MN Preps Interview with John Sherman

There's been a ton of controversy around Kevin Noreen and the all-time state scoring record.  The Star Tribune has provided their take on the whole thing.  I've had my say with the analysis of the data and what I've said in the numerous games I've seen and the data I've provided here.  The one extended viewpoint that isn't out there is that of MTS.  That's now fixed as Michael Much of Minnesota Preps did a free interview with MTS coach John Sherman to get his thoughts.  With all the info that's out, you can read the John Sherman interview here and draw your own conclusions.

Hines topples Cadets

The early Saturday game on my schedule took me to Minnehaha Academy for a non-conference showdown of league leaders with Classic Suburban leader St. Thomas Academy visiting.  So after my previous mention of the pork sandwich at the concession stand when I was last at Minnehaha, they haven't had it since.  So in a rare moment of sanity, I actually take some good advice and go with the Chicken Wild Rice soup.  Great advice it was from coach Johnson as it was quite tasty.  And it wouldn't be a trip to Minnehaha without mention of the 24 oz bottle of Pepsi.

Game Time
A defensive struggle in the 1st half of this one.  Parker Hines is all of the offense for Minnehaha.  His 3 at 10:40 puts Minnehaha up 10-9 and he has all 10 points.  Lefty Thomas Sjoberg off the St. Thomas bench.  He sandwiches that Hines 3 with a steal for 2 and a bomb of his own at the 10 minute mark.  Danny Abbott for 3 to put the Cadets up 15-10 at the 8:44 mark.  Its a 10-3 St. Thomas run over 4:30.  After a pair of Minnehaha buckets, 6 of the next 7 points go to the Cadets, 4 from Will Barth.  After matching hoops its 23-17 Cadets with 4:50 left in the half.  But St. Thomas won't score again this half.  Jack Johnson with a jumper, Austin Brown for 2, a Taylor Hanson steal for 2 puts him over the 1000 career point mark., Erik Klingner with a putback and Hines beats the buzzer for 3.  That's an 11-0 run to send the Redhawks to the locker room up 28-23.

6 in a row from Minnehaha to start the half forces a Cadets timeout.  34-23 Minnehaha with 15:38 left.  Will Patt with a right baseline jumper followed by 1 from the left baseline to break a 17-0 run across halftime.  After St. Thomas blocks a shot, they come back and get a 3 from Sjoberg then another at 9:50 to cut the Minnehaha lead to 39-36.  Then Hines starts to take over.  He kicks to Austin Brown to 3.  Then Hines and Hanson work the pick and roll for the last 8 minutes and there's no answer.  Hanson from Hines for 2 jumpers off of it plus 2 more and a Hines drive for 2.  Then another Hines drive for 1-2 free throws.  That pushes the lead to 53-41 with 4:46 left.  That's a 14-5 run over 5 minutes.  Then another drive for 2 at the 3 minute mark to keep the lead at 10.  The rest is foul shooting and Minnehaha wins 62-51.

For St. Thomas Academy, they fall to 10-5 overall.  Soph shooter Thomas Sjoberg leads the Cadets with 13 points and 3 triples off the bench.  Reminded me a lot of former Minnetonka star Andrew Latzke.  But offense was really hard to come by for the Cadets.  Billy Chapman 11 points but he really struggled against his summer teammates from the Redhawks going 3-15 from the floor.  Will Patt 10 points, 5-13 field goals with a surprising number of attempts from 3.  The Cadets return to league play next week with games against Hill-Murray and then a home rematch against rival Henry Sibley.

For Minnehaha, they improve to 15-3 with 10 straight wins.  They have wins over a ranked Blair-Taylor, WI club, DeLaSalle and this win in the last 11 days to make a very strong case for returning to the class AA state poll.  Parker Hines outstanding with 21 points and 6 assists on my sheet.  5 of those assists in the 2nd half.  Taylor Hanson with 12 of his 14 points in the 2nd half to go with 13 rebounds.  Austin Brown struggled but still finished with 15 points on 5-13 shooting.

Parker Hines photo courtesy of

St. Bernard's at DeLaSalle Thoughts

Its the 1st trip of the season to DeLaSalle as they host St. Bernard's.  But as we've said before, this is not the St. Bernard's team we're used to seeing despite leading the Tri-Metro East.  Standard food fare and no DeLaSalle jazz band which is a disappointment.  This was part of a doubleheader and the DLS girls won 81-24 and the starters may not have been in for half the game.

Game Time
St. Bernard's the with usual 2-3 zone for most of this one which slows the pace.  But the Islanders knock down 3 triples in a 13-0 run to open a 15-4 lead at the 11:55 mark.  This was after a couple of nice Ricky Suggs blocks inside on Jonah Travis.  Jalen Jaspers with a pair of those.  St. Bernard's hangs around with a Shane Taylor 3 and a Suggs drive to stay within 24-17 at 5:45.  Jaspers with a bucket and then a triple in a 9-0 Islander run to push the lead to 16 before Suggs beats the halftime buzzer with a 3.  38-25 DeLaSalle at the half.

A pair of turnovers ignite a 6-0 Islander run and that pushes the lead to 17.  44-27 DeLaSalle at 13:25 and St. Bernard's needs time.  Shane Taylor with a 3 at 10:55 and the lead is only 44-32 inside of 11 minutes to go. Then Jonah Travis on the post for 2.  Jaspers runs out on a turnover and converts with a 1 handed hammer and then puts back a miss.  After another Taylor 3, an outstanding side to side and back possession results in a putback for Jaspers inside of 6 minutes.  A skip pass for a Lamonte Hall triple pushes sthe lead to 17 with 5:10 to go.  DeLaSalle coasts from there to a 68-45 win.

For St. Bernard's, Asante Simmons with 17 points to keep the Bulldogs close for a while.  Ricky Suggs held in check as he finishes with only 7 points.  St. Bernard's tried to go 2-3 high with Suggs in the middle to get him some touches but to no avail.  The Bulldogs are now 8-8 (6-2) and have 3 tough ones coming up as they host St. Paul Academy, travel to Minnehaha and then have the home rematch with St. Anthony, possibly for the division crown.

For DeLaSalle, Jalen Jaspers leads the way with 19 points. That included 13 points and 3 triples in the 1st half.  Nice to see him get back on track after a rough stretch earlier in the year.  But to me it was his defense holding down Suggs that was the big story in this one.  Jonah Travis working inside against the zone for 17 points and 12 boards.  DeLaSalle stays 1 game behind Minnehaha in the Tri-Metro West at 10-2 (7-1).  An easy week ahead before a brutal schedule over the last 3 weeks of the season.

Jalen Jaspers photo courtesy of

Hopkins wins war against Cooper

Good crowd in the house tonight as #4 Hopkins hosted #2 Cooper.  We even had a 2nd half appearance from's GopherLady.  Those of you who are long time readers will know that I've linked many of her outstanding player interviews from here.  Hard for me to link to a Gopher site since I despise the rodents in all their forms but I have to give credit where much credit is overdue.  Nice to finally put a face to the name tonight.  And where else can I find another native Wisconsinite?  2 words for the rest of the night, "The Works".  (would you rather the lame cliche, so nice gotta have it twice?)  We're having everything but the black olives on the Taco in a Bag (sour cream is good for maintaining the waistline) and the rare choice of Dr. Pepper tonight.  Though seeing a Pepsi cabinet with almost all Coke products in it was amusing. 

Game Time
Joe Coleman leads Hopkins to a quick start.  He has a putback, a steal for a dunk and catches a pass off a flex cut and goes to the reverse layup all in 1 motion.  Timeout Cooper.  Siyani Chambers to DJ Peterson for a layup and a drive for 2 of his own.  Cooper needs another timeout at 10:16 down 19-7.  Cooper can't buy a basket to this point despite trying to get Calvin Godfrey touches on the left box.  Out of the timeout Darry Jones with a great backcut but botches the 2 handed dunk.  No better sign of how Cooper's night has gone than that.  Coleman converts a layup on the other end to push the lead to 14, yikes. But Cooper stays with Godfrey and makes a comeback.  He finally converts from the post and then a picture perfect baseline dropstep from the left box for 2 more.  Terry Glass with a jumper and a drive for 2 more.  Terrence Averyheart for 3 and then 3 the hard way.  And looky here, 23 all at the 5:50 mark after a 16-2 Cooper run over 3:35.  Coleman walks and no call for a 3 point play countered by an Averyheart backcut for 2.  Marvin Singleton taking advantage of his quickness vs Godfrey on the offensive end.  He goes up and under Godfrey for a 3 point play and then another 3 point play after Godfrey gambled for a steal out high and didn't get it.  33-27 Hopkins at the 3:57 mark.  Godfrey gets pulled and after going back in, he backs off of Singleton who drains a 3.  Godfrey converts a dump down for 2 and then a late hoop to pull the Hawks within 41-38 at the half.

Coleman with 2 freebies, Singleton lets Godfrey fly by and lays it in.  Chambers drives and goes to the reverse to push the lead to 9 with 16 minutes left.  Timeout Cooper.  Averyheart for 3, Godfrey with a big block for a Jones dunk.  Hopkins then with a rash of turnovers including not converting a 4 on 1 break.  Brandon Harrison on the post for 2 at 13:05 to cut the Hopkins lead to 47-45.  5 free throws push the lead back to 7 at the 10:22 and we have another timeout.  Coleman with a 3 point play at 9:40 to push the lead to 11 and it looks like the Royals will pull away.  Singleton scores against Godfrey in the post for Godfrey's 4th foul.  That comes at 8:55.  Coleman splits the D at 8:30 and Hopkins leads 60-48.    Godfrey converts an offensive rebound with 6 minutes left, but the Hopkins lead is still 10.

Then this one gets a bit crazy.  Godfrey with a block that turns into 2 and the foul.  The foul is on Singleton, his fourth and then he gets a technical which is a personal.  That's #5 and he's gone and there's still 4:53 left and the teams are yapping.  Glass converts the technicals and then before the inbounds, away from the Cooper basket, Godfrey gets an elbow up on DJ Peterson's chin which no ref saw but the entire crowd did.  Really chippy at this point.  Elijah Swen nails a 3 on the possession and hold the phone, Hopkins only leads by 5, 68-63 with 4:42 left.  Chambers with a pair of free throws at 4:34 and coach Johnson inexplicably takes Cooper's last timeout.  Hopkins tries to put it away with Coleman inside and then a layup off an assist from Riley Dearring.  74-65 Royals with 3:15 left.  Godfrey fouled in the act of shooting at 3:02 and we have another Hopkins technical.  I think for slamming the ball.  Godfrey makes 1, Averyheart converts the technicals but Godfrey misses a bunny on the possession.  Jones misses another bunny for Cooper on the next possession.  But after a Hopkins miss, Jones makes a great save on an errant pass and Glass scoops for the hoop at 1:50, 74-71 Hopkins.  Chambers with 1 free throw countered by a Godfrey putback at 1:30, 75-73 Hopkins.  Dearring with 2 clutch freebies at 1:12.  Godfrey open inside but Averyheart won't throw it to him.  No problem though as Averyheart drives and goes glass with 42 seconds left.  77-75 Hopkins leads. Godfrey fouls out at 27.5 bumping Chambers who calmly buries both free throws.  Averyheart forces a stepback 3 that's no good.  Swen nails a 3 at the buzzer that doesn't matter as Hopkins wins a real war 83-78.

