2009 Best Buy Holiday Classic Title Day

We love the Davanni's pizza but 2 bucks for a 12 oz can of soda.  That'll break me of my drinking habit in a hurry.  Nice setup at Augsburg but the introduction takes forever to say (Ernie Anderson court at Si Melby Hall).  1st 2 games minimal attendance, but a nice crowd for the championship game.

Game 1: St. Louis Park (2-6) vs Minneapolis Roosevelt (1-5)
St. Louis Park looks like they're going to run away with this one early.  Alex Koch for 3.  Joe Zangel with a 3 point play and a putback for an 11-4 start.  Then Koch for 3 again for an 18-8 lead.  Calvin Jenkins with a pair of baskets and a James Smith hoop at 9:35 cuts the Park lead to 18-14.  Koch with a putback and a pair of bombs and another hoop to blow this one open.  38-20 St. Louis Park at the break and Koch has 22.  Its a 22 point game with 8:30 left before Roosevelt applies the press to the reserves and makes this one close.  65-56 St. Louis Park wins.  Alex Koch with 28 in the win on 11-20 shooting on my sheet. 5 triples in that.  Calvin Jenkins leads Roosevelt with 15 points.

Game 2: Chicago Julian vs Milwaukee Marshall (5th place game)
Gotta love the blue hoodies on the Marshall warmups.  Even the Chicago kids appeared to have a laugh at that.  Worth noting that these teams were staying at the same hotel and got to know each other a bit.  Julian with a late first half run to take a 37-26 halftime lead.  They close it out 72-21.  Julian star Walter Lemon with 22 points.  Aristede Brattchet with 17 for Marshall.  Fun contest of athletic teams that was a lot like an AAU game.

Game 3: Henry Sibley (4-3) vs Christian Faith Academy, NC (3rd Place Game)
4 all early after a Jordan Jackson follow dunk.  CFA applying pressure to get out to a 22-13 lead at the 8:46 mark with superstar 8th grader Andrew Wiggins scoring 7 in a row.  But Sibley withstands the early heat.  Jake Kreuser gets it going inside with a postup and a putback.  Jordan Jackson with 6 free throws thanks to the bonus.  Kreuser again inside for 2 postups to put Sibley on top.  They take a 32-30 lead to the half.  19-8 run over the last 8:45.

Sibley tries to pull away but can't.  43 all at the 13:53 mark.  Then 6 straight Sibley points push the lead to 7 with 8:17 left.  Chris Bultena with a big 3 at the 6 minute mark for a 55-49 Sibley lead.  CFA cuts into the lead but Sibley hanging on up 59-56 with 2:54 left when Kreuser fouls out.  Big play when Sibley runs a postup for Rostampour that gets smashed down and converted to a pair of CFA free throws.  59 all with 1:24 left.  Sibley holds for 1 shot and gets 2 looks including a decent look from Jimmy Ryan at the horn that's no good and we'll play OT.

Wiggins quiet but opens the OT with a triple for the first CFA lead since late in the first half.  Then Rostampour fouls out at 3:13 of the OT.  Too much to ask with both bigs gone.  CFA makes enough free throws to withstand 9 late Jordan Jackson points.  78-74 CFA wins.  Jordan Jackson with 30 points.  Mike Rostampour with a tough night against the long and athletic CFA bigs.  I had him 1-15 on my sheet with a 10 and 10 double-double.  Jake Kreuser 13 points and 9 rebounds.  Andrew Wiggins with 22 for CFA.

Game 4: #1AAAA Hopkins (7-0) vs #1AAA St. Paul Johnson (8-0) (Championship)
The crowd finally files in for this battle of titans.  A 13-4 Johnson run over 3:20 forces a Hopkins timeout with 10:15 left in the half.  19-12 Govs lead.  Marvin Singleton strong inside for 2 at 9:23 with the foul that puts Hopkins in the bonus.  Zach Stahl with a nice lefty bank, a Riley Dearring layup at 8:15 and 2 Singleton freebies cut the lead to 26-24.  29 all after a Siyani Chambers nails triple at 5:57 for Hopkins.  Back and forth action.  42-39 Johnson at the half.

Jeremiah Tolbert for 3 and a nice catch of a lob and reverse layup by Joe Coleman put Hopkins on top quickly in the 2nd half.  Johnson counters with 2 pairs of freebies.  Anthony Lee with a steal for 2, Roosevelt Scott with a big 3 and a Hopkins turnover for a Estan Tyler layup conclude another Johnson spurt.  58-49 Johnson with 12:03 left and Hopkins needs a timeout after the 8-2 run.  Hopkins has to have a run in them don't they?  DJ Peterson and Riley Dearring score to cut the margin to 64-63 with 8:15 left. After a pair of Siyani Chambers free throws, Hopkins is down 66-65 with 7:33 left.

