Delano lives at the charity stripe

Westward ho as I make the trip to Delano. With a big section wrestling event in the main athletic venue, we're stuck in the back at the "old" gym. This feels like an elementary school game with a bigger set of bleachers (only 1 side with the wall right up against the far sideline). All of the city coaches from section 6AAA are in the building watching along with some of the players from Mound-Westonka. Waconia, you have to feel left out of this one.

Darius Clare of Delano with a putback at the 15:10 mark for an early 5-1 Tigers lead. Slow pace to this one with Delano playing zone and their motion offense on the other end. 5 in a row from Holy Angels includes a Cole Frechette bomb for an 8-7 Holy Angels lead at 12:30. The teams proceed to trade the lead by 1 until Christian Larson makes 2 FTs at the 3:54 mark for a 16-13 Holy Angels lead. Darius Clare gone to the bench at the 4:21 mark. Kyle Kreklow with a free throw and a triple. 17-16 Delano at the 3 minute mark. Joey Offerdahl puts back a miss and its 22-20 Delano at the half. Offerdahl with 7, Kreklow with 6 points and 7 rebounds.

Jay Stevens with a hoop and a Joe Silhaeck layin at the 14:30 mark (remember that) push the Delano lead to 29-22. Bonzi Wells (Sahr Ngekia) with a 2 and a putback and Tyler Emanuel with a 3 for Holy Angels in an 8-1 run to tie the game at 30 with 10:45 remaining. Mike Yahnke with 3 of 4 FTs and 2 bonus FTs from Kyle Kreklow at 9:20 make it 35-30 Delano. Clare with 2 FTs at 7:26 before he picks up his 4th foul 10 seconds later. 37-30 Delano. Larson with a layup and 2 FTs for AHA to cut the Delano lead to 40-36 with 4:21 remaining. Kreklow 3 of 4 from the stripe, 43-36 with 2:29 to play. Center Andy Jirik banks in a 17 foot jumper with 1:45 remaining and that demonstrates the level of offense in this one. 43-38 Delano. Clare with 2 FTs with 36 seconds left for a 47-41 Delano lead. Tyler Emanuel counters with a 3 with 27 seconds left to cut the lead in half. Jay Stevens fouled immediately and he bounces in the 1st free throw. He misses the 2nd but Mike Yahnke tips out the miss for Delano. Stevens fouled again with 20 seconds left and he misses both. AHA still has life. Larson with 1 of 2 FTs with 12 seconds left and RD Brown gets the rebound and is fouled. 48-45 Delano with 10 seconds left. Brown misses both free throws though. Kreklow makes 2 with 9 seconds left to seal it. Delano wins 50-47.

For Holy Angels, this loss breaks a 4 game winning streak after a 3-16 start. Unfortunately, they'll likely draw Washburn in the 1st round of 6AAA play. Washburn beat them at AHA 78-49 on January 20th but this is a different AHA team now. Tyler Emanuel with 11 points, Andy Jirik with 10 points.

For Delano, they're now 19-3 and are still 1 game behind Waconia for 2nd in the Wright County (teams split the season series and have very close QRFs). Delano with only 2 field goals in the entire 2nd half and they both came in a 30 second stretch. No FGs in the last 14:30. 27 of their 50 points and 24 of 28 in the 2nd half came via FTs. Kyle Kreklow with 15 points on 12-18 FTs (27-42 FTs for the team). Delano with a big lineup for the stretch run. This is a nice way to use their talent. 6'7 Kyle Kreklow at the point, 6'4 leaper Darius Clare at the 3, 6'7 Mike Yahnke at the 4 and 6'7 Joey Offerdahl in the middle with a guard at the 2. I believe Yahnke was the only bench player who played for them in this one. But when you play 2-3 or 1-3-1 zone all night, you can shorten the bench.

Seeding in section 6AAA will be very interesting. Take Waconia and Delano. Those 2 teams will be very interesting as Waconia is 17-6 and 1 game ahead of 19-3 Delano in the Wright County with both teams being almost equal in the QRF. I'm guessing they go 2 and 3 (Waconia #2) with a DLS vs BSM rematch in the 4 vs 5 game (read about the 1st meeting here). Orono, Mound-Westonka and AHA would be 6-8 if I had to seed it today. BSM is #12 in the QRF and if they beat Cooper on Friday, who knows if something could change. It does seem somewhat criminal to put the #12 QRF team as a 5 seed though. That said, there are 3 in front of them and DLS while behind, did win the 1st matchup at BSM rather easily but Peter Crawford didn't play.

Lakeville North survives late Raiders scare

To Lakeville North I go for a non-conference tilt with Cretin-Derham Hall. CDH a very different team since I last saw them as Marcus Binns and Jonathan Kinsel are no longer on the roster and Elliot Owusu was in street clothes. Interesting that Bemidji State signee David Berthene came off the bench for Lakeville North.

Seantrel Henderson with 6 points early including a wide open layin on a pick and roll where the Panthers defense got totally lost. Tied at 11 at the 12:30 mark. The Panthers then get it going. CJ Johnson off the bench for 3, Tyler Swanson with a couple of hoops and Thomas Clarkin off the bench with a pair of triples. 20-4 Panthers run over 5:30. 31-15 Lakeville North with 7 minutes to play in the half. Minimal offense the rest of the half as its 37-20 Lakeville North at halftime. Seantrel Henderson with 10 of the 20 points for CDH. Tyler Swanson and Chris Orgas with 8 each.

Dajon Newell buries a 3 for the Panthers at 14:05 to push the lead to 20. CDH starts to chip away. They get 7 in a row before Clay Horne picks up his 4th foul with 11:07 to play. The lead is 15, 46-31 with 10 minutes left. Henderson with a putback, post up and a pair of free throws as he finishes off a stretch of scoring all 8 points for CDH. 48-37 when Horne returns at 7:57. Then David Bettenburg comes to life for the Raiders. He makes a floater and then a nice turnaround in the lane before he buries a triple for 7 in a row. 50-44 Lakeville North at 5:50 and they need a timeout after a 20-6 CDH spurt over 8 minutes. After a Tyler Swanson bucket, Gus Gehlen with a jumper and Jake Frey converts a Henderson block of Orgas into a 3 ball. 52-49 Panthers up with 4:30 to play and we've got a good going.

CJ Johnson with a jumper for 2 and then Orgas cleans up a bad shot by Johnson at 3:20 and the lead is back to 7 for Lakeville North. Henderson with another postup to cut it to 5. 57-52 as Lakeville North spreads the floor to a delay game. A Panther drives to the hoop and Henderson sends it back again. Bettenburg clutch with another triple and its down to a 2 point game. 57-55 Lakeville North with 59.4 left. A great sideline inbound play gives Swanson a layup from Orgas with 43 seconds left. Bettenburg misses a triple, but then redeems himself with a steal for a 3 with 20 seconds left. 59-58 Lakeville North. Aaron Gallegos fouled and calmly drains both freebies with 14 seconds left. 9.8 left and CDH wants their last timeout as they get the ball to halfcourt. Out of the timeout, Lakeville North elects to foul. Very interesting. Gus Gehlen makes 1 and then misses the 2nd intentionally with 5 seconds left. Fred Newell rebounds but misses the front end, Bettenburg gets the ball to halfcourt and heaves. Off the iron and no good at the horn. Lakeville North hangs on for a 61-59 win.

For Cretin-Derham Hall, disappointing effort in the 1st half as they got outhustled. Seantrel Henderson with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 big 2nd half blocks on my sheet. David Bettenburg with all 13 of his points in the 2nd half. Interesting that CDH played a passive 2-3 zone most of the game. They host surging Stillwater in their final game of the regular season on Friday. This game could also determine who hosts the 4 vs 5 game between the teams in section 4AAAA.

For Lakeville North, they played a ton of people early. Maybe it went on cruise control a little early, but they struggled closing teams out as they've blown other big leads this season. Tyler Swanson leads the way with 14 points. Chris Orgas with 11 points as the only other player in double figures for the Panthers. David Berthene with 8 points off the bench. They end their regular season vs woeful Kennedy on Tuesday. They'll be the top seed in section 3AAAA. Burnsville and Eastview are right behind them and both have 1 point wins over Panthers this season.

Cooper at Spring Lake Park Thoughts

So after Cooper won the 1st meeting 85-81, it looked like the North Suburban could come down to this game. SLP had only lost 1 game out of 13 (the Cooper game) before losing back to back games over the last week to North Suburban contenders BSM (sans Peter Crawford) and Columbia Heights. So much for the conference race. But Rene Pulley is in the building for the 2nd half (probably watched the 1st half of Heights and Fridley just down the street) so life is all good despite only having 2 officials for this one.

Interesting matchups early as Joe Bright gets the assignment on SLP's Sean Jensen. Jensen gets the task of defending Rodney Williams. Rodney opens with a loose ball for a dunk, follows with 2 free throws and then makes the 3 ball in the side pocket for 7 quick points. Timeout Spring Lake Park as they're down 14-6 3 minutes into the game. Spring Lake Park with a 9-2 run out of the timeout and they do it in 2:20. Jensen with an assist and then a tip in to conclude the run. Cooper cranks up the running game as they go off for a 18-2 run over 5 and a half minutes. Kenquane Brown, Joe Bright and Quincy Bethea all with triples during the run. Cooper coach Dave Johnson telling his team to not dribble, so Rodney Williams promptly drives for 2. He then gets a steal and looks for the showtime breakaway dunk but Tim Weigelt prevents that with the hard foul and Joe Bright isn't happy about it. After the zebras get together, its an intentional foul. Rodney misses the 2 freebies and on the possession he takes his anger out on a 1 handed follow dunk that would have been amazing had he made it. Jamal Roberts off the bench does score on the post while Cooper retains the ball. The lead has ballooned to 38-20 with 4:45 left in the half. Y (Tyler Ylvisaker) with 3 of SLPs 5 triples in the half to keep the Panthers from getting totally blown out. 51-35 Hawks at the half. Sean Jensen with 6 points on 3-12 shooting on my sheet. Elijah Sabah with 7 points for SLP. 4 players with 8 or more for Cooper. Rodney Williams with 9 points on 3-5 shooting and 3 blocks.

No early traction for SLP. Rodney with a short jumper and Bright with a postup on Jensen and the lead is 17 at 15:55. 2 SLP buckets countered by a Bethea 3. Sabah with a triple and then a bad shot. Cooper runs out for a Bethea layup and its 69-51 Hawks with 11:05 to play. SLP with some half court traps now. That's part of a 13-4 SLP run that Y ends with a 3. 73-64 Cooper with 7:33 left and somehow this game is back to being competitive. Bright with a kick out of the post to Burton for a right wing jumper. Rodney with a blocked shot for a runout for Kenquane Brown. 7-2 SLP in points before a Brown triple pushes the lead back into double digits. 82-71 wiht 5:25 left. SLP with 4 in a row and Rodney gets Jensen in the post (1st time all night) and steps on the end line. Jensen can't convert a FT line jumper on the other end. Cooper takes time with 3:20 left and you'd think that clock management came up. Bethea counters a Scott 3 with a quick 3 of his own at 2:30, Brown puts back a quick Cooper miss inside of 2 minutes. After a SLP layup, they take time with 1:36 left down 89-82. They'll get no closer. Rodney with an alley-hoop dunk to finish it and the Hawks win 93-84.

