Brooklyn Center at CHOF observations

Tonight was my 2nd chance to see CHOF and 1st chance of the season to see the surprise story that is Brooklyn Center. Its 12-9 CHOF in the first 5 minutes and they extend it to 33-17 with 2:30 left in the half. BC closes the half on a 12-3 run capped by a halfcourt 3 by Tyrese Chambers and its 36-29 CHOF at the half.

BC closes to 42-37 early in the 2nd half but its 66-48 CHOF with 8 minutes left. BC then goes on a 18-0 run thanks to turnovers and cold shooting. DeAngelo Potter gets 8 straight points near the end of the run and we're tied at 66 with 3:45 left. CHOF fights back to lead 73-68 with 2 minutes left. BC has ball down 73-70 twice but can't score and CHOF hits 7 of 8 free throws after BC tied it and they hang on for a 77-72 win.

Overall CHOF missed at least 10 FTs and 2 front ends of 1 and 1. Nate Fiscus was a force inside to finish with around 20 pts. Cole Piepkorn has a nice floor game for the Lions as well. Potter has a nice game for the Centaurs with around 17 pts. He's a good sophomore. Freddie Young wiht only 8 points and shows that he's a freshman but he'll be a nice player too. BC has athletes and is aggressive defensively with their 2-2-1 and reaching. Now that I'm seen them, I can see how they would have beaten DLS when Royce White was out. BC gets another test from the East subsection of 4A when they play St. Agnes tonight.

CHOF goes a respectable 2-3 in this tough stretch of their schedule (Losses to MTS, @St. Bernard, @Braham, wins over Park Christian and the win tonight over BC). The remaining game with Bethlehem at home is tough and they have a road test at Heritage, but don't be shocked if they run the table. A win in one of those 2 games, especially the Bethlehem game, should be enough to seal the #1 seed in 4A East unless St. Agnes runs the table with 5 road wins in league play at BC, Concordia, SB, Minnehaha and DLS and a home win over SW Christian. Then the Aggies might have an argument, but they'd still have a worse record (by about 2 games) and the home head-head loss.

Osseo at Maple Grove TV thoughts

So with nothing on the schedule, I had to find a game somehow so I watched the broadcast of last night's Osseo at Maple Grove game. Before Maple Grove even gets a possession, 2nd leading scorer Jordan Nelson has 2 fouls in the 1st 14 seconds and goes to the bench. Him and Josh Pedretti see very little time on the floor together in the 1st half. MG gets ahead 5-2 after 4 minutes and then Osseo goes on a 12-2 run over the next 3+ minutes to take a 14-7 lead. It's 16-12 Osseo with 8:30 to go in the half before Dan Brown hits a layup, Carrington Tankson gets an assist for a layup and then hits 2 3s in 30 seconds to give Osseo a 26-12 lead with 5:18 to go in the half. Its 33-22 as we approach the half and Ryan Spading gets a pass that is a just slightly out in front of him as he goes to the basket, he reaches out and as he's going toward the sideline (about 10 ft out), he shoots it up and over the corner of the backboard and good for a 35-22 Osseo lead at halftime. Tankson with 8 pts in the half. Dan Brown with 11, but this was another game where he couldn't buy an outside shot. He had 4 2s and 1 3. He 4 2s were layups. He did a nice job of being aggressive.

In the 2nd half, Sam Dower picks up his 4th foul at 16:41 and Zach Peterson picks up his 4th at 12:18 with Osseo leading 40-32 and maybe MG's bigs will get some better looks and start to take over. It's 44-35 with 9 minutes left and 44-40 Osseo with 8 minutes left but MG gets no closer. Brown and Tankson hit back to back 3s to push the lead back to 10. MG had the ball down 6 inside of 4 minutes but couldn't score. Dower made his presence felt when he returned with 5:24 to go and immediately got a dunk off a nice post up. Pedretti's 3 at the buzzer makes the final of 60-54 Osseo look closer than it really was.

Josh Pedretti is a nice big guy for MG and he had 25 in the game and he'll be back next year. Jordan Nelson's foul trouble limits him to only 6 pts. Dan Brown finishes with 16 to lead Osseo. Tankson with 15 and once again he didn't start, not to mention a little showboating by trying to throw a lob to Dower on the break with 13 seconds left and the outcome already decided. Zach Peterson didn't start due to the flu but still had 11 pts.

Week 10 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

Scores from 1/29/08 that caught the Czar's eye.

Conference Action
  • Apple Valley goes to Kennedy and pulls the upset by 14. If you would have told me that AV would outscore Kennedy by 15 on the road in the 2nd half and Varmah Sonie had only 3 pts total for the game and AV would win easily, I would've said you're crazy. With Eden Prairie's come from behind win at Jefferson, Kennedy falls a game behind at the midpoint of the Lake season. 3rd tough home loss for Jefferson, they fall to 4-6 and a 3 way tie for 6th in the Lake with Rosemount and Apple Valley.
  • Centennial upsets Coon Rapids for their 1st conference win and Champlin Park goes on the road and beats Elk River by 29. Scott Theisen after hitting 9 of 14 3s vs Centennial, hit 11 of 15 3s vs Elk River, WOW! Champlin Park improves to 4-3 and has 3rd place in the NW Suburban (via tiebreak with Coon Rapids). Those teams are 3 games behind Osseo who won what will probably be their last major test until the 5AAAA section final with a 6 pt win at Maple Grove.
  • Tough times for New Prague as they lose their 2nd straight in Missota play with a 9 pt loss at Holy Angels. Farmington goes to Hutchinson and loses so that leaves all the expected contenders, AHA, Shakopee and Prior Lake (and Farmington) at the top with 1 loss.
  • MCA goes to NLA and gets a tough 2 point win. Another close league win on the road, what does this mean come tournament time?
  • Josh Figini with 2 pts (avg 21.4) for Chisago Lakes in a loss to BSM. They fall to a disappointing 3-12 and one of those wins was over Princeton in the season opener. (Czar's note 2/4/08, A very kind reader has informed me that this Chisago Lakes entry is incorrect. See my correction here)
Non-Conference Action
  • Roosevelt goes to Columbia Heights (Willie Braziel vs his old school) and wins by 8. CH has now lost 4 out of 5 with Spring Lake Park and a trip to Cooper next Wed looming. I'm looking forward to that game, not just because of Rodney Williams Jr (which is always a treat), but also to see the Hylanders soph G Jacob Thomas who's putting up 23.1 a night.
  • Wayzata continues to roll with a win at Hill-Murray. I'll enjoy seeing them next Saturday vs St. Paul Central. Tonka comes in to play them on Friday.
  • Braham hangs on for a tough home win over CHOF. The Lions return home tomorrow for a tough one with Brooklyn Center as they finish the most difficult stretch of their schedule. Nice article in the Star Tribune about BC coach Ross Ihry making his kids hit the books.

Tartan at Richfield observations

A blustery night indeed takes me to Richfield to see Marc Sonnen and Tartan. This game stays close the entire way and is a defensive struggle except for the last half of the 1st half. At 10 minutes left its 16-14 Richfield. Sonnen is playing the point for Tartan, I had thought he was a 2 guard with Sam Ryan manning the point, oh well. Sonnen forced some 1st half shots, but he handled Richfield's pressure well. He finishes the 1st half with 12 points. Renard Robinson finishes the half with an outburst. He gets a bucket off a nice set play (zipper, Robinson is then part of setting a double screen and then he comes up to the weak side away from the double for an easy look), dishes to Chris Williams for 3 and then knocks down a 3 at the 1st half buzzer to send Richfield to the locker room up 42-41. Robinson with 18 in the half.

Shawn Marlowe starts the 2nd half with 6 straight Tartan points. No team can pull away as its 57-57 with 8 minutes left. Tartan holds the ball for 1:50 and Manani Beavers misses a bad 3. Richfield comes back with a long possession on their end. At 4:30 its 59-58 Richfield. Shawn Marlowe gets fouled on a defensive rebound, he makes 1 of the 2 bonus free throws but a bad bounce goes right to him to put the miss back and its 61-59 Tartan at 3:03. DeAaron Hearn misses a tough floater and Sonnen gets a layup. Robinson misses one of his very few 2nd half looks. But Beavers takes another bad shot and Jason Sewer gets a 3 pt play to make it 63-62 Tartan with 1:24 to go. Sonnen with a clutch banker to make it 65-62 Tartan at 1:03. Jason Sewer misses a 3 but Sonnen only makes 1 of 2 at 44.7. Phillip Freeman gets a 2. Aaron Hoverson only makes 1 of 2 with 26 seconds left, Freeman has a decent look at the tying 3 with about 15 seconds left but misses and Derek Peterson seals it with 1 of 2 FTs with 9.8 left. A Phillip Freeman 3 at the buzzer makes the final 68-67 Tartan.

After 18 first half pts, Robinson gets nothing in the 2nd half with limited touches. Beavers had the unenviable task of trying to guard him for most of the game. Disappointing that Richfield didn't come back to the set play for him. He even had a wing clear out that he passed up in the 2nd half. Strange game for him. Give Tartan credit for turning up the D in the 2nd half after Coach Klingsporn was not happy with it in the 1st half.

Sonnen with 23 to lead Tartan and Shawn Marlowe with a nice game inside for Tartan to finish with 20. Sam Ryan didn't score, but he played very good defense. Their inside play is much improved from last year with Marlowe and James Pritschet getting 29 pts combined.

As to future years, they've got sophomores Max Ryan and Troy Klingsporn (very unselfish pass 1st PG) who will be solid guards for them in addition to Beavers inside. Remember these freshmen twins, Luke and Drew Preiner. They'll be nice wing players for Tartan down the road. They kinda remind me of Stu Herman of Heritage. The pipeline remains strong for the Titans.

Breck at Minnehaha observations

So here we are at the end of January and I'm carrying around a golf umbrella waiting to put on 19,000 layers tomorrow. Love Minnesota weather. To the game, its back and forth early to be 9-8 Breck at 12:30 before Minnehaha gets sloppy and Thomas Smolenski makes them pay with a 3, a steal for 2 and another bucket. Add on a Ben Yawakie bucket and its18-8 Breck at 10:36 of the 1st half. Minnehaha crawls back to 20-14 before Breck extends it to 25-14 inside of 5 minutes. But Minnehaha finishes the half on a 15-2 run thanks to increase defense and David Burnham getting hot and they go to the break ahead 29-27.

More of the same to start the 2nd half as Burnham gets 6 quick points in a 9-2 Minnehaha run to start the half and its 38-29 Minnehaha at 13:54 to go. Minnehaha extends the lead to 15 with about 6 minutes to go and then gets sloppy again. Breck has the ball down 7 (62-55) with 2 minutes left but they'll get no closer. Smolenski gets a couple more 3s late but it doesn't matter as Minnehaha hits their FTs to win 71-59.

Burnham with 20 for Minnehaha and Taylor Hanson has a real nice game with 18 pts. Kevin Stoll chips in with 12 off the bench. For Breck, Smolenski has 20 and Matt Vargas finishes with 23 points, but Breck simply didn't have enough offense in this one. Dakota Tidd goes bagel for the night with an 0-3 from the line. Hard to win that way. Minnehaha's win keeps them above 500 and in the discussion for the 4 seed in the East subsection of 4AA. Breck's loss puts them 1/2 game behind Edison for overall record and Edison won the head-head matchup at Breck. This would be a tough seeding decision in the West subsection of 4AA as Breck has the higher QRF but Edison has the better record and the head-head victory. Of course, that Breck win is the only win worth noting on their schedule.

