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.