For Spring Lake Park, Sean Jensen with 22 points and I had 6 assists on my sheet. 9-23 shooting on my sheet means 6-11 in the 2nd half. Trey Scott with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Y with 17 points on 5 of SLPs 11 triples. A nice adjustment vs the Cooper zone (more on this in the Cooper section) to move Sean Jensen into the middle and post area after initially having Sabah at the high post area. They settled for lots of 3s (having Rodney back there will do that). I still see too much of Jensen being forced to make everything happen. Lots of high screen roll in the 1st half to Jensen's left hand but I liked better a weave action they showed briefly in the 2nd half. Very disappointing how Cooper was able to run out on rebounds too as they did a poor job of getting back. Despite 3 losses in a row now, road wins over St. Louis Park and St. Francis next week should secure the #1 seed in section 3AAA. But that section is wide open as you'll see when I do my section previews next weekend (hint, hint).

For Cooper, great balance as they get 5 guys in double figures. Quincy Bethea with 14 of his 24 points in the 2nd half. Kenquane Brown with 21 points and I had him for 8 rebounds. Rodney Williams with 16 points. On my unofficial sheet for him, I had 11 rebounds, 5 blocks and 6-11 shooting with 2 missed dunks (granted 1 was the monster anger-management dunk described earlier). They were very fortunate their 3-2 zone didn't get exploited worse. A huge hole at the high post with the top line extending way far out. Then they stayed in it too long in the 2nd half when Jensen started to take advantage of that hole. Hopefully they'll work on it or ditch it because it wasn't not something to go back to as it functioned tonight. Strange how Cooper just keep running and shooting between the 3:20 and 1:36 mark with a 7 point lead. No attempts to manage the clock at all. Joe Bright, who gets my game ball for how he played Jensen, mysteriously got pulled with 3:10 left. Very strange as that's the 1 time all night I want him on the floor. And they gave up 11 makes from the great beyond, 5 to a stand-still shooter. Overall, not a performance that one would associate with a state championship contender.

Week 13 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

Here's what caught my eye from the games of Tuesday 2/24/09.
  • Apple Valley moves ahead of Lakeville South in section 3AAAA with a 2 point win over the Cougars. AV now tied in the Lake with Burnsville and in the running for the 3rd seed.
  • Armstrong makes their case for the 3rd seed in section 6AAAA with another win over Minnetonka. Cole Stefan with 15 points for the Skippers after being held to 4 in the 1st meeting.
  • Speaking of section 6, Wayzata holds off Minneapolis North by 4. Kevin Thompson returns with 23 points for the Polars and that makes them a very different team. Reserve Soph Eric Robertson has been out with injury for the Trojans.
  • Breck with a rout of SPA to pull within 1/2 game of SPA for 3rd in the Tri-Metro West.
  • Cambridge-Isanti pulls within 1/2 game of Rogers in the Mississippi 8 with a win over the Royals. 2 big Section 7AAAA games coming up for the Bluejackets as they have Duluth East and St. Francis in their next 2 games.
  • Chaska beats Jefferson in OT thanks to 21 from soph Jake White. That loss clinches the Lake for Eden Prairie.
  • Columbia Heights was confident coming into their game with Spring Lake Park. Thanks to 34 from Jacob Thomas they pull the upset. The Hylanders still looking for that 2 seed in section 3AAA. A big game at Fridley on Friday to determine that. With Jordan Hughes back for Henry, beware of the Patriots in this section.
  • Delano rolls over Orono 67-38, but this game was 35-8 at the half, what happened there? I'll see Delano Saturday night against another section 6AAA rival, Holy Angels.
  • Elk River blows out Centennial 68-49, what happened there??
  • Farmington with the win at Northfield to take control of the Missota and section 1AAAA.
  • Isaiah Thomas goes nuts again for Fridley as he hangs 50 on St. Louis Park on 16-17 shooting. Soph PG Aaron Ziman with 24 for St. Louis Park.
  • Sibley officially clinches the Classic Suburban with a win over Mahtomedi. That forces a 3 way tie for 3rd with Mahtomedi, Richfield and St. Thomas Academy. These 3 teams still have round-robin games with each other before the season ends.
  • Sibley East gets 25 from Marshall Bjorklund but loses to Norwood-Young America in the Minnesota River. The Wolverines still lead the league by 2 games over Holy Family.
  • Arlington comes from 16 down at the half to beat Central by 8. Central was outscored 39-15 in the 2nd half.
  • Off a nice night at St. Michael-Albertville, Waconia's Shelby Moats goes for 28 against Mound-Westonka in a blowout win. Waconia stays 1 game up in the loss column on Delano in the Wright County.

Blaine at Park Center thoughts

Dylan Rodriguez

My 1st look at Blaine this season to see if I can diagnose what's different between the record and the talent level. No Dan Robel tonight for Blaine as he's out with a nasty injury suffered last week. A night full of 2-3 zone though. This could be ugly.

6 all early as Blaine's Dylan Rodriguez scores a couple of baskets. Park Center then with a 12-2 run thanks to Lorenzo McClellan's 6 points and a couple of easy baskets via Blaine turnovers. 18-8 Pirates at the 8:10 mark. But PC can't capitalize on the good start as they one get 1 FG in the next 7:30. That was Justin Casey banking in a foul line jumper. Rodriguez sits out the last 3:34 with 2 fouls but Billy Giddings knocks down a runner and Jesse Briggity gets a layup on a runout and Blaine is right in it. 22-19 Park Center at half.

Terez Van Pelt opens the half with a triple for a 6 point Pirates lead. Blaine then goes on a 10-0 run over 2:20 to take the lead. David Leafblad with back to back 3s to end the run. 29-25 Bengals with 14:50 left. Sam Chase with a couple of buckets, the last one being a post up via the Swing Offense as PC went man. Rodriguez with a hoop and then a Chase steal for 2. 43-32 Blaine with 10:09 left. Total run is 24-7 over 7 minutes. PC never threatens again. Rodriguez puts icing on the cake with a behind the back assist to Giddings with 1 minute left. Blaine wins 64-54.

For Park Center, Lorenzo McClellan with 16 points. Justin Lynn with the double dozen as he goes for 10 points and 12 rebounds. Voltaire Nalls 2-8 shooting for 6 points. Justin Casey also held to 6 points. With those numbers, PC was fortunate to only lose by 10. I'll be keeping an eye on 8th grader Quinton Hooker down the road. He saw JV time tonight. Park Center in a dual for the 7th seed with Irondale and a very outside shot to catch Roseville for 6. Mounds vs Roseville in the 3/6 matchup looks interesting and Champlin Park/Centennial looks like a good 4 vs 5 matchup.

For Blaine, Billy Giddings with 17 points and 8 rebounds on 8-13 shooting on my sheet. Dylan Rodriguez with 16 points and 5 boards on 7-12 shooting via my stats. Jesse Briggity is the 3rd guy and he also has a scorers mentality at the point. 8 points for him. Junior Sam Chase with 11 points off the bench in a nice performance. Sophs Dan Robel, Zach Romashko, Weston Obrycki, Eric Kline and Evan Spurbeck give Blaine a nice class. With that group and Briggity returning next year, there's plenty left after Giddings and Rodriguez depart.

The Bengals are still trying to dig out of that 1-10 stretch over the holidays. Fortunately section 7AAAA is very weak and they have the 2nd best power ranking behind Forest Lake (FL beat Blaine by 17 during that bad stretch). The head-head win over Cambridge-Isanti in the 1st game of the season looms large for that #2 seed. But the Bengals need a road win at Maple Grove on Friday. Blaine won the 1st game between those teams by 7 at the end of January.

Dylan Rodriguez photo courtesy of

Waconia at STMA Thoughts

A quiet Monday in the immediate metro area so I make another trip to the western fringes for Waconia at St. Michael-Albertville. No surprise to see John Moore (BSM), Dave Thorson (DLS) and Reggie Perkins (Washburn) all in the building watching this one.

The teams trade a pair of hoops in the 1st 3 minutes. Then Shelby Moats starts a 7-0 Waconia run with a strong 3 point play inside. Waconia with a fast break for a hoop, wow since when do they run? Moats gets a kick back and sticks his 2nd 17 footer of the night. 11-4 Waconia at 13:26 and Moats is 3 for 3 for 7 quick points. But Waconia struggles for only 1 point over the next 4:25 due to turnovers. The Knights counter with 12 points of their own for a 16-12 lead with 9:01 left in the half. Moats with another 3 point play. STMA point guard Jason Dehmer then picks up 2 quick fouls and he's gone to the bench with 3 fouls at 6:24. That 3rd foul was on a moving screen too. Kevin Nelson with a triple to clear the 1000 career points mark and that pulls STMA with 21-19 at the 2:30 mark. But that's the only Knights field goal in the last 9 minutes as Waconia outscores them 17-3 during that time. Waconia with a pair of 3s and a Moats jumper for an 8-0 run to end the half. 29-19 Wildcats at the break. Moats with 14 and 3 on 6-8 shooting. Nelson with 6 on a pair of 3s. Waconia cut out the turnovers in the last 9 minutes and finished with 9 for the half.

Brian Anderson with 6 quick points to start the half for STMA. That brings the Knights within 6, 33-27, with 14:25 left. They'll get no closer. Moats with a drive for 2 at 9:29 forces a STMA timeout. 42-32 Waconia. The teams trade buckets the rest of the way before Ben Kortuem buries a 3 with 90 seconds left for an 11 point lead. That's the final dagger as Waconia wins 52-42.

For STMA, Kevin Nelson with 13 points as he passed the 1000 career points mark (1009 total now). He's the 8th player in STMA history to reach that milestone. They do a nice job with their power motion of being patient. Disappointing that there was no Joe Carpenter as I wanted to see his progress this season after seeing him last year.

For Waconia, Shelby Moats leads the way with 19 and 6 on 8-10 shooting on my sheet. Danny Fischbach with 14 points and he had a clutch 3 in the 1st half and 3 late baskets when the teams were trading hoops before the dagger triple by Ben Kortuem. This is a young squad with sophs B. Kortuem and Bronson Sheff returning next year at the guard spots, junior Fischbach as a wing and stud soph Moats in the middle. They will be a favorite in the Wright County again next year. They were more effective with their flex/dive offense than their 4 out-1 in. I won't use the term motion as they were very stagnant in that 4 out. On defense, tough man with plenty of 2-3 thrown in. They'll also do a little run and jump.

MTS stats correction

Last Friday at the end of my review of scores from 2/19/09, I questioned the Minnesota Transitions statistic of 36 assists on 38 made field goals against Spectrum. After another look at the box score, MTS actually had 47 field goals in that game.

I misread the original information and error is mine. I have no reason to question the final stat of 36 assists on 47 field goals.

My apologies to everyone at Minnesota Transitions.

Saturday Zig-zagging Across the Metro

Game 1: South at Como Park
South's junior post Alonzo Traylor goes off in another game where I saw him (read about his performance vs Central at Christmas here). He's a big part of an early 11-2 run that puts South up for good. 23 and 9 in the 1st half for him before Como Park goes box and 1 on him to start the 2nd half. Victor Easter steps up for South to start the second half. He starts the half with a 3 and then 7 in a row in the run that blows this one wide open. 41-30 Tigers at 15:33 before they go on a 22-3 run over 7:30. Many of those points with Traylor on the bench. South gets the game to the mercy rule before winning 75-42. Traylor with 27 and 12, Easter with 12 for South. Joe Conley 12 and 9 for the Cougars. Looks like Como Park has a date with Arlington in the 4 vs 5 game in section 3AAA. South could visit Armstrong in the 3 vs 6 game in section 6AAAA. More on the Falcons below.

