St. Anthony at Columbia Heights Observations

This takes us back to the good old days of the Metro Alliance where the teams were all over the place but you had this rivalry, Fridley/Brooklyn Center and Orono/Mound-Westonka. When Columbia Heights won the 1st meeting Jan 10th at St. Anthony 66-64, star soph Jacob Thomas had 28 in the win for the Hylanders and Chris Mullin (Calvin Walker) had 24 in the loss for the Huskies. Not to mention this is a 4 vs 5 game to open the tournament. Should be lots of fun.

St. Anthony comes out box and 1 on Thomas with Ryan Couillard getting the duty, how interesting. Thomas gets a defensive rebound and takes the ball the other way for a 17 ft pullup to give CH a 4-2 lead @ 16:30 of the 1st half. At 16:04, CH takes a shot and it goes up and over the backboard and gets stuck behind the board between the support and the backboard. After a couple of seconds of wondering what will happen, 5'8"CH senior Mike Sorenson comes out, climbs the net, the rim and the basket support and knocks the ball loose. All unassisted, pretty impressive. The teams go back and forth as St. Anthony is in... wait a minute, it might be, it could be, it is the Flex. Yuck, I'm not a flex fan, but it works. Thomas hits another pullup at 10:40 to make it 13-12 St. Anthony. Mullin with a bucket at 10:20 to push it back to a 3 pt Huskies lead. Thomas with a steal and 2 before he trades 3s with Dan Zurbey and its 18-17 SA @ 8:45. Mullin gets his 2nd foul on a charge at 6:29 and he'll go to the bench for the rest of the half with CH leading 22-21. Thomas gets 7 of the last 9 CH points and SA struggles to find offense. We go to the break 31-28 Columbia Heights. Thomas has 16, Harold Rainey (another good soph guard for Heights) has 7. St. Anthony soph starter Josh Pratt leads them with 8, Dan Zurbey with 2 3s for 6 and Mullin with 4 before sitting with fouls.

St. Anthony is now straight man-man. Center James Borchert starts the half for St. Anthony with a 3 pt play and another deuce on the block and SA has the lead again at 33-31 with 16:25 left. Rainey with 4 straight pts including a sweet fake to Thomas that gives him a layup, 35-33 CH @ 15:50. Dan Lundgren of SA takes a hard foul on Akrau Imbu and the intensity of the game goes up a notch. Imbu makes the 2 FTs to give CH a 37-35 lead @ 15:15. Borchert with a couple more buckets to make it 43-42 CH with 12 minutes to go. Imbu with a sweet spin for 2 and then a block that leads to a Thomas layup and then SA turns the ball over. Heights looks like they have a bucket, but Mullin gets the rebound and hits the home run to Zurbey for a layup that breaks the Hylanders momentum. 47-44 CH with 10:43 to go. Mullin then gets a hoop on the block off an inbound (did this in the 1st half too) and Lundgren gets a steal for 2 more. 48-47 SA has the lead back. Mullin drives right baseline and scores to make it 52-50 CH @ 8:05 Thomas has been quiet but he goes solo for a 3 pt play and after a Couillard hoop, he hits a 3 and Zaire Saunders gets a layup and its 62-54 Heights with 5:15 to play. 12-4 Heights run in 2:50.

Borchert with a quick bucket and then a Lundgren 3 pt play makes it 62-59 CH with 3:52 to play. Rainey then does a great job of reading a flare screen off a play for a 3 that Blaine ran for years. He gets the steal and 2 to push the lead to 64-59 with 3:25 left. Pratt gets a tip-in off a scramble at 3:05. Heights misses a shot and a scramble for the ball ensues which leads to a Mullin layup with 2 minutes left to cut it to 64-63 Heights. Thomas takes a tough shot at 1:33 and Saunders misses an open layup @1:20 to give the ball back to SA. Off an inbounds, a great call by Coach Bratland gets Zurbey a layup (4 across low, post guy falls back to high post like other inbound plays but then he gets a backscreen for weak side layup) for a 3 pt play @1:02 and SA leads 66-64. Saunders has a 15 footer go in and out with 45 seconds remaining. Mullin rebounds, gets fouled and calmly makes the 2 FTs with 38.8 to play. Thomas misses a rushed step back 3 with 30 seconds left for 2 more Mullin FTs and that's your ballgame. 71-64 St. Anthony moves on.

James Borchert with a monster 2nd half for the Huskies to finish with 17. Chris Mullin with 14 after the 1st half foul trouble. Dan Zurbey with 11 and Josh Pratt with 10. Nice balance. They move on to play the winner of Spring Lake Park/North Branch Friday night at 6 PM in Osseo. Don't be surprised to see St. Anthony win that game. They're tough, disciplined and have a goto guy in Walker. That's more than enough to have a chance vs anybody in this section.

Heights ends their season 13-14. Star soph Jacob Thomas with 24 to lead the Hylanders. Soph Harold Rainey with 15, Zaire Saunders 13 and Akrau Imbu with 10. They got outscored 12-0 in the last 3 minutes and took a couple of ill-advised shots down the stretch, but still had every opportunity to win. As this squad gets more experienced, look out. Thomas and Rainey make a very nice returning backcourt for Coach Braziel next year.


  1. Thanks Czar, Have a good rest of the year.

    Willie B.

  2. Good first season for Coach Braziel!


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