Pump N Run 16s take the 2009 Jayhawk Invitational

What a weekend down in Kansas for a bunch of Minnesota teams. The MN Pump N Run 16U team came home with the gold. Here's how PNR might tell you their weekend unfolded.

Game 1: KC Legacy White
That 1st game on Friday is always difficult. Team left at 5:45 AM, was setup at a hotel 30 minutes away from the games (big convention in KC this week). Pump N Run plays sluggish but gets 20 points from Jason Perkins. He looks like a post, but don't discount his ability to handle like a guard. He was used against a big 6'7 280 pound behemoth 1 on 1 and in clear outs against the press. PNR wins by 20. But an early Friday game means a long Saturday day awaits as Game 2 is at 8 AM.

Game 2: Hammond Hurricanes
Leave the hotel at 6:30 AM. 28-17 at the half but the defense wasn't inspriring. A bit of halftime encouragement leads to a 41-14 2nd half as PNR wins 69-31. Aaron Ziman 7-9 for 16 points. Jonah Travis and Alex Richter in double figures and Kyle Noreen with 3 triples for 9 points. Shelby Moats with 7 points. Due to illness he missed the last 2 games of the tournament.

Game 3: St Louis Eagles
This one is for the pool title and features star Brad Beal for the Eagles. A very smooth 6'3 wing who can finish and shoot it while creating for others. Don't be surprised to see him very high in the next round of 2011 rankings that come out. He'll be here with the St. Louis Eagles 17s in the Sabes Invite this weekend.

Beal is being looked at by Kansas amongst other high majors so its a very partisan crowd. PNR gives up some transition hoops during the 1st half but still leads 34-32 at the break. In the 2nd half, the Eagles dominate the offensive glass and their point guard Shaq Noga controls the game. Beal with 17 points but most of them came when Kyle Noreen wasn't guarding him. Alex Richter was a bright spot with 23 points. Eagles win 71-54 with the big 2nd half. Eagles win the pool so that means PNR gets the extra bracket game.

Game 4: Howard Pulley Black
If this matchup were next year, it'd be big news. The matchup of the top 17U programs didn't materialize but we do get this and the kids were fired up for it. PNR dominates the 1st half with a 32-18 lead via outstanding defense. HP upped the intensity in the 2nd half and came all the way back to make it interesting. Its's a 4 point game late when Jonah Travis gets loose vs the press for a dunk and that's a dagger. The lead gets back to double digits. 54-42 PNR wins. Aaron Ziman 8 pts, 8 rebs and a handful of assists. Jonah Travis and Alex Richter with 12 each. Evan Battle impressive inside against the slew of PNR bigs.

Here's the Howard Pulley point of view from their website.
"Our 16 Black team lost in the quarterfinals to the Minnesota Pump N Run 54-42. After trailing most of the game the Panters cut the lead to 4 points with under 2-minutes remaining but couldn't sustain the comeback and lost their first game of the tournament. Evan Battle really played hard in this game and showed a great deal of heart grabbing 10 rebounds, scoring 4 points and playing great defense. Other contributions: Melvin Collins 7 points and 2 rebounds; Marcus Alipate 7 points and 4 assists; Nick Latzke 7 points and 2 rebounds; Myles Barnes 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots; Ariel Deloney 4 points and 2 rebouds and 2 points each from Andrew Hansen, Bretson McNeal and Zachary Lofton"

Game 5: Nebraska Bison
This Nebraska Bison team may be the top team in Nebraska and they beat a good All Iowa Attack team to get to this game. 4th game of the day on a short turnaround from an absolutely draining game both mentally and physically. Nothing like starting a game like this at 10 PM. PNR 24-18 at the half but they are absolutely dead. Second half goes back and forth with neither team able to pull away. The Bison putback a miss with 5 seconds left for a 2 point lead. Travis catches the inbound, takes 3 dribbles and lays the ball in the hoop and we'll go to OT tied at 49. Travis makes 1 of 2 to start the OT, after a long Bison possession, he gets a great block on the other end. That earns Travis 2 more free throws with 25 seconds left. The Bison run a play looking to tie it but Travis jumps in the passing lane and steals it to steal the game. 51-49 PNR wins. Travis with the last 8 PNR points of the game. He finishes with 13. Great resolve by the kids to get through a very difficult game where there was nothing in the tank. Team doesn't arrive back to the hotel until 12:45 AM, bed time at 1:45 AM. Up at 7:30 for the 9:10 AM game.

Quarterfinals: Ramey Basketball
Ramey very athletic at the guard spot and PNR is still beat from the rough night not very far in the past. Alex Richter with 23 points in the easy win. He's been so good getting to the basket that he hasn't needed to make outside shots. That's a silent part of his game that continues to show up more in the summer.

Semifinals: KC Truth
The Truth are here this weekend in the Sabes. Best offensive game of the year for PNR. Alex Kreuser 4-5 from 3 in the 1st half. Total of 18 points. Jonah Travis 7-7 FGs for 14 points. 43-25 PNR at the half. 70-49 PNR wins by shooting the lights out. Nice job by Aaron Ziman to handle the slew of small quick guards (like himself) that the Truth sent at him. Jonah Travis gets the opportunity to sign a poster in this one.

Championship: St. Louis Eagles
PNR gets another shot at the Eagles. PNR trying a little box and 1 on Beal 28-24 PNR at the half as Jason Perkins beats the buzzer. Close game late when Beal goes nuts. He hits a 3 on Ethan Petrill. Kyle Noreen comes back to guard Beal and Beal makes a sick 3. PNR down 5 late but Beal can't guard Richter on the other end as Richter has 6 late points. PNR up 1 with about 40 seconds left when Travis goes up for a dunk and runs into a brick wall of denial. The Eagles hold and get a turnaround out of the post with 5 second or so left for a 1 point Eagles lead. Long pass to Travis and Beal runs him over. Travis to the line for 2 freebies. Timeout Eagles. 1st FT is good. Timeout Eagles. 2nd freebie is good. A 3 quarter court shot is right on line but bounces off the backboard long and PNR takes the Jayhawk championship.

Jonah Travis with 16 and 6 and 7 blocks. Those blocks were influences on Beal's drives into the lane. Alex Richter 16. Ethan Petrill 4 of 7 from deep. PNR kept the Eagles off the offensive glass and continued the sound defense (see the 3 charges taken by Jason Perkins). Mike Yahnke with a couple of blocks in the game as well. Kyle Noreen may not be the quickest player, but he uses his length effectively to defend smaller/quicker players. Aaron Ziman named to the all-tourney team for his team management. Alex Richter was a star all tournament and Jonah Travis very easily could have made it for his clutch performances to win 2 games. PNR with a much needed week off this week before trying to defend their title at the Festival of Teams (6 of those kids were on the MN Magic Elite 15s that won it last year). 6'7 wing Eric Robertson was just cleared to play after recovering from a foot injury from the HS season.

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