Bethlehem at CHOF Observations

A fun matchup of high-profile Class A teams as #8 ranked Bethlehem Academy of Fairbault makes the trip into the metro to take on CHOF at the SAL. Jeff Wall of MCA in the building scouting. I'm surprised he didn't take a look at MTS last night. The Basketblogger is back from his honeymoon and joins me for the game. I also had the chance to have a nice chat during the JV game with CHOF scorekeeper Bill Hedrick.

Bethlehem starts 4 juniors and a star sophomore Jordan Clark. Early on its 7-3 CHOF when Nate Fiscus gets blocks on 3 straight BA possessions. They're really attacking the lane hard but Fiscus is sending them back and it does have an impact. Alec Skluzacek gets a layin to give BA their 1st lead 12-11 with 9 to go in the half. Quiet scoring but Nick Butler gets a layup to make it 20-17 and Cole Piepkorn finds Fiscus for a bunny to make it 24-18 CHOF with 3:05 left before halftime. But Piepkorn has a couple of sloppy turnovers by being too unselfish and BA scores the last 5 of the half. 24-23 CHOF at the break. Nate Fiscus with 8 to lead the Lions. Chris Palmer leads BA with 7 and Jordan Clark has 6. BA is running some flex (no, not the flex) and their man-man D is solid and tough.

Early in the 2nd half, Palmer gets 2 and Drew Mathews gets a bucket to give BA a 32-26 lead with 15:24 to play. Its a 9-2 Cardinal run over the 1st 2:36 and 14-2 spanning 5:41 across halftime. But CHOF comes back and 2 Jake Okerstrom FTs tie it at 32 with 13 minutes left. CHOF goes to their 1-2-2 zone and BA procedes to turn the ball over on 5 of the next 6 possessions leading to 8 quick CHOF points. Fiscus and Okerstrom are on the offensive glass for 4 more points and 2 more steals get 4 more CHOF points. When the Cardinals aren't turning the ball over, they're taking quick outside shots, nothing inside and its 1 and done. Jordan Clark finally breaks the run at 6:38. Overall CHOF gets 4 pts on Offensive Rebounds and 12 points from steals/turnovers in the 21-0 run over 8:48 to give them a commanding 47-32 lead. BA tries to get back in it with a 1-2-2 of their own and CHOF gets a little sloppy against it and misses more free throws than they'd like, but the final is never in doubt after the run. CHOF wins 60-50.

Chris Palmer with 18 to lead Bethlehem Academy. Jordan Clark and Drew Mathews with 10 each. Suprisingly athletic team, solid defensively and young. They will be very scary next year and are still a serious favorite to come out of section 1A (along with Spring Grove, a team that PACT beat recently at Spring Grove). Clark is a nice player for a sophomore, don't be surprised to hear more about him down the road. And their youth is getting recognized as its just been announced that they'll be in next year's Border Battle.

CHOF gets 21 from Nate Fiscus in a huge game where he also gets at least 5 blocks and probably double digit rebounds. If this win doesn't give them the #1 seed in 4A East I don't know what does. And considering they're now 19-4 with wins over #8 2A Mayer Lutheran, #8A Bethlehem and #10A Park Christian and a tough SW Christian team that just took out MCA and a QRF of 6 before tonight, its about time they get some recognition in the state poll.

MN Transitions stuns Arlington at the buzzer

Interesting matchup tonight as I make the trip (painfully at that, thanks to awful traffic at Snelling and Larpenteur) to St. Paul Arlington to see them take on Minnesota Transitions. The Twin Cities Hoops Insider is in the house with me and the PA guy from Holy Angels is kind enough to join us to see Kevin Noreen. No worries about him being trampled by students as the place is nearly empty.

1st half is very back and forth. Its 5 all at 14 minutes, Kevin Noreen with all 5 for MTS. 16 all with 8 to play in the 1st. Arlington gets out to 22-18 but its 25 all at 3:49. Arlington extends to 30-25 at 2:27 and they go to the locker room ahead 32-27. They're starting to get good looks in the middle vs the MTS 2-2-1 but they allow MTS to stay in it at the foul line. Marques Johnson-Smith with 16 matching Kevin Noreen's 16 (11-11 FTs).

Johnson continues where he left off with 5 quick points and a Deandre White layup concludes a 9-0 Arlington run to start the 2nd half to make it 41-27 at 15:58. But Kevin Noreen stays hot as he gets the next 10 MTS points but its still 49-37 Arlington. Then Virgil Baker awakens and gets the next 8 MTS points. A Kavarian Williams layup finishes a 10-2 MTS run to make it 51-47 Arlington with 11:21 to play. But Arlington gets 9 of the next 12 to lead 60-50 with 9:15 left. They lead 64-53 with 7:10 to go. Kevin Noreen gets 1 of 2 FTs and a 3 pointer and its 67-62 Arlington with 4:20 left. Kavarian Williams hits a 3 to finish a 12-3 MTS run that makes it 67-65 with 3:50 left. Arlington gets the next 5 and they're up 72-65 with 3:15 left. But Kevin Noreen isn't done. He gets a sweet post up on the right block for 2 and then Arlington some how left him alone and he knocks down a 3. After an Arlington bucket, he gets another post bucket and its 74-72 Arlington with 1:50 left. After a Deandre White bucket, Williams misses the front end of a 1 and 1 so Arlington has the ball up 76-72 with 1:19 to play. Adonis Gray makes 1 of 2 at 1:16 to extend the lead to 5. Kyle Noreen counters with 1 of 2 at 1:13 to cut it to 4. Arlington turns the ball over at 1:04 which leads to a Kevin Noreen 3 pt play in the post with 53.3 to play. 77-76 Arlington. White misses 2 FTs with 44.2 left which results in Kyle Noreen being fouled. He comes up clutch with both FTs to give MTS their 1st lead in forever 78-77 with 43 seconds left. Out of a timeout, MTS goes to a 1-2-2 zone which they had also shown earlier (something new from them that I hadn't seen) but DeMarkeo Jones hits a 3 with 25 seconds left to give Arlington a 80-78 lead. But he immediately reaches in and fouls Kavarian Williams. Not a smart foul.

After previously missing a front end, Williams comes up clutch with both free throws with 19.8 to play and we're tied at 80. Arlington inbounds and pushes the ball up, but they turn it over at the top of the key at their end. It ends up in Kyle Noreen's hands on the high right wing near the sideline and midcourt. He gets trapped and is in trouble but he splits the trap and tries to feed Kevin Noreen at the high post but its tipped away. But Kyle comes up with the tip and swings the ball cross-court to Williams who immediately swings to Virgil Baker in the corner and there's no doubt about this one. He knocks down the corner 3 at the buzzer to give MTS a thrilling 83-80 road win. In the words of Bill Raftery, ONIONS!

Tough one for Arlington as they have 1 league game left in the regular season before they host Hill-Murray on Mar 11th in an interesting 4 v 5 game. I like that draw for Hill-Murray as Peter McKeown can be a factor vs Arlington and Johnson. Arlington falls to 12-13 with the loss. Marques Johnson-Smith leads them with 23, but he didn't play the last at least 11 minutes or so. I have no idea why. He easily could have had 35 in this game as he was matching Kevin Noreen bucket for bucket.

Speaking of Kevin Noreen, he goes absolutely nuts and finishes with 41, 25 in the 2nd half, 10 in the last 3 minutes. 14 of 16 from the line, 5 3s, dominant on the post, almost double figure rebounds. Just a tremendous game for him. I may be crazy on this one, but based on my look at the scoresheet, it appears MTS hit between 8 and 10 3s in the 2nd half. Kavarian Williams with 14 and Virgil Baker with 13 for the Wolves. A very helpful win for their #1 seed case in Section 4A, especially since it looks like their game at New Life was cancelled which would have been very valuable in the seeding discussion.

Of the 115 games I've seen so far this season, this has to rank amongst the best games that I've seen all season. We'll see if CHOF can counter this MTS win and add to their resume tomorrow when #8A Bethlehem Academy comes to the SAL to face the Lions.

Week 14 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

A couple of news items from South before we do this week's edition, Ephesia Holmes was out tonight due to some college recruiting type of violation according to the Twin Cities Hoops Insider. If she's out for South, don't look look for them to get past Hopkins. Don't be surprised if Wayzata beats them on Saturday. Tayler Hill with 25 in an easy win, but the Tigers did not look good. Also from the TCHI, Devon Lamb and 2 other South players were dismissed from the boys team at South.

They couldn't get the clock started on time and South decided to do their own warmup thing for their game (Minnetonka then South intros) after doing the intros alternately for the Wayzata/Southwest game. Makes me wish for the Michigan approach to this where even in a 1st round home game, the PA and such can't treat it like a home game. Also makes me want neutral timers like the NBA went to a couple of years ago.

Scores from 2/25 and 2/26/08 that caught my eye.
  • Hopkins and Minnetonka continue to roll in the Classic Lake as they prepare for Monday's showdown.
  • St. Thomas Academy gets a nice win over Sibley which makes the Classic Suburban interesting. Tartan is now only 1 game back and they host Sibley on the final night. How appropriate.
  • Burnsville gets Eastview again in OT, Tarell Clark with 22 in this matchup which sounds much like the 1st matchup. So with Kennedy's loss, we have the 3 way tie for 2nd. Eastview vs Burnsville in a 3AAAA final could be one of the best section championship games.
  • Prior Lake gets a big 5 pt win at Shakopee to take control of the Missota. They go 2 up with 3 to play. Shakopee falls a win behind New Prague.
  • Roosevelt with a 2 pt win at home over North to stay in the Mpls City race. They travel to league leader Henry on Monday and host Washburn next Thursday to control their own destiny.
  • The MCAA is done for the season but they had a couple of interesting non-conference games. Breck blows out New Life, but no Max Banchy for NLA. CHOF only beats Heritage on the road by 12 with no Stu Herman or John Hirte in the box for Heritage.
  • BSM wins at Spring Lake Park to set up the big showdown with Cooper on Friday night at BSM. With the Spring Lake Park loss, you have BSM with 1 league loss, Cooper with 2 and everybody else with at least 7. Spring Lake Park and Irondale are now tied for 3rd at 10-7.
  • Osseo officially clinches the NW Suburban (which has been over since it began) but they get taken to the limit by Champlin Park to do it. Nice to see a close game for Osseo as they approach the tournament. Park Center with the home upset of Elk River. Everybody in the league has at least 5 conference losses besides Osseo. So we ask, is the high number of conference losses in the league a sign of balance and strength or a sign of a weak league?
  • Harding takes Johnson to 2 overtimes before Johnson hangs on. Como Park can basically hand Johnson the league title with a win at Central on Friday. Speaking of Central, Dylan Hale with 39 and Larry Brown with 28 in a blowout of Arlington (who I'll see tomorrow vs MTS in a fun game)
  • Forest Lake does it again in the Suburban East as they pull the upset of Cretin-Derham Hall despite 29 pts from Michael Floyd. After starting 9-1, they went 1-6, but the Rangers have now won 6 in a row (5 at home) including back-back wins over Stillwater and CDH. If they can finish the season with a win at Mounds View, I might have to jump on their bandwagon in section 7AAAA. This result means that Stillwater's game at MV on Friday night is big. If Stillwater wins to stay in the front runner spot, FL will be looking at a chance to play for 3rd at MV on the final night. Stillwater holds off Woodbury in a good game where Joel Armstrong becomes the all time leading scorer for the Ponies. Congrats to Joel, Winona St got a steal with him. Nice to see him play with another SEC alum, Max Hintz of Woodbury.
  • In the Tri-Metro, a Zach Towle bomb late in OT wins it for Concordia at St. Bernard's. The Bulldogs had won 15 in a row coming in and this 2nd loss is another heartbreaker. Jordair Jett with 36 in the loss. While Concordia is mathematically alive, SB wins over SPA and Blake will give them the East even if they lose the monster game to DLS next Tuesday. St. Agnes can play spoiler for the West teams as they have DLS and Minnehaha left in addition to a nice section 4A matchup with SW Christian on Monday night.