Game 2: Washburn at Orono
A matchup in the very difficult section 6AAA here as the Millers visit the Spartans. Orono out to an early lead 14-8 in the 1st 5 minutes. Washburn then goes on a 23-3 run over the next 5 minutes. Jordan Osberg off the bench with 10 points in the run. Washburn leads 31-17 at the 7:25 mark. They extend the lead to 53-32 at the break and the game is at mercy rule left by the 11 minute mark. Washburn wins 87-49. Osberg finishes with 15 points. Jordan Smith finishes with 23 points for Orono. Orono loses only 2 seniors and both are replacable. The roster is loaded with sophomores and complemented by frosh Brady Wohler. Orono looks like they'll be the #6 seed in 6AAA. DLS and BSM both scouting before their night games. Mike Broghammer of Hopkins makes an appearance in the gym as well. Washburn looking more and more like the 5 very good losses won't cost them the #1 seed.

Game 3: Armstrong at Benilde-St. Margaret's
A very even 1st half as there's no lead bigger than 3. Fouls plague BSM as Myles Barnes sits the last 14 minutes and Darren Glover the last 8 with 2 fouls. 33 all at 13:30 before Andy Seidlitz gets hot. He has a personal 8-0 run over 1 minute to put Armstrong up for good. Frosh Isaiah Zierden with a nice give and go to cut the lead to 5 with 8:25 to play but the Red Knights get no closer. Ryan Virnig scores down low and Seidlitz buries another triple and the lead is back to 10 at 6:50. Armstrong makes their FTs down the stretch for a74-61 win. Based on record, BSM looks like the 5 seed but they have the 2nd best QRF in the section. A win over Cooper at the end of the year would be huge for seeding. DLS has a lower QRF but they have the head-head win. Tough seeding BSM, DLS, Delano and Waconia in the 2-5 slots. BSM will be very scary next year with 2 frosh and 2 sophs who saw varsity minutes tonight. Armstrong could make a strong case for the #3 seed in 6AAAA with a 2nd win over Minnetonka on Tuesday. The 3 seed keeps you out of a 2nd round game with Hopkins. Peter Crawford off the bench with 15 points and 3 blocks for BSM in about 17 minutes of action as he recovers from an injured foot. Damarius Cruz with 29 points on 12-20 shooting. Marquel Curtis with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Andy Seidlitz came off the bench with 4 triples and 16 points.

Holy Angels with another Missota upset

To Holy Angels I go for this Missota showdown with New Prague. But it will be hard to surpass last night's Tech/Apollo game. New Prague 15-6 coming in and fighting for the #1 seed in section 1AAA. Holy Angels looking up at the rest of tough section 6AAA. No pizza tonight at AHA, disappointing and the new microphone still doesn't have enough volume.

New Prague has joined the Dribble Drive Motion craze. 6'9 center Isaac Cross playing the inside beneficiary spot and he gets a layup from star Danny Geiger early. Geiger tough on the bounce and he gets an And 1 at 14:03. Then he finds one of the season's best stories, Connor O'Brien for 2 more. O'Brien follows that with a pair of free throws. Stars point guard Tyler Bredow counters that with a jumper, a triple and then an assist for a Tyler Emanuel triple. 17-15 Holy Angels at 11:25 as we go to a New Prague timeout.

Now the New Prague parade to the foul line starts. AHA has 8 team fouls and we're not at the 11 minute mark yet. 19 all at 9:10 after an O'Brien putback and New Prague decides to go 1-3-1. Between that and the Holy Angels fouls, we're at a snail's pace. Jack Hogan with a pair of triples against the zone. The Stars doing a nice job of finding the high post and then quickly sending the ball opposite. Too many kids get the ball there and send it right back to the same side without even looking to the other side of the floor. Those triples give AHA a 27-22 lead with 5:20 left in the half. New Prague finally gets out of the 1-3-1 after a timeout at 3:51. The fouls are 13-5 against Holy Angels and finally it gets to coach Larry McKenzie and he earns a T. While the numbers are lopsided, that's exactly what DDM does to you. But the Trojans only make 1 of the 4 free throws and Geiger misses 2 more freebies on the ensuing possession. Finally the 11th man off the Stars bench, Zach Machacek gets to the line and makes 1 of 2. New Prague with the 1st 21 free throws of the game before that. Somehow Holy Angels is still ahead. Geiger with an assist and then a 3rd chance at a 3 point play. He converts this one and that sends New Prague to the locker up 33-32. Geiger with 8 points and 3 assists on 3-6 shooting. O'Brien with 6 points and 4 boards but only 2-9 shooting. Andy Jirik and Jack Hagen with 6 each for AHA. 16-7 is the foul count and New Prague with 22 FT attempts but only 12 makes compared to 3-4 for AHA.

Sam Dittberner with plenty of ball handling duties tonight making the DDM go and he converts a couple of banks to end a 6-0 New Prague spurt. 39-34 New Prague and it looks like they may start to pull away. Bonzi Wells (Sahr Ngekia) with 1 of 2 and a conversion from Bredow to keep AHA close. But the foul count is now 7-2 against AHA at 13:41. That's 23-9 so far and its getting comical. Sam Gullickson and Bredow with triples to counter a nice dive for 2 by O'Brien and a tough lefty finish by Geiger. 44-43 New Prague with 12:17 left.

A Cole Frechette steal for 2 and 2 Tyler Emanuel free throws give AHA a 47-44 lead with 10:32 left. Bredow and Sam Dittberner trade triples after another lefty finish by Geiger. Geiger with another hoops at 7:45 to put the Trojans up 55-52. Then Bredow with another triple. New Prague fouls after the shot so the Stars keep it and Hogan makes a bank. Hogan follows with 2 free throws on the bonus at 5:27. 59-55 Stars and they haven't committed a foul in over 8 minutes so the fouls are even at 7. That can't last as the Trojans promptly make 3 of 4. Jirik with a layup off a pretty feed, 61-58 Stars at 3:15. Geiger a tough putback at 2:50. The teams trade misses. Out of a timeout Holy Angels goes with some Swing Offense. Bredow fouled at 1:31 but he badly misses the front end of the 1 and 1. O'Brien with 2 freebies at 1:14, 62-61 New Prague. Bonzi on the right block and the foul! Where have you been all season? 64-62 AHA wiht 58.7 to play. Geiger hold on top and looking left. Jack Hogan with a great play to come from behind, knock it away and dive on the floor AND get the timeout with 43.3 left. New Prague chooses to go with a run and jump trap at half court. Bredow does a nice job to step thru a trap and eliminate the pressure. The Trojans are forced to foul. How appropriate that its Hogan and he makes 2 of 2 (10th team foul) with 29 seconds left to put AHA up 4. Geiger with a pullup at 15.4. Hogan makes 1 of 2 with 10.7 so New Prague has life but both teams are out of timeouts. Geiger gets a handoff on the right wing and somehow his defender gets hung up. He gets a wide open look at the top of the key but its short and he can't recover the long rebound before the clock runs out. AHA pulls off an exciting 67-64 upset.

For AHA, they're now 5-16 but they defeated Prior Lake on Tuesday night so they may not be as bad as their record as they're 4-3 after a 1-13 start. While they've lost badly to many of the section 6AAA contenders (Washburn, Waconia, BSM), their game at Delano next Saturday may be a better indicator of where they are. They'll return most of the rotation. If Jack Hogan or current frosh Parker Bredow can replace Tyler Bredow at the point, the Stars figure to be solid next year with 6 rotation players (and Parker Bredow who has varsity some this year). Tyler Bredow leads the way with a clutch 2nd half and a total of 16 points, 5 boards and a minimum of 4 assists. Andy Jirik with 10 points inside.

For New Prague, a tough loss as this will hurt them in the race for that #1 seed in 1AAA. If Austin gets the 1 seed, not only will we hear the shout of joy from Ryan James, but it will be very interesting to see how New Prague and St. Thomas Academy get seeded. Connor O'Brien is a 6'6 matchup nightmare. Rough night tonight with 14 points and 8 rebounds but only 4-14 shooting on my sheet. Dan Geiger with 18 points on 8-15 shooting. He's tough and smart and only a junior. Sam Dittberner gives them another tough guard and it looks like soph Alex Dittberner will take over at the point for him. Only 18-30 from the charity stripe. With all the fouls in the first half, New Prague missed a chance to have a wide margin. I thought the 1-3-1 killed their momentum. AHA may not have had anyone let had the Trojans upped the pace and stuck with their DDM offense the way that 1st 23 minutes was called. It wasn't as bad as a Holy Angels fan would tell you, but there were plenty of frustrating calls too.

Week 12 Thursday Scoreboard Watching

While I was up in St. Cloud at the Apollo vs Tech game, an interesting night in the metro.
  • Jefferson holds off Eagan in a battle of top sophomores. Marcus Alipate 23 for Jefferson. Jameson Parsons with 19 for Eagan.
  • Knights marching. Benilde-St. Margaret's with another OT win, this time over Spring Lake Park. Seth Marx comes up big with 18 points as Peter Crawford isn't in the box score. Sean Jensen and Trey Scott held to a combined 29 points. That loss effectively clinches the North Suburban for Cooper as the Panthers are now 2 games behind. But they're still 2 in front of BSM.
  • Champlin Park loses to Andover. That pushes Champlin Park to 4th in the NW Suburban.
  • Washburn gets 24 from Cedric Martin in a blowout of Henry. That officially clinches the Minneapolis City for the Millers. This will be the 1st time in 15 years that Henry or North doesn't represent Minneapolis in the Twin Cities game on March 7th.
  • Nice road win for Minnehaha as they make the long trip to New London-Spicer. Greg Meyer with 25 points and Taylor Sparkman with 23.
  • MN Transitions with a 52 point halftime lead and they blow out Spectrum in a section 4A game. Kevin Noreen with 38 and 14. Jerrell Washington with 33. Grant Spark with 19 for the Sting. 36 assists on 38 field goals for MTS seems a little suspicious to me though. (Czar's Note 2/22/09: Upon further review MTS actually had 47 field goals in that game, my apologies to MTS for the error)

Arlington at Park Thoughts

My first trip to see the low ceiling at Park of Cottage Grove. One of the Lakeville schools on hand scouting for sections (probably North as we'll see later). Vern Simmons from Johnson on hand for another look at Arlington. Nice 2 ball passing drill by Park in warmups with 2 guys with 2 balls doing slides while passing back and forth. 1 guy bounce pass, 1 guy chest pass. Interesting drill. They also do some nice spacing concepts in warmups to, ex: where does the post guy go when the wing drives middle vs drive baseline.

5-2 Park early when they decide to switch from man to 1-3-1. Arlington promptly gets 11 in a row. 6 Deandre White points and the other 5 from Travon McKee. Park gets out the 1-3-1 and gets 7 in a row. 13-12 Arlington at 9:40. Park with 6 in a row over the last 1:30 of the half to take a 24-22 halftime lead. Ricky Hernandez with 8 points for Park. McKee and White with 8 each for Arlington.

White with a tip in at 14:05 to cut the Park lead to 28-27 at 14:05. Park goes on a 9-1 over the next 4:50 thanks to 5 points from Drew Benson. That included a nice dive down the lane for a 3 point play from Andy Voigt. 37-28 Park with 9:15 left. Demarkeo Jones with a pair of triples for Arlington, 39-34 Park wiht 8 minutes left. Park mysteriously goes back to the 1-3-1 and White gets open on the backside for a layin. 41-36 Park at 6:37. Park thankfully goes back man. Charles Langhorne with 2 at 4:34 to cut the Park lead to 3. McKee with back to back steals and Arlington is within 1, 41-40 with 3:30 left. White with 2 postups and McKee strips Craig Brown for 2 more and Arlington leads 46-41 with 2:15 left. 12-0 Arlington run over 5:20 and it started when Park went to that 1 possession of 1-3-1. Craig Brown keeps Park in it with a putback at 1:25. Arlington misses a front end and then 0-2 to give Park life. Cody Hoffman with 2 free throws with 16.6 left to keep Park within 3, 48-45. But Langhorne makes 3 of 4 to seal the deal. Arlington wins 51-45.

