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.

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