Johnson has all the answers.  Jordan Pluff a pair of free throws.  Zach Stahl misses a front end and Donte Warlick converts a layup on the other end.  Pluff with a floater countered by 2 Stahl free throws.  Then a huge Marcus Marshall triple at the 5 minute mark to push the Johnson lead to 75-67.  Anthony Lee drives for 2.  77-69 Govs with 3:55 left.  Hopkins can't convert a pair of Tyler turnovers in the next minute.  Johnson misses free throws late to keep Hopkins in it.  82-78 with 15.3 left and Hopkins forces a jump ball but it goes to Johnson.  Estan Tyler seals the deal with 4 freebies.  Johnson wins 86-78 to cement their status as the top team in the metro.

Estan Tyler leads all scorers with 20 points.  He didn't shoot it particularly well (6-15) and did have turnovers but he did out play Siyani Chambers at the point.  Another struggle for DJ Peterson as well for Hopkins.  Jordan Pluff absolutely fearless tonight with 16 points.  Roosevelt Scott with 12 points in limited minutes.  Marvin Singleton was a beast inside with 18 points and 9 rebounds for Hopkins.  Joe Coleman with 18 points and hit a jump shot tonight which was nice to see. Zach Stahl with nice bench minutes for the Royals.  The Govs depth was a factor in this one as Hopkins did appear to wear down in the second half.


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  2. I have generally have enjoyed your game write ups . I have unfortunately discovered a unsettling trend when you do write ups on Johnson games . They tend to be brief and vague when describing how Johnson wins .

    In reading this re-cap it took till the 3rd paragraph to find any mention of actual Johnson players or how they got the lead . Is this because their style of play to difficult to comprehend and then translate to print .

    Then your mention of Estan Tyler seemed to be an underhanded slap . He was the MVP but you mentioned his bad shooting and turnovers as your main focus in describing his play . You also never mentioned WHO of the bench players for Johnson played well . You mentioned every player who played tonight for the winning team . This is extremely perplexing !!

    What is your take on Johnson now ? You have previously stated that they don't have enough scoring punch but they average over 78 points a game . They are undefeated and have beat some great teams this year so does that change your opinion of them now ?

  3. Thank you st paul. I make no claims about my writing abilities so in my haste to post these articles (especially these abbreviated ones where I have to condense much more than usual), sometimes my thoughts don't come across as clearly as I would like or important bits get omitted. I think its a fair assessment to say that the defensive bits can be harder to get across (or to get on my notes)

    I hope I answered your question on what I think of Johnson when I said in the piece "...cement their status as the top team in the metro." After seeing the Stillwater and Hopkins games in person, there's no way I can say anybody else in the metro is better.

    Johnson came up really clutch tonight. They gave Siyani Chambers fits defensively and when Hopkins made runs, Johnson made clutch plays and clutch shots. Specifically Jordan Pluff when Hopkins was cutting the gap at 66-65 and Scott's 3 early in the 2nd half. Then a clutch Marcus Marshall 3 with 5 minutes to go to push a 5 point lead to 8.

    Johnson did a great job of exploiting the Hopkins D with back cuts and early in the game driving and finding guys for layups. I believe it was Warlick who had a couple of really sweet assists early in the game.

    As to the bench, scorers 2-4 were off the bench for Johnson and they were the difference as they generated the offense Johnson needed. Pluff was really a monster tonight that Hopkins had no answer for. Roosevelt Scott hit a couple of big 3s (much improved shooter) and Anthony Lee had a great game. In a halfcourt game, can Johnson get performances like this on a consistent basis? I'm not 100% convinced of that, but I'm a much bigger believer now than I was before the Hopkins game and at the start of the season. Not that everyone does it on every night, but I starting to come around to the idea that there are enough guys with enough ability that enough of them will make that contribution every night. e.g. Pluff tonight, maybe its Rosenbloom in another game etc. With 11 guys all getting relatively similar minutes its hard to talk about the concept of the Johnson bench. Its 1 big flock of guys that just wear you out.

    I did accidently leave out the all-tourney team so let's give them their due.

    Jordan Jackson - Sibley
    Joe Coleman and Marvin Singleton - Hopkins
    Jordan Pluff, Roosevelt Scott and the MVP Estan Tyler from Johnson

    Hope that clarifies some of what you were wondering about.


Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.