Johnson at Como Park Thoughts

The Czar going hockey style today and changing on the fly (that'd be an interesting basketball concept). My plan was to do the Washburn at Henry game but when I showed up for the freshman game, the street was full of water and the lobby was a lake. Turns out a pipe busted in the lobby and forced all activities at Henry for today and tomorrow to be called off. So I decided to proceed over to Como Park and take a look at their club and friend of blog John Carrier's freshman squad. A fun matchup as Al Harris coaches the Johnson freshmen. This one was ugly and John stays winless against Al.

The varsity wasn't a pretty game either, but wasn't nearly as 1 sided. Very sloppy with turnovers and really ugly offense on both sides. Jordan Jackson with a layup to tie it at 28 before the half. Johnson with 7 of the last 8 of the half for a 35-29 lead at the break. Lamar Anderson 11 for the Governors. Jackson with 10 for Como Park. Johnson did generate some offense late in the half using point guard Estan Tyler in a high/screen roll set. Johnson gave up a couple of real cheap home runs off the press that help Como Park stay in it.

The 1st 4 points of the half by Dion Suggs of Johnson give them an 11-1 run across haltime for a 39-29 lead at the 16 minute mark. A nice double clutch banker in there. Como Park gets 6 in a row with a Jackson steal for a layup and a floater by Joe Conley to cut it to 39-35 with 14:30 left. Tyler with a triple at 10:55 to push the Johnson lead to 51-43. Reggie Ray gets undercut on a lob with 6 minutes left and comes down hard. He's OK and makes both free throws for the Cougars to cut the lead to 57-50. Johnson runs away and hides the rest of the way as they score 10 of the next 11 for a blowout win. 78-63 Johnson wins.

Johnson will drive you nuts with their defense. On offense they have a finisher (of plays and of games) in Dion Suggs (witness his Willis Reed type performance vs Washburn in the double OT thriller back in December). Suggs with 16 tonight. Lamar Anderson with 15. Force them to play in the halfcourt and don't turn the ball over. Easier said than done with the waves of pressure they throw at you. They're 9-3 now and 2-0 in the St. Paul City.

For Como Park, they fall to 2-10. Run and gun offense, they're small so they don't rebound well and defensively the points allowed numbers speak clearly. Jordan Jackson can really score, Joe Conley and Reggie Ray are nice players. Adrian Wackett plays the point and flops more than any player I've seen ever. But to his credit, he drew a handful of charges tonight. 4 of the 5 starters return next season. Talent wise they're far and away better than their record indicates.

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