Birds of prey not today

Traffic was only semi awful tonight so I manage to make my way to St. Louis Park for a battle of birds.  Its the Raptors of East Ridge visiting the Orioles tonight.  Right away its about tough decisions.  The hot dog is easy but there's only purple, light blue and regular blue Gatorade.  Hmmm.  Let's go with the regular blue please.  Bonus points if you know the name without reading the next sentence.  The flavor is ... Frost Cascade Crush.  How appropriate of a name.  Actually turned out to not be too bad.  Hot dog bun was separated which is always a nuisance but no white shirt means the shirt stays clean.  As to today's music, since this game features birds on both sides and flying would be easier then getting around by car in this mess, let's return to an older music selection.

Song of the Day
Fly like an Eagle - Steve Miller Band

Game Time
A slow start for St. Louis Park (more on slow later) as they give up a pair of layups and a triple to fall behind 7-2 at the 14:15 mark.  But Justin Pahl already with a pair of cheap fouls in a tightly called game and he's on the bench.  Then St. Louis Park turns up their run and jump defense and East Ridge has no answer.  Marquealis Edwards 2 freebies on a turnover before he goes to the bench for the rest of the half at 12:40 with 2 fouls, Joe Zangel with a layup off a turnover and Kashif Hayes with yet another layup on yet another turnover.  Then Pahl picks up his 3rd foul at the 6:58 mark and has to sit the rest of the half.  Soph Garrison Gillard makes 1 of the 2 free throws to conclude a 17-0 Orioles run.  A pair of timeouts from East Ridge during the run couldn't help them.  25-11 St.Louis Park at the 5:12 mark and they could run away and hide.  But they give up 4 layups and an easy floater with 4-4 free throws.  That's a 14-3 East Ridge ending with a Adam Schwartz layup that beats the buzzer.  Park had a chance to hold for the final shot and they paid for an early force.  28-25 St. Louis Park at the break.  Aaron Ziman with 5 steals in the half on my sheet. 

East Ridge's Jake Coquyt goes to the baseline drive and layup to start the 2nd half, 28-27 Park.  Then Edwards gets hot as Park runs away.  A left baseline jumper off the BLOB and a pair of dead eye bombs for 8 in a row.  Hayes to Gillard for 3 and Ziman with another steal for a 3 point play.  Another turnover for a DJ Pollard layup and this one is getting out of hand.  45-31 Park with 12:46 left as East Ridge calls time.  Pollard goes glass and Ziman from 18 feet.  49-31 with 11 minutes left.  That's a 21-4 run over 5:10 for a 49-31 Park lead.  Pahl finally breaks the run with 7 straight East Ridge points.  His 3 at 10:40 is the 1st field goal of the game for him or Raptors leading scorer John Hietpas.  Ziman with a 3 point play followed by him blocking a shot and finding Edwards for his 3rd triple of the half.  57-38 Park with 9:10 left.  6'7 lefty Conrad Sexe (pronounced Sexy, crowd was loving that but Kevin Nash will claim copyright infringment on Big Sexy) with a pair of layups followed by a Dillon Johnson layup cuts the lead to 59-45 with 7:05 left.  East Ridge won't get any closer.  Edwards hangs for the tough short floater, Pollard with 2 freebies and Ziman to Gillard for 2 at 5:20 pushes the lead back to 20.  The rest is garbage time.  St. Louis Park wins 73-52.

Post Game
For East Ridge, Adam Schwartz with 8 of his 10 in the first half.  He was the only Raptor in double figures.  Justin Pahl all 7 of his points during a brief second half run.  Leading scorer John Hietpas held without a field goal.  He finished with 9 points on 9-10 FTs.  Rest of the team was 3-8 from the line.  Only 2 sophs on the full roster, but frosh Ryan Mathis was a respectable player on JV.  As to the varsity, they're undersized (Sexe is a JV player who saw 2nd half minutes).  Biggest issue for East Ridge is that there's no true point guard.  Park took advantage of that with run and jump pressure and it could have been far worse if Park would have stayed with it.

For St. Louis Park, 4 players in double figures led by Marquealis Edwards scoring 15 of his 17 in the second half.  Sophs DJ Pollard and Garrison Gillard (sounds like Gilad, the irony of me referencing a fitness guru, I'll give you a minute to ponder that) with 14 and 10 points respectively.  Aaron Ziman 10 points, 6 steals, 5 assists, 5 turnovers on my sheet.  The Orioles gave up too many layups and had a chance to really put the game away up 14 in the 1st half and didn't.  But their pressure got it done forcing turnovers and converting.  Totally different ballgame with Edwards on the floor in the second half vs the last 12:40 of the first when he sat.  With Park going to dribble drive motion this year, the adjustment process is still there.  Hard on a group of seniors who've had 4 coaches in 4 years.  The original name and motto for DDM is Attack Attack Skip Attack Attack (AASAA).  Park's version of DDM looks like they're running it in yesterday's traffic or molasses in January.  The aggression and urgency aren't there with it yet.  Once they get it, Edwards is one who should really thrive in it.  With Hayes at the point, Pollard and Gillard on the wings and Zach Gilbert Burke inside, those 4 sophomores who all saw quality minutes tonight are a great foundation for the next couple of years.  If they find a lights out shooter to go with that group, beware.

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