For Park, they were outscored 13-0 when they played the 1-3-1. +7 with their man-man defense. Ricky Hernandez with 16 points to lead Park. Craig Brown and Andy Voigt with 8 each. Tough loss when you lead by 9 with 9 minutes left. I like their fundamentals and Cody Hofmann gives them intangibles and does the little things. Park has lost 7 of 8 and they're looking like the 8 seed in 3AAAA and a 1st round meeting with Lakeville North.

For Arlington, Deandre White clutch with 16 points. Travon McKee with 13 and his defense turned this one around. Charles Langhorne with 8 points and 11 rebounds. They played some 1-2-2, 2-3 and 1-3-1 with some 1-2-1-1 press. You can really assistant coach John Gray's influence on their offense. They run a couple of the same offenses that Gray used at Breck over the last few years and the philosophy of everything going at the basket is there. The Phoenix have won 7 out of 8 and are trying to make a case over Hill-Murray for the #3 seed in section 3AAA. Granted the only good win in that group is a home win over Roseville. So it looks like Arlington will need wins in at least 1 of their next 2 games coming up as they host Johnson on Friday and go to Central on Tuesday. You want to avoid the 4 seed and that 2nd round game with Johnson. Hill-Murray has the head-head win but they still have games with Central, Richfield, Tartan and Sibley left on the schedule.

Week 12 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

Here's what caught my attention from the games of 2/17/09.
  • Upset night in the Lake as Apple Valley takes out Chaska, Eagan takes out Lakeville South and Lakeville North loses again, this time to by 1 to Eastview. Not to mention the game I saw, Burnsville's win at Jefferson.
  • Forest Lake in double OT over Cretin-Derham Hall. 26 for Raijon Kelly but that's not enough for CDH as Zach Riedeman blows up for 43 for the Rangers. He came on big during the football season and has really stepped during the hoops season too. CDH now 10-10 on the season and they fall into a 3 way tie with Forest Lake for 2nd in the Suburban East. All those teams 3 games behind Mounds View.
  • Who's the 3rd team? Stillwater. The young Ponies have won 5 in a row after a win over Roseville last night.
  • Osseo by only 5 over Coon Rapids in a nail-biter. How did Osseo give up 87 in that game? Nick Djerf with 25 for the Orioles.
  • Benilde St-Margaret's gets Peter Crawford back after being out 2 weeks with an injured foot and they get an OT win at Fridley.
  • Blake loses 63-60 in another tough loss to archrival Breck. That could be a 4 v 5 game in 4AA West. Blake 2-13 after a 5-2 start that saw win at Cloquet.
  • Holy Angels with the 3 point upset of Prior Lake. Prior Lake now falls to 5th in the Missota and has lost 5 of 6.
  • Farmington needs a late tip in to survive against Red Wing to stay 1 game ahead in the Missota race.
  • Armstrong within 9 at the half of Hopkins, but Royce White finishes with season-high 30 as Hopkins opens it up in the 2nd half.
  • Spectrum with a win over Heritage and a Monday win over PACT for 10 out of 12. They're the clear #3 seed now in 4A West and have a top 20 QRF. They're 7-1 against the MCAA with 2 wins over league champion Lester Prairie. The loss was at home to MCA in a game they led by 5 at halftime. They'll get hammered at MTS tomorrow but they should rack up 2 more wins against the MCAA before the tournament starts. If seeding holds they'll end up playing a full MCAA schedule.
  • MN Transitions and Edison tie a state record for total points at MTS gets another blowout win. Jonathan Conner with 44 and 9 triples for Edison. MTS winning with offense and forcing turnovers but they will have to step up their defense if they want to make a run in the state tournament.

Burnsville outlasts Jefferson

My first trip to Jefferson this year. Staff Appreciation night brought to you by ... Are you kidding me? Burnsville is notorious for all of their advertising, but this??? I know schools need revenue, but do we have to go to this low of a level. We also have the Jefferson pep band playing Colors of the Wind by Vanessa Williams, which seemed somewhat out of place but at least it was performed well. Jim Dimick of Richfield taking a look at Jefferson for section play.

Moses Alipate with a layup for Jefferson for an early 4-2 Jags lead. Then Burnville heats up from deep. Patrick Rogers one for the show, two on the road, three with a hand that's steady and Landon Berge for 4 in a row. 12-2 Burnsville run over 2 minutes on those triples and Jefferson needs time. 14-6 Blaze at 13:50. Jeff Fallat with a Burnsville bucket at the 7 minute mark to extend the Blaze lead to 30-18. A post 2 by Fallat gives Burnsville their biggest lead of 13, 35-22, at 2:50. Jefferson hangs around to be down 37-27 at the break. Rogers with 4 of Burnsville's 7 triples and a bucket for 14 points. Fallat with 9. Devon Knopke quiet with 2 points on 1-5 FGs. Moses Alipate with 8 Jefferson points. Marcus Alipate with 7. With about 5 minutes left in the half, Jefferson tried to go zone and Burnsville pulled the ball out to force Jefferson back in the man defense. Fans don't like it but I'm a big fan. But if you do it and then a team comes back for the lead and then goes zone, you could have a major issue on your hands.

After giving up the 1st basket of the second half, Jefferson goes on a 12-2 run over 3 minutes. Moses Alipate with a nice sequence of knocking down a 3 and then drawing back to back charges. 41-39 Burnsville at 13:44. Burnsville pushes the lead back to 6. But Moses flashes to the post for 2 and then runs out and gets himself 2 free throws. That ties the game at 47 with 11:04 to play. Jeff Plummer hesitates but knocks down a 3 anyway and Fallat follows with a layup. Jefferson zones an inbounds and Burnsville pulls it out. Knopke drives and finds Alex Wheeler against it at 7:50. Berge with a steal for 2 at 6:58 to finish an 11-2 Burnsville run over 4:06 after Jefferson had tied it. 58-49 Blaze. Jefferson won't go away quietly though. They get 8 in a row over 1:50. Chad Foslein with a couple of layups on nice assists in the run. Marcus Alipate with both ends of the 1 and 1 at 3:47 to finish the run. 60-59 Burnsville. Knopke with a pretty backcut for 2 on the next possession. Jefferson timeout at 2:31 down 3. They attempt to run a triangle inside looking for a post up, but a pass is thrown right to Fallat at 2:03. Burnsville goes to their delay game but Chad Gilmer with a steal and finds Moses Alipate for a layup with 1:37 left. 62-61 Burnsville. Knopke drives and makes 2 free throws at 1:08. Jefferson runs a flare screen for Marcus Alipate on the next possession. Burnsville closes out on it and Marcus drives and charges with 53.1 seconds left. Jefferson looks for the steal before fouling Knopke with 36.9 left. He steps up and clutch is everything in life as he buries both ends of the 1 and 1. Burnsville goes 1-3-1 and Moses Alipate has a wide open 3 with 20 seconds left that doesn't go down. Knopke with 2 more free throws to finish the night. Burnsville wins 68-61.

For Jefferson, Moses Alipate with 19 points. Chad Gilmer with 14 points. Marcus Alipate with 7 points. Jeff Plummer did a nice job on him. As always, the Jaguars were very methodical on the offensive end and due to Burnsville's shooting I think that forced them to play more man defense than they wanted to. Jefferson did use a diamond press in the 2nd half and did have some success with it. Surprised that Burnsville didn't handle that better.

For Burnsville, Patrick Rogers with 14 of his 16 in the 1st half. Jeff Fallat with 13. Devon Knopke with 14 including the last 10 of the game. 2 on a backcut and 8 for 8 from the foul line. No Jack Ghizoni tonight. Burnsville runs more high post stuff than anybody I see and they get good looks. They started 8-0 and with this win are 5-7 since. They improve to 8-7 in the Lake and move 1 game behind Chaska who lost a chance to move into a tie for 3rd with Jefferson by losing at Apple Valley tonight.

Tri-Hawks use late rally for section 4AA win.

Another trip to the not so ergonomically correct Ergotron gymnasium on this quiet President's day schedule. St. Paul Humboldt makes the trip south to Trinity for a matchup of subsection bottom feeders in section 4AA. Humboldt #115, Trinity #117 in the current QRF. Enough said.

First half is back and forth and ugly. Tied at 10 at 10 and Humboldt has 3 guys with 2 fouls. Keith Larocque with a triple at 6:25 that gives Humboldt a 19-14 lead. Dominic Capillo with a prayer to extend it to 26-20 at 1:20. Mark Olander with a late triple and Trinity goes to halftime down 26-23. 9-3 on the 1st half fouls. Olander 5 points on 1-5 shooting on my sheet. Aaron Gregg leads Trinity with 10, Tony Kuplic with 6 and 6. Josh Titus with 8 points and 4 boards to lead Humboldt.

Kuplic breaks a 29 all tie with 2 free throws at 13:15. Humboldt counters with a 7-0 run over the next 5:30. Melvin Dees with 5 points in the run and he finishes it with a putback at 7:45. 36-31 Hawks lead. Olander then comes to life. He ties it with a 3. Then a free throw followed by a steal for 2 at 5:05 to give Trinity the lead. Titus gone with his 5th foul at 4:43. Humboldt gets a pretty pick and roll but Dallas Jackson misses the easy layin. Trinity with the 2nd pass out of the baseline double team and it finds Olander for another 3 at 3:40. Timeout Humboldt down 43-38. Olander then puts drives home the dagger with another triple on the next Trinity possession. A Humboldt turnover leads to 2 Kuplic free throws and a then a Hawks miss results in 2 more Olander free throws with 1:36 left. The run is 22-3 over 6:45 before Humboldt finally breaks a field goal drought with 1 minute left. Olander with 15 of the points in that run. But the damage is done as the run gives Trinity a 14 point lead. The rest is free throws. Trinity wins 58-45.

For Humboldt, Dominic Campillo with 14 points but questionable shot selection. The Hawks are now 1-17 and have lost 17 in a row after an opening night blow out of Great River. They have Mounds Park Academy at home on Tuesday before a trip to Como Park on Friday. That starts a stretch of 5 St. Paul City games to end their regular season. Despite 3 starters returning next year, not much in the way of prospects for Humboldt's future. The Mounds Park game should determine the #8 seed in 4AA east.

For Trinity, they improve to 7-15 after an 0-8 start and they've been competitive against good teams in that stretch. Nice job really packing in their man-man defense for most of the night and really daring Humboldt to make anything outside fo 15 feet. This was the classic 1 guy on the ball, 4 guys with a foot in the paint defense. Mark Olander with 19 of his 24 points in the 2nd half. The future is brighter for the Tri-Hawks too. Sophomore point guard Tony Kuplic with 19 points and 14 rebounds tonight on my sheet. He's their leading scorer on the season. Another sophomore, Aaron Gregg, gives them a nice inside presence. He had 12 points tonight. With the exception of Olander, the entire rotation returns next season. They could sneak into that 6 seed and surprise Brooklyn Center in the 1st round of the weak 4AA West Subsection.