For Cooper, they fall to 14-2 going into a big North Suburban showdown on Monday at Columbia Heights.  Calvin Godfrey 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 blocks on my sheet.  But only 2-10 from the charity stripe with 9-17 from the floor with 3 missed bunnies early.  Terrence Averyheart leads the way with 25 points in a clutch performance.  Darry Jones very quiet with only 8 points.  Godfrey spent most of the night on the left box with Brandon Harrison playing the right box and moving up to the high post for some high/low action.

For Hopkins, they also are 14-2 and no rest for the weary with a trip to #2AAA Benilde-St. Margaret's tomorrow afternoon to play the rested Red Knights who haven't played since Tuesday.  Very tough game.  BSM on a 7 game winning streak since the league loss to Cooper to start the month.  Joe Coleman leads the way with 19 of his 33 points in the 2nd half.  Marvin Singleton had to face Godfrey most of the night but still finished with 21 points and 8 boards on my sheet.  Siyani Chambers with 10 points and 5 of 6 free throws in the last 5 minutes to keep Hopkins ahead.  Interesting trend for Hopkins as athletic guards tend to give them problems (North, Johnson and now Cooper).  I think Hopkins gambles more out of their pressure man to man defense than I've seen in a long time and that surprises me consider how good they are traditionally on defense.

Joe Coleman photo courtesy of

2010 Mr Basketball Final 25 named

The final 25 for the 2010 Minnesota Mr Basketball award have been announced.  Here they are followed by my commentary.

Peter Crawford 6-5 Benilde-SM
Chad Calcaterra 6-10 Cloquet
Jake Thomas 6-3 Columbia Heights
Calvin Godfrey 6-8 Cooper
Seantrel Henderson 6-8 Cretin-Derham Hall
Dyami Starks 6-2 Duluth East
Vinard Birch 5-10 Eastview
Brett Ervin 6-5 Eden Prairie
Trevor Gruis 6-8 Ellsworth
Zach Riedeman 6-5 Forest Lake
Mike Rostampour 6-7 Henry Sibley
Jordan Jackson 6-2 Henry Sibley
Yuriy Malashenko 6-5 Jordan
Shaun Condon 6-2 MACCRAY
Taylor Hanson 6-6 Minnehaha Academy
Cole Stefan 6-3 Minnetonka
Aaron Anderson 6-2 Osseo
Kevin Noreen 6-10 Minnesota Transitions
Jordan Hughes 5-10 Mpls. Patrick Henry
Alonzo Traylor 6-7 Mpls. South
Ben Bucholz 6-7 Perham
Marshall Bjorklund 6-6 Sibley East
Scott Nystrom 6-2 St. Cloud Tech
Taylor Filipek 6-6 Willmar
Alec Brown 6-11 Winona

Biggest surprise to me in the list was the omission of Alex Hanks of St. Cloud Tech.

My final 5 right now are Kevin Noreen, Alec Brown, Calvin Godfrey, Marshall Bjorklund and Jacob Thomas.  I pick those 5 based on skill, impact on the game and their teams and team performance.  The 1st 4 are from teams that have been in the top 5 in the top 2 classes and have dominated.  The 5th spot was much tougher but Thomas gets the nod with 27 PPG (which includes an 8 point game in a holiday blowout so he could be averaging 28-29 a game) and the big games against Hopkins (38), BSM (47) and Staples-Motley (33).  MACCRAY's Shaun Condon makes a great case with 24.5 per game for the top ranked team in Class A.  Or if you're going small school do you take Ellsworth's Trevor Gruis and his 18.6 and 11.9 boards. I already have Bjorklund here from the MN River, but 21 and almost 16 a night from Yuriy Malashenko is hard to ignore. 

Lester Prairie at Maranatha thoughts

To Maranatha for a MCAA showdown with Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity with the winner very likely to take home this year's MCAA regular-season hardware.  Nothing like walking in the building to John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever", what next?  Lee Greenwood's "Coming to America"?  (Though singing it as Coming to Maranatha would be interesting).  Not the greatest pizza in the world but its hard to beat the MCA concession area.

Game Time
Darrian Pittman out of the gate with 2 inside assists to SaVaughn Jordan to put MCA up 4-0.  After 4 Lester Prairie free throws, they can't take care of the ball.  Jamie Hammond for 3, Pittman with a jumper off a turnover and a layup via long outlet from Josh Hanson.  Hanson then converts a turnover into another MCA layup.  Timeout Bulldogs as they're down 13-4 at the 13:22 mark and still haven't made a field goal.  Lester Prairie opens up the offense with some open post cuts and soph guard Jared Kadrie finally puts one in the basket at 12:50.  Then Lester Prairie goes to the famous Flip Saunders 1-2-2 matchup zone and this one gets interesting.  Dan Anderson with a putback, Kadrie with a jumper, Brandon Mork with 2 free throws and Brandon Schaust adds 1.  15-14 Maranatha at the 8:28 mark and they use their 2nd timeout in 3 minutes to try and figure out this zone.  Lots of lobs to the big front line from Lester Prairie.  Pittman with a floater, Josh Hanson with 2 more and another Pittman to Jordan layup gives MCA a 25-18 lead at the 4:24 mark . Nice job by MCA exploiting the back left guy in the 1-2-2 zone by forcing him to address the high post and the left corner.  That's too big a slide and either the corner was open or if the big left early to get out there, the high post just slipped to the rim.  Lester Prairie cleans that up and goes on a 13-3 spurt to end the half.  31-28 Lester Prairie at the break.

The Bulldogs lead immediately gets to 6 on a Kadrie 3 but Pittman comes right back with a triple of his own.  Jordan with 2 freebies and an inside hoop.  Pittman to Josh Hanson for a layup for 6 straight MCA points to put them back on top 37-36 at the 13:30 mark.  Kadrie with 2 free throws as the Bulldogs go deeper into their bench with a couple of new guys.  MCA takes off with the critical run of the game.  Pittman for 3 again, Jordan wiht 2 freebies on a turnover forcing the Bulldogs to get back to 4 starters.  Then a pair of MCA layups on sweet bullet passes.  Jamie Hammond to Josh Hanson for 1, Pittman to Jordan for the 4th time on the evening for the other.  46-40 MCA at 7:54 and Lester Prairie needs a timeout.  Total run is 15-4 over 8:24 as the Bulldogs can't get any post touches after some success there in the 1st half.  Jordan on the post for 2 countered by a Kadrie floater.  Then Josh Hanson drives for a 3 point play at 6:07 to keep the lead at 8, 51-43.  6 point MCA lead with 4:15 to go when they decide to spread the ball against the zone.  MCA crashes the boards resulting in 2 Higgins FTs.  Bulldogs turn it over and go man.  MCA takes a pair of bad shots but gets them both back.  After a MCA timeout, Hanson drives and gets 2 on my favorite call, slapping the backboard.  That pushes the lead to 10.  Scott Thiemann hits a pair of late 3s for Lester Prairie but to no avail.  Maranatha wins 61-53.

For Lester Prairie, Jared Kadrie leads the way with 21 points, 3-9 in the 2nd half for 7-19 shooting over all.  Biggest story was zero field goals for Brandon Schaust.  He finishes with 3 points compared to his season average of 12.4.  David Anderson with some early success as the other twin tower but he only finished with 7 points compared to his season average of 13.4.  With everybody looking for a post during the summer, he's a nice 2nd level option to look at.  Senior Daniel Anderson reminded me of Wayzata's Eric Robertson as a lanky perimeter player.  Depth is an issue as the Bulldogs only go 5 deep.  Lester Prairie now 11-5 overall, 6-1 MCAA.  Very interesting seeding debate shaping up for them in section 2A north. You have current Tomahawk runner up Cedar Mountain/Comfrey and conference foe Southwest Christian all in the running for that top seed.  LP/HT will probably finish ahead of SW Christian in the MCAA but SW Christian won by 2 at Lester Prairie this season and the 2 are next to each other in the QRF.  A 7 point loss at Bethany and a 2 point home loss to MCA for SW Christian could possibly be the difference between a 1 seed and a 3 seed.

For #7A Maranatha, they improve to 14-2, 8-0 MCAA.  They finish up league play in Plymouth next week with trips to Providence and West Lutheran.  Then a big one that could be for the #1 seed in 4A North as they have a big grudge match at PACT next Friday night.  Remember it was PACT who came into Maranatha last season and upset the Mustangs to break a long home winning streak.  3 players in double figures tonight for MCA.  Josh Hanson 19, SaVaughn Jordan 16 out of the post and Darrian Pittman 14 points and 5 assists on my sheet.  Jay Higgins 6 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks.  1 of those of the volleyball variety and almost stuck in the floor.  The second half defense was outstanding as they held the Bulldogs to 16 points until a pair of triples in the last 32 seconds.

A statistical look at the Kevin Noreen Scoring Record

So with all the insults and concerns flying around about Kevin Noreen breaking the all-time scoring record, I decided to look at the actual data and see if the numbers point anything out.

Since I could only find information for Cody Schilling from his sophomore year on, we'll start there and look at the last 3 years of their careers (obviously Noreen's senior year will only be to date).  At the start of his sophomore year Cody had scored 731 points, he scored 2697 of his career points (78.7%) in his last 3 years.  Kevin Noreen started his sophomore year with 935 points and has scored 2494 since (72.4%).  Since the numbers below include team records and QRF, I only include Minnesota teams.  That removes 15 Schilling games from Iowa and South Dakota.  It removes 3 Wisconsin and 1 Canadian game from Noreen's books.  Also note that QRF numbers for this season for Noreen are lower because the season is not yet complete and the numbers accumulate per game played.

In the last 3 seasons of their careers through today, the games break down as follows.

Cody Schilling: 71 Class A games, 5 AA games, 6 AAA games, 1 AAAA game for 83 Minnesota games
Kevin Noreen: 54 Class A games, 14 AA games, 4 AAA games, 3 AAAA games for 75 Minnesota games.

Those opponents break down as follows. 