Follow-Up to the East Metro Showcase

Here's a nice article from the Sioux City Journal on Johnson coach Vern Simmons and his ties to Sioux City, IA and how Heelan ended up in the East Metro Showcase.

Also from the Sioux City Journal an article on the Johnson/Heelan game and an article on the Osseo/Heelan game.

Week 9 observations and Week 10 Schedule

Let's start with some scoreboard watching from the end of the week.

  • Kennedy blows out Armstrong, surprising there as I thought Armstrong would be competitive in that game. But if they don't shoot it well, this really isn't a surprise.
  • Hopkins by only 13 over Richfield, but give Richfield credit, they've won 4 out of 5 (including the SSP game after this one) and are playing well right now.
  • Wayzata routs North, Wayzata continues to impress.
  • St. Bernard's runs away from CHOF in the 2nd half in a blowout
  • Sibley gets a home win over STA to take control of the Classic Suburban race.
  • Eden Prairie gets another blowout home win over a top half Lake team with a blowout of Burnsville. Combined with Kennedy's blowout win at Lakeville N, Kennedy and EP are now 2 games clear in the Lake at 8-1 as we approach the end of the 1st half of league play.
  • Coon Rapids with a 2 pt win over Elk River to improve to 4-2 in the NW Suburban and claim sole possession of 3rd place. But when the 3rd place team in the league is 6-7 overall and only 3 teams overall are above 500, that's a sign of a weak league.
  • In the Tri-Metro, Blake upsets Breck. Despite this being a rivalry, this is still a bad loss for Breck. St. Anthony gets 33 from Calvin Walker to pull a 4 pt upset at DLS. That loss pushes DLS 2 games behind Brooklyn Center in the Tri-Metro West. St. Anthony stays 1 game behind Concordia for 2nd in the Tri-Metro East.
  • Farmington with another nice win in the Missota by beating Red Wing and they're in sole possession of 1st early in the conference season as Shakopee knocked off New Prague and Prior Lake won at Holy Angels. Its worth noting that all the big games for Farmington in league play are at home in the 1st rotation. They have to go to Shakopee, Red Wing, Prior Lake and New Prague in the last rotation with a trip to Holy Angels to end the 1st rotation.
  • Johnson beats Heelan by 6 in the East Metro Showcase, I don't get that one after seeing Heelan and Como Park only beats Milwaukee Marshall by 3.
  • Henry routs North 110-56, wow. Henry takes control of the Minneapolis City race with the win.
  • As to the Border Battle, I totally botched the Marshall and Princeton results, but got the other 3 right along with the final 3-2 Wisconsin prediction. Princeton getting blown out really surprised me but when you give up 17 3s, that'll happen. I had 2nd thoughts about not mentioning Aris Wurtz in my preview and sure enough he had a big game. Jeronne Maymon with 30 and 16 for Madison Memorial in the win over Tonka, no surprise there. In another case where a MN team had no answer for a powerful inside player, Tartan gives up 30 and 19 to Jason Ziemer in a 4 pt loss that costs MN the border battle again this year. MCA as expected was too much for Barneveld.
Week 10 Schedule:
Monday: Breck at Minnehaha, my 1st chance to see Breck this season. Also a big non-conference matchup as Stillwater travels to Sibley. Mike Bruesewitz vs Joel Armstrong should be interesting. Sibley has won 8 out of 9 since lsoing 3 out of 4 to the top 3 teams in 4A (Osseo, Tonka and Hopkins) including a 14 pt win over Maple Grove and only losing by 3 to Mounds View in the Bethel tournament before the win over STA on Friday. Stillwater has won 10 in a row since the tough loss to Armstrong including wins over Rochester Mayo, CDH and a blowout of Forest Lake.

Tuesday: Tartan at Richfield, this should be fun and I look forward to seeing Marc Sonnen. Game of the night though is Osseo at Maple Grove. Should be a full-house as both teams are 6-0 and 2 games ahead in the NW Suburban and this is a great rivalry game. Also Hopkins at Henry, DLS at Concordia, Eden Prairie at Jefferson.

Wednesday: I finally get a weekday off as the last 2 weeks have been a game every night and next week will be as well.

Thursday: This looked like a weak schedule, but now the Brooklyn Center at CHOF game looms large and I finally get a chance to see if the Centaurs are for real.

Friday: Lakeville N at Burnsville in a Lake matchup. Tarell Clark is a pleasure to watch, but David Bethene for Lakeville N is a nice player too that I want to see. Mounds View travels to Stillwater in a big Suburban East matchup. PACT at MN Transitions in an interesting section 4A matchup. Shakopee at Prior Lake in a tough Missota conference battle and Minnetonka travels to Wayzata to start the Classic Lake season looking to rebound from the loss to Madison Memorial.

Central at Washburn (1:00)
Whitefish Bay Dominican (#1 2A WI) at DLS at 7:00, really looking forward to this one. Kwamain Mitchell is the #2 ranked senior in Wisconsin and a contender for the Mr. Basketball award. He's signed with St. Louis. It'll be interesting to see if the bevy of DLS guards can contain him.

Also Cass Lake-Bena at Hopkins at 3:00

YTD Stats
  • 85 games (58 MN split 48 boys and 10 girls, 27 WI split 23 boys and 4 girls)
  • 35 buildings
  • 120 teams (95 boys and 25 girls, 79 MN teams split 63 boys and 16 girls, 35 Wisconsin split 27 boys and 8 girls, 6 outstate split 5 boys and 1 girls)
  • 2 Genders
Current Poll Stats
4A: 6 (missing Wayzata, Rochester Mayo and Moorhead, I've only seen Armstrong on tape, not in person)
3A: 7 (missing Red Wing, New Prague and Willmar)
2A: 2 (SB, Holy Family)
1A: 2 (MCA and CLB)

HS athletics and social networking sites.

So much to my dismay, my alma mater is in the news as 30 La Crosse Central HS students were turned in to school officials for underage drinking via pictures from Facebook. Athletic suspensions will be handed down. We also recently had the same issue at Eden Prairie where some students were so upset with the punishment handed down they walked out in protest.

With the ability these days to doctor pictures or create them from thin air, how reliable are these pictures and should it matter where they came from (both the pics themselves and the person who turns them in)? We all know that kids are really vindictive and 1 scorned kid will find a way to get you somehow. I'm not supporting the behavior or the stupidity of kids who actually get caught on film, but to use this stuff the same way you would use information from parents or authorities seems a little sketchy to me. Will this lead to more schools snooping around on their own, they'll never admit to it, but I find it hard to believe that its never been done.

SW Christian at MN Transitions thoughts

The end of my Saturday takes me to a new building, the old Minneapolis Central HS gym, for SW Christian at MTS. MTS uses a 9-2 run early in the 1st half to take a 25-18 lead with 8:42 left in the 1st half and they never trail again. Fast pace to the game, especially 1st half, despite a SWC 2-3 zone. SWC would get close with a run and then MTS would get a big bucket. A big 3 right before the half makes it 49-42 MTS going to the break.

MTS tries to run away at 65-58 with 7:25 to go but SWC won't go away. They pull to 67-66 with 3:45 to go. With 1:10 left SWC gets a turnover and has ball down 73-70 but Caleb Palkert can't convert inside and MTS hits 4 FTs to seal a 77-70 win. Ironically, all 3 of my boys games today had the winner scoring 77 points and the last 2 boys game had the same 77-70 final.

For MTS, Kevin Noreen with a nice game of 22 points including 9-9 FTs. Kyle Noreen had 5 3s and 17 points. How people don't do their homework and continue to leave Kyle open for standstill 3s is beyond me. 3 of his 5 3s were completely inexcusable, 1 off of the same old inbounds play and 2 off of opponents FTs where he starts off the FT line and then just runs to the corner waiting for a spot up in transition (no pun intended). Good concept for their system so give MTS credit for having it in. 9 cheap points lost and you get beat by 7. It's the little things. Carlos Lewis with 22 was X-Factor for MTS. For SWC, 6-7 Jr Caleb Palkert is quite the player and my preseason pick for MCAA player of the year next year (with apologies to Josh Hanson of MCA). He can step out and shoot it, score inside and block shots. Its not a surprise that he got 30 and 19 rbs on Heritage or 21 on MCA. He finishes with 25, 17 of them in a dominating 1st half. He only got 2 touches in the last 5 minutes though which was disturbing. Some of that was impatience vs the MTS 2-3 trap (probably more appropriately called a 2-2-1 in the half court)

With MTS having more personnel than they had when I saw their Minnehaha game, you can see the number of athletes and defensive aggressiveness. The defense is still lacking but some of that may be due to the Loyola Marymount/Grinnell style of play where you just want the ball back. But they still run very little offense and their defense is predicated on gambling or if your guy gets by you hope that Kevin Noreen blocks the shot. I still don't see them being able to get consistent stops when it matters in the tournament.

Osseo vs Heelan observations

Game 2 of the East Metro Showcase featured Osseo vs Sioux City Heelan. Wow is Brannon Cougill big. Has a striking resemblance to John Daly too. Carrington Tankson didn't start for Osseo, but did come in right away at 16:10 of the 1st half. Heelan brought an absolute army of fans too, props to them. Also interesting that they have Bishop Heelan on the front and "Pride" on the back of their jerseys (mascot is Crusaders).

Heelan gets out to a 16-8 lead, but Osseo fights back behind Carrington Tankson dominance. Cougill picks up 2 fouls and goes to the bench with 5 minutes left in the half and Heelan up 30-28. Heelan stretches it to 39-33 and there was an interesting moment during this period. Zach Peterson was in the game (no Dower) and Heelan had no big on the floor so they spread the floor and had Peterson's guy take him off the dribble. Great coaching and equally great coaching by Tim Theisen to get Peterson out of there immediately. Interestingly, Peterson played very little after that. Tankson hits a 3 off a missed Dan Brown FT and then finds Brown for a layup and its 39-38 Heelan at half. Very fast paced half. Tankson has 18 pts, Cougill with 11 and sophomore stud Zach McCabe has 10.

In the 2nd half, its back and forth early. Heelan is playing a 1-3-1 with Cougill in the back and they aren't guarding DJ Phillips, Nate Dimmer or Ryan Spading so Osseo is playing 3 on 5 on the offensive end. Heelan leads 60-57 with about 8 minutes left and Tankson goes nuts. 2 3s and a steal for a layup lead a 10-0 Osseo run to lead 67-60. Heelan tried to faceguard him and run DJ Phillips defender at him the entire last 10 minutes and Tankson still got his. He also got a dumb T for showing up the official after a carrying call (loads of those for some odd reason in this game). Tankson's head can be an issue at times and this was one of those times. Heelan made 1 of the 2 FTs but got nothing on the possession. They fight back to be down 71-69 with 2:05 left when they get a steal for a breakaway and Tankson flops but no call and the layup is no good. Sam Dower takes an ill-advised 10 footer at 1:10. Tanner Ferguson makes 2 FTs but the 2nd one is waived off for a lane violation and its 71-70 Osseo with 1:04 left. Osseo turns the ball over but Dower rebounds a Heelan miss with 40 seconds left. DJ Phillips makes both ends of the bonus with 33 seconds left and its 73-70 Osseo. Heelan's Shay Jacler has the tying 3 go in and out with 20 seconds left. Tankson hits 4 FTs to seal a 77-70 Osseo win.

