Lester Prairie at Maranatha thoughts

Prologue
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.

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