Eden Prairie at Bloomington Kennedy Observations

Tonight takes me to a Lake Conference showdown between Kennedy and Eden Prairie. The first time these teams played, EP won 108-65. Would tonight be more of the same? Kennedy can tie for the league lead with a win but an EP win can essentially clinch the league title.

No Carlton Starr in the starting lineup for Kennedy but he's in at 16:02. Kennedy leads 3-1 on a Alfred Jaryan 3, but that's the last lead they'll hold. Brett Ervin gets a 3 pt play to give EP the lead for good and finishes a 10-2 run with a bucket to make it 11-5 with 13 minutes left in the 1st half. Ethan Wragge (pictured) gets his 1st field goal with a 3 to make it 20-12 @8:10 and then he gets a layup off a steal to make it 24-14 EP @ 7:21. He hits a 3 to end the half and its 38-16 EP going to the break. Its a 23-4 EP run over the last 9 minutes of the half. Jaryan has 10 points and Carlton Starr has the other 6 for Kennedy. All their offense is 1 on 1 off the bounce. Starr was initially guarded by Carter Bykowski (awful matchup for EP, didn't get that one), but after EP fixed that, he was done. Wragge with 10 and Ervin with 9 for EP.

The second half is more of the same. Jaryan tries to make it interesting with a circus fadeaway for a 3 pt play that makes it 42-24 @ 15:10. The 1st points solely from someone other than Jaryan or Starr come from Josh Nance at 13:10 (he got a layup on the possession before off a nice screen/roll from Jaryan). A Starr bucket makes it 46-30 EP with 12:45 to play but after an EP timeout, that's it. I leave with 4:03 to go and its 62-33 EP after a 16-3 run over 8:42.

Alfred Jaryan with 19 but lots of shots. Carlton Starr with 10 and Josh Nance with the other 4 points. No offense at all for Kennedy, just 1 on 1 or shoot 3s. Bobby Fong goes bagel thanks to Ethan Wragge's defense and that bad offense. Kennedy was just awful on both ends and laid another huge egg in a big game. They're now 2 games back thanks to 2 blowout losses to EP. Big loss as they had a chance at the #2 seed in 2AAAA, now they're closer to 4th as I'd seed Prior Lake and Shakopee higher. More likely they end up 3rd. A very Jeckyl and Hyde team as they can be dangerous with their perimeter people, but if they don't get it done, they can be brutal to watch as they were tonight and in the Hopkins game. Kennedy vs Richfield (Matt Mullenbach, Richfield asst was in the house tonight) would be fun with Renard Robinson vs Carlton Starr plus the guard matchups like DeAaron Hearn vs Alfred Jaryan

As to Eden Prairie, Ethan Wragge with 12 pts on 4 of 9 shooting, 5 rebs and 3 ast (+ another screen that directly led to a Ryan Grant bucket) according to my unofficial score sheet when I left early. Brett Ervin with 11, Carter Bykowski and Ryan Grant each with 8. Great balance for EP. They have a good case for the #1 seed in 2AAAA being Lake champions and non-conference losses to Cretin-Derham Hall and Minnetonka. Don't count the winner of the Missota out of this discussion either.

Ethan Wragge photo courtesy of

Goodhue at Bethany Observations

Finally I can go out to a game and not worry about hypothermia. Must mean the tournament is fast approaching. Seeing Goodhue tonight should be interesting as they totally blew out New Life Academy 70-38 at the end of January but came into tonight on a 3 game losing streak to be 12-10. Bethany on the other hand is on a 3-10 stretch starting with MCAA play.

Bethany is within 9-6 early but a 19-1 run by Goodhue over an 8 minute stretch of the 1st half puts the game out of reach. Bethany is cold vs the Wildcats' 1-3-1 and Goodhue is hot and picking apart the Bethany 2-3 zone. David Glover gets a 4 point play as a bright spot but its 35-13 Goodhue at the half. Glover with 10 of the 13 Eagle points. Big Dan McNamara (think James Eayrs of Roseville fame) has 8 for Goodhue and he's only a junior. Massive presence inside. Glover had a really tough matchup there in the middle of that 2-3 zone.

The 2nd half doesn't get much better. Bethany scraps the entire half and does pull to 14 thanks to 3 3s from Glover in a 15-4 run but the game is still a blow out. Goodhue showed 1 possession of triangle and 2 midway thru the half which I thought was strange. A, because the game was a blowout and B, besides Glover, there wasn't anyone else scoring for Bethany. They were bothered a little by Bethany's 1-2-2 3 quarter court press, but nothing significant. Dan McNamara finishes with 12 in a balanced attack. They've got a nice point guard in Kelby Buck, McNamara inside and a couple of shooters so they can be dangerous. David Glover finishes with 21 to lead Bethany. Kyle Brubaker and Jordan Flom leads Bethany's scrappiness all the way to the final buzzer and each finish with 12. Jameson Parsons would really help this team though, tough loss for them.

Looks like Bethany will have a play-in game come tourney time (Monday 3/10). Goodhue probably looking at a 4 seed in a relatively weak west subsection of 1A, but they'd have to deal with Bethlehem Academy in round 2 if they end up #4.

Week 13 Observations and Week 14 Schedule

A special editon of the weekly preview this week as the Czar comes to you from the Old Kingdom after venturing back for the Wisconsin regional finals. A quiet week but I did recover from the withdrawal symptoms caused by seeing only 1 game in a 5 day stretch. Since I was a fool and didn't make arrangements for tickets to the Arcadia/Aquinas game, I got the chance to see Logan's frosh star Trevor Jorgenson (#2 Fr in WI) play for the 1st time. The Emperor of the Old Kingdom (my dad) was with me and called it right on the money during warmups when he thought Jorgenson looked tight. He goes 1-4 FG, 0-2 FTs to finish with 2 pts and 2 rebounds in about 20 minutes of playing time as he got 2 early fouls and only played 8 minutes in the 1st half. He was tenative on D in the 2nd half with the fouls too. Logan gives up 23 (including 2 big 3s during the decisive 8-0 3rd Q run) to Watertown's leader Zach Lauresdorf. Very disappointing that there wasn't a single high-low set run for Jorgenson. Lots of 4 out - 1 in with him just fighting his way back and forth across the lane. He only had a handful of inside touches and when he only gets 4 shots and you give up 23 to the opponent's best player, you can't win that way. In fact Logan's best offense was, heaven forbid, the Flex when Trevor was out of the game (they never ran it with him in there). So after much gnashing of teeth about being 19-1 and only getting a 4 seed, the hated Rangers are gone as Watertown wins 67-60.

As to Aquinas, after a 28-20 halftime lead, they outscore Arcadia 24-10 in the 3rd and roll to an easy 62-36 win. Pardeeville and Cuba City in the bottom half of the bracket with a chance for a state semifinal vs Whitefish Bay Dominican.

Scores from the end of week 13 (Th-Sat) that caught my eye.
  • Minnetonka blows out Wayzata, 8 days until Tonka/Hopkins part 2.
  • Tartan beats STA by 10 thanks to 26 from Marc Sonnen to take sole possession of 2nd in the Classic Suburban.
  • On Thursday, Eastview holds off Kennedy by 2 thanks to 24 from Johnie Sanders. Kennedy falls 2 back in the loss column. But on Friday, Eden Prairie gives the help right back by losing at home to Lakeville N so Tuesday's EP at Kennedy game looms very large. Tuesday also has Eastview at Burnsville. So Burnsville and EP wins would cause a 3 way tie for 2nd (Burnsville, EV and Kennedy) with EP having a 2 game lead with 3 to play. On the other hand, Kennedy and EV wins would cause a 3 way tie for 1st (EP, EV and Kennedy) with EP still having a trip to Burnsville.
  • In the Missota, New Prague holds off Holy Angels and Northfield pulls the upset at Shakopee. Prior Lake now alone on top at 8-2 with Shakopee 6-3. They play in Shakopee on Tuesday. AHA falls into a tie for 4th at with Farmington at 5-5.
  • SW Christian pulls the upset on Maranatha in the MCAA Tournament final 45-42. The close games away from home finally come up and bite the Mustangs. Heritage beats NLA in the 3rd place game.
  • No surprises in the North Suburban as Cooper gets ready to try to take a share of the league title on Tuesday at BSM.
  • Centennial pulls another surprise in the NW Suburban as they upset Champlin Park. Tough road ahead for the Rebels as they have Osseo and Elk River this week. Maple Grove had a chance to get within a game of CP but they lose at Park Center.
  • Forest Lake pulls the upset of Stillwater on Thursday spoiling the Ponies chances in the Suburban East, now they'll need help from Forest Lake on Tuesday to see if somebody can knock off Cretin-Derham Hall before the playoffs.
  • In the Tri-Metro, Brooklyn Center continues to sink faster than the Titanic. An 18 pt loss at Roosevelt and then a 2 pt home loss to Blake. That's 9 of 11 now for the Centaurs. DeLaSalle wins the battle with Minnehaha in a low scoring 44-42 game. Royce White with 20 for DLS. That win essentially clinches the West. St. Bernard's can officially clinch the East with a home win over Concordia on Tuesday.
Week 14 Schedule
Monday: Goodhue at Bethany

Tuesday: I'll be watching Eden Prairie at Kennedy. Eastview at Burnsville, Concordia at SB, Prior Lake at Shakopee, Sibley at STA, Breck at NLA, BSM at Spring Lake Park

Wednesday: Oh Day Aki at MTS and girls tournament action

Thursday: PACT at Bethany and girls tournament action

Friday: Lots of good games. Cooper at BSM, Como Park at Central, Bethlehem Academy at CHOF, WL at MTS, Eagan at Burnsville, Wayzata at Hopkins

Saturday: North at DLS (5:00) and girls tournament action

YTD Stats
110 games (82 MN split 70 boys and 12 girls, 28 WI split 24 boys and 4 girls)
44 buildings
137 teams (110 boys and 27 girls, 94 MN teams split 76 boys and 18 girls, 37 Wisconsin split 29 boys and 8 girls, 6 outstate split 5 boys and 1 girls)
2 Genders

Current Poll Stats
4A: 8 (Missing Rochester Mayo and St. Cloud Tech)
3A: 5 (BSM, STMA, Johnson, Princeton, Rocori)
2A: 1 (St. Bernard's)
1A: 2 (MCA and Cass Lake-Bena)

Mounds View at Cretin-Derham Hall Observations

A fun pregame with Ziggy being ready to take over the Masters at Augusta with his green jacket. Lots of coaches in attendance including Tom Dasovich (Sibley), Dennis Bloom (Stillwater) and a late arriving Tim Theisen (Osseo). But where is Scott Howell of St. Paul Central? Some Sibley players in attendance as well as Cameron Cain of Holy Family who was sitting down the row from me (I think). I also had a nice conversation with a couple of the Forest Lake Rangers who were kind enough to come over and visit at halftime.

The CDH girls were playing Eden Prairie in the state semis in girls hockey (go figure another CDH/EP matchup) so the student section was a little sparse for CDH, but good none the less. A strange happening during warmups as the shot clock over the Mounds View basket fell out and crashed to the floor. Not the entire contraption, just the shot clock numbers part. Very strange, but they turned it off and got stuff cleaned up so there was no delay to the start of this big Suburban East showdown.