08-09 Week 11 Rewind

Here's what caught my eye from the end of week 11 of the 2008-2009 season.
  • Brooklyn Center 1-2 this week without Freddie Young. That 1 win was by 1 point over a Breck team that has lost 8 out of 10.
  • Dylan Rodriguez with 42 for Blaine in a win over Anoka. The Bengals travel to Champlin Park on Tuesday. Continue to watch Blaine to see if they can make a run in section 7AAAA.
  • Speaking of section 7AAAA. Forest Lake needed 2 OT to win at section rival Duluth East. But remember that the Rangers had a tough game against White Bear Lake on Friday night.
  • Jake White with 22 for Chaska in a home upset of Lakeville North. But Chaska matches up really well with Lakeville North's size.
  • Charlie Baker back for Eagan as they get a home win over 2-18 Kennedy. Deron Murphy last played January 27th for the Eagles.
  • Elk River with the upset of Maple Grove in OT. Bad loss for Maple Grove as they still had a chance for 2nd in the NW Suburban. The Elks are now 2-10 but still at the bottom of the league.
  • After giving up 50 to Matt Zager in their 1st meeting, Farmington holds him to 10 and wins the matchup of Missota Conference leaders.
  • Mounds View needed to come from 9 down at the half to win at Suburban East cellar-dwellar Park.
  • Northfield with another 3 point win over Holy Angels (read about their 1st meeting here). Surprising that Northfield didn't dominate more in these matchups.
  • Speaking of tough rematches, Champlin Park only lost by 4 to Osseo by holding Sam Dower to 14. That's different than the 1st matchup where Dower had 20 points and Osseo won by 21.
  • Woodbury has now lost 6 of 7 after a loss at Owatonna on Saturday.
  • SW Christian hammers New Life by 39 and only 11 points from Caleb Palkert. Wow. Didn't expect that one at all. I'll derive the MCAA tourney brackets below.
MCAA Tournament Brackets
#1 Lester Prairie vs #8 Trinity
#2 Maranatha vs #7 West Lutheran
#3 Southwest Christian vs #6 New Life Academy
#4 Heritage vs #5 Meadow Creek Christian
Concordia-Bloomington, Bethany and Providence will be in the friendship bracket with 2 games of round robin play there.

Opening round is on Friday, I believe the high seeds host.

If you missed any of the games I saw this week, here's the complete list.
My schedule for the week can be found on the right side in "The Czar's Schedule" section.

Minnehaha, De La Salle, 2nd verse like the 1st

The night session of this February Saturday takes me to the boys/girls doubledip at De La Salle with Minnehaha being the guests. The #6 DLS girls with a furious comeback from 12 down late to cut the deficit to 1 against the #4 Redhawks but Minnehaha holds on for a 60-55 win. Star center Katelyn Adams with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks for Minnehaha. Rachel Hansen with 15 of her 18 in the 2nd half for the victors. Sophomore guard Tori Rule with 17 of her 23 in the 1st half as DLS got the last 9 of the half for a 33-24 halftime lead.

Interesting to see the DLS girls using all 5 players in shell drill during warmups, usually shell drill is a 4 on 4 drill. Nice job by the DLS band tonight with Crazy Train and When Doves Cry amongst the musical choices this evening. Coach Eric Schutte of Concordia and St. Anthony junior Josh Pratt amongst those watching tonight.

Jalen Jaspers with a couple of early hoops against David Burnham. 6-2 DLS 2 minutes in. Parker Hines with a 3, a tip in, an assist to Taylor Hanson as he slips a screen, then Hines with a steal for 2. Burnham concludes an 11-2 run with a layup after another DLS turnover. 13-8 Redhawks at 12:49 on an 11-2 run over 3:11. AJ Barker with a couple of hoops for DLS to cut the lead to 16-13 at 7:35. Jaspers with a 3 point play at 6:24, 18-16 Minnehaha. Burnham with a turnaround but then he picks up his 3rd foul at 5:11. Greg Meyer with a 3 point play and Taylor Sparkman with a layup after a DLS turnover. That forces a DLS timeout at 3:17 as the Minnehaha lead has ballooned to 25-16. Minnehaha goes 1-3-1 the rest of the half. DLS can't score the last 2 minutes against it and the Redhawks lead 29-18 at the half. Jalen Jaspers 12 for De La Salle. Nice balance for Minnehaha as Parker Hines has 9 and the wings David Burnham and Greg Meyer have 7 each. Only 2 free throws for DLS the rest of the half after the Jaspers 3 point play at 6:24. AJ Barker appeared to come down on someone's foot with 2:33 left in the half and he doesn't return for the Islanders.

Minnehaha decides to stay with the 1-3-1 in the 2nd half. Burnham with a silly reaching foul at 16:16 for his 4th and he has to sit. John Hertle with a bucket and then Melvin Collins puts back his own miss. 33-27 Minnehaha at 11:25. Hanson with a nice drive for 2 and then a 3 point play by Meyer push the lead back to 11 at 10:14. Burnham back in at 7:44 and fouls out at 4:53. Collins makes 2 free throws and its 39-33 Minnehaha. Greg Meyer with a layup and then he finds Lucas Taddonio at 3:15 for a 43-36 Minnehaha lead. Jaspers with his 1st field goal in over 13 minutes at 2:05, 43-38 Redhawks. Hanson makes a jumper on an assist from Hines, Jaspers misses and Meyer finds Sparkman for a layup with 46 seconds left to seal it. Minnehaha wins 48-40 after winning the 1st meeting 48-42 at home.

For De La Salle, the loss of AJ Barker with the injured left ankle was huge. When the only scorer on the floor is Jaspers its hard to generate any kind of offense. He finished with 20 points on 6 field goals and 8-9 FTs. Jonah Travis with 6 points and 12 rebounds despite sitting out the last 7 minutes of the 1st half with 2 fouls. It'll be interesting to see who steps up to fill the void left by Barker's absence if he's out for any length of time. This also hurts in the very difficult section 6 as they try to at worst maintain a home seed.

For Minnehaha, they're now 19-2 with the win and still trying to make a case for the #1 seed over St. Bernard's in 4AA East despite a head-head loss. Nice job with the 1-3-1 in recognizing who the scorers were and laying off those who aren't scorers. The zone also limits the cutting lanes for Jaspers who's very good slicing thru the lane in their motion offense. Greg Meyer big late. He and Taylor Sparkman lead the way with 11 points. Parker Hines with 9 points all in the 1st half. No Austin Brown tonight for the Redhawks.

Mahtomedi at Harding Thoughts

This Saturday of week 11 of the 08-09 season takes me back to the east side of St. Paul for Mahtomedi's trip to Harding. No atmosphere here whatsoever.

Harding ice cold early as it takes the Knights 4:15 to make a shot from the field. Mahtomedi hot on the other end as they run the lead to 16-3 at 12:05. Mike Hagen then with productive minutes off the bench as he gets 7 straight Mahtomedi points. Harding timeout at 9:23 down 23-7 and they switch to 2-3 zone. Jon Krebs with 6 points with a dunk included to stretch the lead to 33-9 Zephyrs with 5:30 left in the half. But Harding wakes up slighty as Ernest Mang knocks down a couple of 3s and Andre Creighton also adds a triple. 40-23 Mahtomedi at half. Krebs 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting.

5 in a row for Harding to cut the lead to 12 to start the half. Hagen with a nice drive against the 2-3 zone to push the lead back to 16, 47-31 at 12:32. Then Harding goes on a 13-4 run over 3:30. Ernest Mang with a triple in the run and then a putback to conclude it. 51-44 Mahtomedi with 9:05 left and somehow this game is now competitive. But Harding only makes 2 field goals the rest of the way (1 was off an inbounds play). Mahtomedi spreads the floor to make life difficult for the Knights. Interestingly enough, Harding empties the bench at 2:06 with the deficit only at 13. That's something you never see here. Mahtomedi goes on to win 68-50.

For Harding, they fall to 2-17 (and both wins are over bad teams). With their top 2 players, Ernest Mang and Andre Creighton, seniors and nothing of note at the JV level, looks like the future isn't that bright for the Knights. Creighton with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Mang with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Harding probably looking at the #8 seed with a 1st round meeting at Johnson.

For Mahtomedi, they improve to 14-6 and have a hold on the #2 seed in the same weak section 3AAA. Interesting that they decided to show some 1-3-1 today. Jon Krebs 9-13 for 19 points and 5 rebounds. Mike Hagen with 9 points and 7 boards in a nice day off the Zephyr bench. The one returning player of note next year, lefty Bobby Sherwood, with 13 points and 7 boards from the point guard spot.

Forest (Lake) Rangers hold off (WBL) Bears

To White Bear Lake we go for a Suburban East matchup between Forest Lake and White Bear Lake. WBL trying to get back in the middle of the pack and Forest Lake trying to make a run at 3rd place Hastings. Mark Klingsporn of Tartan looking on for a possible 2 vs 7 matchup with White Bear in the 1st round of section 4AAAA. Nice blaze orange from the White Bear students as well. And you can never go wrong with the Donatelli's pizza and Green Onions on the PA system. And the old Like Mike Gatorade theme right before the opening tip. That'll get the mood going.

The Rangers start off in their good old 1-3-1. WBL counters by tryinga couple of high posts against it. 2:30 in and coach Lockwood of WBL doesn't like it and calls time. New tactic is to try and really post the backside wing on the drop to free up the backside. But we're still at a snail's pace, 7-6 Forest Lake on a free throw at the 11:43 mark. Both starting guards for WBL with 2 fouls (Dwayne Nabors and David Rademacher). Griffin Lentsch with a couple jumpers. 16 all at 6:28. Time Forest Lake at 5:46 down 18-16 after a Spencer Cummings basket. Mitch Fiereck with 2 fouls and the aforemention guards are both down with 3 fouls. Zach Riedeman with a pretty drop step from the left block at 5:20 and we're tied at 18. Interesting move by Forest Lake to go to man D here as WBL has had trouble against the zone (including turnovers) all night. Ben Hoidal with a nice crossover for a driving 2 for Forest Lake near the end of the half. 24-22 White Bear Lake at the break despite 14 turnovers. Mitch Fiereck with 7 points and 7 boards despite foul trouble. Spencer Cummings and Griffin Lentsch cancel each other out with 8 points.

Forest Lake decides to stay man to start the 2nd half, interesting. Riedeman off to a quick start to the half on the offensive end. He finds Doug Sewall for 2, puts back a miss and nails a 3. 31-27 Rangers 3 minutes into the half. Another Riedeman hoops makes it 38-34 Rangers with 13 minutes left and Forest Lake decides to go back to the 1-3-1. Fiereck gets blocked and then stripped. That leads to 2 points on the other end for John Young from Lentsch. Another Rangers bucket extends the lead to 42-34 with 10:37 left and the Bears need time. 9-2 Forest Lake over 2:40. WBL hangs around. Spencer Cummings with a layup, David Rademacher with a triple, Paul Crossett with a nice up fake for a bucket, Nabors with a 3 over Riedeman and Fiereck with 5 points including a 3 point play to tie the game just inside of 7 minutes. Nice pass over the zone from Rademacher on that old school 3 point play. 49 all. Riedeman then draws the 4th foul on Fiereck. He sits along with Cummings. Riedeman with another bucket and then 4 points from Sewell make it 56-49 at 4:33. Cummings back in the game. He promptly gets fouled on a tip and makes both free throws to cut the lead to 5. After a Forest Lake bucket they have 2 bad possession of poor shot selection. Rademacher converts 1 of the possessions, but Cummings misses 2 free throws on the other. with 2:27 left. Then a strange T on the Forest Lake bench as a player said something, not the coaching staff. Fiereck makes 1 of 2 and Cummings makes 1 of 2 as Riedeman thought he had a block. 58-55 Rangers at 1:48. Forest Lake then called for a walk with 1:16 left and Rademacher converts. 58-57 Forest Lake with 55 seconds left. For some reason they hoist up a 3 with 40 seconds left, but Rademacher misses on the other end and the tie goes to Forest Lake with 36.2 left. Ben Hoidal (guilty of 2 of the 3 bad shots) tackled by Cummings with 19.8 left misses the front end of the bonus. Out of a timeout, the Bears attempt to run a backscreen lob for Fiereck. Its not there so Rademacher attempts to drive but his pass to Fiereck is stolen by Riedeman with 7 seconds left. He bounces the 1st one in off the front iron and then after a WBL timeout, he makes the 2nd for a 60-57 lead. The Bears try to pass to Cummings at halfcourt, but Sewall steals the pass and makes 1 of 2 with 5 seconds left to seal the deal. 61-57 Forest Lake wins on the road.