Cody Schilling
The average class A opponent had a record of 14.4-11.6 with a QRF of 87.8 which places at 62.46
  • 28.61 PPG in 28 games vs opponents in the top 40 of class A (roughly top 25%)
  • 26.91 PPG in 11 games vs opponents in the bottom 50 of class A (roughly bottom 25%)
  • 28.44 PPG in 47 games vs opponents in the top 80 of class A (roughly top half)
  • 26.75 PPG in 24 games vs opponents in the bottom 90 of class A (roughly bottom half) 
  • 28.6 PPG in 5 games vs Class AA.  Those teams had an average record of 10.8-14.4, QRF of 70.78 and places of  81.8
    • 24.5 PPG in 6 games vs Class AAA.  Those teams had an average record of 14.2-12, QRF of 83.3 and places of 27.2
    • 20 points in 1 career game vs #5 QRF, 24-5 Rochester Mayo from Class AAAA
    Kevin Noreen
    The average class A opponent had a record of 14.7-9.8 with a QRF of 83.7 which places at 64.1.  Note: For 2 games vs Math and Science and Dunwoody in 2008-2009, there was no QRF so I assigned a QRF of 20 which was a rank of 165.  The Dunwoody game in 2007-2008 is not included as there is no record or QRF information available for them.

    • 27.55 PPG in 22 games vs opponents in the top 40 of class A (roughly top 25%)
    • 41 PPG in 9 games vs opponents in the bottom 50 of class A (roughly bottom 25%)
    • 28.2 PPG in 35 games vs opponents in the top 80 of class A (roughly top half)
    • 38.42 PPG in 19 games vs opponents in the bottom 90 of class A (roughly bottom half)
    • 28.5 PPG in 14 games vs Class AA. Those teams had an average record of 12.2-10.5, QRF of 78.98 and place of 47.2.
    • 34.25 PPG in 4 games vs Class AAA.  Those teams had an average record of 12.25-9, QRF of 64.48 and place of 28.5
    • 26.7 PPG in 3 games vs Class AAAA.  Those teams had an average record of 9.3-10, QRF of 64.63 and place of 25.7
    Based on the above data, I draw these conclusions.

    Did Noreen have huge games against bad teams?  Absolutely as that is the number that jumps out.  Good players will have big games against bad teams so the numbers shouldn't be alarming.  Star players dominate weaker opponents.  Do Schilling's lower totals vs that same competition mean anything?  No because he was also an outstanding passer.  As somebody who has watched MTS multiple times do they keep him all game and press just to run it up.  No way.  That said, there are games where I would have pulled him sooner.  But running it up is just too harsh a term to use.  I thought what coach Jihad did with Tayler Hill over at South was worse when pursuing the girls record.

    Those games vs bad competition (defined as bottom 50 of class A) only make up about 11% of the schedule and Cody Schilling played just as many of those games.  The totals vs top 40 and bottom 50 class A teams will even out between them once Noreen plays his tournament games this year (he'll get a bad game, maybe 2 in the opening rounds and then top 40 games for most of the rest.).  To say that Noreen ran up huge numbers against a bad schedule and Schilling didn't just isn't supported by the data.  I think any objective look at the Class A schedules has to say they're pretty equal.

    As to the higher class, its no contest.  Noreen will double the games that Schilling played against a higher class and he's clearly been more productive in those games and the competition is at least as good (note how AA is superior).  If this season is any indication, Noreen is averaging 30.7 points in 10 games against teams from a higher class.  Schilling averaged 25.3 in 6 games against a higher class as a senior.  In fairness to Schilling, due to conference games and being in the middle of nowhere, Ellsworth couldn't schedule the kind of non-conference games that MTS has the ability to being a metro team that's not in a league.  At the same time, its also difficult to fill 26 games when you don't have a league since most teams have league play all January and February.

    Bottom Line
    Both are outstanding players with great careers and earned the records.  They both handled the hype and hysteria with great class and dignity.  I just wish everyone else would do the same.

    Cretin dominates Suburban East Showdown

    To #4AAAA Cretin-Derham Hall for a big game vs #5AAAA Stillwater.  These teams in a 3 way tie with Forest Lake as the 1st rotation of Suburban East play winds down.  We're in the upstairs auxillary gym as ESPN is occupying the main fieldhouse for a Joe Mauer special tomorrow.  Small crowd early that eventually fills in.  Goofy schedule too with the JV game following by the B squad game.  Concordia-St. Paul and MN-Mankato watching from the D2 ranks.  St. Thomas and St. John's watching from the D3 ranks and a pair of Notre Dame coaches right behind the CDH bench to get Seantrel Henderson's attention before next Wednesday's signing day.  As always, the all-beef hot dog outstanding.  I like the ketchup packet concept except for disposing of it.  No Barg's Root Beer tonight so Sprite will have to do.

    Game Time
    A tale of 2 halves of the 1st half.  Elliot Owusu with a rebound for 2 free throws and a nice pass to CJ Neuman for a 2 handed flush.  Raijon Kelly with back to back triples and Gus Gehlen tacks one on.  Taylor Montero to Seantrel Henderson for 2 and Kelly with 2 on a turnover.  19-7 CDH at the 9:24 mark and Stillwater needs a timeout.  Henderson picks up his 2nd foul within a minute and has to sit as Stillwater claws their way back.  Ryan Duxbury with a great sequence as he powers for 2 and then a sweet spin and finish with the left hand and another post up that results in a pair of free throws (but both missed).  Alex Oman with his 2nd triple and Jesse George also from deep to end a 14-2 Ponies run over 6 minutes.  That ties the game at 21 outside of 3 minutes left in the half.  Paul Franklin beats the halftime buzzer with a jumper for Stillwater.  That cuts the Cretin-Derham Hall lead to 27-26 at halftime.  9-1 in fouls against CDH but Stillwater only makes 3 of 13 free throws in the half. 

    Oman for 3 off a nice set play and George with a steal for 2 free throws at 14:48 to give the Ponies their first lead at 31-29.  Henderson in the post for 2 and a Kelly layup countered by a Franklin 3.  34-33 Stillwater with 13:45 left before this one gets ugly.  Henderson with a 3 point play and a post up for 2 more.  Kevin Hannon fouled on a baseline jumper for a 3 point play for a 10-2 spurt.  CDH goes 2-3 at the 11 minute mark and Stillwater has no answer.  Gus Gehlen blocks a jumper and knocks down a 3 on the other end at 9:25 to force a Stillwater timeout down 10.  Kelly with a great fake and finger roll for 2.  Henderson up and under for 2 more to make a 19-2 run.  Henderson inside again and a turnover becomes a Kelly scoop for 2 and the foul (FT no good).  Henderson again, Gehlen with a steal for 2.  Finally Alex Oman knocks down a 3 at the 1:55 mark but a stretch of 2 buckets in 12 minutes won't get it done as the run is 29-5.  CDH wins 66-42.

    For Stillwater, just no answer against the 2-3 zone.  The ball would go to the short corner and the other post wasn't screening in a backside defender or diving to the front of the rim.  Poor skip pass after poor skip pass resulted in a ton of turnovers.  Alex Oman with triples and 9 points to lead Stillwater's scoring.  Ryan Duxbury 7 points and 5 rebounds and did a fair job against behemoth Seantrel Henderson.  The Ponies fall 1 game back with 1 game to go in the 1st rotation of Suburban East play.  13-3 with the 3 losses by 25, 26 and 24 points to quality opponents.  Ouch.

    For Cretin-Derham Hall, they improve to 13-2 and stay tied with Forest Lake (though Forest Lake won head-head) in Suburban East play. Seantrel Henderson with 13 of his 15 points in the 2nd half.  Raijon Kelly with 10 of his 16 in the 1st half.  Speaking of the name Kelly, lefty soph Jamar Kelly stuck out in the B squad game.  CDH nicely recognizing passing lanes out of their 2-3 zone to pick off those skips.  Nice to see the rotation cut down to 8 guys tonight as that's about right for this squad.  This is an important section win, though the Raiders will probably need to back it up at Stillwater in March.  4AAAA is very top heavy and I'd seed it CDH, Sibley, Tartan and Stillwater at the top right now based on what I've seen in multiple viewings of all 4 teams.

    Kevin Noreen breaks MN career scoring record

    To Minneapolis Roosevelt for a confusing start time as they host Minnesota Transitions with Kevin Noreen needing 39 points to pass the all time career scoring mark of 3428 points set 2 years ago by Ellsworth's Cody Schilling.  Talking to Kevin before the game, he was looking forward to getting it done tonight to put it behind him.  Ridiculously small crowd of about 110 people and zero media besides me.  John Millea (Star Trib) and Ray Richardson (Pioneer Press), I'm beyond disappointed that you weren't there and I'll leave it at that.  Serves the Red Star right when they've refused to cover MTS the last 2 years.  Lehigh in the building to watch Kyle Noreen.

    NOTE: The Star Tribune is reporting that 5 games or so may be thrown due to the teams not being sanctioned so this may not necessarily be the record, but for my purposes its tonight.

    Game Time
    Slow pace early as MTS as usual insists on playing zone.  Roosevelt very deliberate and a Calvin Jenkins floater pulls them within 7-6 at the 15:20 mark with Kevin Noreen already having 5 points.  Kyle Noreen picks up his second foul during a 12-0 run that Kevin Noreen finishes with a post up (9 points).  Kyle with a steal to Kevin for 2 at 7:30 (14 pts), 28-13 MTS and it looks like the record will fall early.  But Roosevelt stays patient as Kyle Noreen spends most of the rest of the half on the bench.  34-24 MTS at the half as Kevin Noreen stays at 14 points with 5 turnovers.  Most of those turnovers on fouls that weren't called by this poor officiating crew.  25 points to go and it looks very questionable if he'll get the record on this night.

    To the second half, MTS stays with a soft 1-2-2 zone (groan) but it holds Roosevelt scoreless for the 1st 5:15 of the half while MTS goes on a 15-0 run to break this one wide open.  Kevin Noreen gets it going during the run with a nice cut for 2, a pair of sweet assists, then a pair of buckets for him to push his total to 20.  But he's still not on pace to break the record tonight.  Kevin with a layup at the 11 minute mark, then a putback and a layup at 8:45 for 26 points.  Roosevelt's press helping MTS get up and down and get Noreen points.  Owens finds Noreen for 2 and then a putback for a 3 point play and then he puts back his own miss at the 6 minute mark for 33 points.  65-34 MTS.  Now the crowd knows the record will fall.  A layup at 5:05 and 2 free throws at 3:52 give him 37 points.  Then after a Roosevelt putback, they press.  Kevin catches in the middle and from the foul line takes 1 dribble left and knocks down a left elbow jumper on the east basket at 3:28 to break the record at 7:23 PM Central Time.  Timeout MTS with a 73-41 lead.  Standing ovation from the crowd and Roosevelt makes an announcement and gives him the game ball.  The bench is emptied and MTS wins 81-51.

