To Park Center for my 1st viewing of Anoka this season. Anoka coming off a nice bounce back win against Elk River (Elks beat them by 34 in early January) after 3 straight losses downgraded the Tornadoes to an F3 from an F5 tornado. Park Center on the skids going 4-9 after a 5-1 start. They've dropped their last 2 to the top 2 teams in the league, Osseo and Champlin Park. Love the Park Center Pizza and I forgot that they also have the 24oz Pepsi. Light crowd early but it actually filled in nicely in a pleasant surprise. But no Pirate band which is a disappointment as they always do a nice job.
No Terez Van Pelt in this one for Park Center and that can't be good. I remember seeing Bryan Sherva this summer, but I don't remember him being that athletic, dang. He's productive early with 2 and the foul off The World's Worst Offense and then a triple. 12-10 Anoka at 11:55 as they start to play a 1-2-2 zone that will ultimately be the difference in this one. Lomumba Ismail with a pair of freebies and a nice reverse layup out of the post. Then a pair of Tornadoes putbacks and Park Center needs timeout at 7:59 down 20-14 (8-2 Anoka run). Up and coming sophomore Marcus Tyus runs out for a layup and then David Mooers finds him for another layup. After 1 of Deric Paine's 3 triples in the half for the Pirates, Tyus finds Sherva for 3 and Ismail runs out for a layup on a turnover. Park Center timeout at 5:12 and coach Breitenbucher is not happy about his team not getting back. 29-19 Anoka leads. Tyus with a floater and a triple to push the lead to 13 just before the half. Bryan Asberry with a pair of late buckets and Paine beats the buzzer with a jumper to cut the Anoka lead to 43-34 going to the half. 6 triples in the half for Park Center against the zone defense and they're still down 9. Not a good sign. Tyus 13, Sherva and Ismail 12 points for great Anoka balance.
Anoka with a 9-2 run to start the half. Mooers with a 2 freebies and then goes inside and gets it back from Ismail for a jumper. Tyus drives and goes with the tough bank and another triple. 52-36 Tornadoes with 15:36 left. Tyus to Sherva for another 3 for a 13 point Anoka lead inside of 11 minutes to go. Jordan Lynn with a pair of putbacks (2 of his handful of those on the night) around an Ismail inside hoop to cut the lead to 7 with 6 minutes left. But Ismail slams the door with a 3 point play and an easy layup off an inbounds play along with a pair of blocks. Park Center gets no closer as Anoka wins 77-70.
For Park Center, Van Pelt's ability to penetrate against the zone was sorely missed. Justin Casey 15 points and 8 rebounds on my sheet. The lefty effectively using the right hand to finish in the lane. Jordan Lynn also with 15 points and all over the offensive glass to get most of those. Deric Paine 15 points with 3 first half triples to keep the Pirates close. Pirates look like they won't get up into the 4 v 5 game in 5AAAA which means a tough 1st round game at Cooper, Osseo or Champlin Park. Pirates fall to 9-11 on the season, 3-9 in the NW Suburban.
For Anoka, soph Marcus Tyus 13 of his game high 22 in the 1st half. He's a nice get for the MN Fury this summer as he can handle and shoot out of the point guard slot. Lomumba Ismail 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a pair of late blocks in a well-rounded performance for him. Bryan Sherva finishes with 17 points but I really liked him playing the top of the 1-2-2 zone. Anoka still without a signature win despite a 15-5 record. They have a soft 4 game stretch before ending the season hosting Champlin Park and at Osseo. That Osseo game looms large for seeding in section 7AAAA. Duluth East has a similar record against a tougher schedule. Their argument would be that they only lost at Osseo by 6 and that was without Dyami Starks and that they've beaten Forest Lake twice (though the Rangers will make my Suburban East prediction come true thanks to an OT win over CDH tonight). The Forest Lake/Duluth East debate will be good too. Forest Lake was hammered by Osseo at Christmas but FL is 16-4 with 4 wins over Stillwater and CDH compared to 14-7 for DE. FL helped their case by breaking Superior's 44 game winning streak vs Minnesota teams last week. Otherwise their only quality wins are the 2 over Forest Lake. Should make for a very entertaining seeding meeting.