MTS vs Rushford-Peterson (Class A Semifinal)

So now the small school semifinals.  After last night's officiating debacle let's hope today is better.  Year after year we see stuff like this too.  That's bad for our game.  Big story of the day is the conduct of at least 1 Hopkins player after the 2OT win over Sibley last night.  For the record, I didn't see any of it but there's are enough credible people out there who did.  The stories I'm seeing and hearing are repulsive.  With 4A having the day off, there's a full day, almost 2, for this to fester but also to be investigated and solved.  Either way, this will be a big deal again tomorrow night.  You'll either see punishment or a lack of punishment will have people calling for heads at Hopkins.  Between and a bad jelly donut in the press room, not a good start to the day (and I'm all about donuts).

The Rushford band is behind me warming up with John Lennon's Imagine and Smoke on the Water, nice.  And then they open with Great Balls of Fire.  A great line yesterday.  The MTS wolf looks like a werewolf with mange.  HA!  Transitions is a heavy favorite and unlike yesterday where Springfield didn't do enough to exploit their size, expect Kevin Noreen to get a ton of inside touches against the short frontline.  Rushford-Peterson's tallest player is 6'4 but lefty soph Nick Thompson (nice player BTW) is really a wing so it comes down to 6'2 Nic Duneman.   But don't count out RP.   This is coach Tom Vix's 11th appearance at state.

RP doubling Kevin Noreen out of their 2-3 zone and why not with their success yesterday.  MTS with a1-2-2 zone, also like yesterday.  6 minutes in before Blake Lea finally hits a 3 to put RP o nthe board. Kevin Noreen responds with his first bucket on the next possession.  Very slow pace and this will keep RP in the game.  11-6 MTS as we go to the 2nd TV timeout at the 9:14 mark of the first half.  4 turnovers quick for RP but they've settled down.

Rodney Owens with a 3 and he's off to another hot start.  Ben Krambeer dives over press row head first and is OK to a major ovation.  A gasp from everybody looking over the rail to see if he was OK.  Owens again for 3 at the 6:50 mark to push the lead to double-digits.  19-8 MTS as we go to TV timeout #3 at the 6:31 mark.  RP only 3-11 from the floor but they've recovered half of those misses.

Thompson for 3 and a nice cut behind the cut and they find him for a layup. 22-13 MTS at the 5:40 mark.  Kevin Noreen responds with a 3 point play on the post.  He misses a bunny and RP comes back with a 3.  A behind the back pass is a MTS turnover and Thompson with another 3.  That's his 3rd.  11 points for him and we go to the last TV timeout of the half at the 3:59 mark.  25-19 MTS with the lead.  Rushford with 4 makes in a row.    Rushford-Peterson 5-7 from the 3 point line.   That's how they can win this one.

MTS finally generates a turnover from their trap and the Noreens play hot potato for a Kevin layup.  Kyle Noreen picks up a cheap 3rd foul at RP is trying to hold for the last shot.  He sits and MTS goes to halftime with a 27-21 lead. RP misses their last 5 shots to finish 7-20 shooting but 5-9 from 3.  Also 6 turnovers for the Trojans.  Rodney Owens 12 points and 5 boards, Kevin Noreen 8 points and 4 boards for MTS.  Nick Thompson 11 points and 3 triples to lead the Trojans.  It'll be very interesting to see if MTS comes out with anything to step up the pace in the second half. MTS didn't show any of their diamond press yesterday or in this game so far. We'll see if it comes out in the second half.

Nice inside out pass from Kevin to Kyle Noreen for 3.  MTS extends their 1-2-2 and Owens immediately takes a steal the other way for 2.   Right back to double-digits.  Kasey Ollof with a long 3.  Kevin Noreen rebounds and the long outlet.  Kyle Noreen finishes that.  35-24 MTS at the 14:51 TV timeout. 

Kevin Noreen with a block.  Then a steal becomes a Kyle Noreen layup.  Rodney Owens tips a rebound to Kevin Noreen for a layup.  39-25 MTS before Thompson hits a baseline jumper.  Owens to Kevin Noreen down the lane for 2 and the foul.  43-27 MTS at the 10:21 TV timeout.  Turnovers have hurt RP so far in the half.

MTS comes out 2-3 from the TV break and Blake Lea promptly punishes it with a left corner 3.  Timeout MTS and Kevin Noreen give and go with Owens down the lane for the 2 handed dunk.  That's how you finish against the pressure.  Now it could get ugly.  Kevin Noreen in the middle is a big target.  DeAngelo Potter on a skip from Kyle Noreen and the lead is 18.  Nick Thompson with another triple.  Off an MTS turnover, Owens comes up with a block and Kevin Noreen is at the other end for 2 free throws.  52-35 MTS at the 6:31 TV timeout.  Close the book on RP.  Their fans have been screaming for fouls on every little thing.  Its a little much. 

RP fouling with 3:21 left, interesting when they're down 56-41.  He takes it off a 1:45 and the benches empty.  RP boos the return of Kevin and Kyle Noreen with 22 seconds left but its only a 9 point game and MTS wasn't looking to score.  They get their wish as MTS turns it over anyway.  Rushford-Peterson never leads.  MTS wins 56-49.  MTS moves on to the class A title game against Ellsworth or Sebeka which should be outstanding.

Kevin Noreen finishes with 17 points and 11 rebounds.  Kyle Noreen 12 points.  Rodney Owens 18 points and 17 rebounds for MTS.  Nick Thompson with another performance for RP.  He finishes 6-8 from the 3 point line for 20 points (9 3s in the tourney).  Kasey Ollof and Blake Lea held to a cominbed 14 points.  RP shoots 16-42 compared to 23-38 for MTS.  A crazy 12-16 FGs for MTS in the 2nd half.

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