Mounds View gets out to a 7-0 lead @ 14:30 thanks to a couple of Justin Harding buckets and a Nick Bartlett 3. MV gets a bucket to make it 14-10 before a 11-0 CDH run puts CDH up 21-14 @ 7:40. John Nance and Michael Floyd (pictured) get steals for layups and Floyd concludes the run with a post up 2 off a set play (Heart). Mounds View then switches from their man D to a 1-3-1 to try and slow CDH down but it has minimal impact as Floyd gets a put back, Marcus Binns gets a layup and Seantrel Henderson gets a putback to make it 29-19 @ 3:30. The rest of the half is slow as CDH pulls it out vs that 1-3-1. 32-22 CDH at the break. Floyd with 11, Nance with 7. For MV, only 3 players scored. Bartlett with 9, Harding with 7 and Mike Schramm with 6. Bartlett really struggled with the pressure D of CDH for a minimum of 3 turnovers, 2 of which were during the run of 19-5 over 8 minutes. Cold shooting too for the Mustangs.

2 quick CDH layups to start the 2nd half lead to 2 quick MV timeouts. 36-22 CDH @ 16:16 and MV goes back to the man D. After a CDH phantom timeout at 13:07 (they call timeout, no whistle, CDH throws the ball to the ref and they still get the timeout), they go to some 1-3-1. Henderson gets 7 straight CDH points and its 43-27 CDH @ 10:45. Floyd electrifies the crowd with a steal and a power dunk on a breakaway to make it 50-32 with 9 to go. He also gets a nice 3 pt play and Nance adds a steal for 2 to make it 56-35 inside 7 minutes and the rout is on. It's 58-38 CDH @ 5:09 when CDH goes 4 corners and pours on a few more points. Floyd and Nance are done at 3:45 with the score 64-38 CDH. Final is 66-44 Raiders in a surprising blowout.

Michael Floyd with 22 to lead CDH. Seantrel Henderson with 14 and John Nance with 11. Nick Bartlett with 14 to lead Mounds View. CDH's athleticism really bothered Mounds View despite Mounds View's top 7 all being between 6'4 and 6'7. That would make a Cooper/Mounds View section semi at Rogers on March 14th very interesting as they'd have difficulty with Rodney Williams Jr and the rest of Cooper's athletes. It promises to be a classic matchup of players (MV) vs athletes (Cooper). For CDH, they will be really battle tested in 4AAAA even as the #1 seed. A semifinal game vs Tartan or Central is tough and then a final vs Stillwater or Sibley is really tough. You have to feel for Central, they could go 20-6, win their league and not even get a home game.

Michael Floyd photo courtesy of

Providence at Concordia (Bl) Observations

There are the great matchups like Hopkins - Minnetonka. Then we have the extremely good matchups like Osseo-Sibley. There are the OK matchups and the bad matchups (Roseville -Arlington). Then there's tonight's Providence at Concordia (Bl) game. The full 5 flaming torches in the eye designation goes to this game as Providence is dead last in 2A QRF (against a largely 1A schedule) at 1-20. Concordia was 4-16 coming in and 158 of 171 in the A QRF. 11-48 is the record of the 3 other opponents they beat besides Providence (total 12-68). They beat Providence 47-44 back on January 29th. At starting intros, they introduce Providence and you can hear crickets as there might be 50 people in the building max.

Providence gets out to a 11-4 lead at 12:30 of the 1st half. C-Bl closes to 15-12 before Sam Eaton and Zach Money get layups to start a run. The 10-0 run also includes one of the prettiest possessions of zone offense that I've seen all year. Providence makes about 6 passes, blows 1 chance for an easy layup (that's the not pretty part), but gets the ball back and makes the same passes to get the same easy layup. Unselfish, everybody touching the ball everywhere. Providence goes to the locker room up 30-19. Frosh Joe Zangel with 7 pts for the Lions.

After the C-Bl coach gets a T from the hot-headed officiating crew, Providnece extends the lead to 38-26 with about 12 minutes to go. C-Bl pulls to 44-37 outside of 6 minutes but Providence gets the next 8 thanks to a backdoor layup from Sam Eaton, a Zangle steal and layup, and 2 Zach Money layups related to C-Bl turnovers. That run makes it 52-37 with 5:06 to play. Providence doesn't close out well but they're in no danger of losing this one. They win 60-50.

Joe Zangle with 13 for Providence. He has the potential to develop into a Caleb Palkert type of player in 3 years which wouldn't be bad at all. C-Bl remains on my list of teams with a really bleak outlook in the near future. Tough spot for them, the roster lists 3 7th graders and 4 freshmen for the JVs and they only started 1 senior. They were led by 12 points from Jr C Andrew Erdman. C-Bl went 12-29 from the line by my unofficial count, tough to win games that way. I was surprised they stayed in their 2-3 zone as long as they did and they only showed 1 possession of 1-3-1. Providence's man offense while OK early, was totally out of whack once C-Bl went back man. At least Concordia has a play-in game (projected). Providence will get blown out by Holy Family in the 1st round of the tourney.

If you want to a be a rodent (follower that is)

That's a bad parody of Wisconsin's "If you want to be a Badger" song you hear on game days. Remember as a Badger, I'm obligated to refer to anything Goldy as a rodent. I couldn't help but notice the PJS blog. That's Paging Jim Shikenjanski for those of you scoring at home. Its a fun read if you're a Gopher follower. Anything with a Jim Shikenjanski reference is worth my time. I've added a link to my links, scroll down on the right for what I read, and you can click here to read it as well.

Note to self, try to remember some of the bad big guys UW had in the 80s during that quality Steve Yoder era. Patrick Tompkins doesn't count.

Week 13 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

An early morning edition this week, these are scores from 2/19 that caught my eye.

OK so we cheat a little and start with Monday's Henry/North game. Henry in a romp over North again, but they still give up 82 pts. They may lead class 3A in scoring (78.9) but they're also giving up 72.1 a night. Mandela Jackson with 31 pts and star soph Jordan Hughes blows up for 41 pts with 8 3s. 15 3s total for the Patriots, wow. Cory Polta vs Alonzo Melton would be fun in a Spring Lake Park/Henry 3AAA game along with Shaun Jensen vs Henry's guards. Melton is one of the few guys Polta would see that's just as big. While the records don't show it, I think Henry is clearly the team to beat in 3AAA, especially if they turn up the D.

Tuesday action
  • Hopkins and Wayzata roll in the Classic Lake as we start to look ahead to the March 3rd Hopkins/Tonka rematch.
  • Sibley with a romp over Hill-Murray in the Classic Suburban. They prepare for a big showdown at STA next Tuesday. But STA has a tough trip to Tartan on Friday night 1st. Everything still holding to form with Tartan, STA and Sibley rolling along.
  • Eastview beats up on Lakeville N again which leaves Eagan only a 1/2 game out of the upper 1/2. Kennedy barely wins at Rosemount as Andrew Brommer has 24 for the Irish. Kennedy at Eastview tonight and then they host Eden Prairie on Tuesday (Eastview at Burnsville as well) in games that will likely finalize the top of the Lake standings.
  • MCA beats Heritage again and SW Christian gets an OT win over New Life for those teams to advance to the MCAA Tournament final on Friday night at Heritage. Heritage vs New Life in the consolation final at Heritage in the early game. Trinity locks up the Friendship bracket with a win over Concordia (Bl)
  • Shakopee knocks off New Prague and Prior Lake holds off Holy Angels. Prior Lake and Shakopee now 2 games clear in the loss column. They battle Tuesday night in Shakopee.
  • In the North Suburban, no Joe Bright again for Cooper. Rodney Williams has 26 to lead the Hawks back from 4 down at halftime to a 10 pt win at Chisago Lakes. Josh Figini with another huge night of 41 points for the Wildcats. Cooper at BSM next Friday night to determine the league winner.
  • In the Northwest Suburban, Centennial with the upset of Elk River by 3. Champlin Park continues to roll as they beat Coon Rapids. Maple Grove gets back on the winning track with a win over Anoka. Finally Park Center with a tight one over Andover in a game that went extra time.
  • In the St. Paul City, Johnson wins another close one over Como Park. Como Park can give Johnson the city title outright with a win at Central next Friday night.
  • In the Suburban East, CDH sqeaks out another one vs Woodbury. Mounds View comes calling for the Raiders on Friday night in a game I'll be attending. MV still has Stillwater remaining (at MV next Friday) so a 3 way tie for the title isn't totally out of the question.
  • Nothing but blowouts in the Tri-Metro. Minnehaha at DLS Friday in a big West division game and St. Bernard's can clinch the east with a home win over Concordia on Tuesday.
Congrats to Kevin Noreen for passing the 1500 career point mark in the MN Transitions win over Four Directions. Congrats to Mike Bruesewitz on committing to Wisconsin. He couldn't have selected a finer institution! Bucky continues to get MN talent. We'll see how long that lasts with Tubby in town. Also nice to see Dale Wakasugi back on the court officiating. John Millea did a nice article on his return to Fridley this week.

The Wisconsin playoffs started this week. My beloved La Crosse Central Red Raiders took it on the chin at home to Marquis Mason of Madison East. Logan and Aquinas move on with Aquinas playing again tonight to move into a big showdown with Arcadia on Saturday night.

Brooklyn Center at DeLaSalle observations

Game #107 of the 07-08 season takes the Czar to DLS under the theory that if there's no outstanding game, you go see an outstanding player (i.e. Royce White). Brooklyn Center won the 1st matchup by one at BC sans Royce, but tonight with Royce back, no chance. BC hits 1 outside shot in the 1st 10 minutes. Royce gets yanked for a quick jumper and sits a couple of minutes during this time but no matter. Late in the half, Royce really takes over. He gets a post up for a dunk to make it 28-12 DLS @4:54. He finds Jalen Jaspers for 2 of his 6 straight (which he finished with a dunk) and then another dunk of his own to make it 36-16 @ 2:24 and he finds Jaspers again right before the half. DLS goes to the break with a commanding 42-18 lead. Royce with 13 and numerous assists (direct or indirect). Jaspers with 10, all on easy layups mostly thanks to Royce, he's doing a terrific job making himself available close to the rim. Bryce Hawkins with 8. Tyrese Chambers leads BC with 6 on 3 prayers.

To start the 2nd half, Royce gets a layup, and finds Jaspers for another layup. Dwight Potter gets 5 in a row to make it 46-25 @ 15:12. Royce starts a run with a nice flash to 7 ft for 2 and then a pretty dunk from Tim Swords. Hawkins with a layup from Royce and then 2 of his own on the post to be a part of the 1st 10 DLS points of the half. Hawkins gets 2 more on a 4th attempt (2 missed bunnies from Royce and then he puts back his own missed bunny) to extend the lead to 61-26 @ 11:17. The DLS run is 15-1 over 4 minutes and Royce's evening is done. The rest is garbage time. DLS wins 78-51.

BC just came down and jacked up quick shots during their miserable 1st half. DeAngelo Potter leads them with 12. Freddie Young with only 1 of 2 FTs for his 1 point. They've now lost 7 of 9 and only beaten MPA and SPA during that stretch. This follows 8 wins in a row that started with the DLS win and finished with the upset of Concordia. More and more it looks like they'll fall to the #4 seed in 4AA West, but with Edison now losing 4 in a row, you never know.

Royce White with a huge offensive night with 21 pts and made the offense go. While he is the offensive star, I'd like to see more intensity on the defensive end. Jalen Jaspers with a really good game of 14 pts and Bryce Hawkins with 12. DLS back to 500 at 10-10. The seeding discussion in section 6AAA is going to be real interesting for them. I could stretch them to the 2 seed (which would not make AHA happy) or I could see them falling to #6. More likely they'll be somewhere inbetween. How interesting and ironic would a 4 vs 5 Orono/DLS rematch be? Jeremy Randle with the late layup last year to win that one.

Also congrats to coach Thorson on the birth of his child. I'm sure his kid will be doing perfect defensive slides by age 3. I'd pay money to see the kid's 1st words be "4 motion!, 4 motion!"

