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.


  1. CHOF's coaches scouted that game. This is a pivotal game for CHOF. After their performance at Meadow Creek I am more positive, but I always go into these kinda games expecting to lose. MTS is a young team, CHOF is a senior led team, so I hope that the Lions' experience will help. Getting blown out in the playoffs will heighten the revenge aspect for CHOF as well.

  2. I think your critique of MTS was/is fair. You did not see us at our best. Minnehaha is a good team but the type of team we will have to beat if we want to reach our "goals". I'm not the type of man that makes a lot of excuses BUT I will give a few reasons why we will be better when sections (or the next game, for that matter) roll around.

    * You are correct we were missing a few key pieces, which had a trickle effect and contributed to a lot of the problems you mentioned. Our offense was a nightmare and your right about the lapses in our defense it was awful. When we play CHOF on Tuesday, we will have two starters back.

    * Like every other team we are nicked up. Kevin Noreen(back), Jeron Jackson (back), and Kyle Noreen (ankle). Jeron is usually a beast on defense and he was not moving very well. Kyle injured his ankle in Tuesday's game, his inability to put the ball on the ground hampered his offensive game. You got to see first hand that Kevin takes a beaten during the game, but he deals with it and keeps playing hard.

    *Last excuse, I mean reason, is that we are young. Our team has matured every game and yesterday was another wake up call for them. Our Seniors and Juniors lack varsity experience. That really hurts us when we try to make adjustments during the course of the game. Our schedule gets more difficult, and I feel our team will get better and be better prepared for sections.

    As far as our section goes, we still hope that we will earn the number one seed. Tuesday's game at CHOF will go along way in determining that. I like our chances against anyone in section 4a including Maranatha. Hanson is a beast and after coaching him this summer I know he will be hard to handle but for some reason if we are lucky enough to play them, I like our chances.

    Thanks for coming to our game. If you decide to come to our game on Tuesday against CHOF, you will be in for a doozy.M

  3. Thank you both for your comments. As you can see from the poll, I think lots of people think that CHOF game will be fun. I seem to remember that these teams split last year. I know Michael Much will be in attendance for that one and will have a good article on MN Preps about it.

    I agree that CHOF's experience could be a big factor in that game. I also fully agree that you weren't close to being at your best, its clear you're better than you played.

    MTS will be more scary next year as basically everybody is back and both Noreen's will only get better.

    Part of my MCA analysis was based on the fact that I think that MTS is very similar to Heritage (Stu Herman - Kevin Noreen, John Hirte - Kyle Noreen etc) and I saw MCA blow Heritage away on Tuesday. Granted that was at MCA, you'd have them at a neutral site would definitely change the dynamic. MCA's size with Campion, both Hansons and Ristanovic (once he returns from injury) would be a huge factor. David Hanson could slow down Kevin Noreen but MTS would have no answer for Hanson (as Herman couldn't handle Hanson for Heritage, but Hanson could handle Herman)

  4. CHOF and MTS split in the regular season and MTS beat CHOF in the Section playoffs.
    Maranatha is tough at home, the only team to beat them there in along time was/is MTS.

  5. That loss to transitions dates back to the 04-05 season. I'd like to know which game was the game at MCA's game - the first or the second? The winning streak at home is at approximately 42-44 games.

    With Bernard's in AA, I like MCA's chances of going back to state, but I will not count out CHOF and Transitions.


Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.