For White Bear Lake, Spencer Cummings with 15 points and 8 rebounds on my sheet. Mitch Fiereck with 13 and 10 by my count. I had 21 turnovers for them, but most of their were against the 1-3-1 in the 1st half. Nice call for Fiereck late but well defensed as Fiereck set a high ball screen between the circles and then ran off a screen for the lob. A win would have gotten the Bears back to .500 but they're now 9-11 and in real danger of being the 8 seed. A home win on Tuesday over Woodbury would help the cause as would a late season home win over Stillwater. Interesting that they're now using the dribble drive motion system with Cummings being in the inside guy.

For Forest Lake, they improve to 13-7 and the current leader in the race for the #1 seed in 7AAAA. Very favorable schedule too as they're done with Mounds View (2 losses) and have Roseville and CDH at home. Short turnaround too as they go to Duluth East for a Saturday afternoon game. That game is big in the section for Duluth East if they want the #2 seed. Zach Riedeman with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Griffin Lentsch witih 17 and deadly from mid-range in their open-post motion. Doug Sewall with a productive night inside of 10 points and 9 rebounds. I was surprised they didn't use the 1-3-1 more. I thought they'd go to it for the last possession consider they had been playing man before that. They showed a litte bit of old school Hubie Brown with the Hawk set. PG on the right wing, Riedeman off a high post screen to the right block looking for a postup on a switch. Reverse the ball high and Lentsch can pop out off a stack on the left block.

Thomas leads Columbia Heights to upset of #1 St. Bernard's

Game #100 of the season is a non-conference matchup of top guards in the state as I travel to St. Bernard's for their matchup with Columbia Heights. Rene Pulley on hand to see Jacob Thomas. Al Harris and George Hemmingson from 43 Hoops watching. Minnehaha and Concordia looking on. Hamline and UW-Superior also watching. The St. Bernard's pep band even makes an appearance. Nice that you can actually find a seat in the place, but those who didn't show up missed a terrific game.

Interesting that Trent Davis gets the assignment guarding Jacob Thomas and not Averey Duncan. A Jordair Jett steal for 2 gives the Bulldogs a 9-6 lead at 15:13. After a couple of Hylanders free throws, Thomas with the rare 4 point play and Heights is up 12-9 at 14:17. Then one of the Hylanders bugaboos, turnovers, sets in. St. Bernard's takes advantage with the next 13 points. Brian Sandifer with 7 of those during the 3 minute run. 22-12 St. Bernard's leads. Columbia Heights chips away and a couple of Gerard Baptiste buckets cuts the lead to 26-23 with 6:40 left in the 1st half. Jett with a nice last 2 minutes of the half as he gets a steal, 2 free throws and then a putback to beat the 1st half buzzer. 45-35 St. Bernard's at halftime. Jett with 16, Thomas with 10. 16 Columbia Heights turnovers and 11 turnovers for St. Bernard's.

Jett with the 1st 4 points of the 2nd half for St. Bernard's to extend the lead to 12 at 16:20. Thomas with a deep 3 and Kendrick Mills quickly off the Hylanders bench with 2 free throws. Heights then goes to a 1-2-2 zone and the Bulldogs get the turnover bug. Mills with 2 more buckets that force a timeout at 13:40. Mills again and Thomas with another 4 point play to force another St. Bernard's timeout. Thomas buries another triple after a Bulldogs turnover and D'Karlos Craig with a layup to punish the press. That all part of a a 23-3 Columbia Heights run over 5 and a half minutes. 60-52 Columbia Heights has the lead and momentum with 10:18 left.

Averey Duncan with a layup and a putback then Jett is back to work with a triple from the right corner against the zone and then a drive down the left baseline for 2. Brian Sandifer nails a jumper to conclude a 11-1 St. Bernard's run. That gives them a 63-61 lead with 8:23 left. Jett with 2 more chances to extend the lead that don't fall. Jett with 2 free throws and then he finds Duncan for 2. Harold Rainey breaks the momentum with a steal and a nice lefty layup. Thomas with a catch near the right elbow. Two dribbles out and he turns and buries a 3 to tie the game at 71 with 4:30 left. After the teams trade hoops, St. Bernard's scores and then Duncan steals the inbounds for 2. 77-73 Bulldogs at 2:55. Thomas right back with a 3 point play. Jett left alone and he scores at 2:15. Rainey with a nice curl for a foul line jumper at 2:05, 79-78 St. Bernard's. Then a tie up and the arrow goes to Columbia Heights at 1:49. Duncan now picks up Thomas and he misses a 3 with 90 seconds left but Heights runs down the miss. Duncan fouls out reaching on Thomas at 1:15 and that's big. Thomas calmly drains both free throws and Heights is on top 80-79. The Hylanders extend the 1-2-2 zone a bit and Rainey gets a pair of tips that almost result in steals. Trent Davis misses a 3 badly with 20 seconds left and Thomas rebounds it. Akruo Imbu with 1 of 2 FTs with 10.2 left. St. Bernard's rebounds with 9 seconds left and call times. They have to go the length of the court and surprisingly no one is denying Jett. He makes the catch at his own foul line and off to the races we go. To the other end, the shot is up and there's the whistle. But the shot doesn't matter as Jett gets called for the offensive foul with 4.2 left. Thomas makes 2 free throws with 3.3 left for the final margin. Columbia Heights pulls the upset over #1AA St. Bernard's 83-79.

For St. Bernard's, Jordair Jett with at least 32 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists on my sheet. He was used in the middle of and on the outside of the Columbia Heights zone. With the exception of baseline drives, that zone did a fair job of slowing him down. Brian Sandifer with 16 points on my sheet. Very sloppy game for the Bulldogs, especially against a 1-2-2 zone that really wasn't anything special. They had around 20 turnovers. But that head-head win over Minnehaha probably means they still keep the #1 seed in 4AA East.

For Columbia Heights, Jacob Thomas with 30 points and 7 of the last 10. 5 triples that included a pair of 4 point plays and 7-7 from the foul line. Heights takes advantage of his length by using him at the top of their 1-2-2. Kendrick Mills once again productive off the bench with 14 and 6. His game isn't pretty, but he's effective for them. Taking care of the ball continues to be an issue. I had at least 26 turnovers on my sheet for them. A big win for Heights as they look to make a run at the #2 seed in section 3AAA. A 2nd over Fridley and a home win over Spring Lake Park need to happen for that scenario to play out. They're at Hopkins next Thursday.

08-09 Week 11 Tuesday Night Scoreboard Club

Here's what caught my eye from the Monday and Tuesday games of week 11 of the 08-09 season. These are games from 2/9 and 2/10/09.
  • What is up with Lester Prairie? They lose to Watertown-Mayer on Monday and then give up 33 to Grant Spark of Spectrum on the road. Back to back losses for the Bulldogs after a 15-2 start.
  • Jameson Parsons getting back into form for Eagan after coming back from a stress fracture last week. 18 points at Apple Valley in a 5 point loss on Monday. Charlie Baker still out for Eagan.
  • AJ Barker explodes for 26 as DLS gets revenge on SPA to take 2nd in the Tri-Metro west.
  • Eden Prairie spanks Eastview at home and nobody in double figures for the Lightning. Eastview falls to 8th in the Lake.
  • Edina blows out Minnetonka who played without Cole Stefan. For a team already lacking in depth, that's just too much to handle.
  • Maple Grove goes on the road and defeats Champlin Park to jump into a 3rd place tie in the NW Suburban with the Rebels.
  • Henry barely beats Roosevelt, Washburn barely beats North in the Minneapolis City. Jordan Hughes (Henry) and Kevin Thompson (North) continue to be out. Washburn with a full roster so I'm surprised that wasn't a blowout. Washburn for all intensive purposes locked up the league with that win as they're 2 up with a home game vs Henry as the only notable game left.
  • MN Transitions finally gets tested with a quality 8 point win at Holy Family.
  • Mounds View gives up 36 to Mike Muscala of Roseville, but only 3 other players score for Roseville. Mounds View with the home win after being 2 down at the half. Another tough loss for Roseville.
  • Richfield loses at home to North (St. Paul). Ouch. 3 teams now in a 3 way tie for 2nd in the Classic Suburban after Tartan pounded St. Thomas Academy by holding them to 38 points. Richfield at Tartan Thursday to remove one of those teams from the tie.
  • Osseo up 14 at half, holds off Blaine for a 4 point win. Sam Dower with 25. Are the Bengals starting to put it together in the 2nd half? They have trips to Champlin Park and Maple Grove and a home date with Centennial remaining to prove it.
  • CHOF loses at Trinity in OT without Nate Fiscus. Freshman Tyler Strandlund with 17 for the Lions. He's one of the better freshmen I've seen all season. Trinity now 6-6 after an 0-8 start. 2 of those losses were by a total of 5 points to Maranatha and New Life. They host Lester Prairie on Friday and Humboldt next Monday before the MCAA tournament begins.

Johnson outlasts Central for St. Paul City Title

Tonight takes The Czar to St. Paul Central for the St. Paul City's last chance to stay in the race against Johnson. The Central pep band on hand tonight and it takes up half the Central side. Big horn section so they had to do the Chicago hit 25 or 6 to 4. Too bad the gym has a temperature of about 40 degrees.

Jordan Larson off to a quick start for Central. That counters a couple of Estan Tyler buckets. A Dion Suggs layup gives Johnson an 8-7 lead at 3:40. Larson with a triple to start a 10-0 run and he's got the 1st 10 for Central. Taylor Smaller with a 3 and then Cameron Smith with a 4 point play to end the run. 17-8 Central with 11:44 left in the half. After a Larson putback, Dion Suggs with a 3 and Tyler with another jumper. 19-15 Central at 7:15. Central with another run, this time 14-3 over 2:20 via 4 Johnson turnovers. Central up 15, 33-18 with 4:35 left in the half. But Johnson cranks it up on D too and gets back it it. They end the half on a 16-4 run in a sloppy end to the half. Central 37-34 at the half as they've lost an opportunity. Larson with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Dion Suggs with 12 points and Estan Tyler with 9 for Johnson. My sheet has Central with 11 turnovers and Johnson with 9.

Johnson with the 1st 5 out of the break to conclude a 21-4 run. Smaller throws in a running prayer that banks home to break the run and tie the game at 39 with 16 minutes left. Larson continues to go to work with a couple of buckets. Smaller with a jumper at 12:43, 48-45 Central as they look to pull away. Larson picks up his 4th on a tough call with 10:07 left and he has to sit. Maurice Thomas makes the 2 FTs for a 52-50 Johnson lead. The Governors extend the lead to 5 on a Michael Talley layin and Central needs a timeout. 55-50 Johnson with 8:13 left. 10 turnovers in the half for Central. Michael Adams with a putback at 6:35, but then a bad shot leads to a Dion Suggs layup. Adams with 1 of 2 at the stripe, but Larson cleans up the mess for a 3 point play. 60 all with 5:43 left. Nice job here by coach Howell of playing offense for defense with Larson by putting him in the game on offensive possessions and subbing him out on defense. 63 all at 4:30 on a Nathanial Kado jumper for the Minutemen. Down to crunch time we go.