School doesn't allow female referee to officiate

Crazy story out of Kansas from Wed Feb 13th. A female referee was scheduled to work a game and was all ready to go when a school official insisted she could not call the game. Reason: As a woman, she could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy's beliefs. How ridiculous is that! Thankfully, the other officials present who were already working or asked to replace her walked off with her. Props to them.

The entire story can be found here.

Hopefully the Kansas State High School Activity Association cracks down hard on this.

Week 12 observations and Week 13 schedule

Scoreboard watching from the end of week 12.

  • Johnson gets a tip-in at the buzzer to beat Central to put both teams at 7-1 atop the St. Paul City. Como Park is 1 game back at 6-2 and they get a shot at both teams starting with Johnson on Tuesday night.
  • In the other big city game, Henry easily handles Washburn at Washburn. Star soph Jordan Hughes has 29 and Mandela Jackson with 20 as these 2 continue to be a handful for opponents on the perimeter. Henry at North on Monday afternoon for the Mpls City lead.
  • Prior Lake beats New Prague to stay on top of the Missota with Shakopee. The Sabers travel to New Prague on Tuesday night.
  • CHOF with a quality road win at St. Croix Lutheran. The Lions have the week off to prepare for tough games with Heritage and Bethlehem Academy

Classic Suburban: This league continues to go according to plan with Sibley, St. Thomas Academy and Tartan all winning. STA travels to Tartan on Friday night before hosting Sibley.

Classic Lake: Hopkins too much for Minnetonka in round 1 of their battles. Wayzata makes their claim as the 3rd best team with a 15 pt win over Armstrong.

MCAA Tournament (1st round): #5 Heritage beats #4 West Lutheran which shouldn't be a surprise considering Heritage also won the regular season matchup. The rest of the tournament goes according to plan. Trinity avenges a regular season loss to Providence in the friendship bracket.

North Suburban: Cooper holds off St. Louis Park, only 15 pts for Rodney Williams and no Joe Bright in the box score. Chisago Lakes pulls the big upset at Spring Lake Park 64-61 as they come from 5 down at the half. Josh Figini wins the battle inside with Cory Polta with 29 points. The loss pushes the Panthers to 4th and moves Irondale up to 3rd in the league standings.

Northwest Suburban: Champlin Park with a good 7 pt home win over Blaine, 7 out of 8 now for the Rebels. They stand alone in 2nd place, 2 games up in front of our next game. Elk River beats Maple Grove to tie the Crimson for 3rd place. The Elks have now won 4 out of 5. Maple Grove has now lost 5 of 6 after winning 8 straight.

Suburban East: Forest Lake wins the rematch with Woodbury to move up to 4th. Stillwater pays a visit on Thursday night. Stillwater holds off White Bear Lake in OT. Mounds View holds off Park. Big one for MV as they go to CDH on Friday night. They also host Stillwater later so the Mustangs still control their own fate.

Tri-Metro: DeLaSalle beats Breck to stay on top of the Tri-Metro West by 1/2 game over Minnehaha. DLS can essentially clinch the west this week as they host Brooklyn Center on Tuesday and Minnehaha on Friday. Taylor Sparkman is back for the Redhawks and had 11 pts vs Blake on Thursday. 2 DLS wins would put them 2 up on Minnehaha in the loss column with 3 to play.

Saturday: West Lutheran was probably worn out from their Friday night showdown and then having the afternoon game at CHOF as CHOF blows out WL. Como Park with a 4 pt home win over Washburn. Washburn 0-3 vs the 3 top teams in St. Paul with the 3 losses by a total of 9 points. Rashede Hageman has only 6 points and fouls out. Forest Lake with a statement in section 7AAAA as they blowout Duluth East. Dyami Starks with 31 of the 64 Duluth East points. Lakeville N with a good win over Moorhead. Breck with 93 points in a win over Mankato East. Wow.

Week 13 Schedule:
Probably the worst week of the year on the schedule

Monday: Presidents Day means only 1 game on the schedule and that's the traditional Henry/North showdown (1 PM at North). As usual this game will determine a league leader as both teams stand on top at 6-2. Unfortunately, the czar will be stuck in his office cubicle.

Tuesday: Johnson at Como Park is the biggest game of the night. Hopefully the 2nd matchup is better than the 1st matchup. Jefferson at Burnsville, Armstrong at Hopkins, Brooklyn Center at DLS.

Wednesday: No games

Thursday: Providence at Concordia (Bl) in the MCAA friendship bracket is my game. Also St. Paul City play and Brooklyn Center at Roosevelt (5:30).

Friday: Mounds View at Cretin-Derham Hall in a huge Suburban East matchup. Minnehaha at DLS, Washburn at North and a fun non-conference game as Delano comes in to play Henry.

Saturday: Back to Wisconsin for the Regional finals as the Wisconsin boys tournament kicks off this week. La Crosse Aquinas vs Arcadia in a big D3 (AA) game and possibly La Crosse Logan vs Watertown to see the #2 frosh in Wisconsin, manchild Trevor Jorgenson. Locally a couple of fun games, Richfield at Minneapolis North and Orono at Breck, both games at 2 PM. Also the girls twin cities game which gives Central a chance for revenge against South.

YTD Stats
  • 106 games (79 MN split 67 boys and 12 girls, 27 WI split 23 boys and 4 girls)
  • 42 buildings
  • 134 teams (107 boys and 27 girls, 93 MN teams split 75 boys and 18 girls, 35 Wisconsin split 27 boys and 8 girls, 6 outstate split 5 boys and 1 girls)
  • 2 Genders
Current Poll Stats
4A: 8 (Missing Rochester Mayo and St. Cloud Tech)
3A: 5 (BSM, STMA, Johnson, AHA, Princeton)
2A: 1 (St. Bernard's)
1A: 2 (MCA and Cass Lake-Bena)

Rosemount at Jefferson Observations

Congrats to the basketblogger on getting married tonight. As to me, I'm at Jefferson in a relatively empty gym. Jefferson leads 12-6 at 12:30 on a Moses Alipate bucket. Rosemount closes to 14-13 with 10:10 to go in the half. Marcus Alipate comes in and picks up 2 quick fouls for illegal screens. Aaron Barmore and Moses score to make it 23-13 before a Tim Sauer bucket at 6:15 breaks a 9-0 Jefferson run over the last 4 minutes. Barmore picks up his 2nd foul at 5:03 and he gone for the rest of the half with Jefferson up 25-17. Rosemount gets the next 5 points before 4 from Jefferson and then 4 inside points for the Irish. Jefferson is struggling vs the 1-3-1 (Brommer in back) that Rosemount went to for the last 4 minutes or so of the half but they lead 33-27 at the half. Moses Alipate with 10, Aaron Barmore with 9 and Marcus Alipate with 3. Mark Wieloch with 3 3s for 9 points to lead Rosemount. Tim Sauer with 8, Andrew Brommer with only 2 as Sauer's defender is backing off to prevent the high low action to Brommer. On my highly unofficial stat sheet I had Brommer 1-4 FG, 5 Rbs and a turnover.

Barmore opens the 2nd half with a pretty backdoor layup. Wieloch hits a 3 to pull Rosemount to 38-34 with 16 minutes to play. Another Barmore bucket and 4 points from Moses extend the Jefferson lead to 46-34 at 12:35. Rosemount goes back to the 1-3-1 during this time but with Brommer on top. Interesting twist but he never dropped back in the lane in it to be a factor on the glass. They don't stay in this long, maybe 3 possessions.

Brommer starts to get it rolling with a putback for 2 and Sauer gets a 3 pt play for 5 quick Rosemount points. Troy Hoeppner gets 6 points, 4 from steals and Brommer has 8 points while Moses gets 5 straight Jefferson points and its 55-51 at 8:04. Brommer gets an easy lob bucket off an inbounds play and makes 1 of 2 FTs to make it 57-54 with 6:30 to play. Barmore gets another pretty backdoor bucket to make it 62-58 Jefferson with 3:25 to play. Then Brommer takes the game over.

Brommer gets hacked on a 10 footer off an inbounds play but makes it anyway (misses the FT). Marcus Alipate misses a layup. Brommer hits 1 of 2 again from the line and its 62-61 Jefferson inside 3 minutes. After a Jefferson timeout, Brommer gets 2 straight 3 point plays inside around 2 Barmore FTs and all of a sudden its 67-64 Rosemount with 2:04 left. 9 straight Rosemount points for Brommer in just over a minute. Rosemount goes 1-2-2 out of a timeout and Barmore quickly gets a bucket to make it 67-66 with 1:30 to play. Hoeppner misses 2 FTs, but Marcus Alipate misses a 3 with 35 seconds left, then Justin Maeck misses 2 more FTs with 27 seconds left.

Jefferson inbounds from halfcourt out of a timeout and they inbound to Barmore looking to hit Marcus Alipate for a screen the screener flare play that they've used this year and in the past. But Marcus isn't open and its chaos. Finally Nate Schlangen (maybe the 1 guy Rosemount wanted to shoot) puts up a corner 3 and its in an out. Loose ball and Jefferson gets it with the possession arrow pointing their way with 4 seconds left. Out of the timeout they had the ball underneath and put Barmore and Moses on the blocks with the other 2 guys in the ballside corner and top of the key respectively. Marcus Alipate is inbounding and they appear to look for the lob to Moses but instead the ball goes all the way out top to Ellis Libby who fires it back to Marcus in the corner who throws up a 3 at the horn that is no good and Rosemount gets a 67-66 victory.

Another tough loss for the Jaguars at home in Lake play. 2 pts to Kennedy, 5 pts to Eastview in a game they had won, Eden Prairie by 1, and now this 1 pt loss. Tack on a 8 pt loss at Kennedy, 6 pt loss at Rosemount, and a 3 pt loss at Lakeville North and they could have only 1 loss in league play (a home blowout loss to Burnsville). Aaron Barmore with 23, Moses Alipate with 20 but where was he on defense against Brommer at the end. Amazing how they had done such a good job all night and then just collapsed.

For Rosemount, I'm obligated to say that Brommer got it done in a big way tonight. After seeing him over the past 2 years and not being impressed, he was big with 20 2nd half points and 22 overall. Unofficially I had him for 22 pts on 8-13 shooting (7-9 2nd half) with 10 rebounds. Tim Sauer with a nice game of 15 points at the other big spot. When Brommer is at the high post and Sauer low with Wieloch on the perimeter that's tough to deal with. Wieloch finishes with 4 3s for 12 points. Good win on Rosemount's resume as they are fighting Eagan for the 4th seed in 3AAAA.

Shakopee at Holy Angels Crazy Ending

Game #105 of the season takes me to Holy Angels for a big Missota Conference matchup between #8 4A Shakopee and #10 3A Holy Angels. Both teams came in tied at the top of the league with 2 losses each with the other 2 teams (Prior Lake and New Prague) also playing each other tonight. The 2 things I'm watching in this game are how Shakopee deals with the size of James Pfitzinger and Bonzi Wells (Sahr Ngekia). The other is the defense of Luke Sames (pictured) vs the offense of Stoddard Barnhill.

Matt Zager gets off to a quick start as he has 8 quick points to give Shakopee a 13-6 lead at 13:20. He gets points 9 and 10 on a pretty backdoor layup to make it 17-8 with 12 to go in the half. After a AHA timeout with 8:49 left (22-12 Shako), AHA finally starts pounding the ball inside. Big James gets a 3 pt play, Bonzi gets a deuce but misses the FT and Pfitzinger gets another 2 to make it 26-21 at 7:10. But Shakopee comes back with a 13-2 run to make it 39-23 at 3:30 before Pfitzinger gets another bucket. Shakopee plays sloppy the rest of half and coach Kugath is imploring his team to focus. They lead 43-33 at the break. Zager with 14 for the Sabers. Big James with 12 for the Stars. Barnhill gets his only 2 of the half on a runout that gets goaltended.

