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.


  1. "If this win doesn't give them the #1 seed in 4A East I don't know what does."

    How about beating MTS at home!?

    Either way u have to play the games...

    4A is a little tougher then you thought.

  2. clarification, MTS beat CHOF at the SAL, albeit with 4 of CHOF's starters on the bench at the end. CHOF, MTS, NLA and St. Agnes are strong teams. As much (or more!)then Marantha can handle.

  3. gob... what did you clarify?

    three of your players fouled out thats part of the game. one got hurt,that's part of the game... We have two starters that didn't even play in the game.

    isn't the SAL your home gym?

    You have lost two games in the our sub section.

    Like I said you still have to play the games. For all I care I hope we get seeded fourth and can play CHOF right away at their HOME gym.

  4. I clarifed your statement,
    "How about beating MTS at home!?"
    That statement is a confusing one since if you don't know what happened, it doesn't tell you that MTS beat CHOF. As far as MTS seeded 4th, I don't think so. I see you seeded 1st (second at worst) CHOF could be seeded anywhere from 1st to 3rd.

  5. stori and jj said:
    "4A is a little tougher then you (TC Hoop Czar)thought."

    qob said:
    "CHOF, MTS, NLA and St. Agnes are strong teams. As much (or more!)then Marantha can handle."

    Agreed, and agreed! Who says
    friendly opponents can't both be
    right? As I previously noted a
    month ago and has been acknowledged
    by this blogger, Section 4A is not
    the worst in the state and is likely at or near the top in Class A.

    I predicted that Section 4 would
    have 3 teams in the top-ten in
    the QRF and as of March 1, that is
    now true (CHOF #5, Maranatha #6 and
    MTS #10)! SW Christian, PACT, New Life, St Agnes and West Lutheran are also very strong teams with high QRF ratings.

    That Section 4A doesn't have more teams in the AP top-ten can only be ascribed to parochial bias and/or ignorance of the voting pollsters. The HS coaches and the "Breakdown" certainly were proven correct in their own preseason predicitons on which
    Sections deserved the strongest power rankings.

  6. As I said early last month in the 2 month QRF post, section 4A is far better than I expected and I'll walk that plank after talking about it without doing the numbers 1st. CHOF, MCA and PACT just to point out 3 examples (its not an all inclusive list) have definitely exceeded my expectations and deserve great credit for their seasons.

    Like Bill Hedrick, I'm becoming more and more disenchanted with the QRF the more I see it. Take for example Spectrum and Bethany. Spectrum has a worse record against a worse schedule and was beaten by Bethany early in the year and Spectrum is still 10 spots ahead. Minnetonka Christian is #74 against a really bad schedule. I saw them and am not convinced that they're anywhere close to # 62 Heritage. These examples just don't pass the smell test.

    The 1 seed argument I make is who I would give it to if it were me based on my assessment of each teams strength of schedule, quality wins and quality losses and the numerous times I've seen both teams play (MTS 4, CHOF 3). As to who actually will get that #1 seed, I think its a coin flip and if you forced me to pick, I'd probably predict MTS getting it.

    I totally agree that the 1 or 2 seed won't matter in the end as its a neutral site game. The game before that is still at home and regardless of it being NLA or St. Agnes, that game is no picnic.

  7. "Minnetonka Christian is #74 against a really bad schedule. I saw them and am not convinced that they're anywhere close to # 62 Heritage."

    Actually, Heritage is tied with
    St Agnes at #49. The 25-place
    gap with Minnetonka Christian
    sounds about right to me.

    "Take for example Spectrum and Bethany. Spectrum has a worse record against a worse schedule and was beaten by Bethany early in the year and Spectrum is still 10 spots ahead."

    One of the weaknesses in the QRF
    is the lack of emphasis of head-
    to-head game results, for sure.
    As far as Bethany's win against
    Spectrum, Spectrum's post was
    out with a medical condition.
    As far as their respective
    schedules go, I'd say Spectrum
    has the better one, there are
    some really, really bad teams in
    the MCAA this year. Spectrum has
    played many teams with good records and the strength of schedule is a key element in a higher ranking. (Witness Southwest
    Christian and De la Salle which are highly ranked with lackluster overall won-loss records).

    I've seen both Bethany and Spectrum twice this year and they are both well-coached without a lot of talent. I honestly think that Spectrum is a shade better with their full lineup intact.

    No rating system is perfect, on that I think we both would agree.
    I think the most glaring problem that I've noted over the years is the OVERRATING of some outstate teams- which becomes very apparent when they play Metro teams and get
    blasted. Still, I give the Weinzerl's credit for the time and effort they have put in to develop a website full of totally objective information and statistical analysis.


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