Lakeville South at Apple Valley Thoughts

Mitch Bires

Today's tournament adventure takes me on a return trip to Apple Valley for their 3AAAA quarterfinal against Lakeville South. Interesting for me too since I haven't seen either team since the opening couple of days of the season. Great music tonight on the PA system, but beware of the ketchup bottle. I was lucky not to turn my green shirt into a Christmas outfit. The 3rd matchup this season of star sophs Alex Richter (South) and Tom Schalk (AV). Richter put up 38 and 10 (13-16 shooting) in the 1st meeting this year and 12 when the teams met 2 weeks ago. What would happen tonight.

Blake Shay gets the assignment guarding Schalk. David Bauer gets the task of containing Richter. This one is quiet early as 2 Varmah Sonie free throws give Apple Valley a 6-5 lead at the 13:25 mark. Bauer being effective in the post as he gets a layup from Sonie, a nice reverse layin and a post up for 1 of 2 FTs. 13-12 AV at 9:33. Lakeville South gets a triple from Riley West and a 3 point play from Blake Shay as part of a 9-3 run that puts the Cougars up 21-16 with 6 minutes left in the half. West with a couple of tough shots. Sonie goes thru West to convert one of those misses and Schalk with 2 free throws the other. The 6-0 AV spurt gives them the lead 22-21 at the 4:34 mark and forces a Lakeville South timeout. 28-27 Lakeville South at the half. Varmah Sonie with 10 points and outplaying Riley West in the point guard matchup. Alex Richter with 8 and 6. Blake Shay with 6 and 6 on my sheet. Schalk 3 points on 1-3 shooting.

Sonie keeps it going with a 3 point play on a nice move to start the half. Mitch Bires with a triple, Bauer with another reverse and Sonie buries a 3 for a 38-34 Apple Valley lead with 15:35 to play. Timeout Lakeville South. West with a floater and then Shay with 5 in a row for Lakeville South and they have the lead back 41-39 at 13:25. Shay loses Schalk on the defensive end for the easy layin. 41 all. Jake Wensmann with a putback, a defensive rebound and then goes hard for 2 free throws. Calvin Otting with a putback to conclude a 13-3 Lakeville South run and they have big momentum. Matt Hermes with a layup to end the run and only then does AV take the timeout. I never understood or liked that philosophy.

But it works. Sonie with a steal for 2 and then he swipes West again and West gives him the forearm push away going for the loose ball. That's his 4 foul. Richter picks up his 4th 14 seconds later. That fouls leads to 2 Mitch Bires free throws that tie the game at 47 with 9:24 left and if you blinked, you missed the complete 180 in the momentum. Bires with a hoop and then a jumper. JD Mehlhorn with a layup at 7:15 to put the Cougars back up 52-21. West and Richter return at 6:43 in a surprise move. Lefty Matt Gurtcheff giving AV nice minutes off the bench. He makes a jumper, 2 free throws and then goes right at Richter (4 fouls) for a layup on a right baseline drive and a nice lefty finish. That's 6 of the 8 points in an 8-0 run that gives AV a 59-52 lead with 4:30 to go. Melhorn with a putback at 2:09 to cut the lead to 5 and then Shay with 2 FTs after an AV turnover. 61-58 AV with 1:53 left. Sonie trapped on the inbounds and he may have flopped but instead its the 5th foul on Riley West. Sonie makes both freebies and Bires with 2 freebies after a Richter miss. Shay with 2 free throws and then Wensmann nails a 3. 66-63 AV with 54.8 left. Lakeville South gets a great trap in the corner on the inbound and forces a jump ball but the Eagles have the arrow. Gurtcheff goes 1 of 2 again at the stripe with 36 seconds left. Nice job by the Cougars of working for a trap instead of an immediate foul. Wensmann with a bucket with 21 seconds left, but Bauer breaks the press for a layup with 10 seconds left and that seals it. Apple Valley hangs on 69-65.

For Lakeville South, Alex Richter goes bagel in the 2nd half. 8 points total in his 2nd lowest total of the season and only the 2nd time he's been held without double-figures. Blake Shay with another big game against the Eagles as I had him for 20 and 9. Not to mention the nice defensive job he did on Tom Schalk. The Cougars lost 5 of their last 6 to finish the season at 12-15. Blake Shay was a big glue guy for this team. He'll be very difficult to replace.

For Apple Valley, they get the huge break as Park knocks off Lakeville North by 13. Big roar at halftime when it was announced Park was winning that game at the half. Varmah Sonie with 20 points on the night and controlled the action. Mitch Bires with 14 points. Matt Gurtcheff with 10 points off the bench. David Bauer effective inside on the post as he finished with 11 points. Tom Schalk with only 5 points.

Mitch Bires photo courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net

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