Thomas leads Columbia Heights to upset of #1 St. Bernard's

Game #100 of the season is a non-conference matchup of top guards in the state as I travel to St. Bernard's for their matchup with Columbia Heights. Rene Pulley on hand to see Jacob Thomas. Al Harris and George Hemmingson from 43 Hoops watching. Minnehaha and Concordia looking on. Hamline and UW-Superior also watching. The St. Bernard's pep band even makes an appearance. Nice that you can actually find a seat in the place, but those who didn't show up missed a terrific game.

Interesting that Trent Davis gets the assignment guarding Jacob Thomas and not Averey Duncan. A Jordair Jett steal for 2 gives the Bulldogs a 9-6 lead at 15:13. After a couple of Hylanders free throws, Thomas with the rare 4 point play and Heights is up 12-9 at 14:17. Then one of the Hylanders bugaboos, turnovers, sets in. St. Bernard's takes advantage with the next 13 points. Brian Sandifer with 7 of those during the 3 minute run. 22-12 St. Bernard's leads. Columbia Heights chips away and a couple of Gerard Baptiste buckets cuts the lead to 26-23 with 6:40 left in the 1st half. Jett with a nice last 2 minutes of the half as he gets a steal, 2 free throws and then a putback to beat the 1st half buzzer. 45-35 St. Bernard's at halftime. Jett with 16, Thomas with 10. 16 Columbia Heights turnovers and 11 turnovers for St. Bernard's.

Jett with the 1st 4 points of the 2nd half for St. Bernard's to extend the lead to 12 at 16:20. Thomas with a deep 3 and Kendrick Mills quickly off the Hylanders bench with 2 free throws. Heights then goes to a 1-2-2 zone and the Bulldogs get the turnover bug. Mills with 2 more buckets that force a timeout at 13:40. Mills again and Thomas with another 4 point play to force another St. Bernard's timeout. Thomas buries another triple after a Bulldogs turnover and D'Karlos Craig with a layup to punish the press. That all part of a a 23-3 Columbia Heights run over 5 and a half minutes. 60-52 Columbia Heights has the lead and momentum with 10:18 left.

Averey Duncan with a layup and a putback then Jett is back to work with a triple from the right corner against the zone and then a drive down the left baseline for 2. Brian Sandifer nails a jumper to conclude a 11-1 St. Bernard's run. That gives them a 63-61 lead with 8:23 left. Jett with 2 more chances to extend the lead that don't fall. Jett with 2 free throws and then he finds Duncan for 2. Harold Rainey breaks the momentum with a steal and a nice lefty layup. Thomas with a catch near the right elbow. Two dribbles out and he turns and buries a 3 to tie the game at 71 with 4:30 left. After the teams trade hoops, St. Bernard's scores and then Duncan steals the inbounds for 2. 77-73 Bulldogs at 2:55. Thomas right back with a 3 point play. Jett left alone and he scores at 2:15. Rainey with a nice curl for a foul line jumper at 2:05, 79-78 St. Bernard's. Then a tie up and the arrow goes to Columbia Heights at 1:49. Duncan now picks up Thomas and he misses a 3 with 90 seconds left but Heights runs down the miss. Duncan fouls out reaching on Thomas at 1:15 and that's big. Thomas calmly drains both free throws and Heights is on top 80-79. The Hylanders extend the 1-2-2 zone a bit and Rainey gets a pair of tips that almost result in steals. Trent Davis misses a 3 badly with 20 seconds left and Thomas rebounds it. Akruo Imbu with 1 of 2 FTs with 10.2 left. St. Bernard's rebounds with 9 seconds left and call times. They have to go the length of the court and surprisingly no one is denying Jett. He makes the catch at his own foul line and off to the races we go. To the other end, the shot is up and there's the whistle. But the shot doesn't matter as Jett gets called for the offensive foul with 4.2 left. Thomas makes 2 free throws with 3.3 left for the final margin. Columbia Heights pulls the upset over #1AA St. Bernard's 83-79.

For St. Bernard's, Jordair Jett with at least 32 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists on my sheet. He was used in the middle of and on the outside of the Columbia Heights zone. With the exception of baseline drives, that zone did a fair job of slowing him down. Brian Sandifer with 16 points on my sheet. Very sloppy game for the Bulldogs, especially against a 1-2-2 zone that really wasn't anything special. They had around 20 turnovers. But that head-head win over Minnehaha probably means they still keep the #1 seed in 4AA East.

For Columbia Heights, Jacob Thomas with 30 points and 7 of the last 10. 5 triples that included a pair of 4 point plays and 7-7 from the foul line. Heights takes advantage of his length by using him at the top of their 1-2-2. Kendrick Mills once again productive off the bench with 14 and 6. His game isn't pretty, but he's effective for them. Taking care of the ball continues to be an issue. I had at least 26 turnovers on my sheet for them. A big win for Heights as they look to make a run at the #2 seed in section 3AAA. A 2nd over Fridley and a home win over Spring Lake Park need to happen for that scenario to play out. They're at Hopkins next Thursday.


  1. Gotta love it when St. Bernards loses. Next thing you know they are going to be trying to recruit Thomas.

  2. Next to Hopkins, St. Bernard's had the toughest schedule this year.

  3. Big momentum shift in the second half due to the Columbia Heights fans. If they wouldn't have gotten into the game like they did, it might not have turned out in their favor.
    Then again, when they have Thomas to cheer for it's easy.
    Probably one of the better high school games I have seen.

  4. columbia heights is good, they have won some hard games and lost some easy ones, their fans are CRAZY, i was at that game. it was INTENSE, and they have a good coach,


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