16U Semis and Championship
1st seminfinal, Comets Elite vs Heat Elite. 27-21 Comets at the half when I join the party. That after bumping the lead to 8, the Heat come back and cut the lead to 2. Comets go on a 12-3 run. 45-34 Comets with 7:44 to play. The Heat have another run in them as they cut the lead to 49-45 with 4:40 to play. After a missed layup, the Comets start to turn the ball over. Riley West with a steal for 2 and another turnover give Drew Preiner a drive and hoop to tie the game at 49 with 3:40 to play. That's a 15-4 run over 4 minutes. Jayme Moten (New London-Spicer and great hair) buries a long 3 with a minute left for a 57-54 Comets lead. After a missed 3 by the Heat, they don't foul and manage to get a turnover with 25 seconds left. Rob Daul gets a good look at the tying 3 from the right corner but its in and out with 9 seconds left. With 2 fouls to give, there may not be enough time left. But the Comets overthrow the wide receiver on an open touchdown pass and the Heat will get the ball back under their rim. Drew Preiner's 3 is short and the Comets move on 57-54.
In the 2nd semifinal, Terry Porter Elite defeated 43 Hoops (2nd team as the top team played up) 38-34.
In the final, Terry Porter Elite was up 40-30 with 10 minutes left. Down 48-40, the Comets come back with 3 straight bombs in a 14-0 run. That gives the Comets a 54-48 lead with 2 minutes left and they hang on 63-59 for the 16U Championship.
Impressive Comets roster. Brian Reeves (Willmar) and Simon Krych (Holdingford) were a star pair on the front line during the tournament. Rob Daul averaged 15.8 PPG during the season for Hill-Murray. It looks like he'll be the guy replacing Alex Richter's production and style in the Heat lineup as he was impressive during the 2nd half of the Heat/Comets semi. Big body to deal with inside and has an ability to step away and be productive. Add in the Preiner twins from Tartan and this team will not be an easy out.
17U Quarterfinals (6-8 predictions)
Q1: Comets Elite-Hanson over 43 Hoops Hemmingson 72-40. I took in the 1st half of this one. This Comets team plays 2 waves of guys. The 2nd wave of Mike Johnson, Erik Tengwall, Alex Hanks, Taylor Filipek, and Zach Noreen is amazing for them. And that's no slight to the solid performances of Shaun Condon and Scott Willenbring. Noreen was an especially tough matchup for Dominique Dawson with his ability to step out and nail 3s. Dawson had trouble scoring over defenders inside. He's a 1-man band for the 43 Hoops 2nd team.
Q2: Pump N Run 17s vs TNL. Back and forth in the 1st half but TNLs pace. 17 All with 6:43 left in the half, then 23-21 TNL before they stretch it to 35-24 on a Jasper Duberry 3. 35-28 TNL at the half. An 8-0 run early in the 2nd half by PNR cuts the lead to 38-36. 47-41 TNL with 9 minutes left before the shots don't fall and that's not good for TNL with Spencer Cummings out of the game. PNR goes on a 22-3 run with some of that against TNL traps after PNR got the lead and spread the court with about 5 minutes left. 65-56 PNR wins. The number of easy bunnies that PNR missed inside was unbelievable in this one. Kevin Noreen had 3 of them on the 1st 3 possessions of the game (and this wasn't the only game where he had trouble finishing). TNL played zone most of the way and kept PNR at bay with it as they didn't get much inside.
Q3: Heat Elite vs Fury Elite. 4 point game with about 6 minute left before Dajon New'll starts a run with a steal and 2. Fury wins 63-54.
Q4: 43 Hoops Harris steamrolls Terry Porter Elite 72-32 after a 40-18 halftime lead.
17U Semifinals (4-4 predictions)
Semi #1: Free food on the line for me as Fury Elite takes on 43 Hoops Harris. A MN Preps reader said I'd get a free meal if Fury makes the final so I'll take in this game instead of the other semifinal. Talk about quickness with Dajon Newell vs Vinard Birch at the point spot. My stomach is cheering as Fury is out to a 14-3 lead at the 9 minute mark. But Birch leads 43 Hoops back with 6 points in a 12-3 run over the next 3 minutes. Josh Pella finishes a 18-6 run for a 21-20 43 Hoops lead with 3 minutes left in the half. But Fury finishes the half on a 10-3 run for a 30-24 halftime lead.
Fury adds on the 1st 7 of the 2nd half with 2 Newell steals for 2 easy buckets. 37-24 with 12:51 left. 17-3 in the 6 minutes across halftime. 41-28 Fury with 9:40 left after back to back jumpers (Jack Wittenborg of Jefferson I think). Back comes 43 Hoops with 2 bombs from Jordan Reetz (2nd from NBA range), Clay Horne goes strong takes the contact and scores for a 3 point play with 7:27 left to cut it to 4. Birch takes a turnover the other way for 2 and adds 2 FTs with 5:48 left to tie the game at 43. 15-2 run over 4 minutes for 43 Hoops. 2 Fury triples sandwich a 43 Hoops triple. Horne dunks with 2:34 left and to cut the Fury lead to 50-49. Pella with 2 freebies at 1:58 for a 52-51 43 Hoops lead. Yuriy Maleshenko misses a 3 with 1:50 left. After spreading the floor, Max Rosenbloom puts back a miss with 54 seconds left for a 3 point lead. Up 3 and defending, Birch leaves his guy for a steal and dives on the floor and gets the timeout with 18 seconds left. Reetz with 2 FTs and 43 Hoops wins 57-52. Bolshevik! There goes my free food.