AHA starts the 2nd half with momentum as Barnhill is heating up. After a big James bucket, Barnhill gets a steal and 2, then an offensive rebound for 2 and finally scores directly vs Sames and its 49-45 with 13:20 to play. Zager has all 6 Sabers points in the half. AHA is now trying to force the ball inside that isn't working. Shakopee pushes the lead to 57-47 before a Joe St. Mane (he of no mane I might add as he has a shaved head) steal for a 3 pt play makes it 57-50 with 6:24 to play. Pfitzinger gets a block, but throws the ball right to DJ Killeen who scores over big James. He also misses the front end of the bonus. Will Baregi hits 2 FTs to make it 59-52 Shakopee with 4:42 to play. Jake Ewing gets a nice backdoor layup from Sames to make it 61-51 with 4:15 to go and then Ricky Margarit misses a front end at 4:10. Barnhill gets another steal but walks and Ewing hits 2 FTs to make it 63-54 with 3:14 left. Will Baregi scores again before Shakopee runs clock vs the AHA 1-3-1 and gets a DJ Killeen bucket at 2:07 to keep the lead at 9, 65-56. Barnhill misses but he gets a steal and 2 FTs at 1:51. Shakopee tries to run more clock but they turn it over at 1:16. Baregi makes 1 of 2 FTs and then Tyler Bredow gets a steal and bucket to make it 65-61 with 55 seconds left. Killeen misses a front end with 53 to go and Barnhill comes right back and scores to make it a 2 point game with 44.2 to to play. 7 in a row for AHA over the last 1:23. Luke Sames comes up clutch by making both ends of a 1 and 1 with 34.6 left. Baregi scores off an offensive rebound and its 67-65 with 16.7 to play.

Ewing only makes 1 of 2 with 13.9 to go (68-65 Shakopee) and back comes AHA, no timeout. Joe St. Mane drives right baseline and for some reason Sames leaves Barnhill wide open standing just to the right of the top of the key. He knocks down the 3 to tie the game with 5 seconds left and overtime is imminent. Shakopee inbounds with no timeout and Barnhill deliberately fouls Ewing with 1.5 to go right in front of the AHA bench which is away from the Shakopee basket. The building is absolutely stunned. He didn't realize they no longer had to foul. Ewing knocks down the 2 FTs. Baregi gets a catch at half court and gets an OK look from about 30 feet that is short. Shakopee wins 70-68.

Its not all that often that I can say I've never seen something before, but this is one of those instances. Have to feel for Barnhill. He leads AHA with 17, but not even half of those came against Sames who did another terrific defensive job on a star guard. Big James with 16 but a quiet 2nd half. Will Baregi steps up big in the 2nd half to finish with 15. Matt Zager leads the Sabers with 22. Ewing with 14. Shakopee did a nice job packing it in to limit inside touches and they worked hard to not get hammered on the offensive glass. On offense, their entry into their motion is really nice in that it gives them 2 or 3 opportunities for backcuts or easy layups. Its also different in that they run 2 guys to the ballside block. A post and then on the entry pass to the wing, the PG runs to the ballside block. Those guys then set a double screen on ball-reversal or if the ball-reversal isn't there, backdoor options are available. Simple and effective.

Luke Sames photo courtesy of

Collapsed referee returns

Dale Wakasugi, the referee who collapsed during the Fridley/Simley game on Dec 13th, has returned to the court. This article from KARE11 TV doesn't mention it, but I think on their newscast tonight they mentioned that his 1st game back was in Fridley or something to that effect. Glad to see him back. Stay healthy stripes.

Games on Tape #2 (BC at Breck)

By popular request, we go in back in time to last Tuesday's Brooklyn Center at Breck game. These teams played on Jan 11 to a 63-62 BC win. No Dwight Potter for the Centaurs or Alex McDonald or Bryce McNeal (both sick with the flu) for Breck.

BC gets an early 6-4 lead but then its all downhill from there. Tom Smolenski gets a triple + a Dakota Tidd basket finishes an 11-0 Breck run to make it 15-6 with 11:30 left. DeAngelo Potter picks up his 3rd at 10:05 for BC and is done for the half. BC is taking quick outside shots and they aren't falling. In their zone Tidd is open at the high post. He's done a nice job so far trailing the play and then cutting down the lane to get open. Smolenski gets 5 in a row to make it 27-12 with 6 to go in the half. Smolenski hits 2 more 3s in the half and Breck leads 47-24 at the break. Smolenski with 14 and Tidd playing well with 12. Freddy Young with 10 1st half points for BC.

Tidd gets 2 straight offensive rebounds for buckets to start the 2nd half. He's been really active so far. He gets a 3 point play to make it 60-38 with 10:23 left and the channel 12 announcers have been frothing at the mouth over him for most of the half. Least they forget the disappointing season he's had up until the game before this. Its called homework gentlemen. Breck does play the bench some, but Tidd and Smolenski are in there right until the end (BC starters stayed in the game). The Mustangs in a rout 78-55.

Tidd finishes with 23 and was a monster on the glass and extremely active, great game. Smolenski with 20 for Breck who were really never challenged. Breck ran a nice inbound set all night against the BC zone. Box set bigs high guards low. Ball side guard steps out to the corner. Backside guard fills the top of the key. Ball side big dives to the ball and screens the middle of the zone for the other big who is diagonally cutting to the ball. Simple but effective (much like everything else Breck runs)

Freddy Young with 16, DeAngelo Potter with 1 early free throw and that was it for BC. Tyrese Chambers had 13 points, but he needs to work on his shot selection. There were a handful of shots in this game that he took that would frustrate many coaches. Greg Snowden gave them 9 pts and nice minutes in the 2nd half.

Fast forward back to the present. After averaging 9.4 PPG in the 1st 16 games of the season (only 1 game over 15), Tidd's last 3 games (he had 19 vs SPA in the game after this one), he's averaged 21.7. Much more active and productive than the Minnehaha game I saw where he went bagel. With the SPA win and this win, Breck is now on a 4 game winning streak. Is Tidd's increased production part of it? I don't think its any coincidence. Did coach Gray light a fire under him? If he produces like this, they have a real shot at winning the west subsection of 4AA as they are always tough defensively.

Week 12 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

Scores from 2/12/08 that caught my eye.

Classic Suburban:
  • Richfield goes to STA and gives them a game before falling by 8. Richfield's lack of size shows as Alex Schneider gets 25 for the Cadets. Junior sharpshooter Mike Fitzgerald with 19. They hold Renard Robinson to only 9 points. STA stays tied for 2nd with Tartan, 2 games behind Sibley.
Classic Lake:
  • Hopkins blows out Wayzata by 30 in a game that I'll be taping for later review.
  • Minnetonka gets 48 in the both halves to beat Edina by 12. The big matchup with Hopkins at Tonka on Friday should be fun but I think Hopkins pulls it out by 10.
  • Eden Prairie gets the big road win at Eastview to stay 1 win ahead of Kennedy. Ethan Wragge gets 21 for the Eagles.
  • Kennedy gets another close win in the battle of Bloomington with an 8 pt home win over Jefferson.
  • Northfield upsets Prior Lake by 12 at home.
  • Farmington goes to Holy Angels and wins in triple OT. Farmington now 1 game back of the 4 teams that top the league with 2 losses. But that changes on Thursday as all 4 play each other with New Prague hosting Prior Lake and my game Shakopee at AHA.
Northwest Suburban:
  • Blaine with a 94-57 blowout of Centennial to win their 3rd in a row. They may be getting hot at the right time.
  • Champlin Park has now won 6 out of 7 (after losing 4 of 5) to improve to 8-3 in league play after blowing out Park Center at PC. The 1 loss was a 2 pt OT loss at 7AAAA contender Cambridge-Isanti. They're 1 game ahead of Maple Grove.
  • After 4 straight wins, Coon Rapids has now lost 4 out of 5 as they lose to Osseo.
North Suburban:
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's comes from 7 down at halftime at home to beat Fridley by 4. Jordan Taylor with 30 for the Red Knights.
  • Spring Lake Park blows out Irondale to take a 1 win lead for 3rd in the league standings. The 1st meeting went to double OT. Irondale had won 7 of 8 coming into this game with the only loss to BSM.
  • Columbia Heights with a 3 pt win at Chisago Lakes as Josh Figini gets 34 for the Wildcats but star soph Jacob Thomas pours in 42 for CH.
  • Concordia beats St. Anthony by 4 in a battle of the top 2 scorers in the East division (Zach Towle and Calvin Walker).
  • Minnehaha blows out Brooklyn Center 82-58 as the Centaurs slide continues. They fall to 7-5 in the league 2 losses out and have now lost 6 out of 7 after winning 8 in a row. Minnehaha stays 1 back in the loss column behind DLS. Those teams meet next Friday night at DLS.
  • St. Bernard's almost has a 20 pt halftime lead at home slip away vs Edison but they win by 4.
  • Heritage gets 32 from Stu Herman but they still need overtime to beat Oh Day Aki 64-62 at home. With what I saw of the Oh Day Aki defense earlier in the year, I'm surprised Heritage didn't put up over 85 in this game to win easily. But the more I see Heritage results the more disappointed I am. I had them as the 2nd best team in my MCAA preview and they finish 5th and lost at PACT and this close win and a close win over Spectrum. But their game vs West Lutheran Friday night (6 PM at MCA) could be one of the best of the rest games of the night after the Tonka/Hopkins battle.

Armstrong at Henry observations

I get to Henry in time to see the last 9+ minutes of the MTS/Henry girls game. This is a 50 pt game yet Henry is letting the ball roll in to keep the clock from running and 2 players who have over 20 and 30 points respectively are still in the game. Not to mention taking the full 20 seconds to replace a fouled out player with 2 seconds left. I was not happy with that lack of sportsmanship at all. Final score was 81-34 Henry so all of this was totally uncalled for.

As to the boys game, no Jordan Hughes in the starting lineup. Neither team can break away as the largest lead of the first half is 5 points. Louis Cox is running the point in Hughes' place and gets 5 in a row to make it 15-13 Henry at 12:15. Mandela Jackson takes over with 11 straight Henry points, 6 of which are in a 8-0 Henry run that gives them a 27-23 lead at 6:11. His streak ends with Henry leading 32-27. The teams go the break with Henry leading 38-33. Jackson on fire with 17 to lead everybody. Cox with 9 and Jerome Vaughn with 6. JD Robinson with 8 points but he sits out a good part of the end of the half with 2 fouls. Damarius Cruz with 7. Ted Vogt with 4.

Interesting incident during halftime. Henry AD Dave Wicker comes out and restrings the net on what will be the Henry basket for the 2nd half. Coach Miller of Armstrong comes out of the locker room and sees this and is not at all happy. Him and Henry coach Jerry Williams Jr exchange a few words with an official stepping in and then as the half starts Miller gets in a couple words for Wicker.

Jordan Hughes is actually playing, he comes out for the 2nd half for Cox after not playing the 1st half. Hughes gets a 2 to make it 42-33 but Preston McCourt gets 5 points in a Armstrong run that ties it at 42 with 15:15 left. An 8-0 Henry run makes it 50-42 inside 13 minutes. With 11:03 left, Jackson gets his 4th foul on a dumb technical and has to sit. JD Robinson hits the 2 technical FTs but Armstrong turns it over on the possession so its still 53-48 Henry. Robinson then picks up his 4th with 10:33 to go and he too has to sit. Henry extends the lead to 58-50 before another McCourt 3 makes it 58-55 wiht 6:40 to go. Robinson returns with 4:52 left and Cruz gets a bucket to pull Armstrong within 4 with 4:32 left. Jackson is back at 3:48.

