Heights holds off Orioles

Prologue
I finally get a trip to St. Louis Park in after missing out on them on the opening Friday of the season.  Columbia Heights is the visitor for another senior night.  Nice setup for the seniors too.  But wait, where's Heights coach Willie Braziel?  He doesn't make an appearance until 6 minutes left in the game thanks to the section 3AAA seeding meeting.  Credit to coach Braziel for letting his JV coach finish out the game.  No concessions tonight thanks to the schedule giving me time to wolf down a 12 in chicken sub from Subway on the way over.  But there were spare chocolate cupcakes with orange basketball frosting and orange gatorade in the post game.  Restaurant quality desert there, mmmm good!  UW-Superior and St. Scholastica in the building along with De La Salle and Armstrong who were doing section scouting.  That included an appearance by former Armstrong and University of Wisconsin star Jon Bryant (mandatory Wisconsin reference).

Game Time
The start is all Gerard Baptiste for Heights.  He scores the first 12 Hylander points if my sheet is right including a crazy 3 point play where he gets tripped and the ball goes up and off the glass for the highly unconventional 3 point play.  14-8 Heights at the 12:35 mark and the Orioles need a timeout.  Alex Koch with 7 of 9 St. Louis Park points to bring them within 22-19 at the 8 minute mark.  Oriole point guard Aaron Ziman is a pass first guy but he nails a 3, 2 free throws and then a pull up at the 4:25 mark.  Tie game at 28 a piece.  Zach Lofton then becomes a handful with 2 and the foul (FT no good), a floater and then a 3 point play.  35-30 Heights at 2:33.  Marquelis Edwards with 6 late points for St. Louis Park and we'll go to the half tied at 40.  Jacob Thomas only 3 points on 1 FG that came in the last minute of the half. 

Thomas with his first 2 triples of the night and a tough scoop for 2 where he was mugged.  Those 8 in a row keep Heights ahead 52-50.  Ziman with 2 freebies at 11:24 to tie the game at 52.  10-2 against Heights in fouls at this point.  TJ Gist with a pair of buckets and then Ziman to Joe Zangel (jingle jangle jingle).  9:10 left and St. Louis Park leads 58-54.  Heights has so many weapons and they won't be kept down.  Thomas for 3 from the left corner and 2 free throws.  Baptiste from Thomas for 2 more and Lofton caps a 10-0 run with a 3.  64-58 Heights with 6:30 to go (Welcome Coach Braziel).  Zangel with a pair of hoops and Marquelis Edwards double clutches for 2 at 4:45.  66-64 Heights, ballgame on.  Edwards again with a layup.  This one at 3:05 and we're tied at 68.  Then he adds another layup vs a 1-2-2 zone after 2 Thomas free throws.  Lofton and Koch trade putbacks and we're tied at 72 with 1:40 left.    Lofton with 2 free throws at 1:27.  Zangel misses a good look from the foul line.  Lofton to Baptiste for a layup.  Zangel strong from the high post for 2 and the foul (FT no good) with 54.5 left.  76-74 Heights.  Lofton does it again, this time to Ben Glover for an easy 2 with 30 seconds left.  Alex Koch gets a look at a 3 that's no good and the Orioles get 2 more chances at it that are no good.  Glover misses a front end with 17.1 left but that's not enough as Thomas seals the deal with 2 free throws with 5.6 left.  80-75 Columbia Heights wins.

For St. Louis Park, forward Marquelis Edwards active around the basket all night.  The lefty finishes with 20 points.  Joe Zangel nice night of 16 points.  A perfect fit at the high post vs the zone.  A shame he didn't stay at Providence Academy.  They could really use him as he was their best player 2 years ago as a freshman.  Alex Koch held to 13 points on 4-13 shooting and didn't get many good rhythm looks.  Aaron Ziman 13 points on 3-11 shooting.  I had 4 assists and 4 or 5 rebounds on my sheet as well for him.  Park falls to 13-12 and can finish above .500 with a win at North Suburban cellar dweller Chisago Lakes on Friday.  They've won 11 of their last 17 compared to losing 16 of their last 18 last year.  While Alex Koch is a big loss for next year, everybody else is back and they have a group of nice youngsters coming up as well.  Nice turnaround job by coach Watkins and they will match my pre-season prediction of a 5th place league finish.   Do you believe in miracles?  Yes!  For the record, that's a reference to my prediction actually being right, not their season.  With the recent olympics and the 30 year anniversary of  The Miracle on Ice, I have to get that quote in.

For Columbia Heights, Gerard Baptiste finishes with 24 points as he spent all night cleaning up inside.  Zach Lofton clutch down the stretch.  He finishes with 22 points and while quiet early in the second half, he was very efficient in the half after a cold start to the game.  Jacob Thomas very quiet in the first half.  He finishes with 20 points, most of that in the second half.  3 triples included in that but he really never got his shooting going.  Heights now 20-5 and they finish the regular season at Minnetonka on Friday.  They open section play next Wednesday at home against Tri-Metro East champion and neighboring former Metro Alliance rival St. Anthony in the 3 vs 6 game.  They will want to clean up the zone defense as their 1-2-2 left huge holes at the foul line.  St. Louis Park did exploit that some for FT line drives or weak side cuts for layups on passes from that spot.  Interesting that Heights went with both Andrew Hanson and Toby Frisby on the floor for a stretch in the first half.  Can't say I've seen that from them all year and not like them at all.  They'll still be stacked at the guard spots next year with Roderick Logan taking the point and Lofton/Glover on the wings.  Andrew Hanson also returns.  So expect Heights to still be a factor in the North Suburban next season.

8 comments:

  1. Czar,

    I don't recall I've seen a conference as lopsided as the North Suburban is this year in quite a while. You've got Cooper, Benilde and Columbia Heights who have legit shots to win State Tournaments in their respective classes coupled with some really bad, bad teams. It does seem the North Suburban gets dissed more for the weaker teams than respected for the top teams year in and year out.

    Just an observation.

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  2. Oh and one more Mounds Park game??? I'm hoping you've got a relative on in that game!

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  3. I actually got myself out of that game (thanks Sean Kruger). Why see class AA bad when you can see class AAAA bad. I'm doing SW at South instead. I had that on the books because I do have a Providence connection and tonight's schedule is brutally bad.

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  4. You have to like Traylor the South center. I also really like the Soph pg Sheppard. A lot of potential is his game. As far as SW goes.....

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  5. Interesting thought on the N Suburban. Definitely top heavy and the bottom with 4 bad teams along with disappointments at Totino and Spring Lake Park. Kind of overshadows the good things that have been done at St. Louis Park and Irondale.

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  6. Seeing Traylor will definitely make the game less painful and Sheppard is an up and comer. At least the Providence/MPA game would have been close (Providence won their holiday meeting 42-41).

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  7. The 2nd half of that game, Rodrick Logan Shut Ziman down completely!!!!

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  8. The 2nd half of that game, Rodrick Logan COMPLETELY shut Ziman Down. Check your stats!

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