16 sessions of games this weekend at the AAU qualifier. Let's look at results and highlights of the weekend.
17U (top 2 play D1 next weekend)
Pool A: Comets-Hanson, Triple Threat, MSB, Magic Blue (No surprises). Triple Threat won a pair of close games over MSB and Magic Blue to claim the 2 spot in that pool
Pool B: Fury Elite, Comets-Seevers, Magic Black, River City Cougars (Comets were the 3rd team in the pool, but all 3 of the top teams were worthy, not a major surprise there). On Saturday, Comets-Seevers got 12 points in the last 5 minutes from Scott Nystrom to defeat Magic Black 62-60. Those 12 points included a steal and coast to coast layup in the last 5 seconds in an amazing finish. Magic Black had a chance to potentially eliminate the Comets from the 2 spot, but lost 80-60 on Sunday to MN Fury Elite. Nice performance from Jake Wensmann in that one for the Fury Elites. I did an audio interview on the Fury Elite vs Comets Seevers game for MN Preps yesterday. Read the article and access my interview here.
Pool C: As expected, TNL, TC Elite, MN Fury Gold and Old Skool. TC Elite now without Alex Koch who has moved on to MN Select. Huge loss for them. TNL had to fight to sweep the pool. On Sunday, they went down to the wire with TC Elite. Tied at 41 with 5 minutes left, TNL goes on a 10-0 run over the next 2 minutes. But a dicey 3 by Sewer results in 2 David Rademacher FTs for TC Elite and they're within 54-52 with 40 seconds left. TC Elite doesn't foul and Devon Knopke gets called for a carry with 18 seconds left. Aaron McCrossan's attempt at the horn is no good and TNL survives that game 54-52. In Sunday's late game, TNL got another big game from Jay Sewer (big in the TC Elite game too, I had him for 24 in this game vs Fury Gold). 79-67 TNL sweeps the pool. TC Elite earned the 2 slot in the pool with a 67-62 win over Fury Gold on Friday night.
Pool D: #4 overall and top seed in the pool MN Glory go 0-3 and were blown out by 22+ in their 2 Sunday games. Pump N Run 16s win the pool with MN Heat Select finishing 2nd and Comets Blue 3rd. Pump N Run defeated Glory 67-44 in Sunday morning's opener. PNR 35-44 FTs to Glory's 16-21. Alex Richter 16 points for PNR. They opened Saturday morning with 21 points from Richter in a 62-37 win over Heat Select. Heat Select routed Glory 89-67 on Sunday afternoon (14-1 start) to take the 2nd spot in the pool.
Pool E: Redhawks def Heat Elite in the 6 vs 5 game at the top of pool E for the 1 and 2 spots. Comets North and Wear Out The Net finish 3 and 4. On Sunday, the Redhawks had a 2 point lead on the MN Heat Elite at halftime. Taylor Hanson ignited a big 3 quarter run as the Redhawks won the 3rd quarter 26-12. 71-53 Redhawks win the pool and Heat Elite finish 2nd with the loss.
16U (top 2 play D1 next weekend)
Pool A: MN Glory, Team Minnesota Elite, 43 Hoops II, WI Terror, Comets White. Glory came from 19 down to 43 Hoops to win 83-77 late Saturday afternoon. Ben Figini with a layup with 1:30 left to put Glory over the top and they make their free throws (along with a clutch 3 from Justin Pahl who had 6 in the TNL Super Regional Championship). Glory got a putback from Ben Figini with 3 seconds left to beat Team Minnesota for the pool title and keep their #1 overall seed in 16U. Team Minnesota 53-46 over 43 Hoops II on Sunday morning for the #2 spot in the pool.
Pool B: No surprises. Comets Elite, MN Heat Black, SW MN Heat and Mpls Gators. Comets shorthanded for Sunday's late game vs Heat Black for the pool title, but they still won by 15.
Pool C: MN Heat Elite defeated MSB late Sunday for the pool title. MSB moves up to take the 2 seed in the pool.
Pool D: MN Wrath defeated Magic Elite to swap the top 2 spots in the pool on Sunday. 50-41 Wrath with 1:10 to go before Trevor Morlock gets a 4 point play and after a Daron Garvis steal, he quickly nails another triple. 50-48 Wrath with 43 seconds left, game on. The Wrath miss 2 front ends and a 2nd of 2 FTs and get all of them back in the next 17 seconds. The 2 front ends were offensive rebounds and the 3rd slipped away from a Magic player. 53-48 Wrath wins. Magic Elite over TC Elite 72-63 Saturday morning to avoid a slip to #3 in the pool.
Pool E: Wear Out The Net, MN Fury Gold, Old Skool, Magic Blue (no surprises). The pool title game with WOTN and Fury Gold was a fun finish. Fury's Terez Van Pelt with a steal for 2. 58-56 Fury with 1:15 left. Anthony Lee misses 2 front ends for Fury in the last 35 seconds. After 1 miss, Max Watts makes up for it with a left corner 3 with 9 seconds left for a 1 point lead. Fury with a couple of late chances but they can't convert and WOTN wins 59-58.
15U (all 13 teams play D1 next weekend)
Pool A: MN Suns, MN Heat Elite, TC Elite Green, MN Fury. MN Suns with no big wins but they go 3-0 to keep the #1 overall seed. That included a 79-74 win over MN Heat Elite.
Pool B: MN Magic, Howard Pulley White, 43 Hoops Daniels, TC Elite Black. Howard Pulley came from behind (10 down I heard) to defeat 43 Hoops 64-58 on Sunday to take the #2 spot in the pool.
Pool C: MN Southside, MN Pump N Run, 43 Hoops Gameli, Comets Blue, TC Elite White. The Comets got Joey King in foul trouble in their Saturday morning game vs MN Southside. King had 9 in the 3rd quarter and the game was tied at 39 heading to the 4th quarter. King fouled out with 4 minutes left and Southside down 4. Comets paraded to the foul line all day for a 65-56 win. MN Southside defated Pump N Run 49-38 Saturday afternoon. Pump N Run was on all cylinders on Sunday morning vs 43 Hoops Gameli. Will Dunn with 13 points in the 1st quarter. A 19-2 across the quarter break blows the game open with Cortez Tillman being a huge factor in the run. PNR 50-21 at the half and they win 83-51. Dunn's 19 lead 5 PNR players in double figures. Shot selection for 43 Hoops was a major issue in this one.
A great sight seeing Luke Preiner of the MN Heat Elite 16s having a bandaid on his right temple that was held on with duct tape. Yes, duct tape. Note to self, The Czar needs a cell phone with a camera on it, especially all the razzing I took for it this weekend. :) Also have to give props to the pork sandwich meal deal. Hmmm good. Had to make sure to get that in on both days of the weekend.
To the bad, the scorekeeping/timing had the same issues as last season's tournament. Also, the officiating across the board was horrific in my opinion. Not just in 1 game, just about everywhere from what I saw. I only wish I could say more, but I feel the circumstances and today's lawyer happy society don't allow me to.