Suggs with a jumper at 3:40 after a Central turnover. Larson 1 of 2 FTs and then a Suggs miss. DJ Johnson 2 FTs at 2:51 for a 66-65 Central lead. After a Michael Talley charge for Johnson, LeDarian Horton scores on a nice high/low feed from Larson with 2 minutes left and Central leads by 3. A wild scramble of misses and offensive rebounds on the Johnson end, Larson with a block in the exchange. Johnson gets nothing out of it. Larson on the other end with 2 and Central is up 70-65 wiht 1:20 left. But the wheels fall off for Central. Demitri Conwell is given a free lane to the hoop for 2 at 1:08. Larson misses 2 FTs at 1:04 and then gets called for a block on the other end and that's his 5th foul. Talley with 1 of the 2 FTs. 70-68 Central with 59.2 left. Central breaks the press for a 2 on 1 but Kado gets called for the charge with 50.1 left. Who do you go to if you're Johnson? Who else but one of the most clutch players around, Dion Suggs. They go high screen/roll with him and he converts with 37 seconds left to the game at 70. Central goes with it and Adams turns it over with 20 seconds left. Horton then commits the deliberate foul. Don't know if he thought Central was behind or if he was trying to stop a breakaway. Talley makes 1 of 2 again and Johnson leads by 1. Central again decides to play it without a timeout. Cameron Smith drives left baseline and turns it over in the last 5 seconds and Johnson steals a win over Central 71-70.

For Central, what a night for Jordan Larson. He fouls out with 27 points and 16 rebounds. No answer for him inside. Taylor Smaller with 12 points for the Minutemen. 3 late turnovers, 2 missed free throws an a blown defensive assignment did Central in in the last 1:15. Central with about 25 turnovers on the night. Central's smallish guards had trouble all night against the aggressive Johnson D. When Central did take care of the ball, their inside strength was superior. Though LeDarian Horton wasn't able to push around Johnson kids (e.g Maxie Rosenbloom) like he does other players. Central falls to 14-5 and 5-2 in the St. Paul City. I look for them to run the table and finish 20-5 against a soft schedule. Right now, they're probably looking at the 3 seed in section 4AAAA unless Tartan takes a tumble. Last year 1st with a record of 21-6 (including the Twin Cities Game), 5 seed. This year, 20-5, 2nd place, 3 seed.

For Johnson, Dion Suggs-Young leads the way with 20 points and he was the guy making the plays late. Estan Tyler with 15. They are just relentless with the number of people they play and the pressure they apply. Add in Tyler and a finisher in Suggs and there you go as they can use both of those guys to generate offense off high screen and roll. The Govs are now 16-3 and 7-0 in the league, 2 games ahead thanks to 2 wins by a total of 3 points over Central. They too should easily run the table until a likely monster rematch in the Twin Cities Game vs Washburn on March 7th. Johnson won the 1st meeting at home 86-83 in a double OT classic (maybe the game of the year anywhere in the metro) on December 16th. After that, anything but a cakewalk thru section 4AAA to state will be a surprise.

Mayer Lutheran outlasts Heritage

My first trip to Heritage Christian Academy tonight as they take on Mayer Lutheran. Interesting side note that almost all of this young Mayer Lutheran roster played together at the 43 Hoops Twin Cities Summer Classic for 16U Hoop Masters. Maranatha coach Jeff Wall looking on as the Mustangs play Mayer Lutheran on March 6th to end the regular season. Interesting that Mayer Lutheran had their JVs lineup on each side of the locker room door for the varsity to run thru.

Mayer Lutheran comes out with 5 junior starters and all 3 of their 6'7+ kids are on the bench. 6'7 soph Travis Rollo has grown 4 inches since July if you believe the programs from each time period. Back and forth early with Heritage star Nathan Johnson and Mayer Lutheran forward Luke Buttenhoff with a couple of buckets each. 10-9 Mayer Lutheran at 13:05. Johnson with back to back hoops and the Eagles are back on top 15-14 at 9:20. The Crusaders counter with an 8-0 run over the next 2:30 to jump out to a 7 point lead. Heritage right back with a bucket from Johnson and then he finds Ethan Stout for a 3 to tie the game at 24 with 4:05 left in the half. 29-27 Mayer Lutheran at halftime.

Buttenhoff continues to be a force inside with a bucket and a pair of free throws. 35-30 Mayer Lutheran at 16:17. Nick Parkhurst with a pair of buckets, Johnson coast to coast and then another 2 for a quick 8-0 Heritage run to put the Eagles up 3 at 14:45. The Crusaders respond with 14 of the next 18. 49-42 Mayer Lutheran with 8:11 on the clock. Tucker Howse with 6 points in the Heritage comeback. The last 2 on a nice feed from Alan Kiser cut the Crusaders lead to 52-50 with 5:20 left. After 2 Buttenhoff FTs for Mayer Lutheran, Johnson counters with a triple and then converts a turnover into 2 free throws to tie it. 60 all at 1:57. Steve Deckert with a great stuff block for Heritage at 1:45 but Parkhurst misses a 3 with 1:25 left. Chad Ische misses 2 FTs (after 6 of 6) with 1:02 left for Mayer Lutheran. Kiser corrals the 2nd miss and steps up and makes both ends of the bonus. Parkhurst then has a pass thrown right to him for a Mayer Lutheran turnover. Matt Tostenson 1 of 2 with 42.7 left for a 63-60 Heritage lead. Buttenhoff left all alone for a short baseline jumper with 31.7 left. Johnson then gets mugged against the press but no call and it appears he kicks the ball out of bounds but Heritage retains possession with 25.6 left, but he's out of the game with a leg injury. Parkhurst 1 of 2 with 21.7 left. Howse deflects a Mayer Lutheran pass out of bounds under the Crusaders basket with 4.5 left. Mayer Lutheran has it under their own hoop and they decide to play it without a timeout. Ische catches above the top of the circle and drives for a layup at the buzzer and we've got overtime. 64 all as we go to the extra session.

Johnson back for the overtime for Heritage. He gets a steal and then after a 45 second possession knocks down a triple. After Josh Genske scores, Heritage patient again and Johnson has another triple go in and out with about 2 minutes left. After a couple of misses each way, a held ball goes to Mayer Lutheran with 1:32 remaining. Buttenhoff 1 of 2 at the stripe to tie it at 67 with 1:17 left. Heritage turns it over with 40 seconds remaining. Out of a Mayer Lutheran timeout, Buttenhoff is left all alone for a layup on the inbounds for a 69-67 Crusaders lead with 30 seconds remaining. Heritage turns it over on the next possession. Mayer Lutheran wins 73-67.

For Heritage, Nathan Johnson with 30 points and 7 rebounds on my sheet. I had him at 12-24 from the floor. Tucker Howse with 11 points. Defensively, they struggle in both their man defense and their 2-3 zone. The loss of Sam Schwalbe to Maple Grove cost them a big guy to be a rebounder. They'll finish up the MCAA regular season on Friday with a rivalry game at Providence as they try to break a losing stretch of 5 out of 6.

For Mayer Lutheran, they were too much inside. Lucas Buttenhoff with 17 points and 11 rebounds by my count. Chad Ische with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Josh Genske with 14 points and CJ Byrne with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Nice job at the line by the Crusaders as I had them 21-27 from the line. The entire rotation except 1 limited minutes senior returns next season. The Crusaders had lost 6 of 7 coming in but the win was over Zach Towle and Concordia Academy.

Week 10 Rewind

Here's what caught my eye from the busy week that was week 10 of the 08-09 season.

Classic Lake
  • Minnetonka has a week to prepare for Armstrong at home and they get beat by 36. Ouch. Cole Stefan with only 4 points after missing the Wayzata game a week earlier (or at least not in the box)
  • How about Edina getting it done with a home win over Washburn. Granted no Ra'Shede Hageman in that one for the Millers.
Classic Suburban
  • Sibley continues to roll with a 17 point win over Tartan. That win is their closest win in league play.
  • Eden Prairie avenged an earlier loss to Chaska with a 14 point win over the Hawks on Friday. Jake White with 17 in the loss for Chaska. Ethan Wragge may have gotten his touch back with a 19 point effort. Why he's not on the Mr. Basketball list as a D1 player leading a team that's on top of 1 of the toughest conferences in the state is completely beyond me. There are at least 4 guys I'd be willing to take off the list and replace with Wragge. But in a season with 17 D1 players and 6 more playing D2 (as of now) along with talents like Cedric Martin and Jordair Jett, somebody is going to get left off.
  • The race is starting to shake out now that Lakeville North knocked out Jefferson this week. Now the top 4 teams all stand alone.
  • Tough year for Eagan. Jameson Parsons returns last Friday after being out almost 2 months but Charlie Baker appears to have missed all of last week.
Minneapolis City
  • Washburn takes control of the race with a thrashing of Henry on Saturday afternoon. Its worth noting that Henry has been without Jordan Hughes for the last 3 games. The loss puts North in 2nd place and they play Washburn on Tuesday with a chance to tie the race. But the Polars have been without Kevin Thompson since Martin Luther King day.
  • New Life goes to Maranatha and gets a buzzer beater from Robbie Anderstrom for a 43-41 win. That win puts Lester Prairie 2 games in front of everybody and gives the conference title outright as there's only 1 league game left before the conference tournament. New Life hosts SW Christian on Friday for 3rd place. A loss would push NLA to 6th behind Heritage and Meadow Creek.
  • How about Shakopee. The Sabers have won 9 out of 10 and are tied with Farmington at 5-1 on top of the league. Those teams will play in Farmington on Friday. The only loss during that time was a 1 point loss at New Prague the day after their coach Jeff Gravon passed away after a battle with cancer.
North Suburban
  • Spring Lake Park with a statement on Tuesday with a 20 point win at Fridley to knock the Tigers out of the state poll. Spring Lake Park just 1 game back of Cooper with a head-head meeting remaining. Everybody else with 4 losses in the league.
  • Speaking of teams with 4 losses in the league. Give John Moore some credit at Benilde-St. Margaret's. They lose 2 D1 kids. They'll have to survive without Peter Crawford who's out with an injured foot.
Northwest Suburban
  • Centennial survived their tough week with a loss to Osseo but they did come from behind to get a home win over Champlin Park to stay 1 game behind Osseo in the league. This looks like January where they may only lose 1 game all month.
  • Blaine had a stretch where they lost 9 out of 10 but they've now won 4 in a row including a win over Maple Grove. They get a shot at Osseo on Tuesday.
St. Paul City
  • The 2nd rotation of league play begins this week. Arlington 4-2 in the league with 4 winnable games coming up before they play Johnson and Central later in the month.
  • The bottom 5 teams in the league are under .500 and have a combined non-conference record of 8-45.
Suburban East
  • Roseville continues to go thru a tough stretch as they've lost 8 of 10. But they can make up for it as they go to Mounds View on Tuesday and host Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday.
  • Stillwater stumbled out of the gate to a 4-9 start but the Ponies have won 4 out of 5. That includes wins over Mounds View, Cretin-Derham Hall and Friday's win at Woodbury. The schedule the rest of the way is favorable as they have a trip to Forest Lake on Tuesday and only 1 other tough road game at CDH to end the regular season.
  • Concordia limped to a 3-5 start in December but in the new year they're 8-3. Overall they won 10 of 14. Zach Towle continues to put up big numbers with 25 points per night.
Be sure to check out my MN Preps column this week (available Monday morning in the upper right corner of the blog). I look at some of the important conference and section games of the week and an east coast trip for a local team.