    For Roosevelt, they fall to 4-12 with the loss, but with the disaster that is the west subsection of 4AA, this may help their power ranking.  James Smith the only Teddy in double figures with 10 points.  A winnable game at Minneapolis Southwest awaits on Friday.

    For MTS, Kevin Noreen needed 39 and got 39 as he now has 3429 career points and could reach 4000 (see my tracker here).  Kyle Noreen finishes with 10 points after first half foul trouble.  Rodney Owens with 14 points in a productive game for him.  MTS a bit out of whack tonight as they tried to get Kevin Noreen the record, but credit to Kevin as he wasn't selfish about getting it with at least 4 assists on my officially unofficial sheet.

    Steve Froemming from Steven's Sports Report and I had the chance to do a quick audio interview with Kevin Noreen after the game.  Click here to listen to the interview

    Kevin Noreen photo courtesy of

    Shakopee at Chanhassen Thoughts

    Bonus basketball thanks to the late cancellation at the East Metro Showcase.  Its a cross-metro trip to the new Chanhassen high school as they host future conference rival Shakopee.  Big hanging scoreboard above center court, regular scoreboards low for the teams, but hard to see for many fans in the HUGE seating setup.  Much like Burnsville the seats just keep gradually going up up and away.  Big fan of the pizza meal after I missed out on the Taco in a Bag at Johnson.  A nice appearance from the Chanhassen pep band with the director playing bass guitar (quality) and a good rendition of Heart's old classic Barricuda.

    Game Time
    Dylan Ulferts with the 1st 6 Shakopee points of the game.  Kevin Jensen keep Chanhassen close with a putback, spin move for 2 and a pair of free throws after a steal.  Chance Panning with another Storm steal and Chanhassen is up 12-10 at the 10 minute mark.  Then Ulferts leads an 11-0 Shakopee run over 3 minutes with a putback, 2 freebies and a triple.  9-4 Storm over the last 7 minutes of the half as Shakopee can't pull away.  25-21 Shakopee at halftime.

    Jason Perkins takes over to start the second half for Shakopee.  He scores the 1st 8 Sabers points of the half.  Joel Hergott then posts up for an And 1 to push the lead to 38-30 inside of 12 minutes and Chanhassen needs a timeout. A Chanhassen turnover results in a Ethan Petrill layup, then Perkins knocks down another jumper to push the lead to 12.  The Storm looming like a black cloud though.  Joey Stark with a 3 point play and 2 more to cut the lead to 7 with 6:45 remaining.  Teams trade hoops and another Stark bucket keeps the margin at 7, 47-40 Shakopee with 5:25 left.  Perkins with a jumper for 2 and Petrill runs out for a layup with 3:50 left.  Panning for 3 countered by an Ulferts layup off a blocked shot.  Perkins then with a nice reverse layup out of the post to push the lead to 12.  Joel Hergott takes on 2 pairs of free throws and a 3 point play in the last 1:34.  Shakopee wins 64-47.

    For Chanhassen, they fall to 2-12 (0-10 league) and finish out the 1st rotation of Lake play by hosting Eden Prairie on Tuesday.  But they have bragging rights as they did win a close one at home vs East Ridge before Christmas.  Kevin Jensen leads the Storm with 16 points.  Chance Panning is a nice shooter and he finished with 10 points.  Joey Stark off the bench with 12 points.

    For Shakopee, the Sabers are now 9-4 with 6 straight wins.  Dylan Ulferts 15 of his 17 points in the 1st half.  Jason Perkins 14 of his 16 points in the 2nd half.  Ethan Petrill with a season high 13 points.  Joel Hergott rounds out the big 4 with 14 points. Too much firepower in the paint for the Sabers.  I was surprised by how much 2-3 zone they played.

    Ethan Petrill photo courtesy of

    2010 East Metro Showcase Day 2

    To the second day of the 2010 East Metro Showcase, 3 games yesterday and 4 on day 2 to finish the event.

    Game 1: Washburn vs Superior, WI
    12-10 Superior in a back and forth tilt in the first 6 minutes.  Then Joel Lindberg goes on a big run.  He drives for 2 and finds Jake Lindberg for 2.  Then a drive for 2 and a pullup followed up a by a 3 point play.  Then he kicks to Rob Kraft and knocks down a pullup triple.  That's 12 points and 2 assists for 5 more as Lindberg is part of 17 straight points.  Kraft adds on another pair of layups.  33-16 Superior after the 21-6 run over 8:40 as Washburn also had no answer for the 1-2-2 zone.  Lindberg keeps it going in the second half as he finishes with 28 points in an easy 71-54 Superior win.  That's the 43rd straight win for Superior vs a Minnesota team.  Clarence Thomas with 13 points to lead Washburn.

    Game 2: St. John's Military Academy (WI) vs Eastview
    Eastview with Vinard Birch back but still not 100% and his backup Darin Haugh eligible for the 1st time today (transfer).  St. John's tries to pull away early as they lead 18-9 at the 8:59 mark.  Jordan Kuhn keeping Eastview close as he scores 9 of their next 11 points, mostly inside.  24-20 St. John's leads.  Oshari Arnett off the Eastview bench with a pair of hoops and Eastview is back to within 28-26 at halftime.  Back and forth second half and we'll go right to the end.  57-55 Eastview when Vinard Birch makes a great switch out his zone spot and forces a turnover with 42 seconds left but then he misses 2 free throws.  After 2 free throws tie it, Birch makes 2 freebies with 19 seconds left and another turnover but Eastview misses 2 free throws with 8 seconds left.  Kevin Mays misses a follow dunk and it looks like Eastview has won but an official has a foul with no time on the clock.  Both free throws are good and we'll play OT. 66-64 Eastview down with 31 seconds left in OT when a bogus technical foul is assessed to the Eastview bench (other coach had 1 T and couldn't stand and ref got confused).  The refs correct the error, thankfully and 1 free throw is good for St. John's.  Eastview turns it over on the inbounds and St. John's Military Academy wins 70-65 in OT.  Chris Narum with 21 points off the Eastview bench with 5 triples.  They really struggle to score.  Kevin Mays with 25 to lead St. John's.

    Game 3: Maple Northwestern vs La Crosse Aquinas
    Hmm, who am I rooting for in this one?  Nice moment before the game when Eastview coach Mark Gerber came over to shake hands with Aquinas coach Rick Schneider.  Aquinas took out a very good Eastview team in this event 2 years ago in an absolute classic.  Aquinas down 14-3 out of the gate and Northwestern fought off a bunch of Aquinas runs.  But a Bronson Koenig (#4 WI frosh) jumper with 2 minutes left ties the game.  Northwestern holds and turns the ball over with 10 seconds left.  But Aquinas can't get a good look and Northwestern dominates the overtime for a 68-64 overtime win.

    Game 4: Milwaukee Vincent vs St. Paul Central
    1st look at Central this season.  Fun occasional matchup in this one of Deonte Burton and Central's LeDarian Horton.  Burton reminds me a bit of Madison East's Marquis Mason.  Central has a lead that grows to 9 in the 1st half but they go to halftime up 29-26.  Central open the half with a 9-2 run for a 38-28 lead.  Vincent right back with 9 in a row of their own.  Vincent goes zone at the 12 minute mark of the second half and Central just can't find an answer.  3 point lead for Vincent with 2:50 left when Philip Nolan dunks against the press.  Burton finishes it with a big dunk coming left to right under the rim and hammers it home.  68-60 Vincent wins. Marlon Speed 18 points for Central.  Taylor Smaller 11 points.

    2010 East Metro Showcase Day 1

    Day 1 of the 4th annual East Metro Showcase.  Rene Pulley, Chris Monter, Chris Carr and editor Mark Miller taking in the game with Jason Jesperson.  Gotta like the plump hot dog too.  Tough break with the weather forcing Sioux City Heelan to cancel their trip.  Nice job by coach Simmons to readjust the schedule and get the games in.

    Game 1: Superior vs St. John's Military Academy
    How crazy is it to have 2 Wisconsin teams playing each other but under Minnesota rules?  Kevin Mays was big with 21 points for St. John's Military Academy but they had no answer for the Superior 1-2-2 zone.  The poise and shooting stroke of DJ Mlachnik were evident in this one despite a low point total.  Isaiah Gray struggled with foul trouble in the 2nd half and didn't shoot it well.  Superior's Joel Lindberg with most of his 21 points in the 2nd half after 3 fouls (2 charges) had him in 1st half foul trouble.  Superior was down 2 at half but won easily 68-53.

    Game 2: St. Paul Johnson vs Milwaukee Vincent
    Vincent is a historically strong program, but they're mid-level in Milwaukee this season behind Hamilton, King and Washington at a minimum.  Vincent forces 3 quick turnovers with the diamond press and forces a quick Johnson timeout in the 1st minute of the game, but its only 3-0 Vincent.  Vincent's star frosh Deonte Burton with an assist for 3 to put Vincent up 8-6 at 14:25 before Johnson goes off on a run.  The Govs apply their own pressure, run and jump in this instance and not the 2-2-1 I'm accustomed to seeing from them.  Jordan Pluff with great energy off the bench and providing the offense to go with the defense in a 21-4 Johnson run over 5:50.  27-12 Johnson with 8:35 left in the half.  36-21 Johnson at half and they push the lead to 25 less than 6 minutes into the second half.  Johnson wins easily again 70-51.  Estan Tyler with 11 points and 6 assists.  Jordan Pluff with 16 points to lead the scoring.  Donte Warlick with 13 points and stellar passing in this one.  Anthony Lee scored 12 points in the balanced attack.

    Game 3: Hopkins vs Maple Northwestern (WI)
    Steve Tecker still on crutches for Northwestern so no best player for the Tigers (OK we knew that coming in).  10-8 Hopkins leads after a Northwestern postup basket at 14:10.  Hopkins is too much defensively as they take advantage of forced turnovers to open the lead up to 40-20 (30-12 run over 9:30).  But 3 triples from Northwestern in an 11-2 run threaten to make this one interesting.  But DJ Peterson nails a 3 and Jeremiah Tolbert with a steal for 2 both in the last 30 seconds of the half for a 46-31 halftime lead.  2nd half score is almost identical as Hopkins wins 93-62.  Siyani Chambers with 7 points and 5 assists in the 1st half with the assist largely on the break after turnovers.  Joe Coleman finishes with 21.  Marvin Singleton with 18.  Northwestern star Donnie Hissa with only 8 points.  1 sleeper from up north for you 2nd tier AAU folks is Tyler Forysthe who finished with 15 points and is a big shooting guard who can knock it down. 

