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.
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.