Zach McCabe is a really nice sophomore wing player for Heelan in addition to the monster that is Brennan Cougill. They also have a shooter in Tanner Ferguson and all 3 of them are back next year. Ouch! Not a team I want in my section and the type of team I'd like to see come in for the TWolves Shootout. I'm still baffled how Johnson beat them by 6 last night. McCabe finishes with 24, Cougill with 19 for Heelan. For Osseo, Tankson finishes with 33, Sam Dower with 18. Dan Brown was ice ice cold for the 2nd straight time I've seen him. He finished with only 6 pts and most shocking went 0-4 from the line including 2 missed front ends of the bonus.

Great games and well done by Coach Simmons to put this together despite the fact that I skipped the last 2 games. But please clean the top row of bleachers behind the benches where the cameras go. The same pizza crust, pop cans and 1-2-2 trap I was drawing up were still there today from the Como Park game on Wednesday night.

Aquinas vs Eastview thriller

Game 1 of the East Metro Showcase featured La Crosse Aquinas vs Eastview. No Johnie Sanders for Eastview, he was in street clothes.

Eastview has a 11-9 lead at 10:40 of the 1st half but a 30-6 Aquinas run over the next 8+ minutes gives them a 39-17 lead with 2:15 to go in the half. Everything falling for Aquinas and nothing going right for Eastview including their zone offense which during the run had struggles with the Aquinas 1-2-2. But Eastview doesn't go away. Spencer Pratt hits a big 3 at the end of the half and Eastview goes into halftime on a 9-2 run, down 41-26.

Carlos Emory starts to dominate early in the 2nd half, but Aquinas still leads 53-43 with 11 minutes to go. Eastview's defense really cranks up in addition to cold Aquinas shooting which leads to a 17-3 run over the next 6+ minutes to give Eastview a 60-56 lead with 4:41 remaining. Late in the game Eastview commits 2 turnovers against Aquinas pressure and that allows Aquinas to tie the game at 62 with 1:25 remaining. Vinard Birch hits 2 FTs with 55 seconds left but Jimmy Whitehead comes back with a basket with 45 seconds left to tie the game at 64. Eastview runs the clock down and Ethan Thomforde has a good look (may have been fouled) but it doesn't go and we have overtime.

In OT, its 68 all when Vinard Birch fouls out trying to stop Jimmy Whitehead on the break after a steal. With 1:28 to go, Whitehead hits the 2 FTs and then with 1:08 left in the OT he gets a steal to give Aquinas the ball back with a 70-68 lead. Kirk Nicklaus and Lucas Morrissey hit 2 free throws each and its 74-68 Aquinas with 40 seconds left in OT. But Spencer Pratt hits 2 clutch 3s and Eastview is only down 75-74 with 9 seconds left. Sam Pederson makes 2 of 2 with 8 seconds left and Drew Johnson attempt to tie is short at the buzzer. Aquinas hangs on for a thrilling 77-74 win.

Ethan Thomforde leads the Lightning with 19 pts. Spencer Pratt with 16. Vinard Birch finishes with 10. Him fouling out in OT was huge as his defense was really disruptive and helped to lead Eastview back. All of Eastview's other guards don't have that same onball defensive ability and Johnie Sanders wasn't available to fill in. For Aquinas, Lucas Morrissey has 15 of his 25 in the 1st half and he always seemed to get a clutch bucket. Jimmy Whitehead was huge as well for Aquinas, he finishes with 22. Zach Rickaway had 16 and it's great to see how his game has evolved from a year ago when he was a role player.

Post #100, Prior Lake at Holy Angels

Post #100 covers game #81, January 25th, 2008. Holy Angels hosting Prior Lake in a quality Missota conference matchup. The AHA students are out in force, but after seeing the BSM and Tonka students last night, its a downgrade.

AHA fights back from a 7-1 deficit to tie the game at 9 early but then Prior Lake gets 8 in a row off 3 straight AHA turnovers. Tor Anderson then gets 2 assists, a deuce and a triple and its 28-14. Finally Deryck Ludwig gets wide open as 2 defenders follow Anderson on an inbounds play and he slams it home with 2 hands and its 32-14 Prior Lake with 5 1/2 to go in the 1st half. All total a 23-5 run over a span of about 9 minutes. But Prior Lake doesn't score the rest of the half. Stoddard Barnhill gets 2 buckets and 2 FTs (and had chances at 4 more points) and its only 32-20 Prior Lake at halftime.

2nd half sees James Pfitzinger and Ludwig go back and forth for 6 pts each right off the bat. Joe St. Mane gets a hoop and AHA is as close as they've been since the run at 47-40 with 7:38 to go. Its 54-42 with about 3 minutes left and 54-44 at 2 minutes and this game should be over. But Sahr Ngekia (henceforth referred to as Bonzi Wells because of looks, headband included, and his tough post game) gets a bucket, Anthony Kemper misses the front end of a 1 and 1 and Joe St. Mane hits a 3 and all of a sudden its 54-49 with 1:23 left, hold the phone. Ludwig then airballs the front end of another 1-1 to give AHA the ball back, but Bonzi gets called for a charge at 1:03 and Anderson finds Ludwig for a layup. St. Mane hits another 3 to make it 56-52 with 45.1 to go and you wonder if AHA has enough time. Kristjan Johnson hits 2 FTs and Tyler Bredow gets called for a charge at 34.5 with the score 58-52 Prior Lake. After 1 of 2 FT from Prior Lake, Will Baregi only goes 1 for 3 from the line with 25.2 left but AHA gets a steal and a bucket to pull within 59-55 with 20 seconds left. Prior Lake makes 2 more FTs and Joe St. Mane hits 1 more 3 with Prior Lake letting the clock run out after the make. Prior Lake wins 61-58. Barnhill with 17 to lead the Stars. Deryck Ludwig outplays Pfitzinger to lead Prior Lake with 20. Tor Anderson with 13 pts and a solid floor game for Prior Lake. Nice player and didn't force anything. As a side note, I also liked 6-4 Soph G Andrew Dale and 6-3 junior Christian Verity from the JV game, they should be nice varsity players for them next season.

The final score is misleading. After the 1st half run, the final score was as close as AHA got and they never had the ball with a chance to tie or lead. James Pfitzinger and Bonzi go double bagel in the 1st half which just can't happen. When you've got post players like that they have to get touches. Obviously there was an emphasis to get James the ball early in the 2nd half. After seeing Prior Lake play, I can see why they would beat Burnsville but would struggle against a defensive team like Eastview. Prior Lake really had some stretches where they struggled to generate offense.

Border Battle predictions

12:00 MCA vs Barneveld. Barneveld has fallen out of the Division 4 (MN Class A) poll recently but they play in a tough league. They're 8-4 but they've lost 3 out of 4. MCA is still undefeated at 14-0 but they haven't been tested yet. MCA is too athletic and David Hanson is too much. Give me MCA in a close one.

2:00 Rockford vs Marshall. Rockford may remember getting routed by La Crosse Aquinas last year in the Border Battle. I don't see that happening again but Marshall is 8-3, 7-0 in conference so it should be a tough game. Give me Marshall here.

4:00 Princeton vs Waupun. Ryan Rasmussen vs Jared Berggren, fun matchup. Waupun is 12-1 and #7 in the 3A poll this week. Princeton proved that they can compete at a high level with their game vs Mobile LeFlore in the TWolves Shootout. Give me Princeton.

6:00 The marquee rematch that has been a year in waiting. Madison Memorial (10-2 #2) vs Minnetonka (14-1 #3) . Tonka is loaded and hasn't been tested on this side of the river except for the December game at Sibley. Madison Memorial hammered DLS and then laid a major egg vs BSM in the TWolves Shootout. In theory Memorial gets routed because Tonka routed BSM who routed Memorial. But Jeronne Maymon is a beast, Vander Blue is a star sophomore who will break out next year and they won't forget that they had Tonka beat last year before Anthony Tucker cut their heart out. Give me Memorial in a thriller.

8:00 Tartan at Verona. Verona is 10-2 and honorable mention in the big school poll this week in Wisconsin. Tartan comes off a tough loss at STA on Tuesday. Tartan laid an egg last year on their home court vs Wisconsin Rapids to cost MN the border battle so I won't pick them this year either. Verona gets it done on their home court to give Wisconsin another 3-2 Border Battle win.

East Metro Showcase Preview

The East Metro Showcase is Friday and Saturday at St. Paul Johnson.

6:00 Milwaukee Marshall vs Como Park. Marshall comes in 1-12 (0-8 in the Milwaukee City conference) and without a win in the last 2 months (10 straight losses). Chauncey Williams leads them in scoring at 16.6 PPG. Como Park comes in with a loss to Johnson on Wednesday but they're 8-5 overall, 2-1 in the St. Paul City only 1/2 game back of Central. Como Park wins easily.

8:00 Sioux City Heelan vs Johnson. Heelan comes in 14-0 ranked #1 in the Iowa 3A poll with 3 wins over other ranked Iowa opponents. They were the 3A runner-up last season. They're lead by 6-9 Jr Center Brennan Cougill who's the 9th ranked center in the nation for the junior class by He's committed to Iowa to play with Anthony Tucker and Andrew Brommer.

Johnson is 7-5 and also 2-1 in the city and as pointed out by a reader there are no bad losses on their schedule. That said, I'm surprised they played Appleton East close and they should have beaten Stillwater and Central. Johnson's defense keeps it close, but ultimately Cougill is too much and Johnson can't find enough offense when needed. Heelan by 9.

1:00 La Crosse Aquinas vs Eastview. This matchup should be fun. Aquinas comes in as the state runner-up in Wisconsin Division 3 last year (MN 2A), but they lose 4 starters from that team including co-Mr. Basketball Scott Christopherson. The cupboard is not bare however. They return Zach Rickaway and Lucas Morrisey from that team and they have emerging star Jimmy Whitehead at the point. They're 12-1 and currently ranked #4 in D3. That 12-1 includes a 17 pt beating of my alma mater La Crosse Central tonight.

Eastview stole one on Tuesday vs Jefferson and had lost 2 tough ones in a row before that. Eastview's got more inside play and they have great balance with 6 players averaging between 7 and 13 PPG. The main question will be if Aquinas can handle the Eastview pressure D. If they can, Aquinas can pull another big win like they did last year in this event over Woodbury 98-88 (Woodbury was #3 in the state at that time and rolling). If they don't, they could easily be blown out. I'm a La Crosse guy and Eastview is struggling right now, so I'm picking the upset.

3:00 Osseo vs Heelan. Zach Peterson vs Brennan Cougill should be fun to watch. If Heelan contains Carrington Tankson, I like their chances, but I think Tankson gets his. Osseo has too much and they win by 7.

5:00 Hope School (Milwaukee, WI) vs Little Wound, SD. Little Wound comes in at 8-6 and only lost by 7 at the #1 team in South Dakota class A by 7, at the #2 team in Class B by 5 and by 15 at the #5 team in Class A. Interesting that Oh Day Aki goes to Little Wound on February 16th so there's a little local relevance here. Hope comes in at 4-10 not including tonight and 1-3 in their league. They're lead by Deonte Trawick's 18.2 PPG.

7:00 Johnson vs Milwaukee Marshall. Johnson in a rout.

Minnetonka at Benilde-St. Margaret's observations

Dateline January 24th, 2008. Game #80 of the 2007-2008 season takes me to the Haben Center at Benilde St. Margaret's for a big non-conference showdown with Minnetonka. Almost a full house and Rene Pulley is in the building by 5 PM.

