Mpls North at Richfield Thoughts

A special mid-week day game in the Kingdom thanks to the holidays as Minneapolis North makes the trip to Richfield. St. Thomas Academy on hand to watch as well as Rene Pulley (insert cash register sound here). Pulley has North coach Bo Powell on his staff in addition to a couple of players who played on the 15s team for them this summer.

Spencer Puckett off to a hot start for North as he knocks down a triple and gets a layup in the 1st 4 minutes for a 14-6 North lead. Richfield with their small lineup not able to make a shot. Kevin Thompson with a baseline J and then a post 2 and him and Puckett are doing all the scoring for North. 20-12 Polars lead at 10:20. Renard Robinson with a steal for 2 as Richfield turns up the D. Robinson with 2 more layups during the 12-3 Richfield run over 3:20. 24-23 Richfield now on top at the 7 minute mark. After a couple of offensive rebound scores for North, Robinson hangs and takes the contact before going glass for an And 1. Puckett then picks up his 2nd foul and has to sit at the 5:08 mark. 3 more for Robinson makes it 32-30 Richfield at 3:15. Thompson with another post up for 2 and then a putback. He then puts back a miss at the 1st half buzzer to tie it at 36 all as Richfield tried for 1 shot and didn't execute. Robinson with 16 and Philip Freeman with 8 for Richfield. Kevin Thompson with 15 for North

Freeman comes out en fuego in the 2nd half. Jay Sewer finds him for 3 on a pretty 2nd pass, they go inside out and find him for a step in 3. Robinson gets a block and then the 2nd pass on the ensuing Spartans possession finds Freeman again. 3 triples for Freeman in the 1st 1:40 and bang bang bang Richfield is up 45-36. North not going away. Puckett on the block, Malik El-Amin with 2 FTs and then big Mark Devine swats a shot on 1 end and gets a putback on the other for 6 straight Polars points. North coach Bo Powell then gets T'd up. Freeman makes the 2 FTs and then knocks down a jumper via an offensive rebound on the possession to put Richfield back to a 7 point lead, 49-42, at 14:10. Puckett and Freeman trade 3s and Freeman has 16 points in 4:50 of the half. 53-45 Richfield at 13:10. North again gets a run. Devine with a post 2, Thompson on the offensive glass for 2 more. Thompson then gets a defensive rebound and throws the touchdown to Ariel Deloney for a layup. Deloney then follows with another layup. Thompson drives for 2 and Pengi Mboma lays one in. Malik El-Amin then drives and forces one up that goes down to conclude a 15-1 Polars run over 5 minutes and its 60-54 North with 8:15 left. Robinson and Thompson take us down the stretch. Robinson with 4 FTs, then a steal for 2. Then a putback and a swat that eventually turns into a Freeman jumper that concludes an 8-0 run (Thompson had a jumper before the run). 64-62 Richfield at 5:50. Thompson with a free throw to cut it to 1. After a Richfield putback, Thompson finds Devine for a layup (we'll draw this play up in the X and O segment) and its 66-65 Richfield at 4:10. Chris Williams gets a layin from Jay Sewer and then is fouled by Puckett on a 3. He calmly makes all 3 of the foul shots and the Richfield lead is 71-65 with 3 minutes to go. Puckett makes a couple of triples late and its 74-71 Richfield at 43.3. Williams makes 2 more free throws and Freeman makes 1 0f 2 with 14.6 left to seal a 77-73 Richfield win.

For North, Kevin Thompson is a scary player. 6'3 and athletic and willing to play in or out. A pleasure to watch this summer with 94 Ft of Game. I just wish North would have run more postups for him as Richfield had no answer for him on the box. He finished with 23 points. Spencer Puckett with 4 triples from the PF spot. 21 points for him and a very nice day. Mark Devine with 4-6 swats. Not much of an offensive player, but he can be a real presence for teams coming into the lane. Charles Smith is a freshman that might turn into a player to keep an eye as time progresses.

For Richfield, Philip Freeman out of his mind in the 2nd half with 20 points and 28 total. Renard Robinson with 25 and he was clutch in leading the Spartans back from the 6 point deficit with 8 to play. Jay Sewer goes scoreless but his initial penetration was the initiation of the sequences that got Freeman off to start the 2nd half. Richfield just has no size and I was surprised they didn't extend the court more with all of the quick guards they have. Then again they only play 7 so that could be part of it.

X and O of the Day
In the X and O segment, a backdoor lob that we talked about above. 1-4 high set. Malik El-Amin enters to Thompson on the right wing (important as Thompson is a lefty). El-Amin then goes and sets a ball screen for Thompson. Devine is on the ball side high-post and he also screens. As Thompson comes off the screens (where he should look to score 1st and didn't), El-Amin doubles back and sets a backscreen for Devine for the lob.

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