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.