As predicted the student sections are out in force. In fact the AHA PA guy is doing the game for St. Louis Park local TV and he's right between the student sections and right on the sideline. I feared for his safety (in a good way). More on the student sections later, to the game.

BSM gets out to a hot 8-2 start, but Anthony Tucker scores 19 in the 1st half, including 5 3s. BSM gets as close as 33-31, but they need a late Spencer Bata 3 to stay within 40-36 at the half. Tonka starts the 2nd half on a 22-7 run over the 1st 8+ minutes to put the game out of reach. During the run, Tyler Schilling turns the game into a layup drill, Tucker gets 5 points, CJ Erickson gets a bucket etc etc and the rout is on 62-43. BSM tries to get back in it with some 1-3-1, but to no avail. Tonka wins 85-71 and it wasn't that close as it was a 20 pt game with 5 minutes left. Anthony Tucker finishes with 30. Cole Stefan lit up the 1st half of the JV game and he really does have a sweet shot and good floor vision. He'll be fun to watch the next 2 years. For BSM, Jordan Taylor gets 25 but a few of those were late after the game was already decided. Armond Battle had 16, but he really struggled against the defense of Sedrick McBounds in addition to struggling from the FT line. Alex Miller (Tall Kid Tall) got 5 quick points early in the game and gave them good minutes off the bench in the 1st half.

BSM student section actually had a sign quoting the poll results about the best student section. BSM 52%, Blue Crew 10%. (The results were not yet final). Points for creativity. I had the pleasure of meeting the ringleaders of the BSM students after the game. Great kids and everything they chant is in good taste and they're creative each game. I loved the singing of the chorus of The Proclaimers "500 Miles" after Tyler Schilling traveled early in the 2nd half ("And I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more...). I hope (and told them I'm expecting) they are out in full force for the boys/girls doubleheader at DeLaSalle on Saturday February 9th.

Is it just me or are there more and more bad taste cheers going on around FTs. Cheerleaders are doing "Miss it!" chants which seems against the spirit of cheer-leader, cheer being inherently positive. I even saw the Milwaukee Vincent cheerleaders do a whole step routine to try and distract opposing FT shooters when they were right there. And the so and so sucks chants need to go away in a bad way. I was surprised the Tonka crowd control didn't frown on that especially at a private school where those type of things are really verbotin. Also, its one thing to do the "This game's over" chant and then everybody leaves, I can live with that like when they did it at Sibley, but when you leaving forces the game to be held up because the whole crew is right on the sideline as they leave, that's poor. The MSHSL puts a big emphasis on sportsmanship (hence the reminder before EVERY game that the PA guy has to read, "This game is being played under the rules of the Minnesota State High School League, these rules..."blah blah blah) but it seems like the crowd control people could do a better job on these things.

In fact there was a big hullaballou around student antics in Milwaukee just before the holidays where at a big city game (think Henry/North type of game) the students were yelling obscenities and totally out of line with no action taken. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it right on the money. The students have to get to the point where they take accountably for these things and police themselves.

Como Park at Johnson observations

Biggest news of the night for me was no Darnell Cox on the roster for Johnson. So much for my thoughts of him playing against the big guy for Sioux City Heelan.

This game was ugly all the way around, bad offense and in the words of Bill Walton, would somebody please make a shot. Johnson gets out to an 11-5 lead at 11:00 min in the 1st half, CP gets a 19-18 lead inside 4 minutes and Johnson goes to the locker room up 25-22.

CP goes on a 9-0 run midway thru the 2nd half to take a 35-32 lead and they lead 39-36 with 8 minutes left, but Johnson goes 1-3-1 and CP has no answers. Dion Suggs hits a big 3 late to make it 44-39 and that's the dagger. CP only gets 1 Greg Morse layup in the last 8 minutes and Johnson wins 46-41.

Freshman Estan Tyler could turn out to be a very nice point guard for Johnson. Suprising amount of poise for a frosh. I've seen CP and Johnson twice and Central once and I fear Central the most. With Larry Brown and Dylan Hale, I think they'll get it done. It saddens me to say this but as disappointed as I am with Johnson, I still have to make them the favorite over Como Park in section 4AAA. Maybe Mahtomedi surprises here, but I can't pick anybody else in the section as Arlington is bad based on what I saw vs Roseville and the other teams don't have more than 2 wins.

Week 9 Tuesday night scoreboard club

Scores that caught my eye from 1/22/08.
  • STA gets a 13 pt home win over Tartan. An STA win at Sibley on Friday forces a 3 way tie atop the Classic Suburban.
  • No surprises in the Lake besides Jefferson blowing their game vs Eastview in the game I saw. Tarell Clark still getting it done for Burnsville in a 2 pt win over an Eagan team that I look forward to seeing in the next couple of years with their guards Charlie Baker and Jameson Parsons.
  • In the MCAA, Trinity's slide continues with a 1 pt loss to Bethany. SW Christian gets a 2 pt win over West Lutheran to lay claim to 2nd place in the MCAA. I look forward to seeing them on Saturday night at MN Transitions in a fun section 4A matchup.
  • Henry only beats Edison by 7. I've heard Edison has the best team they've had in a while but they're 0-4 in the Minneapolis City. North blows out Roosevelt which did surprise me, but the win did not. Roosevelt still has Washburn and Henry in the 1st rotation of league play. North can force a tie for 1st with a win at Henry on Saturday, but they've got their hands full at Wayzata on Thursday.
  • Farmington with the 3 pt home upset of Shakopee. New Prague goes on the road and gets a win at Prior Lake, impressive. I'll see Prior Lake in a tough game at AHA on Friday. Red Wing blows out Hutchinson, a nice win, but why was this game played on a Tuesday night. The league should help these 2 schools out with that like the Big 9 seems to do for the Mankato/Winona matchups.
  • Cooper with a big win over BSM in the N. Suburban. Rodney Williams still going nuts for Cooper. BSM still needs to find a 3rd scorer with Stu Neville out. Call in "Tall, Tall Kid Tall!"
  • MV gets a 3 pt win over Forest Lake. Another loss to a top Suburban East program for the Rangers. They go to CDH next Tuesday.
  • Concordia gets a win over Minnehaha, SCL pulls the upset of upstart Brooklyn Center in Tri-Metro action. BC is a great feel good story, but they don't have a quality road win yet. We'll see how good they are as 5 of their next 7 are at Bernard's, CHOF, Breck (1 pt win at home), at Minnehaha (Taylor Sparkman should be back) and at DLS (another 1 pt home win). They end the season at Roosevelt and with home games against MCA and Minnehaha so the easy part of their schedule is over.
  • Hopkins blows out CDH and MCA gets a blowout win over Oh Day Aki. Belle Plaine pulls the OT upset over Bethlehem Academy. Bethlehem Academy finishes their regular season with tough games at CHOF and at Holy Family to get ready for tournament play.

2nd week 8 poll results and the student section poll

Nice pick by the poll of CDH vs Mounds View last Friday, should have been a blowout but became a fun game. For those of you who picked Other in the current poll, you can add a comment here to give your thoughts on some of the other great student sections out there.

Coming up in the late night tonight, I'll have the Week 9 Tuesday Night Scoreboard club (which will include some thoughts on Brooklyn Center) and my observations from the Como Park at Johnson game.

Also readers, the search feature at the very top left of the page is a slick way to quickly find all the stuff I've written on a topic without anything else, it works like a charm. If you're having trouble finding something on a team, try my abbreviations (DLS = DeLaSalle, STA = St. Thomas Academy etc etc) and see if that helps.

Eastview at Jefferson observations

While there were a bunch of good games on the schedule, I chose to take a look at Marcus Alipate of Jefferson. He had a nice JV game including tipping in a missed FT with 4 seconds left in the 2nd overtime for the win. That should have been the end of his night.

Jefferson plays 2-3 zone for most of the game and Eastview was very sloppy against it. Their only real offense against it was their set play Double Fist which they had to run at least 3 times to get Spencer Pratt looks. Alipate and Barmore combine for 24 in the half and Jefferson leads 31-23 at the break. The lead gets all the way to 41-27 with about 14 minutes left after a Moses Alipate 3 pts play. With 7 minutes left it's 49-38 and Jefferson has controlled the entire game. But 3 consecutive Jefferson turnovers result in a lob dunk and 3 pt play by Michael Grinnell with 2 Drew Johnson FTs and EV is back to 49-45 with 6:12 to go.

With turnovers being a problem at this point for Jefferson, coach Evens goes to his bench for Marcus Alipate. After passing on 1 good look, he buries a jumper from the left corner and then buries a deep 3 from near the top of the key for a 54-47 Jefferson lead with 4:47 to go and it appears they've weathered the storm. But Jefferson keeps turning the ball over and Eastview gets a 58-54 lead before a Moses Alipate 3 makes it 58-57 with 36.6 to go. Ethan Thomforde gets a free layup with 18 seconds left for 8 pts in this Eastview run. So Jefferson has the ball down 3 out of a timeout with 9.1 to go. They run a screen the screener flare for Aaron Barmore who gets a pretty good look but its no good. Eastview rebounds and hits the 2 FTs to seal a 62-57 win. Over the last 4:47, the only Jefferson bucket was the Moses Alipate 3. Eastview finishes that span on a 15-3 run and they win the last 7 minutes 24-8 thanks to defensive pressure.

Jefferson had Aaron Barmore bringing the ball up against Vinard Birch who's a quicker player and tough on-ball defender. I didn't like that move, but what other options were there instead of Marcus. Besides the Alipates and Barmore, I can understand why Jefferson isn't the contender in the Lake that I thought they would be. There's not much there. I'd bring Marcus up full time right now to play the point.

Speaking of young perimeter players, the Lake should be loaded with them next year.

Marcus Alipate-Jefferson
Charlie Baker and Jameson Parsons -Eagan
Brett Irvin - Eden Prairie
Devon Knopke - Burnsville

Not to mention returning stars Moses Alipate and Ethan Wragge.

Week 9 Tuesday Preview

A big day of hoops as we have the following noteworthy matchups.
  • Tartan at STA in a big Classic Suburban matchup. A STA win gives them a chance to force a 3 way tie at the top by beating Sibley at Sibley on Friday. Give me STA in a close one at home, but if Marc Sonnen doesn't get his, this could be a blowout.
  • BSM at Cooper in a big North Suburban matchup. The highlight reel game of the night, this game was a doozy last year as Jordan Taylor took over late to give BSM a win. Rodney Williams Jr is just going nuts right now for Cooper (32 vs Fridley on Thursday, 38 vs Tonka on Friday). Cooper in a close one and no rest for the weary as BSM hosts Tonka on Thursday.
  • CDH at Hopkins (Boys/Girls doubleheader). I'll take Hopkins in both of these games, but since CDH gave Hopkins a scare last year (at least for 1 half), I wouldn't be surprised to see a repeat of what happened at Mounds View on Friday. Michael Floyd and John Nance have the ability to go off on just about anyone.
  • Minnehaha at Concordia. Without Taylor Sparkman, this game loses its luster. I'm taking Concordia by double digits.
  • Roosevelt at North. Roosevelt may be 3-0 but they have all the big boys to finish the 1st round of league play starting with this game. North isn't the traditional powerhouse, but I'm not sold on Roosevelt yet. North needs this one to go into the Henry game on Saturday with only 1 league loss. I'll take North in this one by 11.
  • Eastview at Jefferson in the Lake. This is where I'll be, Jefferson needs this game to get back to 4-4 in league play with 2 winnable games afterwards to finish the 1st round of league play. Eastview is trying to get back on track after losing 2 straight games to fall to 4-3 in league play and out of the top state polls. But that's misleading as they're still the 2nd best offensive and defensive team in the league (by points for and against). Jefferson may be #1 in points allowed in the league but they're #10 in pts scored. Eastview slows down Aaron Barmore and Moses Alipate and uses their balanced attack to get enough points to win by 9.