McCourt gets a steal but takes a questionable quick shot with numbers that could have pulled Armstrong to 2. Hughes comes right back and gets a 2 to push the lead back to 6, but Cruz gets a steal and 2 to make it 63-59 at 3 minutes. Jerome Vaughn continues a big 2nd half with a clutch 3 point play that makes it 66-59 Henry with 2:40 left. Cruz misses the front end of the bonus but they get the rebound and a Wes Hoefer 3 to pull to within 4. Vaughn makes 1 of 2 FTs but Jackson puts back the miss to extend the lead back to 7. Robinson gets a bucket to make it 69-64 at 1:42. Henry turns the ball over and Cruz hits a 3 with 1:16 left. Hughes hits 2 FTs at 1:04 to push the lead back to 4. Armstrong throws a dangerous full court pass to turn the ball over after the free throws. Evan Gray appears to bail them out with a bad shot from the corner but Robinson gets called for his 5th foul on the rebound with 51.1 left. Hoefer gets a layup at 45.2 after a Vaughn FT and its 72-69 Henry. Jackson misses 2 FTs with 41.8 left and Cruz hits a 3 to tie it at 72 with 23 seconds left. No timeout Henry just goes. Jackson dribbles out the clock near the timeline and then goes right and down the lane to find Vaughn along the right baseline for a layup with 2.4 to go. Armstrong's full court pass is knocked away and Henry hangs on for a 74-72 win.

Mandela Jackson finishes with 20 despite the strong 1st half, but he made the clutch play at the end. Jerome Vaughn comes up big with 21 points, 15 in the 2nd half where he was too much inside. Jordan Hughes with 11 in his 1 half of playing time. Louis Cox finishes with 12. This win is a nice boost for them in the race for the #1 seed in section 3AAA. They have a big city game at Washburn on Thursday.

For Armstrong, Damarius Cruz with 25. JD Robinson with 14 despite the foul trouble. The Falcons fall to 11-8 and the schedule still has home and home matchups with Wayzata and Hopkins, Lakeville N and a trip to Minnetonka. The other remaining game is a trip to Edina which is no cupcake. With their strength of schedule, they should be able to keep the 4 seed in section 6AAAA.

St. Anthony at Trinity Observations

Game 2 of the night takes the Twin Cities Hoops Insider and I to the Ergotron Gymnasium at the brand new Trinity facility in Eagan. As to the game itself, it was more about enjoying the facility and talking with the nice St. Anthony fans. The Huskies rolled to a 49-24 halftime lead using their run and jump pressure against a weaker Trinity team. Trinity stayed close for the 1st 8 minutes (16-11 down) but then a 18-4 Husky run put it away. Final score was 80-55 St. Anthony. Chris Mullin (Calvin Walker) with 20 points (16 in 1st half) for St. Anthony. He's even got the T-Shirt to go with the look like Mullin did. He got those 20 points with almost nothing run directly for him. Coach Eric Schutte of Concordia was in the building and this led to a funny moment in the 1st half where Husky coach Dave Bratland looked across the court at him and told his team to run Concordia.

Trinity opens play in the Friendship bracket of the MCAA tournament when they host Providence on Friday. Should be an interesting rematch as Providence's 1 win of the year was 55-44 at home over Trinity on January 18th.

Minnesota Transitions at Roosevelt observations

Game 1 of the night with the Twin Cities Hoops Insider (TCHI) is Minnesota Transitions at Minneapolis Roosevelt. These teams have played the past 3 years coming into tonight with Roosevelt winning all 3 meetings in good games by scores of 80-76, 110-97 and 77-73 last year at MTS. A win here would be big for the MTS cause in the east subsection of 4A. Roosevelt looking to rebound from 2 straight tough losses in Minneapolis City play.

Right off the opening tip Josh Mason of Roosevelt injures a knee and it looks bad. But as we'll find out, looks can be deceiving. MTS is in their usual 2-2-1 half court defense. MTS goes on a 9-2 run to make it 12-6 with 13 to play in the half. Roosevelt is attacking from the baseline as MTS is doing well keeping the ball out of the middle, but they're getting hammered on the offensive glass. Mason is back with a strong follow-up dunk to tie it at 12 with 10:45 left in the half. Virgil Baker is hot from 3 but 5 straight from Chris Booker give Roosevelt their 1st lead in a while with 8:15 to go in the half. But as much good as Roosevelt did to start stretching the MTS zone and get some exploitable holes, they start settling for quick 3s and play sloppy offense. In fact, they don't score the rest of the half. MTS gets a pretty layup off a missed 3 with 3 or 4 passes and the ball never touching the floor to make it 26-21 at 5:35. Kevin Noreen gets a layup and then a block that leads to a Jerry Brookins 3 and its a 13-0 run to make the score 33-21 with 4:12 left in the half. But MTS doesn't score the rest of the half and its 33-21 at halftime. Virgil Baker has 13 points (3 3s) in the half to lead MTS. Kevin Noreen with 7. Derek Scully with 7 to lead Roosevelt. Roosevelt had opportunities when the ball went baseline as the defense wasn't filling the middle and Roosevelt cutters had good looks. MTS didn't reach nearly as much as I've seen them in the past which was nice to see and they did a good job of getting easy baskets off the long quick shots from Roosevelt.

Baker hits 2 3s to start the 2nd half and all of a sudden its 40-25 MTS with another Josh Mason dunk included. Xavier Jones heats up for Roosevelt. He hits a 3, a deuce and gets an assist to make it 40-32 with 14:30 to play. That assist is the start of 8 straight Torrieo Williams points for Roosevelt. Kevin Noreen with a really tough 2 to make it 43-34 with 13 to play and its 47-36 outside 11 minutes to play. Williams ends his run with 2 FTs and then Xavier Jones gets 2 steals for 3 point plays in the next 10 seconds and all of a sudden its 47-44 with 10:59 left and we have another MTS/Roosevelt battle on our hands.

A Dylan Clarke Knaeble layup and 1 of 2 FTs from Chris Booker complete a 11-0 Roosevelt run to tie the game at 47 with 8:36 to play. Kyle Noreen finally shakes loose for a wide open 3 and then after a Roosevelt FT gets another one (Roosevelt also left him open for a couple of shots off their inbound play that he missed. Does nobody scout anymore?) to make it 53-48 MTS at 6:40. Jones hits a 3 and 2 FTs to make it 56 all with 4:33 to play. Kevin Noreen holds the ball against Williams and gets fouled with 3:15 to play and makes 1 of 2. Williams makes 1 of 2 on the other end to tie it at 57 with 2:43 left. Kevin Noreen has a good look at a 3 miss and Mason gets a bucket off of another Roosevelt offensive rebound to give Roosevelt their 1st lead since 21-20. It's 59-57 Roosevelt with 2 minutes left. Kevin Noreen turns the ball over in the post with 1:42 to play. Jones hits a tough layup with 1:10 left but Kevin Noreen gets a putback to make it 61-59 Roosevelt with 1 minute to play. Roosevelt is killing the clock but for some reason Jones tries to go thru traffic in the lane and he turns it over with 21 seconds left. After an MTS timeout, Roosevelt takes their 1 foul to give with 12 seconds left (nice idea, but you'd like to wait as long as possible). Out of another timeout, Kevin Noreen gets the ball at the foul line but passes behind a baseline cutter for a turnover with 5 seconds left. Knaeble is fouled with 4 seconds left. On this inbound play, MTS left Williams open for fouling which surprised me because he was 3-3 from the line on the day. They also left Kyle Noreen in the game with 4 fouls and he had to commit his 5th to stop the clock. I would have liked to seen a bench guy in there for him so that if Knaeble misses 1, you still have a top 3 point shooter available for the last play. Knaeble does only make 1 of 2, but a pass to Kevin Noreen at halfcourt is intercepted and Roosevelt hangs on to win another close matchup between these teams 62-59.

Virgil Baker with 19 for MTS, Kevin Noreen with only 12. 6'6 C Torrieo Williams did a nice job on him as he was quick enough to stay with Kevin on the dribble. MTS falls to 14-4 but they still have some good games on the schedule with West Lutheran and New Life Academy.

For Roosevelt, Xavier Jones with 18 and it was his quick spurt of 3 point plays that got them back in it. Roosevelt switched to a nice attack against the MTS zone in the 2nd half. They had shooter Derek Scully running the baseline, Williams on the block to screen or get dump offs and then they played high pick and roll which would allow Scully to get a good corner look. Nice design by coach Stockmo. This caused the MTS zone to expand which opened driving lanes.

1st round MCAA Tournament schedule

The opening round games for the boys MCAA tournament have been posted.

  • Heritage vs West Lutheran at Maranatha, 6 PM (good 4 vs 5 game as Heritiage is the 5 but won the regular season matchup at home by 5)
  • Bethany at Maranatha, 7:45 PM (1 vs 8 game)
  • SW Christian vs Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at New Life Academy, 6 PM (3 vs 6 game)
  • Meadow Creek at New Life Academy, 7:45 PM (2 vs 7 game)
  • New Life Academy is #2 seed because they beat SW Christian head-head (74-66 at NLA)
  • Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity is the #6 seed because they beat Meadow Creek 65-62 at home
  • Providence, Concordia (Bl) and Trinity will be in the Friendship bracket. These 3 teams all went 1-1 against each other during the regular season.

Week 11 observations and Week 12 Schedule

This week provided us with a couple of sad incidents. First, the ugly incident in Proctor where the game had to called due to unruly fan behavior including 1 fan reportedly attacking an official. I've said before that I have my problems with officials but there is absolutely NO place for this in any athletic event. If you want to yell (no obscenities, but know what you're talking about), fine. If you think its so bad and you want to leave, fine as long as you don't disrupt play. I'd rather see you leave than act foolish. We had the Minnetonka students earlier in the year cross the line and now this mess. The MSHSL suppossedly focuses on this, but I really think enough isn't being done with crowd control people. Last night at the BSM/DLS game, the BSM AD was there and got on the students after incident and that stopped it right then and there. While I'm sick and tired of hearing the MSHSL speech before every single game I attend, obviously its not getting in people's heads. I want to see the schools provide more crowd control that actually controls the crowd vs just standing there. Ultimately though, it is up to all of us as spectators.

Incident #2 is Kurt Pauly leaving the Cooper program due to inappropriate language (Star Tribune article). I think his full quote in the article puts it exactly right. The conduct is indefensible but 1 mistake overshadows all the good you've done. But this isn't unheard of as this same type of issue happened at Richfield either last year or the year before where coach Jim Dimick was suspended and an assistant was fired in regards to language if I recall correctly. Swearing was far more taboo when I played. Today most kids see far worse language on TV than they'll hear in a game on the playground or from an uncensored coach. But you've got old-fashioned school administrators who don't understand that things happen in the heat of athletic battle. I'm not justifying his conduct or saying he shouldn't have been punished, but I think schools make a much bigger deal of this than it really is.

Week 12 Schedule:
Finally the schedule quiets down some.

Monday: MN Transitions at Roosevelt (5:00 or 5:30 PM) is one of the very few on the metro schedule. MTS looking for another quality win to enhance their resume in the east subsection of 4A. Roosevelt trying to bounce back from back-back league losses.

Tuesday: Armstrong at Henry is my game. Hopkins at Wayzata in a big Classic Lake showdown. Brooklyn Center at Minnehaha in an important Tri-Metro West game. Eden Prairie at Eastview in a big Lake conference matchup.

Wednesday: No boys games, vote in the "Games On Tape" poll for the game you'd like me to review for my Wednesday night post.

Thursday: Shakopee at Holy Angels in a real nice Missota matchup. Big games in the city leagues. Henry at Washburn and Central at Johnson.

Friday: Rosemount at Jefferson, after all I've said here about Andrew Brommer its only fitting that I see him play this season. But the only game that matters, Hopkins at Minnetonka. The basketblogger is getting married this night. Obviously he had nothing to do with the wedding time.

