Griffins.  Groves finishes the season 5-18.  Kaleidoscope advances to play 9 seed Heritage tomorrow at 5:30 PM.  The winner of that game will return to Groves to play 8 seed Chesterton on Thursday night.