    Estan Tyler photo courtesy of

    30-Second Timeout with Johnson's Max Rosenbloom

    With the East Metro Showcase coming up this weekend, I figured it'd be nice to catch up with one of the players from the host team, #1AAA St. Paul Johnson.  I did just that I had a chance to take a 30-second timeout with Johnson forward Max Rosenbloom.  He played with 43 Hoops last summer.  He's averaging 9.6 points and 8 rebounds a game in the deep Johnson rotation.  The Governors play a quality St. John's Military Academy team from suburban Milwaukee in what should be a very good opener to this weekend's showcase.

    What's the best gym to play in besides your own?
    I would have to say Williams Areana. I love the feeling and atmosphere there.

    Who's the best player you've played with or against?
    It's a toss up between Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes.

    What's your favorite road trip memory?
    Going to Gates BBQ everytime we went to Kansas City.

    What's the toughest road gym you've played in?
    Harding. The rims are a bit to tight in that place lol

    Who has the toughest crowd to play against when you're on the road?
    Last year at Bishop Heelan in Sioux City, Iowa. It was a complete zoo in that place.

    What's your worst road trip memory?
    Going to AAU Nationals in 4th grade and getting blown out every game

    What's the favorite song on your iPod?
    Swag Surfin by Lil Wayne

    What are you doing when you're not playing basketball?
    Kicking back and relaxing with my friends.

    Who's the person most influential in your basketball career?
    There's been so many people that have influenced me I don't think I have time to name them all.

    Max Rosenbloom photo courtesy of

    Henry pulls away late at Washburn

    Nothing like a trip up an icy hill for a Minneapolis City Conference showdown with Henry making the trip to Washburn.  Washburn's Deonte Blakemore lighting up the JV game on the offensive end but I want to see some more intensity on the defensive end.  Being down 20 didn't help.  Washburn 1 of 2 places I go where there are the high qualify beef hot dogs.  Have to have that tonight. We had the Nestle's Nesquick Rabbit jacket making another appearance tonight.  Ken Lien and one of the mysterious Mr. Basketball committee members in attendance.  And...Rene Pulley, who was even there for the freshman game (which Henry gave away)

    Game Time
    No Jordan Hughes in the starting lineup for Henry but he is in uniform.  7-2 Henry quickly out and Washburn needs a timeout.  A pair of Henry layups and Kameron Fisher's entry off the bench for a putback extend the lead to 16-7 at 12:30.  Washburn counters with an 11-2 run over 2:35 thanks to 3 triples.  The last by Dwight Anderson to tie the game at 18 at the 9:55 mark.  Fisher with the only 2 Henry points in the run and he gets a layup from Louis Cox.  3 Clarence Thomas free throws put Washburn up 25-22 with 8 minutes in the half when Jordan Hughes enters for Henry.  Andy Leighton with 2 layups to extend the Washburn lead to 29-23 when Hughes gets going.  He has an assist for 2, then a pullup on the break for 3.  He makes 2 more triples around a Nick Anderson triple to tie the game at 38 inside of 3 minutes. Clarence Thomas drives for 2 and a Hughes turnover becomes a Dwight Anderson layup that counted despite the fact that it clearly didn't beat the halftime buzzer.  46-42 Washburn at the break. 

    Second half starts with Hughes and Dwight Anderson going back and forth.  Anderson with 10 of the 1st 12 Washburn points.  Hughes with 14 of the first 16 for Henry.  58 all after 2 Hughes FTs with 12:58 left.  Then Fisher enters for Henry and immediately has 2 dunks.  The last on a Washburn turnover, then another turnover but Thomas gets it back and scores to end a wild sequence.  Washburn timeout with 11:55 remaining to settle their guys down with a 63-62 lead.  Fisher this time with an assist to Fred Henry for a layup. Then Louis Cox to Romeal Taylor for another Henry layup.  Fred Henry off a turnover for 2 more and Hughes with 2 freebies to conclude an 8-0 run in 90 seconds.  Henry takes timeout which was a bit surprising since they had some momentum.  Dwight Anderson converts a Henry turnover to cut the Patriots lead to 72-68 with 9:15 left.  And that's basically your ball game.  Hughes converts a turnover for 2, Fisher with an offensive board that he kicks out to Cox for 3 (Brilliant!), Hughes for 3 more, Fisher to August Fleming for a layup etc etc.  Washburn gets 1 free throw the rest of the game and doesn't score in the last 8:02 as they couldn't throw it in the ocean.  22-1 Henry run the rest of the way as Henry wins 94-69.

    For Washburn, I had Dwight Anderson with 20 of 32 points in the 1st half, but the official box has him for 27 points.  3 of those points may have gone to freshman PG Nick Anderson who isn't shooter Dwight is and he's smaller, but he's definitely a point guard where Dwight is a shooting guard.  Clarence Thomas with 12 of his 16 in the first half.  The Millers fall to 1-2 in league play and 4-6 overall with a pair of league games coming up next week.

    For Henry, they improve to 8-6 overall with 4 of the losses by a combined 7 points.  They remain on top of the conference at 4-0 with North.  Jordan Hughes, dare I say, en fuego.  Despite not playing the 1st 10 minutes he finishes with 32 points.  23 of those in the second half and 5 triples overall.  Big story again was Kameron Fisher, as I wrote in December, this kid needs more minutes.  Great production off the Patriots bench.  15 points, had to have double digit boards, 3 assists and 2 blocks.  He has a limited skill set, but he's smart enough to not play outside of it and plays with great energy.  Louis Cox also with 15 points for the Patriots and a handful of assists.

    Redhawks topple #3AAA De La Salle

    I gave in and decided to do the highest-profile game I could get to.  Nothing wrong with an easy trip to my favorite building to see Minnehaha host #3AAA De La Salle.  The rare (to find that is, not cooked rare) and tasty BBQ pork sandwich tonight.  mmm, mmm.  DLS girls win huge. Great warmup drills from the DLS boys along with nice enthusiam from assistant Quincy Lewis.  The drills right out of their offense and 2 coaches making passes to get everybody shots.  Well done.  Too often we see just basic drills and free shooting just to occupy the 20 minutes.  Nice to see a team put that 20 minute warmup to good use working on stuff directly applicable to the game.  A bunch of colleges watching too.  Concordia-St. Paul (Taylor Hanson??), St. Olaf, Augsburg and St. Mary's all watching tonight.  DLS lost the 2 games last year 48-40 and 48-42.

    Game Time
    Right away you can tell this is a different De La Salle offense than last year.  They want to get out and run.  6 all as Bretson McNeal knocks down a corner 3 off a standard DLS baseline out of bounds set.  Then Minnehaha goes on an 8-0 run thanks to a nice Austin Brown assist and floater off a screen/roll to end the run.  14-6 Minnehaha at the 9:35 mark.  De La Salle right back.  Jonah Travis with a 3 point play and a free throw to go with a pair of LaMonte Hall triples.  Its a 10-2 DLS run in 2 minutes to tie the game at 16, 7:36 to go as Minnehaha needs a timeout.  Parker Hines with back to back triples for 8 straight Minnehaha points to counter McNeal scoring 7 straight DLS points.  Melvin Collins drives for a 3 point play and puts back a miss after a turnover to put DLS on top 30-28 at the 4:15 mark.  Travis with a layup from McNeal and then a crazy spin off a flare screen nets him a 3 point play. Collins with a steal for a dunk for a 7-0 run that Minnehaha has to stop with a timeout.  Austin Brown with a big 3 to stop the bleeding right before the half.  39-38 DLS at the half.

    Taylor Hanson hot out of the 2nd half gate for Minnehaha as he nails 3 short jumpers early in the half.  48-46 Minnehaha when Travis catches a lob for 2 and nails 2 FTs to put DLS on top 50-48 with 8:52 left.  Hanson with a layup from Hines on a picture perfect screen and roll to tie the game.  Brown with another clutch 3 and Hanson drives for 2 after 2 missed DLS free throws.  55-50 Minnehaha with 5:25 left and DLS needs a timeout.  Its a 7-0 run over 3 and a half.  Travis and Hines trade difficult hoops.  Hanson with a steal but misses both free throws and then Brown misses the front end of the bonus.  That only nets DLS 2 Walter Franklin free throws.  57-54 Minnehaha with 3:11 left when Parker Hines goes to a crazy good spin move and banks with 3 minutes left for a 5 point lead.  DLS misses 2 chances but Minnehaha misses another front end (6 straight misses from the charity stripe).  Travis then misses 2 FTs with 2:25 left and that's the dagger.  Hanson with a post 2 at 2:05 to make the lead 7.  Minnehaha hits their last 8 FTs to seal it.  71-59 Minnehaha pulls the upset

    For De La Salle, they fall to 6-2 and out of 1st place in the Tri-Metro West.  Jonah Travis leads the way with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks.  1 of those blocks was pinning a layup to the backboard in the last 30 seconds.  Ridiculous.  He's definitely upped his game and his explosiveness since last season and the summer.  7-14 shooting after starting 1-5.  As he was the only effective offensive option tonight, it would have been nice to see him get more touches away from the basket.  He had pair of plays where he drove from the foul line area and was able to score with his quickness advantage vs Hanson.  Rough night for Jalen Jaspers.  After scoring 25, 20 and 25 points in the 1st 3 games of the season.  He's only averaging 9.4 over his last 5 with tonight's game of 3 points on 1-9 shooting.  Those points came on a late 3 point play.  They'll need him to be a major perimeter scoring option if they want to contend at the highest level.  Melvin Collins gave the Islanders nice minutes off the bench with 7 of his 9 points coming in the 1st half.

    For Minnehaha Academy, they improve to 10-3 and stay on top of the Tri-Metro West standings.  Parker Hines leads the way with 24 points.  18 of those in the 1st half to keep Minnehaha close.  He started 5-6 shooting before finishing 8-16.  Austin Brown rock solid with 20 points and didn't wilt under the defensive pressure of DLS.  Taylor Hanson quiet in the 1st half with only 1 FG.  12 of his 18 points were in the 2nd half.  62 of the 71 points from their big 3 scorers.  They hold DLS to 20 2nd half points.

    Taylor Hanson photo courtesy of

    Strength of Schedule or Wins?

    One of great things about the NCAA tournament is determining the bubble teams and who's in and who's out.  Very often this is done with a blind test of Team X vs Team Y.  You're given each team's resume but without the team name.  So I figured this could be applied to section seeding at the high school level.  So here are 2 teams from the same section with the names removed.

    Team A
    Overall Record: 8-4
    The 8 victories are over opponents with a 34.2% winning percentage. 
    Average margin of victory: 17.6 pts
    3 losses are to opponents with a 84.4% winning percentage.
    Average margin of defeat: 13.3 pts
    Opponents games vs Team A are removed in those percentages.
    8 of the 12 games are against opponents who are 1 class below them (5-3)
    No games against opponents in a higher class
    Team A is 1-1 in section games

    Team B
    Overall Record: 4-8
    3 wins are over opponents with a 55.2% winning percentage.
    Average margin of victory: 12.7 pts
    The 8 losses are to opponents with a 62.5% winning percentage.
    Average margin of defeat 11.9 pts.
    Opponents games vs Team B are removed in those percentages.
    Team B is 0-3 against opponents from 1 class above.  1-0 against opponents from 1 class below.
    Team B is 2-3 in section games

    Other facts
    Team B defeated Team A by 16 points in the 1 head-head meeting.  Team B hosted that game.