Saturday: West Lutheran at CHOF (1:30), North (St. Paul that is) at CDH girls 4:00 and maybe the St. Anthony girls at BSM at 7:15. Washburn at Como Park (12:30) and Johnson at South (2:00) in addtion to Edison at Arlington (1:30) are fun city wars.

YTD Stats
  • 101 games (74 MN split 62 boys and 12 girls, 27 WI split 23 boys and 4 girls)
  • 41 buildings
  • 132 teams (105 boys and 27 girls, 91 MN teams split 73 boys and 18 girls, 35 Wisconsin split 27 boys and 8 girls, 6 outstate split 5 boys and 1 girls)
  • 2 Genders
Current Poll Stats
4A: 8 (Missing Rochester Mayo and St. Cloud Tech)
3A: 6 (BSM, STMA, Rocori, Johnson, AHA, Princeton)
2A: 1 (St. Bernard's)
1A: 2 (MCA and Cass Lake-Bena)

Week 11 End of Week scoreboard watching

Scores from Wednesday thru Saturday of week 11 (that's 2/6/08 thru 2/9/08) that caught my eye.

  • Eagan goes to Lakeville N and wins by 8. Lakeville N falls to 7-7 in league play.
  • Kennedy gets a nice home win by 3 over Burnsville to keep pace with Eden Prairie and stay 1 game in front of Eastview. The loss pushes Burnsville 2 games behind Eastview.
Minneapolis City:
  • South gets another big league win with a 3 pt home win over Roosevelt. Both teams are now 4-3 in league play and 2 behind Washburn in the loss column for the league lead. Henry and North are both 5-2. Edison loses to North by 3. They're 1-6 in the league but 11-7 overall.
  • MCA gets another close road win vs a top league opponent. This time its a 7 point win at West Lutheran. 3 wins by a total of 11 points all on the road vs the #2-4 teams in the league. The loss means West Lutheran is the #4 seed in next week's MCAA tournament.
  • New Life Academy gets a 16 point win at Heritage to clinch 2nd place (via head-head tiebreaker).
  • New Prague wins at Farmington to stay 1 behind Prior Lake and Holy Angels in the loss column. Farmington is now 3-3 in the league. They've lost 6 of 9 after an 8-1 start.
  • Shakopee is 1 back in the loss column as well. They have a big league game at Holy Angels on Thursday night.
North Suburban:
  • Cooper falls by 1 at Spring Lake Park to fall a game behind Benilde-St. Margaret's in the league race, but they play each other at BSM on Feb 29th.
Northwest Suburban:
  • Maple Grove loses to Blaine and Champlin Park this week. They're on a 4 game conference slide and are now in 3rd place at 6-4. Blaine is now my pick to win section 7AAAA with Kyle Kreklow and Dylan Rodriguez.
  • Champlin Park with 2 wins to move up to 7-3 and 2nd place.
  • Coon Rapids with back to back home losses to Park Center and Blaine puts them at 5-5 in the league with Blaine and Elk River.
  • Brooklyn Center gets blown out at Breck on Tuesday night. After an 8-2 start, the Centaurs have now lost 5 out of 6 (4 in a row) and 2 of their next 3 are at Minnehaha and DeLaSalle. Minnehaha only a half game back in the Tri-Metro West.
  • Johnson gets a 1 pt win at Washburn. Washburn with another tough home loss to the top of the St. Paul City league. They go to Como Park on Saturday after the big Mpls City showdown with Henry on Thursday. Johnson hosts Central in a big St. Paul City showdown on Thursday.
  • Also from Tuesday, La Crosse Aquinas blows a 7 pt lead with 3 minutes remaining and loses 71-70 at Winona Cotter. Tough loss for Aquinas as they enter the final week of regular season play.

Benilde St. Margaret's at DeLaSalle Observations

Games #100 and 101 take me and the basketblogger to DeLaSalle for a couple of big showdowns with BSM. In the girls game, Aaryn Booker has a big night with 27 points and 13 rebounds which included 7 clutch points late in the game to lead the #1 Islanders to a 58-50 win. Interesting thing was that this game was played with the 35 second shot clock which is the 1st shot clock game I've seen all year. Only 1 shot clock violation and only 2-3 other times where it came into play. The DLS pep band is terrific and gets my vote for best pep band I've seen so far this season. The place is absolutely packed and even Tubby Smith is in attendance.

To the boys game, Royce White picks up his 2nd foul at 13:33 of the 1st half bumping Peter Crawford inside and doesn't return until the 2nd half. When he leaves its 7-2 BSM and White has the only 2 DLS points. AJ Barker gets 5 in a row to give DLS a 12-11 lead with 9:20 to go in the half. Its 18 all with 5 minutes to go in the half and star soph Bryce Hawkins for DLS gets his 3rd foul at 4:30 to go in the half. BSM goes to some 1-3-1 zone and its still 22-19 with about 2:30 to go in the half. But Jordan Taylor and Matt Thomas hit back to back 3s and Taylor adds a bucket with 50 seconds to go in the half. Its a 12-3 run over the last 5 minutes (8-2 in last 2:30) without White and Hawkins and BSM goes to the locker room up 30-21. Peter Crawford guarding Bryce Hawkins in a matchup of really good sophomores and Armond Battle was assigned the task of guarding White. But Jalen Jaspers guarded Battle on the other end.

White comes back out for the 2nd half and is absolutely on fire. He gets 2 buckets and then hits a totally sick stepback fadeaway to make it 30-27 BSM with 14:39 to go (6-0 Royce run). Its 32-28 with 14 minutes left when Spencer Bata hits a 3. Matt Thomas counters another Royce bucket with a 3 and its 37-30 BSM outside 12 minutes left. Spencer Bata hits 2 straight 3s to make it 46-31 with 9:58 to play, timeout DLS. White has all 10 DLS points in the half, but he gets a technical during the timeout and he's done for the night. I don't know if he got ejected or if it was a coaching decision to not put him back in the game. Taylor hits the 2 technical FTs, Bata gets 2 more and Battle gets a 2 to make it 52-31 with 8:35 to go. Jalen Jaspers gets a bucket before another Bata 3 makes it 55-33 with 8 minutes left. Its a 25-6 BSM spurt over almost 7 minutes. But DLS doesn't quit, as they get as close as 62-54 to 53.6 to play. But the lead was too much and BSM gets a 65-54 win.

Royce White with 12 points in only 12:29 of playing time and was amazing. Jeremy Randle leads DLS with 14. AJ Barker with only 6 and 5 of those were in a 1st half spurt. I'd like to see him get more offense to take some of the load off of Royce. DLS falls to 7-10 with the loss. Jordan Taylor with 20 to lead BSM. Armond Battle with only 13 as Jalen Jaspers did a nice job defending him. Peter Crawford with a nice game of 11 points and Spencer Bata comes up big with 14 points and 4 3s. Stu Neville was in warmups and no longer needs the walking boot. Looks like he's close to returning and will likely be fully ready for the Cooper rematch on Feb 29th.

Armstrong at Jefferson observations

Game 2 of the day was suppossed to take me and the basketblogger to Concordia for the Concordia/Mayer Lutheran game but that game was canceled. So we made an appearance at Jefferson. It's 11-10 Armstrong with 10 minutes to go in the 1st half, but a Marcus Alipate 3 starts a 7-0 Jefferson run over the next 4 minutes. Armstrong breaks the run at 4:30 to go. Its 18-15 with 1:05 to go in the half when Aaron Barmore hits 2 FTs. Armstrong plays for 1 shot but Ellis Libby picks the pocket of Damarius Cruz and goes the distance to just beat the buzzer for a 22-15 Jefferson lead at the half. Shots are not falling for anybody and I'm ready to take a nap.

The 1st 3:10 of the 2nd half is scoreless before Wes Hoefer gets a bucket a 14:50. Cruz hits a 3 and JD Robinson makes 1 of 2 FTs to pull Armstrong within 22-21 with 12:30 to go in the half. Jefferson still doesn't have a point in the half. Jefferson goes to an offensive lineup with Marcus Alipate and Chad Gilmer in for Nate Schlangen (who really struggled from the field in the game) and Anthony Howard. Finally Moses Alipate breaks the drought at 10:40 with a 3 and then Ellis Libby comes right back with another 3 and its 28-21 Jefferson with 10:18 to go. The lead feels like 20 though with the way the offenses in this game look. Libby adds on a layup witih 8:15 to go to complete a 8-0 Jaguar run. Armstrong breaks a 4 and a half minute drought of their own with a Hoefer 3 with 8 minutes to go. But Jefferson gets the 8 points before Cruz gets 5 in a row to make it 38-29 with 5:43 to go. But Armstrong only gets 2 points the rest of the way and the final is 45-31 Jefferson in one of the most boring games I've seen all year.

Jefferson gets 13 points from Moses Alipate and 14 from Aaron Barmore. Marcus Alipate with 4 and Ellis Libby with 7 and they were all clutch points. Jefferson did a nice job with their 2-3 zone and their man defenses. Armstrong was led by 10 points from Damarius Cruz. When they don't hit shots (and they didn't today), they can have real difficulty scoring. It'll be interesting to see how freshman Marquel Curtis develops for the Falcons over the next 3 years.

Wayzata beats Central at the buzzer

Game 1 of my Saturday action takes me to Central to see Wayzata for the 1st time this season. The 1st half sees action go back and forth with Wayzata not being able to make an outside shot (except for Nick Rocca, more on him later). With the score 20-17 Central, coach Ward gets a technical after a Wayzata player got smacked away from the ball. He was really upset with the official and I don't blame him. Central gets 7 of the next 9 to go up 27-19. Central keeps the lead at 35-28 with about 4 minutes left in the half but Wayzata closes to 39-35 at the half. Larry Brown with 14, Dylan Hale with 12. Rocca with 13 at the half with 3 3s. Central is all over the boards in the 1st half.

The teams continue to play back and forth to 51-48 Central with 9:34 in the half. Central extends the lead to 58-51 via 5 Larry Brown points at 7:20. Around this time, Danny Fearing leaves with an apparent ankle injury which hurts Wayzata's inside game. But Wayzata comes back to tie the game at 60 with 4:40 to go thanks to Jarrod Peterson starting to heat up with 5 points in the run and then he gets 4 of the next 6 to make it 66-62 Wayzata. All totaled its a 15-4 Wayzata run. Jordan Larson gets a putback on another Central offensive rebound to pull Central to 66-64 with 2:40 remaining. Hale and Rocca trade 3s and its 69-67 Wayzata at 1:50. Clutch 3 by Rocca as he got it right away after Hale hit his to give the lead back to Central. Brown promptly ties it at 1:38 (69 all). Rocca has a 3 go in and out and Brown rebounds with 1 minute left. It appears Central is going to run down the clock to take their final timeout and setup "the play" for Brown (the one they've used vs North and Washburn late). But Dylan Hale gets the ball and goes to the right baseline and I'm not sure if he somehow got off balance or what, but he throws up a prayer from there (about 15 feet out) and its nothing but net with 19.2 left to give Central a 71-69 lead. Timeout.

During the timeout, I told a fan next to me to look for Nick Rocca to touch it and for Wayzata to go quick so they had a chance at a rebound. I also said don't be surprised if they play for the win on the road. So out of the timeout, Peterson gets a good foul line look but misses and a mad scramble for the rebound ensues. Wayzata dives on the loose ball in front of their bench and gets a timeout with exactly 4 seconds left. Now I'm thinking Nick Rocca all the way. Sure enough they run a triple screen for him to curl from near the ballside block to the top of the key, but Central does a great job switching out on it and Rocca is blanketed but its one of Central's small guards who switches out and Rocca is 6'4 so he gets off a tough 3 over the guard at the horn and down it goes from the same spot that North hit the buzzer to beat Central in January. 72-71 Wayzata wins a terrific game.