PACT at MCA Girls action

This is one of the rare times where I'll do a post exclusively on the girls game, but that's how the schedule works. A quiet day on the schedule with MLK day. I would have been better off staying home and watching the NBA tripleheader instead of the PACT at MCA girls game. After a close 5-4 start, MCA runs off 26 of the next 28 before a PACT bucket at the end of the half to lead 31-8 at halftime. More of the same in the 2nd half as MCA rolls. Most noteworthy item of the night was Onye Osemenam for MCA. She's a 6'0 7th grader who's playing JV and will probably step in next year and replace star Jenna Higgins in the middle. Already she's an accomplished shot blocker and has nice footwork for such a young player. She even appears to be taller than 6'0 and she certainly plays bigger than that.

So as I watching this blowout, I got to thinking about the blowout in the girls game I saw last Friday. I had no idea coming into the game about either the MTS or SB girls. Come to find out that MTS was 7-5 coming in and SB was 3-11. After the game, I thought that maybe Oh Day Aki (I saw them get blown out by the Roosevelt JVs) vs MTS would be a competitve play-in game in the Girls bracket. Upon further review, they play next Wednesday and they played December 4th at MTS. MTS won that game 82-8. That floored me, I'm not surprised MTS won, but that big was very surprising.

Week 8 observations and Week 9 Schedule

Some scoreboard watching from the end of the week.

  • Eden Prairie blows out Kennedy 108-65, wow. I'm not surprised that EP won as I've haven't boarded the Kennedy bandwagon quite yet. I'm waiting until they get a quality road win. Next Thursday's game at Armstrong should be interesting.
  • Heritage over West Lutheran as Stu Herman only gets 15, but John Hirte gets 25.
  • MCA beats SW Christian by only 2 and I'm calling the MCAA race finished.
  • Washburn with an important win over North in the Minneapolis City race. Cedric Martin returns with 20 for Washburn. Roosevelt may be 3-0 and on top now, but they have North, Henry and Washburn coming up in the next 2 weeks (2 of those on the road).
  • BC over Concordia to go to 6-0 in the Tri-Metro West and 8-2 overall. Definitely the surprise story of the year in the metro.
  • CHOF with a nice win over Park Christian.
  • CDH comes from 20 down at the half thanks to John Nance to win at Mounds View. Tough one for the Mustangs.
  • Lakeville N with a win over Prior Lake after being down 8 at the half.
  • Maple Grove with an OT win over Elk River to keep pace with Osseo in the NW Suburban and put everyone else 2 games back.
  • Rodney Williams Jr goes nuts for Cooper with 38 but they can't recover from a 17 pt halftime deficit vs Minnetonka.
  • Armstrong with a 2 pt OT win at home over Moorhead. That's the Spuds 1st loss.
  • St. Anthony gets a nice road win at Minnehaha.
  • Central beats Johnson at home, Johnson needs a win on Wednesday vs Como Park to keep from falling behind 2 teams in the St. Paul City race.
  • Stillwater blows out Forest Lake to stay undefeated in Suburban East play. Forest Lake has MV and CDH in 2 of their next 3 league games.
  • Woodbury holds off Park in a battle of shooting guards. Aaron Meyers gets 22 compared to Jake Lindstrom's 35, but Woodbury's supporting cast gets it done in the win.
  • Providence Academy with their 1st win of the season with a win over Trinity. Didn't see this coming with Trinity at all.
  • So much for my sleeper pick in the St. Paul City, Arlington. They get blown out at Roseville. This game was close with 6 minutes left before Roseville ran away and Arlington fell apart.
  • Props to Richfield for their upset of STMA. I didn't see this one coming at all. Renard Robinson is tough with 26 pts and Jay Sewer has a big 2nd half. STMA had no answer for Richfield's athletes in the loss.
  • PACT with a win over Heritage. As stated before, PACT has a nice team. Solid PG, a couple of decent wings and a 6-7 kid inside.
  • Wayzata gets a road win over Prior Lake to go to 11-1. A nice under the radar story in the Classic Lake after losing a lot from last year's roster.
Week 9 Schedule:
Monday: PACT at MCA (Girls), quiet day due to Martin Luther King Day.

Tuesday: Eastview at Jefferson, other games of note CDH at Hopkins (doubleheader with girls), BSM at Cooper in a huge N. Suburban game, Minnehaha at Concordia,

Wednesday: Como Park at Johnson in an important St. Paul City matchup

Thursday: Minnetonka at BSM, the battle of the student sections here could be as good as the game itself.

Friday: Prior Lake at AHA, East Metro Showcase at Johnson, Milwaukee Marshall vs Como Park in the early game, Sioux City Heelan vs Johnson in the late game.

Saturday: North at Henry (1 PM), Burnsville at Edina (6 PM), SW Christian at MN Transitions (doubleheader with girls 5:30)

East Metro Showcase at Johnson
1 PM: La Crosse Aquinas vs Eastview
3 PM: Sioux City Heelan vs Osseo
5 PM: Hope School (Milwaukee, WI) vs Little Wound, SD
7 PM: Johnson vs Milwaukee Marshall

YTD Stats
  • 76 games (49 MN split 41 boys and 8 girls, 27 WI split 23 boys and 4 girls)
  • 33 buildings
  • 113 teams (91 boys and 22 girls, 73 MN teams split 60 boys and 13 girls, 35 Wisconsin split 27 boys and 8 girls, 5 outstate split 4 boys and 1 girls)
  • 2 Genders
Current Poll Stats
4A: 7 (missing Wayzata, Moorhead and Tartan)
3A: 5 (BSM, STMA, Rocori, Johnson and Como Park)
2A: 2 (SB, Concordia)
1A: 2 (MCA and CLB)

Edina at St. Bernard's thoughts (+ a bonus game)

Dateline: January 18th, 2008. Games 73 and 74 of my season as we start the evening with the Minnesota Transitions girls playing St. Bernard's. It's 24-0 at 6:32 of the 1st half when MTS hits 1 of 2 FTs. 37-2 Bulldogs at the half and MTS doesn't have a field goal. They get the elusive bucket at 15:00 left and another with 13 minutes left to make it 43-6, they start a scoring binge with their 3rd field goal with 5:30 to go. Final score is 63-28, but 3 field goals in just over 30 minutes, ouch. Props to the Transitions coach for his positive attitude with the kids.

To main event, Edina in the boys game. Bernard's gets out to a quick 9-2 lead and tack on another 9-1 run and we've got a 20-7 game in the 1st 8 minutes. Edina gets back to within 7 with the score 37-30 SB at the half. Edina closes to 4 for the 1st time in the game at 39-35 with 15:23 left but SB goes on a 12-3 run to get their biggest lead 51-38 with about 10 minutes left. Edina comes right back with an 11-2 run of their own and SB needs a timeout leading 53-49 at 8:07. But 55-51 is a close as Edina gets. Avery Duncan makes 2 FT from an offensive rebound, John Bright gets a breakaway layup, Jordair Jett hits 1 of 2 and Bright hits 1 of 2 after another Duncan offensive rebound and its 61-51 with 5 minutes left. Jett makes 6 FTs down the stretch to seal a 74-65 Bulldogs win.

Jett finishes 23 despite being hobbled by what appeared to be an early ankle injury. He looked like he was laboring often in the 2nd half. 17 points for John Bright and 12 for Trent Davis. Will Deberg and Danny Schoenecker each lead Edina with 17 points. Bobby Johnson and Jim Hill do a nice job inside combining for 20 points.

Despite being outsized by 4 Edina guys of 6'5 or larger, St. Bernard's held their own on the glass. When you have players like John Bright, Jordair Jett and Averey Duncan who play at least 2 or 3 inches bigger than listed, you can do that. If they hit the boards like they did tonight, SB can go an awfully long way in the AA tourney. Will Deberg is a nice player for Edina, can handle, shoot, sees the floor well, plays with discipline and has enough to get to the rim on occasion.

Edina falls to 8-5, but their other 4 losses are to Shakopee by 6 on the road, St. Cloud Tech by 3 at home, Jefferson by on the road and a home blowout against Benilde. Those are all quality losses and they have quality wins over Prior Lake and Cooper at home and road wins vs Willmar and New Prague. They've got solid bigs and a very good guard in Deberg so their record isn't a big surprise.

Burnsville at Eastview thoughts

The basketblogger did a nice recap of the game we saw, you can read that here. Some extra thoughts from my perspective. The 2nd half and OT in this game were a blast. After the 9-2 Eastview run to tie it at 45, I don't think either team led by more than 4 the rest of regulation. Eastview got 5 pts from Drew Johnson in a 10-2 run to take the lead 65-61 at 2:20 left before Tarell Clark's 5 in a row. Eastview misses 3 of 4 from the line in the last minute though to help.

Tarell Clark is a beast. 33 pts for him and Burnsville did a nice job of spreading the floor and letting him go 1 on 1 on the perimeter or posting him up, usually on the right block. Eastview tried a couple of post double-teams and he still split them for buckets. Across the end of regulation and the start of overtime, Clark had 9 straight points including the chance to win it at the buzzer in regulation and a missed front end of a 1 and 1 in overtime. He's put the Blaze on his back in their 2 wins this week without Max Van Ordstrand and not just with his 37 points. He's also a beast on the glass.

Eastview is a scary team because they have so much balance, Carlos Emory or Michael Grinnell can beat you inside, Johnie Sanders can beat you slashing to the basket and they have a gang of 3 point shooters led by sharpshooters Spencer Pratt and Drew Johnson. And that list doesn't include leading scorer Ethan Thomforde.

This Burnsville win muddies the waters in section 3AAAA and really gives Burnsville a shot at the #1 seed in the section if they can win the rematch with Eastview on their home court. Of course, in the tough Lake Conference anything can happen.

AHA at Washburn observations

A reminder readers "If you smoked Marijuana, Weed, Bud, Blunts, turn around we'll see you at the next game (we know who you are)". That was the sign on the Washburn doors tonight. So I have this in addition to being ID'd at South and put thru a metal detector at Roosevelt. Welcome to life in the Minneapolis City Conference. Its a sad commentary that we've gotten to this point at any school anywhere. But at least we had power so the game could be played.

No Cedric Martin for Washburn as he's sitting out for getting 2 Ts vs Henry last Friday. Washburn gets off to a quick 9-0 start in the 1st 5 minutes and after some even play, its 31-19 Washburn with about 4 minutes to go in the half. Rashede Hageman had 2 monster 1 hand dunks during this 2nd stretch. Holy Angels finishes the half on a 15-0 run over the last 4 minutes culminated by a Stoddard Barnhill 3 pt play with 1 second left. AHA leads 34-31 at the break.

Washburn gets a 39-38 lead early in the 2nd half, but an 9-0 Holy Angels run puts them up 47-39 inside of 12 minutes. It's 49-45 AHA at 9:00 minutes left when the game turns. James Pfitzinger tips in a missed front end of a 1 and 1. Sahr Ngekia gets a bunny in the lane, Stoddard Barnhill hits a short banker on the break and then gets a breakaway layup off a Washburn missed 3. Will Baregi concludes the run with a layup off of a nice curl from the left wing. In total its a 10-0 run in 2 and half minutes to give AHA a 59-45 lead. Washburn makes a 9-2 run to get as close as 7 with about 2:30 to go, but they get no closer. AHA wins 73-63.