    They also have played 1 common opponent.  Both teams hosted this common opponent who we'll call Team C.
    Team A lost to Team C by 29 points
    Team B lost to Team C by 6 points in overtime.

    Team A has the higher QRF but Team B is very close.

    If the seeding meeting was today, who do you give the higher seed?

    Orono wins Wright County duel

    Where am I?  A rare appearance for me at a Wright County Conference game as Waconia travels to Orono in a battle of league leaders.  You'd be hard pressed to see 2 better looking jump shots than Jordan Smith and Shelby Moats.  Waconia with a wild 62-60 comeback victory in overtime last night against New Prague in boys action, how would that impact them today?  The always nice doubleheader and good crowd as the Waconia girls hung on 49-46.

    Game Time
    Slow pace to start as Orono is deliberate getting into their dribble drive stuff.  Shelby Moats puts Waconia up with his 2nd bucket at 13:10, 4-3 Waconia. Moats and Kyle Mileusnic trade triples before a Alex Schmitt putback after an Orono turnover ties the game at 11 at the 9:50 mark.  Jeremy Borg drives for 2, Mileusnic again for 3, Daniel Drew drives for 2, Chase Myhran for 3 and a Chase Gottschalk layup from a Jordan Smith steal is a 12-4 run.  23-15 Orono at the 6:36 mark to force a Waconia timeout.  Moats for 3 and Danny Fischbach with 2 fouls nails a jumper.  Moats gets a post touch and the 2nd pass out of the double-team is a Bronson Scheff triple.  Then Moats scores at the end of the half.  25 all at the break.  Moats with 14 of the 25 and 7 rebounds.  Jordan Smith with 5 points on cold 2-10 shooting.

    Moats with a layup and Fischbach with a sweet up and under.  32-29 Waconia.  The teams trade hoops as Fischbach and Moats each score again.  38-34 Waconia with 13:30 left.  Then another Orono run.  Borg with a short jumper, a turnover becomes a Smith putback, Drew steps thru for 2 and then nails a 3 and Erik Peterson nails a 3 to conclude a 12-0 run in just 1:40.  Timeout Waconia down 46-38 with 11:24 left.  Moats has to come back in the game to stop the bleeding.  Ben Kortuem with a layup and an immediate turnover is a Alex Schmitt bucket, all in about 10 seconds, to cut the lead to 4.  Then Moats with 3 straight post touches drawing 2 fouls (Borg comes back to defend).  Those 4 points keep the game at 50-46 Orono at 9:20.  Moats finds Kortuem for 3 (not a post inside out) and Moats scores 2 after an Orono turnover.  Coach Wohler tried to prevent the turnover with a timeout and no ref saw it.  He was not happy after the Moats hoop when he finally got the timeout.  53-51 Orono with 7:23 left.  Borg with a foul line jumper, a tip in, then Smith for 3 out of The World's Worst Offense and a backdoor layup on a great side out of bounds play call.  Those 2 hoops after Waconia turnovers.  62-51 Orono with 5:05 left for another Waconia timeout. 2nd time that I thought coach Hayes was about 1 play late stopping a run.  9-0 Orono in 2:23 is the run.  Moats inside for 2 to cut the lead to 6 with 3:10 left.  Orono spreads the floor and holds out of their base dribble motion.  Borg misses an open dunk with 2:20 left but Waconia doesn't convert.  Myhran with a layup on the next Orono possession and that does it.  74-62 Orono wins.

    For Waconia, they fall to 10-3 overall and 3-1 in the Wright County.  Shelby Moats leads the way with 30 points and 10 rebounds.  Only a couple of 3s in that too.  Orono made no effort to front him and he plenty of times with great position where he didn't get touches.  Ben Kortuem with 15 points, 5-12 shooting.  Quiet day for Danny Fischbach with 8 points.  The Wildcats host Watertown-Mayer on Tuesday with both teams having only 1 league loss.  6'4 Frosh Wylie Ferron was the first guy off the Waconia bench, keep an eye on him down the road.

    For Orono, Jordan Smith came back after a cold first half to finish with 20 points on 7-18 shooting.  Jeremy Borg 14 points and a smart job defending Moats on the perimeter.  He really got up into Moats to eliminate the 3 point shot.  Kyle Mileusnic with a nice night of 10 points off the Spartans bench.

    Shelby Moats photo courtesy of

    Red Knights survive big night by Thomas and Refs

    Another trip to #6AAA Columbia Heights as the #2AAA Red Knights of Benilde-St. Margaret's visit.  Heights trying to stay undefeated in league play while BSM tries to remain 1 game out.  While it isn't the best pizza around (sorry Willie), you can't go wrong having the pizza especially with a pepsi.  Rene Pulley in the building for a full night tonight after only sticking around for JV at my game last night.  Easily the worst officiated game I saw all year and a poorly configured crew with 1 guy who called the game loose and another one who couldn't resist blowing the whistle made for a very very frustrating night by all fans, players and coaches.

    Game Time
    9-5 Heights on a Gerard Baptiste putback before BSM goes on a 11-0 run behind a Seth Marx 3 and 3 point play.  Peter Crawford with a 3 point play and a turnover becomes an Isaiah Zierdan layup for a 22-14 BSM lead at 8:10.  Then the fouls mount.  Crawford picks up his 2nd with Myles Barnes and Evan Battle already on the bench with 2.  Kyle Washington off the bench to give BSM some nice minutes with a quick pair of shot blocks.  Darren Glover for 3 from each corner vs a Heights zone for a 28-18 BSM lead.  Zach Lofton with 5 points before a Jacob Thomas step back 3 cuts the lead to 28-26 in a 8-0 Heights run.  Thomas with a drive and a steal for a dunk to keep the lead at 2 with 1:05 left in the half.  Then Zierdan with a putback.  Thomas gets mugged, no call and gets a technical.  Zierdan makes the freebies and finds Seth Marx for 3.  39-30 Red Knights at the half on the 7-0 run.

    Gerard Baptiste with 2 great blocks and that leads to a Thomas bucket and the foul.  46-40 Red Knights with 14:19 left as they take a smart timeout.  Zierdan with a steal for 2 and a triple.  Evan Battle inside and the lead is 10.  Thomas with a deep 3 to keep Heights close.  9 point game with 12:30 left when BSM decides to go 2-3 zone.  Crawford with a layup and 2 Sanjay Lumpkin free throws push the lead to 13.  Thomas drives for 2 and hits another step back triple to keep Heights within 10.  Thomas then drives for 2 and nails a 3 after a BSM turnover.  63-59 BSM with 7:40 left.  Sanjay Lumpkin now face-guarding Thomas.  Crawford 3-6 FTs and a Sanjay Lumpkin layup push the lead to 68-59 with 6 minutes left.  Zach Lofton for 3, Thomas with 2 free throws and a tough hoop by Lofton cut the lead to 70-67 with 4:10 left.  Crawford with a 3 point play countered by a Thomas 3 point play.  BSM turns it over and Lofton scores on the other end.  75-72 BSM with 2:40 left.  Then a dicey intentional foul call but BSM misses the 2 free throws.  Lumpkin walks but gets bailed out with a foul call and makes both freebies with 2:24 left.  After Thomas misses from 25 feet or further, BSM holds and Crawford goes strong for the 3 point play with 1:31 left for a 80-72 BSM lead.  The rest is free throws.  BSM wins 86-74.  They outscore Heights 11-2 in the last 2:40

    For Columbia Heights, it was the Jacob Thomas show.  He scores 47 points, 29 of them in the 2nd half doing everything to keep Heights close.  15-34 shooting on my sheet with 6 triples.  I also had him with 9 rebounds.  Zach Lofton finishes with 16 points but was Minnesota in January cold with 5-22 shooting along with 9 rebounds on my sheet.  Heights falls 1 game back in the league race with a 9-3 (3-1) record with 4 winnable games coming up before a big 1-time only showdown with Cooper in February.

    For Benilde-St. Margaret's, a very good road win improves the Red Knights to 9-2.  They now have 5 out of 7 at home including Hopkins before a February rematch at Cooper.  Isaiah Zierden and Peter Crawford each finish with 20 points.  Crawford with 15 of his in the 2nd half and 9 in the last 7:07.  Kyle Washington 3 points and 3 blocks on my sheet, but he had a defensive impact in the lane with all the driving that Heights does.  Coach Moore showed great confidence in the lefty by putting him back in with 8 minutes to go in a tight game.  He earned that time with quality 1st half play as the 3rd big guy in with Barnes and Battle both in foul trouble.

    The teams meet again February 23rd at Benilde-St. Margaret's.

    Willie Braziel photo courtesy of

    Hopkins rolls in battle of section favorites

    Finally a trip to Hopkins to see the #4 Royals take on the #9 Greyhounds of Duluth East.  Another round of Taco in a Bag tonight (outstanding).  Can I count seeing Rene Pulley during the JV game only as a sighting?  With Chambers, Zierdan and Alipate all as point guards, he's going to look at Tyus Jones. Very interesting.  Pump N Run, Net Gain, and the Mr. Basketball committee in the house.  Get well Ken Lien's bum knee.  Another Hopkins game started at 7 for an advertised 7:15 start (not cool). Good for East though as they can get home on a school night.

    Game Time
    East star soph Johnny Woodard out of the blocks hot with a pair of quick 3s.  10-4 Greyhounds in 2 and a half minutes.  Then Marvin Singleton starts his dominant half.  A layup, putback and postup for him are part of a 9-0 run to put Hopkins on top.  That forces an East timeout.  The turnovers continue to mount for East as a Coleman steal for 2 is the 6th Hopkins steal of the night.  Dyami rolls an ankle with about 13 minutes left going to basket.  Not good a sign.  Woodard trying to keep East close with a tough step back 3 and a dunk at the 11 minute mark to tie the game at 18.  Starks for 3 at 9:25 to cut the lead to 22-21.  Then the Royals start to run away.  Riley Dearring for 2 and then a triple.  Zach Stahl for 3.  31-23 Hopkins leads.  Woodward with a putback at 6:40 and the Hopkins lead is 31-29.  Singleton with a pair of freebies and a nice lefty finish on a drive from the foul line.  Then 2 and the foul plus a putback and 2 more free throws.  Except for the free throws, that's part of a 10-0 run for a 41-29 lead with 4:35 left in the half.  53-39 Hopkins at the half.