Great call by coach Ward to get his top player in a position to win it. No fault to Central's D on the play either, the defender got there with him and Rocca hit the tough shot. Rocca finishes with 24 to lead the Trojans. Peterson with 15 and he was big in the 2nd half. Look for Freshman Eric Robertson to be a nice replacement for Rocca next year as Wayzata loses 4 senior starters but Peterson and reserve Eren Cur return with a nice JV group. Wayzata improves to 15-2 with their only losses to Minnetonka and Osseo.

For Central, Brown with 27, Hale with 23. Jordan Larson with a nice game for Central as well with 12 points and he was a factor on the offensive glass. LeDarian Horton rounds out the Central scoring with 9. Central falls to 14-5, but 2 of those are buzzer beaters and 2 more are a 3 point loss to Como Park and a 12 point loss to Hopkins in the Joe Hutton Christmas tournament at Hamline.

2 month QRF checkup

Here we are at the 2/3rds mark of the season as the 2nd month of play has completed. As promised, here is the 2 month QRF checkup. I'll do the last one the week of March 10th after the final regular season QRF is released. So that you have an idea of what was the numbers showed before, you can read the 1 month QRF checkup here.

The official QRFs are released on Monday's, but there are interim ones released during the week. For this analysis, I'm using the Feb 8th QRFs so that we have the Feb 7th games included. A couple of other points of view on this that I think are worth noting. Because I'm talking about the section, I include all teams in my analysis as listed in MN-Scores in their section standings. You can make a case for at least 2 other points of view. The first is to only include teams that have a legit shot at the section title, such as the top 4 or 8 teams (pick your number). The other point is specific to 4A as there are schools that are part of my analysis that won't be playing in the tournament for whatever reason. I think that's a compelling argument for removing them from the analysis. I don't know exactly who they are so I can't do it accurately. So now that we have the groundwork, let's crunch some numbers.

4A: Average QRF rank, 85 (4th) up from 99.18 (8th), best QRF average is still 3A up to 67.91 from 72.52. Section 7A drops to last with an average of 104.68 (7 teams 158+). Why 4A's improvement? As predicted, MN Transitions (53 to 23) and St. Agnes (63 to 40) both made big moves up as did New Life Academy who jumped from 68 to 32. To my surprise CHOF only drops 1 spot to #7 and MCA moves from 8 to 6. But last time there were 8 teams below 140, now there are only 6. The East subsection has 4 teams at 40 or better, Oh Day Aki at 104 and then everyone else below 140. In contrast, the West subsection section only has 1 team below 106. I'll admit I stuffed my foot in my mouth with saying 4A was worst before the season. That's what I get for not doing my homework. I can't imagine 4A falling below 7A at this point.

4AA: Average QRF rank, 71.53 (8th) down from 65.59 4th in 2A. 3AA was 7th at 70.81. Best QRF average 5AA 56.12. On Jan 7th, 4AA had 8 of the top 33 teams, it only has 5 now.

Class AAA: Best by far is 6AAA at 20.75 with DeLaSalle being 7-2 after their 0-7 start. 7AAA is still worst at 44.88 (unchanged from 1 month). 3AAA was still 2nd (28.5 to 28.13 before), 4AAA drops to 7th from 6th and 1AAA moves up to 5th from 7th (34 to 31.5) thanks to New Prague and Red Wing. 5AAA is still 4th with Princeton and STMA.

Class AAAA: 6AAAA is still the strongest improving from 26.63 to 24.13 as Wayzata and Armstrong continue to impress. 1AAAA is still the weakest dropping to 44.38 from 43. 2AAAA moves from 4th to 2nd (29.5 to 25.63), 3AAAA stays at 6th (34.38 to 35). 4AAAA drops from 2nd to 3rd despite an improvement from 27.5 to 27.13 but Tartan and Central have dropped off their earlier pace. 5AAAA drops from 3rd to 4th (29.13 to 29.5) as Park Center drops down and Champlin Park moves up. 7AAAA stays at 7th but drops like a rock from 36.5 to 43.25 with no team above 29. That section is so wide open that I'm now officially on the Blaine bandwagon. I'm going on the theory that players win games and they have 2 of the best in the section in Kyle Kreklow and Dylan Rodriguez and a lot of their losses are close ones so I think they can beat anybody in that section. Section 8 stays at 5th but moves up from 33.38 to 30.88 as that section has 5 teams between 13 and 22. St. Cloud Tech in the drivers seat there as they have wins at Moorhead and vs Buffalo their nearest 2 competitors for the 1 seed.

That's how the numbers are today, lots to change in the last month. Next analysis with the final regular season QRFs in March.

Stillwater at Cretin-Derham Hall Observations

This Suburban East showdown is for the conference lead as Cretin-Derham Hall comes in 7-1 with their only loss at 8-0 Stillwater. Overall both teams come in with only 2 losses each. Good crowd on hand and would fill most buildings around except that CDH is really big. I'm surprised they can't find a way to use this building for section play (like the 4A and 4AA doubleheader finals that are annually held at Holy Angels) as its arguably the nicest high school facility I see during the season. I can actually under the CDH PA guy tonight which is a pleasant surprise. Normally it sounds like Chris Kattan's Saul character from Saturday Night Live.

Nice moments early in the game when Michael Floyd gets a steal and a breakaway dunk and then Joel Armstrong gets a bucket for both to reach the 1000 point plateau for their career. Armstrong is the 5th player in Stillwater history to accomplish that feat. Congrats to both players. Armstrong's bucket makes it 8-7 Stillwater with 13:39 to go in the half. Floyd is going nuts and he leads a 19-5 CDH run to give CDH a 26-13 lead with 6:30 to go in the half. A Seantrel Henderson bucket makes it 37-23 with 3:15 to go in the half. With 2 minutes left in the half, CDH has the ball and Stillwater goes 3-2 zone but CDH pulls the ball out for a minute and forces the Ponies to go back to their man defense. Its 39-27 at the half CDH leads. Floyd has 19 with 3 dunks, huge half. John Nance with 8 for CDH. Armstrong with 9 and Aaron Anderson with 7 for Stillwater. Gotta love the "Fe Fi Fo Fum" chant from the Stillwater students when Henderson was at the line. Interesting incident with the score too. At point the score was wrong on the scoreboard for about 2-3 minutes of game time as Stillwater had 3-4 extra points posted. Very strange. They got it corrected and then it happened briefly again in the 2nd half.

The start of the 2nd half is back and forth play before Armstrong gets 6 straight points to make it 47-40 with less than 13 minutes to play. After 4 straight Tom Hannon points pushes the lead back to 51-40, Anderson finishes a 6-0 run with 2 layups to make it 51-46 with 10:11 to play. John Nance is on the bench at this point for a lengthy period of time, don't know if he had 4 fouls or not, but I didn't think so (I thought 3). Henderson has 3 and he's sitting too. David Bettenburg and Connor Lynch are in for CDH during the Stillwater run and they haven't played all night. They're out there with Hannon, Binns and Floyd. Really curious lineup combination there by coach Kline. But they don't cave in, Floyd hits 2 straight 3s and Henderson somehow gets matched up with 6'1 soph Paul Franklin inside and gets an easy layup to make it 59-49 CDH inside 8 minutes. Andrew Walker gets 4 straight points in the last push for Stillwater to make it 61-55 inside of 6 minutes. Henderson has to go to the bench with his 4th foul. John Nance finally returns to the CDH lineup after a long period on the bench with 5:15 to go. He misses a 3, gets a tip that results in a Stillwater turnover and gets a pretty assist to start an 8-0 run that includes 4 Floyd points. That pushes the lead to 69-55 outside of 3 minutes to play. Aaron Anderson hits a couple late 3s and Joel Armstrong adds on a couple buckets late but that just keeps it respectable. CDH wins 81-69.

Aaron Anderson finishes with 20, Joel Armstrong with 21 for Stillwater but he was quiet after his initial 2nd half burst of 6 straightl. Floyd has a huge night with 34 for the Raiders. Nance, Henderson and Torres Tillman all finish with 10. This win gives CDH the lead in the race for the #1 seed in tough section 4AAAA, but there are still plenty of tough games left. Stillwater has trips to Forest Lake, Woodbury and Mounds View remaining. CDH has Woodbury and Mounds View at home before a trip to Forest Lake. Both teams are now 8-1 in league play with Mounds View 1 game back in the loss column. Mounds View has trips to Woodbury and CDH remaining before they host Stillwater and Forest Lake.

Correction to Columbia Heights at Cooper post

At the end of the Columbia Heights at Cooper post I said that St. Anthony beat CH by 2 in their meeting. Columbia Heights actually won that game by 2. Thanks to Coach Braziel for pointing this out and my apologies for the error.

Benilde St. Margaret's at Totino-Grace Observations

Doubleheader action tonight as the Czar travels to Totino-Grace for the boys/girls doubleheader with Benilde St. Margaret's. The TG girls came in on a 19 game winning streak after losing their 1st 2 games of the season in the Hamline tournament (St. Paul Central and Rosemount). Biggest lead of the 1st half is 3 as its a defensive struggle tied at 20. Lizzi Naumann with only 2 1st half points for TG. In the second half they gradually extend the lead in the 1st part of the 2nd half and BSM can't close the gap as TG gets their 20th straight win 56-44. Jessica Meyer with 15 for the Eagles. Colleen Ruane with 14 (impressive 8 of 9 FTs) to lead BSM. The DLS girls in attendance (#1 3A) as they play BSM in the big doubleheader at DLS on Saturday night. The big man was in the house for this one too. No not me, Kevin McHale in attendance to see daughter Sasha play. She finished with 6 points.

To the boys game, if you have as many players on the bench in street clothes as you do coaches, that's not a good sign. BSM had 4 of each. They're a MASH unit right now. No Tall Kid Tall (Alex Miller) or Darren Glover in addition to Stu Neville and Chet Paulson being out. After a 4-3 TG lead early, BSM goes on a 15-1 run to lead 18-5 with 9:30 left in the 1st half. Jordan Taylor with 4 steals (3 of which were for a total of 7 points) during the run. John Crockett hits a 3 to start and to finish a 15-4 TG run to get them back to 22-20 with 5:30 left in the half. After trading baskets, Taylor and Battle are still the only BSM players who have scored. Taylor then proceeds to lead a 20-2 run to close the half and send BSM to the locker room up 44-24. Battle with 14, Taylor with 20 in the half. Crockett with a nice half of 11 points. 1st points from other Taylor or Battle for BSM were 2 FTs and then a bucket for Matt Thomas (points 29-32).

Crockett starts hot in the 2nd half and TG gets within 46-32 with 15:20 to go. But BSM rolls from there to get out to a 68-40 lead with 7:26 to play. Matt Thomas with 2 big 3s and another bucket during the run. Taylor's night is done and the rest is garbage time as BSM wins 81-59. Nothing like the BSM students singing "O Come O Come Emanuel" for reserve Dan Emanuel. Imagine if it were still the Christmas season. They did a scoreboard reading chant too which was terrific.

For BSM, Taylor finishes with 24 (maybe 25), Battle with 21. Thomas ends up with 17 as he has a nice 2nd half. 39 of the 1st 50 BSM points were from Battle and Taylor though, I'm still disturbed by the lack of 3rd scorer trend. Crockett with a monster night for TG. The sophomore finishes with 27 and looks like a real player down the road. The rest of their squad is basically seniors so he's got a whole new group to play with next year. Despite them being in danger of being the 8 seed in 3AAA, keep in mind they only lost to Henry by 1, Fridley by 1 and Spring Lake Park by 6 (all 3 at home). Those are 3 likely teams that they could play in the 1st round of the playoffs. So when you see 1 vs 8 in that section, don't automatically think blowout.