Washburn was younger than I thought as they'll have Martin, Hageman and 3 other juniors from their rotation back next year. For AHA, Sahr Ngekia is just a beast inside, you can't play behind him and try to defend him 1 on 1. He's only a junior too. The toughness of Stoddard Barnhill is nice to see too and he's not afraid to take a big shot.

Greetings to readers, near and far

I never cease to be amazed by the number of people reading the site so a friendly hello to the following out state locations.

Hoboken and Princeton, NJ (Have to acknowledge Princeton with my affinity for the Princeton Offense)
New York, NY
Las Vegas, NV (sorry I don't have anything on Tartan for you for this weekend)
Paradise Valley, AZ
Ann Arbor, MI
Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA

And a friendly hello to the local high schools who read and the Star Tribune

Thanks for reading

Week 8 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

Scores that caught the Czar's eye from 1/15/08

Conference Games
  • Simley with the 5 pt upset at home over STA in the Classic Suburban
  • Burnsville with a blowout of Rosemount, Tarell Clark with a monster night 41, 13 and 7 stls. Kennedy gets a nice win at home over Eastview to take over sole possession of 1st place in the Lake as Eden Prairie loses by 3 at Lakeville N. Burnsville at Eastview on Thursday for sole possession of 3rd place and to stay 2 back. I'm looking forward to that one.
  • In the MCAA, MCA and SW Christian both roll as they prepare for their showdown on Thursday night.
  • St. Louis Park goes to Spring Lake Park and steals one by 3 knocking Spring Lake Park 2 back in the N. Suburban. BSM got 59 of their 68 pts vs Irondale from Taylor and Battle, a disturbing trend with Stu Neville still out. Cooper and BSM are both unbeaten in the league as they prepare for their 1st showdown on Tuesday night at Cooper.
  • The leaders in the NW Suburban all win easily.
  • Woodbury goes to Forest Lake and wins by 2 in a Suburban East upset.
  • Breck beats Minnehaha by 4 to say 2 back in the Tri-Metro West. BC gets another win, this time over St. Anthony, to go to 5-0 in the league. St. Croix Lutheran wins a close one over St. Agnes to take over 3rd in the Tri-Metro East.
Non-Conference Games
  • Armstrong blows out Roosevelt
  • MN Transitions over CHOF by 5 at CHOF. Important win for the Wolves to keep them in the hunt for the #1 seed in 4A East
  • DeLaSalle gets a late Royce White hoop and 33 pts to beat Henry at Henry by 2. Jordan Hughes still getting it done for Henry with 19.
  • Shakopee over Concordia in my game 88-76, Towle's ankle didn't look like a major factor to me though they did sub him out on defense over the last 4 minutes.
  • Hudson, WI over Red Wing. Wingers fall to 10-2 with both losses to Wisconsin teams (combined 15-7 records)
  • Wayzata continues to roll with a huge win over a hot Buffalo team.
  • Farmington falls to 8-3 with their 2nd consecutive big road loss to a good team, 1st Spring Lake Park and then Rochester Mayo last night. Shakopee and Red Wing come calling next week.

Poll results for Week 8 Tuesday game

The poll once again picks good results. MTS/CHOF was a 5 pt game, DLS wins with a Royce White bucket in the last 30 seconds, Kennedy beats Eastview by 8 and Shakopee beats Concordia by 12. Rosemount loses by 23 to Burnsville. Due to a power outage, the AHA at Washburn game has been moved to tonight so I'll be in attendance for that.

Shakopee at Concordia observations

My game may not have been as good as MTS/CHOF but it certainly was entertaining. The matchup I was watching all night was Zach Towle's offense vs Luke Sames defense. The Sames name is well known for terrific on-ball defense in Shakopee lore so I thought this would be the key to the game. If Sames could play Towle 1 on 1, then Shakopee was in good shape, otherwise it could get real interesting. I predicted a fast pace with both teams likely putting up 80.

Shakopee gets out to a 21-5 lead at 13:34 and Towle has done nothing against Sames. But Sames has just picked up his 2nd foul and won't play the rest of the half. The 1st 9 minutes see 19 fouls called as this game is being called as tightly as I've seen all year. Concordia claws their way back to 30-22 at the 5:30 mark before Shakopee runs the margin back to 41-24. But a 17-8 Concordia run to end the half sends them to the locker room only down 8, 49-41. Towle has 18 pts on 7-14 shooting but nothing in the 4 minutes vs Sames. Matt Zager is a stud for Shakopee with 20 in the 1st half.

Early in the 2nd half, Concordia pulls to 52-46 before a Kyle Hagen gets a T for slapping the backboard while trying to block a layup on a breakaway. As coach Schutte put it to the official, "What do you want him to do?". Bad call by the official and an inexcusable mistake as he could have gotten help from his partner. Shakopee gets the layup and the 2 FTs but doesn't score on the possession and Concordia gets 8 in a row to pull to 56-54. Its 67-62 Shakopee with 9:18 left and they go on a 14-5 run over the next 5 minutes to put the game away. Concordia gets to 81-72 but can't convert on possessions in the last 3 minutes despite a bunch of missed Shakopee free throws which result in 2 offensive rebounds. Shakopee wins 88-76.

Zach Towle finishes with 26 pts on 9-23 shooting (2-9 2nd half mostly vs Sames) and 4 assists. For Shakopee, Matt Zager finishes with 31 points, Chase Hentges has a great night off the bench for them with 16 points, Sames gets a layup late for his only 2 but the story was his defense vs Towle. He's the best on-ball defender I've seen all year. Great hands and does a great job moving his feet. Really can take a team out of their offense.

For those basketball purist out there, Shakopee is a team you'd love to watch. They play sound man D, they run good simple offense, take care of the ball and take good shots. They won't beat themselves and are a real pleasure to watch.

Cloquet at Mounds View Observations

Dignitaries as far as the eye could see tonight. AAU staff from Howard Pulley, MN Magic, MN Select and MN Glory were all in the house. Stillwater coach Dennis Bloom and former Blaine coach Bill McKie in attendance (but no Jerry Kline of CDH which was surprising since CDH goes to MV on Friday). The basketblogger, my Twin Cities Hoops Insider and of course, yours truly made appearances. But none of that matters as Tubby Smith was in the house along with asst Ron Jirsa. I even got to meet Tubby after the game. All we were missing was Michael Much and we could have had the entire thing in pictures for all eternity, shucks.

As to game itself. Cloquet gets the last 4 pts of the 1st half to get within 30-24 at the break. They get as close as 33-28 early in the second half but a 12-5 MV run makes it 45-33 with 12:31 to go and Cloquet never threatens again. Mounds View rolls to a 73-51 win but it wasn't really that bad. Mounds View just has too many weapons and too many athletes. They're the type of team that just picks you apart and before you know it you're down 20.

As to Chad Calcaterra, here's his line for the night.

2 pts on 1-6 FG shooting
2 rebounds (1 Off, 1 Def)
1 block

His 1 field goal was a put back off his own miss. You could tell his game was still rusty from the time off.

He played 28 minutes and 50.4 seconds. Not counting the last 1:52 of garbage time after he left the game, Cloquet was a -16 with him on the floor and -1 with him on the bench (5:17.6). In the 1st half, they were -5 with him on the floor (12:42.6) and -1 without him (same 5:17.6).


The Good
He played far more minutes than I expected and his stamina didn't appear to be an issue. He shows good mobility and athleticism and a nice outside touch. He played hard and demonstrated a good attitude by not being frustrated by the physical play used against him. He did display good lateral movement on the perimeter when defending the ball.

Areas I feel he can improve on.
Strength, I counted 3 occassions where he had inside rebounding position and was pushed under the basket. Mike Schramm was able to consistently front him and continue to stay in front as Chad didn't have the strength to hold him off, but the effort was there.

Quickness off the floor, I counted 5 instances where athletic MV players got the ball inside and were able to get off the floor and lay the ball in before he could get up to challenge them. Its totally possible that this could be attributed to his timing being off due to the long layoff.

Defense, there were 2 occassions where he backed off his man and didn't communicate or help on the screen his man set allowing the opponent to be wide open off the screen, one of these went for an open top of the key 3. I also felt there were 3 occassions where his help side positioning could have been better which would have allowed him to contest MV players going to the rim for layups. When closing out on the perimeter, on multiple occasions his hands were not active and high. 1 of these instances led to an easy pass to a cutter for a layup.

Setting screens. He tended to get tall and narrow (which everyone teaches so I don't fault him for this, only Park of Cottage Grove teaches this correctly from what I've seen over the years) instead of getting low and wide. Why is this bad? Think of playing tag and using a tree to not get tagged. Would you rather use a big tree or a small tree? Same thing applies here. While he was trying to head-hunt on his screens, he was also moving when he attempted to set many of his screens and he'll learn to hold the screens longer in the future.

The last 2 items are extremely minor and easily correctable with teaching. Overall you can see the talent is there. I had the good fortune of seeing Evan Anderson (top 10 overall 2010, 6'11 from Eau Claire, WI North, currently ranked #2 soph in Wisconsin) also play this year and I feel they're both in the same league as very capable D1 big men. He certainly was more impressive than what I saw out of Patrick O'Bryant of Blaine in one of his final games as a senior. I can definitely see him developing into a very good player who will play high D1. Tonight was an off night for him and he's still getting back into game shape and form. I really look forward to seeing how he performs in next year's TWolves Shootout.

The opinion stated is mine alone and completely unqualified. As stated previously, I was a point guard in my day so my knowledge of big man play is nothing to write home about. Young big guys are also difficult to evaluate as its not all about points. It was said of Anderson that one of his best performances of the year was a 12 pt 7 rb game which alone doesn't sound impressive but enough to make a UW asst happy. Remember, you can't teach size.

Week 7 thoughts and Week 8 Schedule

Calvin Walker got his 1000th pt last night for St. Anthony, a nice moment. Considering they beat Lake City 81-46, it was about the only noteworthy thing from the game, though I did like Lake City sophomore center Drew Swanson (15 pts). Earlier in the season, I made a Chris Mullin reference for Heritage's John Hirte. I replace that reference with Walker. He's a crafty lefty who upon 1st glance you'd never think would put up 20-25 a night. Nice player and they run good stuff for him.

In other Saturday action, Rogers pulls a huge upset 69-68 at Princeton in overtime. The rematch is Tues Feb 12th at Rogers. Edina blows out Willmar at Willmar which is also a surprise.

Week 8 Schedule
Mon: Cloquet at Mounds View. Chad Calcaterra is back for Cloquet and scored 5 pts vs Hibbing on Thursday night in his 1st game back and 10 pts last night in a blow out of Proctor. It'll be interesting to see how many minutes he plays. Its also my 1st chance to see Mounds View this season which should be fun.

Tues: Shakopee at Concordia, other games of note are from the poll. Eastview at Kennedy in a big Lake Conference game, Rosemount at Burnsville, DLS at Henry, AHA at Washburn, MN Transitions at CHOF.

Th: Burnsville at Eastview. Looking forward to seeing the Blaze and the Lightning for the 1st time this season. Also North at Washburn in a big Mpls City matchup.