    DJ Peterson with back-back triples to force an East timeout down 18.  Singleton 2 FTs and a Coleman steal and dunk to push the lead to 26.  Dearring with back to back layups and the lead is 32.  Etc etc.  Hopkins rolls in the 2nd half to a 104-64 win.  Marvin Singleton was a beast with 21 of his 28 in the 1st half and 9 rebounds.  Joe Coleman with a quiet night of 18 points.  10 of those out and running in the 2nd half.  Riley Dearring 18 points and he was firing all night long.

    Johnny Woodard leads East with 27 points, 4 triples.  Very funky shot with his right foot very far forward so if you get up in him that prevents him raising up.  Starks with 3 triples in the first half but the bum ankle really limited him.  East now 9-5 and they trip to #5 Osseo on Saturday

    Mahtomedi at Totino-Grace thoughts

    Another trip to Totino-Grace, this time to see the boys.  No pizza tonight which was a disappointment, but the Walking Taco (that's Taco in a Bag) was quality and nicely priced at $2.  Nice bargain and thank you very much I'll be adding the sour cream and salsa.  Richfield and De La Salle in the building scouting tonight along with a rare Charlie Paxson (MN Glory) sighting.  He was in to watch 3 of his players from Mahtomedi.

    Game Time
    Alex Kreuser for 3 and a Josh DeMarias 3 point play give Totino a 10-3 lead just over 2 minutes in to the game.  Mahtomedi post Dane Schmid off to a nice start.  He has 6 early points keep the Zephyrs close.  17-11 the Eagles still lead at the 14:09 mark.  Senior guard Ryan Redmond with a pair of free throws adn then a 3 at the 5:19 mark and Mahtomedi is up 33-24 after a 22-7 spurt.  John Crocket with a 3 point play and then a steal for a dunk to cut the Mahtomedi lead to 35-31 at the 3:52 mark.  Soph Justin Pahl of Mahtomedi with a drive, a triple and 2 technical foul free throws in the last minute.  45-38 Mahtomedi at half.  Alex Kreuser spent a large chunk of the half on the bench with 2 fouls.

    Kreuser starts the second half with a 3 point play.  Crockett with a jumper and a layin from a Zephyr turnover to cut the lead to 50-47.  After Redmond and Schmid counter for Mahtomedi, Kreuser nails a 3 and Sam Meyer with a layin on another Mahtomedi turnover.  54-52 Mahtomedi with 13:30 left.  Mahtomedi stays on top with Schmid on the post for 2, a set play lob for Andre Arnett, then a very very late whistle on Kreuser is his 4th foul with 11:44 to go.  Bobby Sherwood makes the 2 freebies for a 60-52 Zephyr lead.  Andrew Weiler with a great cut for a layup and Mahtomedi turns it over.  But Totino can't convert 2 chances from that.  Crockett and Kreuser are on the bench and the Eagles just can't generate any offense.  Crockett comes back at 9:20 with the Eagles only down 8 before it falls apart.  Zach Lindquist for 2 and the foul, Pahl for 3, Redmond goes glass and Paul for 2 more.  That pushes the Mahtomedi lead to 73-58 with 6 minutes left and Totino needs a timeout.  The Czar on the other hand is out of time.  I depart as this one appears to be in hand.  Mahtomedi wins 77-69.

    For Totino-Grace, they fall to 4-6 with their 4th straight loss.  All 6 losses this season by 10 points or less.  John Crockett leads the way with 18 points for the Eagles.  Josh DeMarias finished with 15 points, most in the first half.  Alex Kreuser in foul trouble all night finished with 13 points.  The Eagles resume North Suburban play at St. Francis on Friday.

    For Mahtomedi, they improve to 8-3 but they still don't have a signature win.  Their next 3 games are against Hill-Murray, Richfield and at Sibley which should tell a lot about the Zephyrs.  Their 2 games with Hill-Murray should end up being for the #3 seed in section 4AAA.  Sophomore guard Justin Pahl with a very nice performance of 15 points.  Dane Schmid had productive moments with 12 points.  Bobby Sherwood with 14 points from his guard spot.  Nice night too from the other lefty guard Ryan Redmond with 12 points.  Their bench features a sophomore and a freshman so watch their depth as the season goes on.  Mahtomedi showed the same nice 1-4 high set that Eagan used for Jameson Parsons last month.  Nice addition to it though as the shooter comes off the down screen but the big guy takes a dribble to him so it becomes a double screen after the backdoor cut.

    John Crockett photo courtesy of

    Rosemount comes from behind for OT win.

    There's a story that if you drive far enough, Rosemount is just before the end of the earth.  OK maybe not, but a long trip for my first varsity game viewing of stud Tyus Jones as Apple Valley visited Rosemount.  Apple Valley only 1 game out in the Lake coming in and Rosemount 7-2 coming in so there's plenty at stake.  Big concession stand operation that I had a hard time finding plus a cart going around.  Have to like anything that brings the food to me.  Great 80s variety medley tonight during timeouts.  Here's some of the playlist.  Toto-Africa, Belinda Carlisle- Heaven is a place on earth, Rick Springfield-Jesse's Girl, Michael Jackson-Thriller and B52s - Love Shack and of course you've got to have local with Prince-Let's Go Crazy.  With that said, let's go crazy.

    Game Time
    First field goal of the game for Apple Valley is a triple at 13:45 for a 4-3 lead.  That can't be a good sign.  Rosemount then off on a 9-0 run thanks to a pair of triples and the old 3 point play.  12-4 Rosemount at 12:10.  Then the fouls begin to add up for Rosemount.  Tyus Jones goes 9-10 from the free throw line, adds an assist and makes a buzzer beater all in the last 4:15 to keep Apple Valley close.  37-30 Rosemount at the half.  Thomas Schalk 2-9 shooting but 11 points via 6-6 FTs.  Only 5 Apple Valley field goals (with 18 FTs) in the half but Rosemount's stars Zach Vraa and Toriano Tatum combine for 4-16 on my sheet.  16-6 Rosemount in fouls and coach Schnettler was not at all pleased with the refs. 

    Schalk dominating in the post early in the second half with 4 post hoops in a 12-3 run to start the half.  That puts AV up 42-40 with 14:35 left.  Rosemount smartly goes back to the matchup of Tatum posting Jones for 2 quick hoops and AV has to change defenders as that's 4 Tatum postups on Jones.  Next possession Jones gets caught inside on Matt Larson and that's a foul on Schalk for 1 FT.  45-44 Irish with 12:47 left.  Then Jones with a nice curl for 2 and he finds Schalk trailing the break for an easy triple plus an assist for 2 more.  7-0 Apple Valley run in 1 minute.  51-45 Eagles with 11:25 left.  The teams trade buckets and then Schalk picks up his 4th foul with 10:19 left and he has to sit.  The 6 point Eagle lead evaporates and Schalk has to return at 7:39 to provide some offense with the game tied at 53.  Jones with a floater and then a pair of steals leads to 2-4 FTs.  Isiah Thomas with a free throw and a steal for 2 for another 7-0 Apple Valley run.  60-53 Apple Valley with 5 minutes left and Schalk reaches over the top trying to block a putback.  He's gone with 4:50 left.  62-55 Apple Valley with 4:25 left and the ball and I was thinking of going 4 corners right here.  Jones misses with 4 minutes left as he now has to be the offense instead of starting it.  Tatum gets bumped on a 3 and makes all 3 free throws coming back the other way.  Jones with a floater countered by a Matt Larson 3.  64-61 AV with 2:15 left.  Then a wild sequence.  Jones gets mugged no call.  Back the other way and Rosemount gets mugged even worse going to the rim and no call.  Finally a foul for 2 Matt Larson FTs at 1:58.  Both coaches having to restrain themselves from getting after the refs on that sequence.  Teams trade misses.  Jones to Josh Johnson for a layup with 50 seconds left.  Behind the play Jones is down as he got nailed somewhere after the pass.  Only a foul on the other end stops play and the AV bench is about ready to riot.  Tatum with 1 of 2 freebies with 45.1 left.  AV misses the front end with 41.5 left and Matt Nelson puts back a miss with 20 seconds left.  Apple Valley comes back with no timeout.  Jones holds on the right side and comes off a high screen but his straight away 3 at the horn is no good and we'll play OT.

    Rosemount with the 1st quick hoop of OT and then then board an Apple Valley miss and immediately hold the ball.  This immediately pulls AV out the 2-3 zone that they played for the last 12 minutes.  Ben Danielson with a sweet reverse layin and a Tatum straight on bank sandwich a Jones miss.  That gives Rosemount a 72-66 cushion with 2 minutes left in OT.  Then a very strange sequence.  73-68 Rosemount when an AV player fouls out.  But before he's removed the 1st of 2 FTs is given and no good.  The fouled out player is then pulled and 2 free throws are given much to the dismay of the Apple Valley bench and crowd.  Rosemount 2-8 from the line down the stretch to keep Apple Valley alive.  Zach Vraa's 2 misses with 25.5 left give AV a chance down 3.  Jones misses a stepback 3 and another chance from deep is no good.  Vraa makes 2 with 6.5 left and Rosemount wins a wild one 76-71 in overtime.

    For Apple Valley, they fall to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Lake Conference.  Now everybody in the league is at least 2 games back of  Eden Prairie.  Thomas Schalk leads the way with 22 points and 8 rebounds on 7-15 shooting.  That's after missing 7 of his first 8.  Tyus Jones finishes with 25 points and 8 assists.  Shooting was 6-18 but that's with 1 of his last 6 being no good.  That includes the buzzer of regulation and the OT   Moral of the story, AV was +7 with 10 minutes left when Schalk got his 4th.  When he sat with 4 or after he fouled out, AV was -18.  Against a man defense, playing AV is like playing an NBA team as you'll plenty of pick and roll with Jones.  Either singled up with Schalk for a horns set for Jones to go either way.    37.1% from the floor shooting and that was better of the 2 teams tonight.  With Schalk as the primary interior player, rebounding is an area of concern for the Eagles.

    For Rosemount, 35.6% shooting and they get a win.  Zach Vraa 2-15 shooting for only 7 points but he had 15 rebounds..  Very quiet in the 2nd half.  Toriano Tatum took Jones to school on the post, but Rosemount's Swing Offense could have tried to exploit that more early when AV did play some man D.  16 points for Tatum on 6-13 shooting (cold outside besides the post stuff).  Great nights from Matt Larson and Matt Nelson off the Rosemount bench.  Along with Justin Larson, they were major factors on the offensive glass.  Matt Larson is 6'1 and listed as a guard, but that's a smokescreen.  He was a beast power forward for MN Southside this summer.  You can't defend him with a guard. The Irish move up into a 3 way tie behind Eden Prairie in the Lake at 5-2 and 8-2 overall.  They host Minnetonka in a good one on Thursday and travel to Eden Prairie a week from Thursday.