If you missed any of the games I saw this week, here's the complete list.
My schedule for the week can be found on the right side in "The Czar's Schedule" section.

Where are the baskets at Benilde

The nightcap of this quiet Saturday takes me to the Haben Center for my 1st look at Benilde-St. Margaret's this season. No Peter Crawford for the Red Knights as he's out with a injured foot. Not the guy you want out of the lineup when you're playing De La Salle. Sean Kruger from the MN Select and Tri-Metro coaches Lance Johnson and Eric Schutte looking on. Former Minneapolis North coach Brent McNeal watching his son light up the JV game. And...Rene Pulley.

An interesting matchup of sophomore post players as BSM's Myles Barnes and DLS's Jonah Travis get the assignments on each other. Barnes with a couple of early post buckets against Travis. Nice job for the lefty going baseline from the right block. 6-4 BSM with 13:05 left and this pace has DLS written all over it. Darren Glover backdoors and then fakes out Jalen Jaspers for a couple of hoops. 10-8 BSM at 8:54. DLS with the next 6 over 3:30 as AJ Barker gets a couple of hoops. 14-10 DLS. Freshman Isaiah Zierden (Lynx Coach and Gophers radio analyst Don Zierden's son) with a jumper to cut it to 16-14 DLS with 2:20 remaining in the half. Jalen Jaspers with a 3 point play and its 21-16 DLS at the break.

1 minute into the 2nd half, Coke has removed rust from a car battery terminal and destroyed my teeth. 2 minutes into the 2nd half, I get fillings for those teeth. 15:29 Jaspers with a nice curl and that gets him 2 FTs. 23-16 DLS. 3 minutes into the half, I get a root canal. 4 minutes into the half, I get the teeth pulled. 5 minutes into the half, Gone with the Wind has finished. 6 minutes into the half, nuclear fusion is contained. 7 minutes into the half, paint dries and grass grows. At 10:32, we finally get a field goal as Barker gets a layin. Glover counters at 10:15 for the 1st BSM points in the half. Across halftime, that's a scoreless drought of 9:15. Barker again and Glover counters again, this time with a 3. 27-21 DLS with 9:40 left. Jaspers with 2 FTs and a layup to push the lead to 10 and BSM needs time. 31-21 Islanders with 9 minutes left. Jonah Travis with 2 FTs and then a Jaspers 3 with 4:30 left makes it 38-23 DLS and this one is over as they lead is equivalent to 50 with the way DLS plays D and the cold shooting that BSM is going thru at the moment. 44-29 De La Salle wins.

For Benilde-St. Margaret's, Darren Glover with 13 points to lead the Red Knights. 13 2nd half points makes it hard to win. Isaiah Zierden getting big PG minutes as a frosh, he'll be very good. Evan Battle getting varsity minutes as a sophomore. Kyle Washington is another freshman to watch along with Will Dunn in a loaded BSM freshman class.

For DLS, Jalen Jaspers held to 4-13 shooting, but he leads the way with 16 points. Defensively, Darren Glover did most of what he wanted and he caught Jaspers leaning on at least 2 occassions. AJ Barker with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Jonah Travis with 4 points and I had him for 13 rebounds but he struggled guarding Barnes.

Rocori flexes in win over Richfield

Its no secret that I'm not a fan of The Flex. Usually referenced here as "The world's WORST offense", today is the 1 exception to that rule as I make the trip to Richfield to watch Rocori run it all day. There's nobody I see who's more committed to it and executes it better than they do and I actually enjoy watching them run it. Some interesting Rocori notes. Bob Brink is the only coach they've ever had and I learned today that it actually means something. It comes from ROckville, COld Spring and RIchmond. Not up there with MACCRAY or BOLD or NRHEG in terms of alphabet soup, but interesting anyway.

Renard Robinson with back to back buckets for Richfield early and we're tied at 6 2:15 into the game. But the flex is taking its toll as Rocori goes on a 12-2 run over the next 4 minutes. Richfield counters with a 9-2 run of their own in 2:20 to cut the Rocori lead to 20-17. Jay Sewer with a triple and a steal for a layup in the run. Zach Hinkemeyer wiht a layup and then a steal for 2 to start a 9-0 Rocori run. Rocori up 29-17 with 7:35 left in the half. Back and forth to end the half and Rocori takes a 38-26 lead to the break. 5'11 Brent Lashinski with 6 points and 7 rebounds. Ben Rausch with 8 points to lead Rocori. Jay Sewer with 7 points to lead Richfield. Mike Jones good minutes with 6 points off the bench for Richfield.

Rocori gets the 1st 5 of the half against a 2-3 halfcourt trap for a 17 point lead with 16 minutes left. Renard Robinson then steps up large. 2 FTs and a pair of putbacks followed by a 3 point play for a 9-0 Robinson run. 43-35 Rocori leads with 13:14 left and they need a timeout. Back to back Rocori buckets push the lead back to 12 but Richfield won't go away. Robinson with another 3 point play and sophomore Daron Garvis off the bench with consecutive triples. Robinson then with a steal for 2 and then 1 of 2 free throws with 5:40 remaining. 52-50 Rocori after a 12-2 Richfield run. Robinson out and you have to wonder why. Rocori then runs a modified version of their flex for 3:30 without a stop in play. Finally Ben Rausch goes baseline and gets blocked and Richfield has the defensive stop and momentum with 2 minutes left. Now Robinson sitting out looks like a stroke of genius. Time Richfield and everybody gets to catch their breath. Sewer misses a 3 with 1:30. Rocori turns it over, but Garvis misses a bunny and Robinson can't putback the miss. Willenbring snares the board with 1 minute left and Rocori still hanging on 52-50. Rausch fouled at 38.1 and he misses the front end. Richfield with another chance but Adam Backes steals a Garvis pass and goes the distance for 2 and the foul. 55-50 Rocori with 16.6 left. Jay Sewer with a quick 3 with 10.1 left, but Willenbring with 2 free throws to seal it with 6.8 left. Rocori wins 57-53.

For Richfield, Renard Robinson with 15 of his 20 in the 2nd half along with 6 rebounds. Jay Sewer with 3 triples and 13 points. Phillip Freeman held to 5 points on only 2-11 shooting on my sheet. Richfield now 13-6. They travel to Tartan on Thursday. Any loss for Richfield tough as they try to get home seed in brutal section 2AAAA (7 teams above .500). That will be a difficult section to seed.

For Rocori, don't look now but they've won 5 in a row with this win and a win over a good Staples-Motley team. They have 4 winnable games coming up too. Senior Adam Backes with 15 points to lead the Spartans. Scott Willenbring with 10 points (3-6 FG) and 8 rebounds. Ben Rausch with 10 points. Very balanced offense with the flex. They return 3 starters (including Willenbring) next year along with freshman reserve Nathan Meyer who looks like he could turn out to be a Willenbring clone.

Millea rehashes conference realignment ideas

John Millea put all of his thoughts from the Star Trib Preps blog together in an article on the conference realignment saga today. Nothing really new here besides some minor expansion on the idea of a "super" football conference. With somebody like Blaine or Champlin moving in. For competition maybe, but otherwise I don't think that makes any sense. This whole thing about enrollments is insane anyway. Its one thing when the difference is 100 students vs 400 students. Entirely another when its 1800 vs 2100 students. All these schools are AAAA schools and have to compete against these kids at the state level anyway. If its that big a deal, have a 16 team AAAAA class.

The idea of Chaska and Chanhassen going to the Missota is restated. Chaska was a member of the Missota until they outgrew it. Seems strange to me that they'd go back there only to eventually outgrow the league again anyway.

Dower dominates again

A special (and last minute) trip to Andover tonight for the Huskies home game against NW Suburban front runner Osseo. Surprisingly small Osseo crowd. I don't recommend top row on the visitor side as the backboard and the American Flag keep you from having a clear view of the scoreboards. The PA guy is trying way too hard as well.

6'2 Kyle Mulrooney gets the unenviable task of guarding Dower on this night. But its Mulrooney who's off to the quick start as he makes back to back triples for a 13-5 Andover lead at 12:20. A couple of nice box outs and he's using his bulk nicely on Dower. Dalton Graff off the Osseo bench with a double-dose of 3s. But Jason Schneider gets a 3 point play and sophomore Tyler Finnes with a 3, 19-13 Andover at 9:35. Dower then picks up his 2nd foul, but with Osseo down, Coach Theisen keeps him in the game. Dower starting to get it going on offense. He makes his patented jump hook and then finds Nick Djerf for 3. Osseo takes time at 6:24 still down 27-20. Then Andover starts turning the ball over and Osseo makes the Huskies pay. Dower with a 3 point play and then finds Djerf going backdoor. John Rowland for 3 after the ball went thru Dower in the post. Dower 2 FTs and then Graff back to back triples again. All off of Andover turnovers. Osseo with the lead 36-29 at 4:04 and Andover needs a timeout after a 16-2 Osseo run in just 2:20. A minimum of 3 turnovers in that run for the Huskies. Dower now can rest with the 2 fouls. 4 more Andover turnovers but Osseo goes 0-5 (0-6 if you want to count a missed front end) at the charity stripe. Dower comes back at 1:48 with Osseo leading 36-33. He puts back a miss at 1:25 and another offensive board with 4 seconds left in the half for a free throw. 39-33 Osseo at the half. Dower 14 pts, 4 boards and 3 assists for another 8 points. Dalton Graff with 4 big triples off the bench for 12 points.

Dower comes out on a mission in the 2nd half as he gets the 1st 8 Orioles points of the half. During that stretch, Andover star Brett Tester with a 3 point play to cut the lead to 43-40. Out of a new set (see Osseo section), Andover mysteriously doubles Jayvin Reynolds at the foul line and he finds Bobby Fischer for 3. 50-40 Osseo with 13:30 left and the Orioles take off. John Rowland with a couple of threes and Dower puts back a couple of misses. 64-42 Osseo with 9:10 left. That's a 21-2 Osseo run over 7:30. A chunk of that run was against the Andover bench. The score is even the rest of the way, but the game feels like 40. Osseo's starters leave with 1:31 left after leading by as much as 27. Osseo wins 84-63.

For Andover, Jason Schneider leads the way with 12 points and 9 rebounds on my sheet. He's next year's only returning starter. Sophomores Ben Mei and Tyler Finnes also see significant minutes for the Huskies. They tried to double Dower, especially from Phillips but they allowed Dower too many easy catches on the post. The loss drops the Huskies to 5-12 and they've now lost 7 in a row after a 5-5 start.

For Osseo, Dower with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 3 after being held to 18 in the first meeting. I had him for around 14-18 shooting, but all of his attempts were inside of 6 feet. Dalton Graff and John Rowland come off the bench with 7 triples and 24 points total. No Aaron Anderson tonight for Osseo. Bobby Fischer and Nick Djerf getting the starts tonight for the Orioles. No full court run and jump from Osseo tonight in a bit of a surprise. They also unveiled a 2-3 high offense late in the 1st half and for a period in the 2nd half. The win allows the Orioles to keep pace with Champlin Park in the NW Suburban. Centennial 1 game back after the 18 point loss at Osseo on Tuesday.