Fri: Johnson at Central or Spring Lake Park at BSM in big conference matchups. Also Shakopee at St. Louis Park, Burnsville at Hopkins and Edina at St. Bernard's.

Sat: Arlington at Roseville (1:30) and STMA at Richfield (7:30)

YTD Stats
  • 68 games (41 MN split 34 boys and 7 girls, 27 WI split 23 boys and 4 girls)
  • 29 buildings
  • 102 teams (82 boys and 20 girls, 62 MN teams split 51 boys and 11 girls, 35 Wisconsin split 27 boys and 8 girls, 5 outstate split 4 boys and 1 girls)
  • 2 Genders
Current Poll Stats
4A: 5 (Hopkins, Tonka, Osseo, Stillwater and CDH with Eastview and Shakopee on this week's schedule)
3A: 5 (BSM, STMA, Rocori, Princeton and Como Park)
2A: 3 (HF, SB, Concordia)
1A: 2 (MCA and CLB)

MN Transitions at Minnehaha thoughts

So I finally got a chance to see Minnesota Transitions today. I saw Kevin Noreen play a couple of years ago, but he's grown like a weed since then. The rumor mill says that Transitions may have played without a couple of starters. That I don't know, but I do know that Minnehaha played without star Taylor Sparkman. He's out until late in the month with a broken left hand. A shame too because this matchup should have been up and down and Sparkman vs Kevin Noreen would have been a blast.

To the game, Minnehaha starts out 6-0 and after a 15-10 lead they get 8 in a row to lead 23-10 and it looks like this one is over. Transitions goes man and Minnehaha gets very sloppy in their half court offense with numerous reckless turnovers. Combine that with a couple of lapses against the Transitions inbound play for 3 and its 32-29 Minnehaha at the half. Transitions gets no calls going to the basket as the refs are letting the inside stuff go for the most part. But Kevin Noreen is putting his head down and initiating the contact and that's not helping the cause.

Transitions gets the 1st 4 points of the second half to lead 33-32. We go back and forth to a Minnehaha 42-40 lead with 7:07 left. Transitions gets back to 44-43 with about 5 minutes left. At this point, MTS falls apart. Minnehaha goes on a 9-0 to break it open. Kevin Noreen can't hit anything and can't get a call. Minnehaha gets a couple of turnovers and layups as part of the run. Final score is 62-46. Kevin Noreen with 15 pts and a bunch of assists. I think of him as a poor man's Isiah Dahlman. Tall lanky guard who scores a bunch for a small school but doesn't have the big time athleticism.

As previously promised, here's my evaluation of MTS now that I've seen them play.

First, their other assistant coach (no not you coach Miller, the older guy) needs a serious talking to from John Sherman regarding bench decorum. On more than 1 occassion Sherman told him to be quiet and he refused with the refs breathing down the bench's neck too. He's very lucky he didn't cause a critical T. Not to mention what appeared to be arguing with Sherman. If he would have been on my staff I would have pondered sending him to the locker room or firing him on the spot.

The MTS offense was all about Kevin Noreen. No motion, no nothing. Just get Kevin the ball and go. I liked the Dirk Nowitzki concept of getting him the ball at the foul line via posting. Once he realized that he wasn't getting calls, he needed to focus on shooting over his defender instead of forcing the ball into a crowd to attempt to draw a call. He'll learn that over the next 2 years. There were multiple occassions when Minnehaha was able to play sound position defense and totally stifle any offense from MTS because of nothing being run. This was true in man or zone. The best offensive stuff they ran all day was their dirt simple inbound play that they've used for years and for some reason still works. That alone was 6 of Kyle Noreen's 9 points. Inexecusable from Minnehaha. I can't evaluate the running game because they didn't have the chance to get out and run. Jaron Jackson can be a nice second option for them, but if you have success against Kevin Noreen, you'll win. I think a diamond and 1 would really take them out of anything they want to do. Minnehaha really didn't make much of an effort to deny Kevin the ball, their thought was to help once he got it.

As to the MTS Defense, simply awful and that's being nice. They started in a 2-3 zone trap and nobody covered the high post. Then the adjustment was made to have a ball-side wing play the high post. WHAT??!!! Poorly designed, poorly executed, poor results. Minnehaha shredded this to get the early lead.

In their man D, Kevin Noreen did a good job of not leaving his feet in post defense. Minnehaha tried to post him up numerous times and got absolutely nothing out of it. I like the thought of trying to make him work on D, but this idea didn't go over well. When Minnehaha ran their man stuff with their cuts (LA or Denver), with any patience (as demonstrated late in the game) they got layups at will as MTS continually let Minnehaha get wide open going to the basket off of screens, didn't get in front of cutters and trailed them as they cut to the basket to get those layups. They also were outhustled for most of the game.

While Transitions was tough enough to stay in the game, this was really about Minnehaha failing to take advantage of opportunity. As poorly as Transitions played, this should have been a blowout. MTS is very similar to Oh Day Aki because they're athletic, run no offense and don't play defense. The difference is that they have a stud player to get points for them where Oh Day Aki does not.

Where do they fit in section 4A? Obviously Minnehaha is not the type of team they'll have to deal with. In A ball, Noreen is a matchup nightmare and will get his. Minnehaha has the type of athletes to have a chance against him. Where do I seed them in the east subsection of 4A. I put them #3 behind CHOF and St. Agnes (which is consistent with the current QRFs), but Tuesday's game is big for that purpose as it could move CHOF clearly to the #1 spot with a win (since CHOF also beat St. Agnes at St. Agnes). Yes CHOF got hammered by NLA, but NLA won't be in the discussion. I think MTS beats most of the west subsection. A game with Heritage would be very interesting and the SW Christian game will be entertaining. If they play MCA, they get blown out as MCA is a bad matchup for them. Bigger star, more athletes, more discipline, more size.

East Metro Showcase Schedule

One thing that's been hard to find is the schedule for the East Metro Showcase at St. Paul Johnson at the end of the month. Well, I got a chance to talk to Vern Simmons (Johnson coach) at the North vs Central game and here's the schedule that he confirmed with the teams this week. This promises to be another good set of games like last year and he plans on doing it every year. I'll be doing a full preview of the event right before the games.

Friday Jan 25
6 PM: Como Park vs Milwaukee, WI Marshall
8 PM: Sioux City, IA Heelan vs Johnson

Saturday Jan 26
1 PM: La Crosse, WI Aquinas vs Eastview
3 PM: Osseo vs Sioux City, IA Heelan
5 PM: Hope School (Milwaukee, WI) vs Little Wound, SD
7 PM: Johnson vs Milwaukee, WI Marshall

North beats Central at the buzzer

Game 1 of my Saturday adventure took me to St. Paul Central for their city matchup vs Minneapolis North. The 1st big news of the day was that Central star Larry Brown didn't start the game, but he came in after 3 minutes and promptly put up 11 pts in 8 minutes. Thanks to hot shooting from Dylan Hale, the Minutemen lead 37-30 at half with Hale having 14 pts and Brown with 13 pts.

The start of the 2nd half has a series of runs, 12-2 North, 8-0 Central (6 Brown pts) and then North starts raining in 3s (specifically, Curtis Johnson) in a 7-0 run to give North a 49-47 lead with 9:30 to go. The teams go back and forth as Brown really starts to dominate for Central. Johnson hits another 3 to give North a 67-65 lead with 1:32 left. Brown scores again at 1:20 to tie it at 67. North hits 2 of 5 FTs in the last minute to take a 69-67 lead with 16.5 seconds left (after 2 misses).

Great call here by Coach Scott Howell of Central as he gives Brown the ball at the left elbow in an isolation (ala Dirk Nowitzki). This allows Brown to get to his right hand and he goes right to the rim and lays it in to tie it at 69 with 10 seconds left. North decides not to take a timeout and it looks like they may not get the ball in (tick... tick tick tick) . Finally they get the ball to the wing with about 5 seconds left and after 1 dribble and a pass up the wing, Curtis Johnson fires up a 3 from the right wing (right at the line) at the horn and its good to give North a thrilling 72-69 win. Larry Brown has a monster day with 33 points. Dylan Hale finishes with just 1 3 pointer in the 2nd half and 17 points. Curtis Johnson gets 22 and at least 3 huge 2nd half 3s for the Polars.

Week 7 Friday night scoreboard watching

Scores that caught my eye from Friday 1/11

Conference Matchups

  • STA gets 8o in a win over Richfield in the Classic Suburban. Hill-Murray is on the board with a win over South St. Paul.
  • Burnsville beats Jefferson, Jaguars fall to 1-4 in the Lake and Burnsville stays 2 back with big league games next week against Rosemount and at Eastview. Kennedy keeps pace with Eden Prairie with a 5 pt home win over Rosemount. The Irish fall 3 back in the league race.
  • North beats South by 1 in the Minneapolis City, I'll see North vs Central later today in a very interesting non-conference game.
  • BSM gets taken to the limit by St. Francis, Cooper blows out Chisago Lakes (I thought Josh Figini could be a factor in this one) and St. Louis Park loses a tough one by 1 at Irondale. Now the top 3 teams in the N Suburban (BSM, Cooper and Spring Lake Park) are all 2 or 3 games clear. Spring Lake Park can get back in the race with a win at BSM next Friday night. BSM has Spring Lake Park, @Cooper and Minnetonka in a week stretch starting next Friday. TG's struggles continue as they fall to 1-8 with a 1 pt home loss to Fridley.
  • Osseo routs PC in the NW Suburban. I was at this game, 9 pt at the half and then Osseo slams the door to win by 25.
  • CDH needs OT to beat Woodbury on the road (10 3s for Woodbury) and Forest Lake only beat Roseville by 5 in the Suburban East. Stillwater survives Jake Lindstrom's 31 pts to beat Park by 6 and stay undefeated in league play.
  • In the Tri-Metro, the leaders roll on including Brooklyn Center who gets a 1 pt home win over Breck. Note to self, make sure to watch the rematch on tape. BC and Minnehaha are now 2 games clear in the Tri-Metro West. Congrats to DeLaSalle who's now on the board with a 23 pt home win over SPA. Hopefully Minnehaha gets their rest, they have less than 20 hours from the end of their game to their game later today vs MN Transitions. I once heard coach Johnson say that he'd let Transitions take all the 3s they wanted, I'll see if that comes true.
Other Games
  • The poll was accurate, Minnetonka beats Eden Prairie by 27. Only 5 pts for Ethan Wragge.
  • Elk River with an important section win over St. Cloud Tech in their home opener. Tough couple of nights for Tech as they suffer their 1st 2 losses on back-back nights. A Tech win over Moorhead on the 26th would really muddy the waters for the #1 seed in the section. Tech also has home and home with Brainerd remaining.
  • Buffalo pulls the 7 pt upset on the road at STMA. That's STMA's 1st loss and they're #2 in this week's 3A poll. 2 big wins in a row for Buffalo and they only lost by 3 at St. Cloud Tech. They're 4-1 in their last 5. 5-4 with losses to Armstrong and at Osseo and Maple Grove is a nice season.
  • Park Christian moved in the A rankings this week and they got beat by 7 tonight.

Benilde St. Margaret's holds off Holy Angels

I've been convinced that the BSM student section is the best I've seen all year. Being able to chant Richard Simmons at a kid is hilarious and there's nothing finer than a student section dressed in pajamas with 1 kid wearing a bathrobe and a badger hat (as in his head is in the mouth of the badger not a Wisconsin Badger baseball cap). Funniest moment of the night comes when aforementioned bathrobed student does the zombie dance when Thriller is playing on the PA. If you know the video, you'll know what I mean. Fantastic!

