Thoughts on the MN Magic 16U Elites

The defacto start of the MN AAU season takes the Czar to the Colin Powell Center in South Minneapolis for a MYAS invitational. The MN Magic Elite 16U squad was playing up a level in the 17U division for Coach Jerry Noreen. A very nice facility with 4 courts in a 2x2 configuration with the local colleges represented on each baseline.

The quarterfinals had the Magic taking on Shakopee. After an early 9-9 tie, an 11-0 Magic run officially put the game out of reach as Shakopee never got closer than 20-14. 29-18 Magic at the break, 50-28 final. Shakopee kept it close early with hot shooting vs the MTS 2-2-1 and 2-3 zones. The Magic then switched to a 1-2-2 for the rest of the way. Here's what my unofficial stat sheet had for the 1st game.

Chad Calcaterra: 4 pts and 4 rbs
Marshall Bjorkland: 13 pts and 9 rbs
Kevin Noreen: 7 pts, 6 rbs, 4 blks
Taylor Filipek: 6 pts, 2 rbs
Jordan Reetz: 0 pts, 2 rbs
Darius Clare: 4 pts, 3 rbs
Jack Ghizoni: 2 pts
Jon Crockett: 5 pts
Galen Holzheuter: 7 pts, 3 stls
Michael Johnson: 2 pts, 2 stls

The semifinals game was vs a very determined Apple Valley team. 15 all in the 1st half before the Magic got the last 12 to end the half to lead 27-15. AV didn't go away as it was 41-35 with 5:25 to go before a 10-0 Magic run put the game away. Final score 54-38.

Here's what my unofficial stat sheet had for the 2nd game.

Chad Calcaterra: 3 pts and 4 rbs
Marshall Bjorkland: 9 pts and 4 rbs
Kevin Noreen: 2 pts, 6 rbs
Taylor Filipek: 13 pts, 6 rbs
Jordan Reetz: 2 pts
Darius Clare: 4 pts, 2 rbs
Jack Ghizoni: 13 pts, 3 rbs
Jon Crockett: 1 rb
Galen Holzheuter: 6 pts, 2 rbs
Michael Johnson: 2 pts

Magic starters were Calcaterra and Bjorklund inside with Noreen, Filipek and Johnson outside. Off the bench, Crockett for Johnson at the point, Ghizoni for Filipek at the 2. Clare for Noreen at the 3, Holzheuter for Calcaterra at the 4 with Bjorklund moving to the 5. In the 1st game, the Magic didn't make shots. And while they did make shots in the 2nd game (8 pts in game 1 from Ghizoni and Filipek vs 26 from them in game 2), they didn't have energy. In both games, they consistently left the high post unattended in their zone defenses which won't be a good thing when they play better competition.

Holzheuter was impressive with his strength allowing him to play an interior role while leaving Noreen outside at the 3 to take advantage of his shooting. Crockett was impressive defensively, especially in the 1-2-2 as he was very disruptive at the top of it. Best example of this was coming into the 2nd game with about 9 minutes to go in the 1st half and immediately getting a couple of deflections. Clare also came into the 2nd game and was active. Necessary too as Apple Valley generally outworked and had more energy than a lethargic Magic team in that 2nd game. Bjorklund is an animal inside and can pass. While he is very useful in that high post role, I'd be tempted to flip-flop him and Calcaterra in the high-low set as Bjorklund's wider frame currently allows him to do a better job of holding post position and taking bumps and scoring. Not to mention it keeps him closer to the glass for offensive rebounding. The main thing with this team is being able to consistently make outside shots as today vs zone defense they were suspect in that area. Not much movement on offense either.

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