Semi #2: Bitter and hungry I take in the end of Comets Elite-Hanson vs Pump N Run. Game flow to this point as follows. Comets had a 7 point lead with 3:44 to go in the 1st half. Dyami Starks of PNR (Duluth East) nailed a triple at the 1st half horn to conclude a 15-4 run and PNR was up 34-30 at the break. That lead was 10 with 12:41 left and 4 with 8:17 left. Comets took the lead 53-52 with 6 minutes left. 59-57 Comets with 2:55 left and the 2nd unit mentioned above is in as I turn and watch full time.
Alex Hanks (St. Cloud Tech) with a strong move and he finishes the 3 point play. 62-59 Comets with 2:20 left. After a PNR turnover, Michael Johnson (Grand Rapids) with an ill-advised drive that Starks converts with a floater. Eric Tengwall misses a front end with 1:27 left. Kevin Noreen has a 3 go in and out but Carlos Emmory puts it back with 1:07 left. 63-62 PNR. Hanks forces and misses with 40 seconds left. Starks with 2 FTs with 31 seconds left. Hanks with 2 FTs with 9 seconds left 65-54 PNR. I'm saying foul Emmory at this point. He gets it but the defender gets caught on the wrong side and Emmory is off to the races. It takes a jersey grab to stop him and that's an intentional foul with 7 seconds left. He misses both and I'm thinking that he should come out. But not only does he stay in, he gets the inbounds pass and I'm screaming to foul him which happens. He steps up and buries both like Larry Bird, no doubt about them. 67-64 PNR wins.
17U Championship - 43 Hoops 17U Harris vs Pump N Run 17U
PNR goes 2-3 zone, interesting. One of the tourney highlights with Kevin Noreen throwing it up from half court and Emmory flies in from Fargo like Superman and throws it down. 13-11 PNR at 8:40. Clay Horne with a layup at 7:30 for a 16-15 43 Hoops lead. But they can't find the range as they get only 1 FG in the next 7:25. Steve Tecker with a back, Mike Rostampour with a steal for 2 FTs and a Dyami Starks jumper give PNR a 29-20 lead before Tim Lubke buries a 3 to beat the halftime buzzer. 29-23 at the half PNR leads.
Emmory with 6 quick points early in the 2nd half to push the lead to 35-25. Tony Gerding with a pair of triples in a 8-2 43 Hoops run. Timeout PNR at 10:47 with a 37-33 lead. Gerding with 2 freebies and Jordan Reetz calls home to Fall Creek, WI to cut the lead to 1. PNR man-man down the stretch which is interesting. Out of a timeout, Mike Rostampour gets Tim Lubke on him inside and converts the mismatch with 6:10 to play. 43-39 PNR. Leonard Glass with a putback and Lubke with a triple with 4:43 left and 43 Hoops leads 45-44. 2 missed bunnies by PNR during that quick run. PNR not to be denied. Rostampour with 2 FTs, Kevin Noreen gets the 2nd pass out of a drive and buries a wide open 3. Clutch. Starks for 2 and Emmory with 1 of his too many to count dunks during the tourney to finish a 9-0 over 2:12. 53-45 PNR with 2:31 to play. PNR wins the title 54-45. I had Carlos Emmory with 20 points on my sheet. Tim Lubke hot in this one but his 3 or 4 triples weren't enough in this one.
Quick Final Thoughts
- Carlos Emmory would be my tourney MVP as he was amazing all tournament long. Keep in mind that this was after not playing this entire high school season. He was a man amongst boys going around, through and mostly over everybody.
- Dyami Starks had a nice weekend for the 17s PNR also.
- Clay Horne looks like a totally different player than during the winter season. He will really blow up this summer if his play this weekend continues.
- Speaking of 43 Hoops Harris, I totally underestimated them. I had questions about their offense which I think came true in the championship game. However, their defense is something I didn't count on. Summer ball gets a rep as run and gun don't guard anybody. More than anybody else you'll see, they prove that wrong as they really really get after it defensively. With Vinard Birch at the point of that pressure and a bunch of interchangable athletic wing pieces they can sustain it too.
- I'm told Trey Scott lit up the Comets Elite-Seevers squad in pool play. From nowhere to Fall League week MVP to 20 PPG for a state qualifying Spring Lake Park team. A very nice story.
- Terry Porter teams both very athletic and more than I expected. If Garrett Wenzelburger is who I think it was, he played well in the 16U final.
- I correctly picked 6 of 8 pool winners, the final 4 and the winner. The 1 major wrong pick costs me free food. Drat!
- Overall a very fun event. Too bad Net Gain didn't make it.