As to a student section not of the same standard, the AHA students started chanting "This game's over" when AHA got their 1st lead at 6-4. BSM promptly went on a 9-0 run.

John Hedstrom is the building scouting for the big game 2 weeks from tonight. And it wouldn't be a noteworthy game if Rene Pulley isn't in attendance.

As to the game itself, AHA hangs tough. A Stoddard Barnhill layup at the 1st half buzzer gives AHA a 29-27 lead going to the locker room. Taylor and Battle with 23 of BSM's 27 points and no outside shots are falling. Taylor's points are all layups. Barnhill is matching Taylor point for point. Sahr Ngekia is dominating inside for AHA but is 0-5 from the line (prompting a Shaq chant from the BSM students). He's making Shaq look like Rick Barry. BSM has no answers for AHA's swing offense.

In the 2nd half, AHA comes out hot with a couple of quick buckets by James Pfitzinger and takes a 42-35 lead with 14 minutes left. BSM then uses their run and jump pressure to generate 2 steals and 7 quick points (Battle 3 pt play and a Taylor layup) to tie the game at 42 with 11:55 left. We go back and forth to be tied at 60 with 4 minutes left.

BSM runs off 5 in a row thanks to Jordan Taylor and is starting to spread the floor to take advantage of their quickness. With 1 minute left, AHA gets a great steal and layup to pull to 65-64. After BSM kills the clock, Matt Thomas misses 2 FTs with 26 seconds left but on the ensuing possession AHA turns it over with 10 seconds left. Jordan Taylor gets the inbounds and sinks 1 of 2 with 8 seconds left. Barnhill has an OK look at what might have been a 3, it misses and AHA has 2 chances to rebound it but can't tip it in and the Red Knights hang on 66-64.

Jordan Taylor scores BSM's last 6 points in the final 4 minutes. He finishes with 28. Armond Battle has a nice night as well with 21. He also did a terrific job defending James Pfitzinger in the post with Stu Neville again sitting out with an ankle injury. Stoddard Barnhill has a big night for the Stars finishing with 20 points. What an effort by Holy Angels.

More on the Red Wing Girls record FT performance

Here's an article from the Red Wing newspaper on the game . Did I mention that Holy Angels coach Danny Woods would not be pleased? Yeah, he was miffed. He also got shafted when they hosted Central in their 2nd game of the year when the refs wouldn't call handchecking (as per rule) on the Minutemaids. That caused him to get a rather amusing technical when he told his team within earshot of the official something to the effect of "If they're going to hand check you, hand check them back"

All of that said, at some point doesn't the coach and the team have to adjust?

Site notes

A note that while I love the Czar of the Whiteboard moniker (since I am to a whiteboard what Fratello is to a telestrator, ha I wish), most of you know me under my TCHoopsCzar name on the hoops forums so I've updated my info to reflect that.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the good folks over at Inside the Lines for supporting the blog. Lots of good links over there, check it out. The irony is that I got an email from them a while back and didn't know what it was until I started checking the stats for readership on the site. Then it finally dawned on me so a belated thanks to them for their support. You can find the link to them in the links section.

Week 7 Tuesday Night Scoreboard club

Here's what caught my eye from the 1/8/08 scoreboard. Lots of good matchups around the metro. Biggest thing I noticed was the Red Wing girls shooting a national record 74 FTs last night at home vs Holy Angels, but only made 36, yikes. Any guesses as to what coach Ulveling will have them working on in practice today? See the article here. Talk about the new rules emphasis, geez. Danny Woods can't be happy with all those fouls (either with his team or the officials, which one doesn't matter)

In other action

Conference Matchups
  • All form held in the Classic Suburban.
  • Kennedy and Rosemount get close wins to keep pace in the Lake. Jefferson's loss at Rosemount drops them to 1-3 in league play. Lakeville N has their chance to make a stand or fall out of the race as they host Eastview and Eden Prairie in their next 2 games.
  • Roosevelt with 80 to beat Minneapolis South, North and Henry roll in the Minneapolis City.
  • Heritage takes another one on the chin in the MCAA. Now the MCA game at SW Christian next Thursday is big.
  • Cooper gets a 3 pt win over St. Louis Park to put 3 teams 1 game behind BSM in the North Suburban.
  • Buffalo pulls the upset over Cambridge-Isanti in the Mississippi 8.
  • Osseo continues to roll in the NW Suburban.
  • Stillwater with a good 4 pt win at home vs CDH. CDH will have the opportunity to make up ground as the 1st rotation of conference play has CDH going to Stillwater and MV with the 2nd game at CDH (Feb 8 and 22 respectively). Those games should be very entertaining.
  • Minnehaha and St. Bernard's get great wins in the big Tri-Metro games and BC hammers Blake to go to 3-0 in the Tri-Metro.
  • Hopkins destroys Johnson.
  • Minnetonka destroys Burnsville, but I thought they'd come out unhappy enough to put up 100 especially since they were playing a Burnsville team that also wants to run.
  • Mounds View with a 26 pt win over Armstrong. I expected a close game there.
  • Red Wing gets their 1st loss with a 3 pt loss to River Falls, WI
  • Shakopee rolls to another win. I'm looking forward to seeing them next week at Concordia.

MCA blitzes Heritage

My game of the night was Heritage at Maranatha which was suppossed to be a likely conference championship game. It turned out to not be that at all. Stu Herman got hot early and caused 2 MCA timeouts. At the 10 minute mark of the 1st half, Heritage leads 17-10 and it looks like we've got a game. Then MCA puts David Hanson on Stu Herman instead of Josh Hanson (Herman was already guarding David) and its lights out. Hanson and Tyler Campion get on the offensive glass and Heritage can't get a rebound. MCA outscores Heritage 32-13 the rest of the half to lead 42-30 at half. Stu Herman had 28 of Heritage's 30 pts. What a half. The 2nd half is all MCA as Heritage only gets 6 pts in the 1st 9 minutes of the half and none from Herman. David Hanson goes nuts on the offense end after 12 1st half points and MCA pulls away. Final score 84-54 MCA wins. David Hanson finishes with 20 rebounds and Tyler Campion had a big night as well.

Anoka vs Elk River thoughts

Ah, another game at the Target Center. Elk River wins easily but should really have put a blah Anoka team away much sooner. Jack Gavin and Blaise Davis are nice guards. With their lack of size, I'm surprised they gave Princeton that close a game. Ben Ford led them in total 3s coming into the game but the way his shot looks, you wouldn't know it. Pretty disciplined team and with the NW Suburban continuing to be down, I look for a 2nd place finish.

Stat of the day though, Elk River goes to 6-3 and has not played at home yet. 4 road games and 5 neutral site games (SCSU, Target Center and 3 in the Tartan Christmas Tourney). They do finally come home on Friday night in a big section 8AAAA matchup vs St. Cloud Tech that may determine the 2 vs 3 seed which right now would mean that the lower seed would get Buffalo in a 1st round matchup.

1 month QRF checkup

So this year the boys regular season breaks down nicely into 3 1-month sections. Dec 7 (defacto start of season) - Today (Jan 7), Jan 8 - Feb 7 and Feb 8 to Mar 7 which is the defacto end of the regular season. How nice then that the 1st boys QRFs came out today as well (thanks to MN Scores, hopefully they'll add an RPI sometime down the road). Let's evaluate the metro sections based on the average QRF rank of each team, all teams are included in the analysis. Of course with some of the A teams having only a game or 2 in the MN Scores system, that can skew these numbers in a negative direction.

4A: Average QRF rank, 99.18 worst in 1A and its not close, best QRF average 3A 72.52. Next closest to 4A was 5A at 92.63. Moral of the story, the section still is dreadful and is showing me that it is indeed the worst in the state. This includes CHOF at #6 and above Maranatha (#8) which I can't see staying that high as the season goes on. Don't get me wrong, they have a nice team, but #6 overall seems high to me based on what I've seen of them. MN Transitions at 53 and St. Agnes at 63 with their Tri-Metro schedule starting will both probably move up dramatically.

4AA: Average QRF rank, 65.59 4th in 2A. Best QRF average 1AA 54.94, worst 3AA at 76.75. I thought it would be higher with heavyweights like Concordia, St. Bernard's and Holy Family.

Class AAA: Best is 6AAA at 25.25 and that's with DeLaSalle being 0-6. Absolutely amazing. Worst by far is 7AAA at 44.88. 3AAA was 2nd (28.13), 4AAA was 6th and 1AAA was 7th at 34 showing why STA should be disappointed if they don't make state (which was the thought all along that they had a cakewalk). 5AAA only finishes 4th despite having Princeton and STMA. To think what DLS, BSM and Washburn have on their road to state compared to what STA will have. That's the luck you have sometimes.

Class AAAA: No surprise that 6AAAA is the strongest at 26.63 with Hopkins and Minnetonka, but nice showings by Wayzata and Armstrong put the section in 1st and they have no team under 500 when every other AAAA section has a bad team at the bottom. 1AAAA is the weakest at 43 with only Rochester Mayo showing a high number. 2AAAA finishes 4th at 29.5, 3AAAA surprisingly weak at 6th (34.38). 4AAAA tough as expected finishing 2nd at 27.5. 4 teams from there in the top 12. 5AAAA finishes 3rd at 29.13 with their 3 strong teams and a surprising high score from Park Center. 7AAAA finishes 7th at 36.5 and shows that the section is wide open. I think this is especially true since I was not impressed with Forest Lake when I saw them on opening day. Duluth East at 3-7 giving up 77.2 pts a night isn't getting it done. That 77.2 is 3rd worst in AAAA (and 4th worst across AA, AAA and AAAA) with only Richfield (let's just say this fan is not surprised by that) and Chaska being worse in AAAA. At that rate Dyami Starks will have to score 50 a night to keep them in games. I might have to jump on the Cambridge-Isanti bandwagon. For completeness, section 8 finishes 5th at 33.38 with 3 respectable but not great teams at the top in Moorhead, St. Cloud Tech and Elk River.

That's how the numbers are today, lots to change in the last 2 months. I'll try to do this analysis again after month 2 and see what has changed.

Week 7 Schedule

I'm about halfway thru my total number games, my games this week (1/7/08)

Monday: Elk River vs Anoka at the Target Center
Tuesday: Heritage at MCA, St. Bernard's at Concordia, DLS at Minnehaha, Johnson at Hopkins
Thursday: AHA at BSM
Friday: Osseo at Park Center (B/G), STA at Richfield
Saturday: North at Central (1:00), MN Transitions at Minnehaha (4:00) , Prior Lake at Jefferson (Girls 7:30)

YTD Stats (full version)
60 games (50 boys, 10 girls)
91 different teams split as follows
  • 73 Boys
  • 18 Girls
  • 51 Minnesota teams (42 boys, 9 girls)
  • 35 Wisconsin teams (27 boys, 8 girls)
  • 5 Other teams (4 boys, 1 girls)
26 buildings
31 National Anthems
18 Hot Dogs
4 bands
2 genders
Seeing a 45 ft half-court buzzer beater: priceless

Teams I've seen in the current AP boys poll
4A: 6 (Missing Eastview, Moorhead, Shakopee and Tartan)
3A: 6 (Missing STA, Red Wing, Willmar and New Prague)
2A: 3 (Holy Family, St. Bernard's and Concordia)
1A: 2 (Cass Lake-Bena and MCA)