    Thomas Schalk photo courtesy of

    Lakeville South overwhelms Wayzata

    A late opening of the concession stand but the standard fare available.  But no root beer tonight means I fall back to Fruit Punch Powerade for the first time this season.  Interesting matchup of Pump N Run teammates Alex Richter and Eric Robertson. Lots of Lake Conference coaches in attendance tonight scouting along with a couple of others.

    Game Time
    Maybe the matchup won't be so interesting as Lakeville South is out quickly.  Spencer Pankonin for 2 and then 2 more and then he runs out for a thunderous 2 handed dunk.  Alex Richter scores on a turnover and then adds 2 free throws after a Wayzata timeout.  15-3 Lakeville South just over 6 minutes into the game.  Wayzata with no answer for the Lakeville South 1-2-2 zone and trap.  Max Clausen for 3 and then a bucket for Wayzata to cut the lead to 15-10.  Jon Christensen and Pankonin with post hoops before Eric Robertson posterizes a Cougar defender for the only Trojan highlight.  That dunk is the only hoop for the Trojans in a 17-2 Lakeville South run as they went back to the 1-2-2 after playing some man out of the previous timeout.  32-12 Cougars with 4:15 left in the half.  In a microcosm of the half, South holds for 1 shot and Riley West kicks back to Pankonin for a pure 3.  41-20 Cougars at the half.  Wayzata never threatens in the 2nd half.  No bench points from either team until under 6 minutes left when the Cougar starters had hit the showers.  68-55 Lakeville South wins but it wasn't nearly that close.

    For Wayzata, Eric Robertson 15 of his 21 points in the 2nd half.  6-13 shooting with 3 triples and the big dunk.  Chris Kroeten with a very rough night shooting as I had him 1-9.  Eric's younger brother Zach is a freshman and was the 1st guy off the bench for the Trojans.  A big sign that its a very thin rotation for the Trojans.  They fall to 5-5 and have a tough one at St. Paul Central on Friday (though they won there 2 years ago on an amazing buzzer beater in a game I saw)

    For Lakeville South, they improve to 6-4 with their 4th straight win and 6 out of 7 including home wins over Rosemount (my next game) and Eagan.  Looks like they may be starting to put together after a tough start.  Interesting that Jake Wensmann didn't see any time tonight.  Jon Christensen with 15 points out of that spot though in a productive performance.  Riley West solid at the point.  Only 1 point from the bench in the entire game and that included the last 7 minutes when the starters were done.  That's why the final score tightened to 13.  But I'll blame that on running The World's Worst Offense (the flex) down the stretch.  Alex Richter with 21 points on 8-15 shooting.  Great night for Spencer Pankonin with 18 points as he scored in the post, had the big dunk and knocked down a couple of triples.  He's got a body that can be built and a soft touch.  Definitely one to keep an eye on.  The Cougars have a pair of tough Lake games the rest of the week as they travel to Bloomington Jefferson and then host Eastview on Friday.  A pair of wins would be big to keep the Cougars in the Lake Conference race.

    Riley West photo courtesy of

    2010 TWolves Shootout Thoughts

    Here are my thoughts from the 2010 TWolves Shootout

    Game 1: Orono vs #6AAA Grand Rapids
    Tight game at the half before a 12-2 second half Orono run puts them up by 6 with 8 minutes left.  Grand Rapids right back with a 10-0 run to regain the lead.  6'8 post Kevin Rabbers with 6 points in the run, Eric Stark with the other 4 and an assist in the run.  5 point Grand Rapids lead with 1:30 to go in regulation but they can't hold it.  Jordan Smith goes glass and the foul with 54.7 left and Grand Rapids can't snag the rebound.  That's gets putback to cut the lead to 2.  Then 2 missed free throws.  Jeremy Borg (19 and 12 in a big game for him) slips a screen for an easy layup to tie the game and force OT.  Orono gets the 1st 9 of OT and they win 74-65 easily.  Jordan Smith 25 points on 9-21 shooting on my sheet to lead Orono.  For Grand Rapids, Eric Stark 18 points but 6-21 shooting.  Michael Johnson 15 points but was quiet in the 2nd half.  Nice upset win for Orono and its not out of the question that we could see these teams again at state with Orono leading the power rankings in section 5 and Grand Rapids being the favorite in section 7.

    Game 2: #4AA Staples-Motley vs #2A Minnesota Transitions
    Staples-Motley tries to slow the pace with a 1-3-1 but their bigs still get in foul trouble vs Kevin Noreen despite double and triple teaming.  Jon Bristow with 3 fouls in 7 minutes.  Rodney Owens with a great start for MTS.  He gets a layup and then a steal for 2 more to push MTS to a 6 point lead.  Staples hangs around but Owens with another steal for a dunk and then he finds a cutting Kevin Noreen for a layup.  23-15 MTS with 7:18 left to force a Staples-Motley timeout.  Out of the timeout, MTS holds the ball vs the 1-3-1.  Staples has to go man and this one is over.  Staples-Motley gets 1 field goal in the last 9 minutes.  33-18 MTS at the half.  2nd half, MTS picks apart the man D.  Staples-Motley goes the 1st 7 minutes without a field goal in the 2nd half.  So 1 field goal in 16 minutes across halftime, ouch.  58-36 easy win for MTS in a game that I thought would be very close since both teams had tight losses to Columbia Heights.  Kevin Noreen with 24 points and 9 rebounds on my sheet (officially listed at 12).  Jordan Riewer in and out of the lineup all day as there were issues with blood on his uniform.  Only 3 points for him.

    Game 3: #7AA Plainview-Elgin-Millville vs #1AA Crosby-Ironton
    A possible state semifinal preview between these 2 teams.  PEM was previously ranked #1, now CI on top.  Interesting 2-3 matchup zone from Crosby-Ironton.  PEM playing 1-3-1 most of the way though they surprisingly went man late.  CI with no size and Cole Olstad was just a beast for PEM.  CI had no answer for him and the Rangers couldn't get any offense besides Mark Hoge.  Very close all the way to the end.  Crosby with many chances late to tie that didn't convert.  PEM hits late free throws for a hard fought 51-41 win.  Mark Hoge 17 for CI.  Cole Olstad 23 for PEM.

    Game 4: Henry Sibley vs North Lawndale College Prep (IL)
    Paul Bunch, big body inside for NLCP.  But he sat a lot in the 1st half.  When he was in, he was a factor blocking shots.  2nd half story was Jermaine Winfield of NLCP.  He dominated inside on his way to 18 points, most inside in the 2nd half.  50 all with 5 minutes left when Winfield scores inside for the lead.  Sibley then turns it over for 2 free throws.  Rostampour misses a front end and Bunch follows up a miss with a dunk.  That's a 6 point cushion but NLCP pulls the ball out too early and Sibley almost makes them pay.  But 2 Winfield putbacks and a steal finally puts the one out of reacy.  62-54 North Lawndale wins.  Paul Bunch 11 points 7 boards and 7 blocks.  Jake Kreuser with a nice day of 15 pts and 14 boards with 3 blocks.  Mike Rostampour with another interior struggle against good inside talent.  He struggled against Christian Faith Academy's athletes over the holidays and was only 3-14 inside yesterday, but he did have 14 boards.

    Game 5: Linn-Mar, IA vs Minnetonka
    Fun game here.  Marcus Paige with a floater for a 6 point LM lead early.   Then sharpshooters Matt Bohannon and Cole Stefan trade deep 3s.  Paige wraps the ball around and goes for a layup to get a nice oooh from the crowd.  21-13 Linn-Mar inside of 9 minutes.  But Stefan with a pair of bombs in a 14-5 Tonka run over the last 3:15 of the half.  36-31 Skippers at the half.  2 Tonka turnovers equal layups and then Paige with a 3 for a 55-46 Linn-Mar lead with 11:40 to go.  Stefan and Chad Howard with back to back 3s to cut the lead to 3 with 10:45 left.  Paige for 3 again.  Bohannon with a 3 and its 64-55 Linn-Mar with 8:30 left.   Tor Anderson 2 freebies, Nick Latzke with a block for a Leonard Glass layup and a Stefan layup.  64-61 Linn-Mar with 7:33 to go.  Another Stefan bomb keeps Tonka close 70-66 with 5:40 to go.  Paige with an assist and Bohannon with a foul line jumper.  Stefan inside 2 countered by a Paige pullup.  Stefan from New York City for 3 countered by a Paige drive.  Linn-Mar doesn't let Tonka get back and then make free throws for a 88-71 win.  Cole Stefan with 8 triples from every metro suburb, 16-24 shooting as he goes completely nuts for 40 points.  Linn-Mar is more than Paige (20 pts and 6 assists, 16 and 4 of those in 2nd half).  Matt Bohannon is a nice mid to low-major shooting guard (younger brother of UW's Jason Bohannon).  He finished with 26 points and 4 triples of his own.  Interesting that Minnetonka took Tor Anderson off of Paige in the 2nd half and moved him over to defend Bohannon in the 2nd half.

    Game 6: #1AAAA Hopkins vs #8AAAA Champlin Park
    This one to me had blowout written all over it with Hopkins losing at North on Friday.  But as I was doing podcast for the 1st half of this one I see Brandon Davis knock down back to back triples from Jasper Duberry to force 1 Hopkins timeout down 11.  Then its 33-19 Champlin Park with 2:57 left in the first half.  Duberry for 3 at the first half buzzer and Champlin Park is up 10.  DJ Peterson with 3 quick fouls and sits for a large part of the half.  Hopkins went deep into the bench with a couple of guys (Selmer, Martin) who normally aren't in the rotation.

    2nd half Hopkins awakens with pressure defense and ice cold Champlin Park shooting.  A 26-4 Hopkins run over the 1st 9:10 of the second half puts the Royals up 54-42 with 9:50 left.  Joe Coleman with a 3 and 2 old-fashioned 3 point plays on not smart fouls during the run.  The lead stays at 10-12 points and it looks like Hopkins will just cruise.  But its not quite over.  Duberry a pair of freebies at 3:16, Coleman misses 2 freebies, Brandon Davis 2 freebies, DJ Peterson misses a front end, Josh Pella with a tip.  A tieup goes to Champlin Park and Pella tips in a miss and gets fouled for a 3 point play.  All of a sudden its 70-67 Hopkins with 1:09 left.  But Siyani Chambers makes 4 big free throws to put this one away.  74-69 Hopkins wins.  Joe Coleman with 24 points and a pair of 3s during the game.  Nice to see him shoot the ball better.  Marvin Singleton 20 points as there wasn't a good answer for him inside.  Jasper Duberry leads Champlin Park with 17 points.  Jordan Reibling with 11 points off the Rebels bench as he was 1 of 5 Rebels in double figures.