AHA applies the shutdown defense

Prologue
One of my favorite trips takes me to Holy Angels for a Missota showdown with New Prague. Holy Angels on a quality 6 game winning streak over the last 3 weeks. New Prague coming in 1 game back of the Stars in the Missota race.  No Dominoes Pizza tonight at the concession stand, but the big pretzels looked awfully good.  A late start due to close JV and B squad games takes us to tip at almost 8 PM.  I'm liking 6'5 AHA frosh forward Danny Sullivan down the road.

Game Time
Slow start to this one as the teams go back and forth.  Cale Girten with a drive off a left elbow isolation for 2 free throws at 13:07 gives New Prague a 10-8 lead.  Jed Kreuser with a triple at 11:40 for 13-10 New Prague lead.  Jack Hogan spins for a layup and buries a floater, Cole Frechette double clutches a layup for 2. 6'1 Hogan in the post on 5'7 Joe Hatch for 2 more.  Then a New Prague turnover results in a Frechette layup at 5:40.  Its a 10-1 Holy Angels run over 4:35 for a 20-14 lead.  New Prague star Danny Geiger keeping the Trojans close.  2 free throws and a couple of really difficult turnaround fadeaways cut the Stars lead to 22-20 at 3:20.  We go the half tied at 25 in a defensive struggle.

Geiger starts the half with a jumper at 17:30 (remember this).  Andy Jirik sticks back his own miss, RD Brown with a 3 point play and then a 3 point play chance that he doesn't convert.  Those sandwich a Hatch hoop.  Sam Gullickson pick and pop for 3 countered by Girten on another elbow iso for 2.  Jirik from Gullickson on a great post feed for 2 and then Jirik runs out off a miss for an easy layup.  39-31 Holy Angels with 11:45 and New Prague needs a timeout.  9-2 Holy Angels run over 2 minutes.  Girten scores again but the Stars skip the ball to a wide open Tyler Emanuel in the right corner and that 3 is free money.  Geiger turns it over and Frechette with a nice reverse to convert it to points.  45-34 Holy Angels with 6:35 left.  5 in a row from New Prague before Frechette on the post for 2.  RD Brown slips a screen for a layup to counter a New Prague hoop and Frechette drives for 2 more.  9 point game inside of 4 minutes when Hogan misses a front end but Jirik snags the miss.  RD Brown with a sweet touch pass on the possession to Frechette for a 3 point play with 3:30 to go.  That pushes the lead to 12.  Great patience in the Swing Offense in the last 5 minutes from Holy Angels and we don't even get to a point where New Prague chooses to foul.  Holy Angels wins 54-45. 

For New Prague, Danny Geiger held to 12 points with his only field goal and points of the 2nd half coming in the 1st 30 seconds.  1-6 FGs in the 2nd half for 4-12 overall.  Jed Kreuser 3 triples for 9.  Cale Girten 6 points.  I would have liked to see more of that elbow isolation out of the dribble drive motion for him.  The Trojans fall to 12-6 and 2 games behind Holy Angels in the Missota standings with a tough trip to Shakopee on Tuesday.  That game is for 2nd place in the league.

For Holy Angels, Cole Frechette's 13 points lead the way but it was his defense on Geiger that was outstanding.  Andy Jirik 11 points and 12 rebounds on my sheet.  RD Brown with 9 points and great energy off the bench and it was his pair of drives early in the 2nd half that ignited the Stars.  While Frechette is getting credit here, let's give the entire AHA defense credit.  The dribble-drive motion can really strain a defense and the Stars did a really nice job of keeping people in front of them.  Holy Angels has now taken care of business in the 1st rotation of Missota play with 6 straight league wins and a section win over Holy Family.  But they have trips to Hutchinson, Shakopee and New Prague in a 2 week span coming up in the 2nd rotation.

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