Only 16U action in the top 3 brackets tonight. Biggest humor moment of the night was a woman fully decked out as if it was the Kentucky Derby, terrific hat included. All she needed was a mint julep. Don't get me wrong, she looked like a million bucks if she was at the derby (or even the Belmont later today). But I had to stop myself from busting out laughing at how out of place the outfit was in this basketball environment. Combine that with 4 8 minute quarters in these games and there was a strangeness to the evening.
Game 1 of the night was the 16U 8 vs 9 game with the MN Fury North taking on Wear Out the Net. No Drew Swanson (Lake City) for WOTN as he's out due to injury. Josh Pratt (St. Anthony) and Stephen Asp (Edina) showed that they are the top 2 players for this roster. This game was about runs and Jess Briggity (Blaine). The Fury got a 10-0 run in the 1st quarter to get out to an 8 pt lead. WOTN got back in it with 8 straight of their own, before countering a 12-2 with a 14-2 run to end the half up 28-26. WOTN cold in the 3rd but its 42-38 Fury going to the 4th. Logan Hussung (Farmington) gets a nice post up bucket with 2 minutes left to pull WOTN within 52-51, but Briggity's last 2 of the night and 2 Jack Wallick (Apple Valley) seal a 60-56 Fury North win.
Briggity with 14 in the 1st half, 7 in the 3rd quarter and 10 in the 4th to finish with 31 pts. He got into the lane at will and hit floaters all night. Wallick with 15 pts and 8 rebounds. Michael Lindberg (West Lutheran) pitched in with 9 pts and 5 rbs. Isaac Peterson (Cannon Falls) led WOTN with 16 pts (4 triples). Also noteworthy that this game was anything goes from an officials standpoint. Not bad, but interesting considering that the next 2 games were very tightly called. Interesting contrast.
Speaking of tightly called, I got to see a large chunk of the ending of the MN Suns 14U (Siyani Chambers-Hopkins, Darian Pittman-MCA) game that they won 60-40. Game ran way late because there was a whistle every 2.4 milliseconds.
MN Xplosion vs MSB in the always dicey 5 vs 12 matchup. More of the same tight officiating in the 2nd session as we had 9 FTs attempted before the 1st made FG. Xplosion trying to press but getting nothing and making nothing. An 8-0 MSB run gives them a 15-7 lead after the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter the full court man press starts to have some results but its not until the Xplosion get 4 late 3s that they take a 33-31 at halftime. MSB not going away though as they start the 2nd half on a 10-2 run to take a 41-35 lead. But they get sloppy later in the quarter as they give up an offensive rebound on a FT which leads to a triple and Andrew Kuledge gets a steal and a layup to tie it at 48. A late MSB 3 makes it 51-50 Roadrunners after 3 quarters. The Xplosion get a 8-0 run over the 1st 2:49 of the 4th to lead 58-51 and it looks over. Especially when they go 2-3 zone and the Roadrunners are getting no movement and hoisting up hurried 3s. But David Stanley (Roseville) hits a 3 for MSB after a scramble and its 59-58 Xplosion with 2:15 to go and the Xplosion turn it over. MSB gets nothing out of it and with 1:18 left the Xplosion have the ball and call time. They call a great iso off the inbound for Josh Pella which he converts for a 61-58 Xplosion lead with 1:10 to play. The teams trade 2 FTs each and with 15.9 to go MSB has the ball down 3 in the frontcourt. They run America's Play for Stanley but they don't execute and Stanley has nothing. Cory Stiles throws up a prayer at the horn that is no good and the Xplosion survive 63-60. The Xplosion are deep, they hustle and have tons of people who can knock down 3s. Dangerous team. Jordan Reibling led them with 12 pts. David Stanley with 22 and a nice game to lead MSB. Cory Stiles (Eastview) with 8 pts and 12 rebounds in a very productive outing. He's athletic and showed an ability to handle the ball a bit in addition to his rebounding.
Late game (and I do mean late) was 43 Hoops Harris vs MN Select. Aaron Ziman vs Vinard Birch was the highlight here. Birch is one of the best on ball defenders in the metro and is extremely disruptive on opposing point guards. Defense in this game far ahead of the offense. 7-6 Select after 1 quarter. 18-15 43 Hoops at halftime (and that was with 3 quick Select pts late in the half) before I called it a night.
MN Fury South won their game in a blowout (55-20 near the end of the 3rd quarter when the Xplosion game was at half) in the 4th 16U game of the night.