Once again its a trip to Benilde-St. Margaret's. The 3rd ranked hosts take on #8 Columbia Heights in a big North Suburban showdown. Quality hot dog and Mug Root Beer as expected on the concessions menu tonight. Dakota County looking on along with the Mr. Basketball committee. Am I the only guy who finds irony in the refusal to reveal their identities but yet they always sit front row center court where they have maximum visibility? We also have the BSM pep band so as usual our song of the day comes from their set list and its one of my all time pep band favorites. And unfortunately we have a bad officiating crew assigned by the North Suburban. Whoever assigned this missed the boat entirely. The best refs need to work the top games.
Song of the Day
Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple.
Its a great start on the road for Heights. Keanu Glover for 3, Zach Lofton with an assist for a dunk and he's attacking the rim on every touch. Ben Glover coast to coast and Keanu with another triple followed by Lofton for 3. 15-5 Columbia Heights at the 13:57 mark and John Moore takes time. Another Lofton 3 pushes the lead to 11 and Lofton is feeling it. BSM won't have it though. For the last 30+ minutes, Benilde runs a second guy at him on every touch. BSM then fights their way back. Zierden back to back bombs and a jumper off an offensive board. Then another 3, this one from the NBA line at least ends a 15-4 run for BSM's 1st lead of the night. 23-22 Red Knights just inside 8 minutes left in the 1st half. Heights not phased as they go 10-2 over the next 4:40. Keanu give and go on a sideline inbounds, 3 free throws and a putback at 4:15 for a 32-25 Heights lead. Then Lofton picks up his 2nd foul on the next possession and will sit the rest of the half. Benilde helps out by missing a pair of front ends to start the half 1-8 from the charity stripe. The last 1:32 sees BSM go on a 12-2 run. They make 6 straight free throws, then Zierden to the hoop with the harm. Off the free throw Heights turns it over and it ends up with Zierden in transition with the long 3 with 19 seconds left in the half. Zierden with 8 in the run. 37-35 BSM at the half.
Zierden with a pair of jumpers to push the lead to 49-42 with 13 minutes left. Heights sticks around with Ben Glover spinning for 1 layup and then converting another. Lofton then scores his only hoop of the half. 51-49 BSM with 10:25 left. Ben Glover with 2 more layups including a nice lefty finish. 56-53 BSM with the lead when they take time with 7:40 left. After having Sanjay Lumpkin faceguard Lofton, the Red Knights choose to go 1-3-1. Lumpkin then goes off on the offensive end. He nails a 3 from Zierden, a putback and the foul, a layup, another triple for a 68-56 lead (11 of 12 points). Heights still not going away. Sami Hadzajlic with a layup and a 3 in a 9-2 run that cuts the lead to 70-65. Another Lumpkin jumper out of a BSM timeout ends a run of 15 out of 16 BSM points for him. 72-65 BSM with 3 minutes left. Lofton's struggles continue as he misses a pair of open layups on the other end. That seals the Hylanders fate. BSM makes free throws and wins 78-67.
For Columbia Heights, Zach Lofton started 3 of 4 for 8 points in the 1st 5 minutes. After BSM started running 2 defenders at him, he finished 2-16 for 5-20 overall and 12 points. He came in averaging 31.7 PPG. Keanu Glover all 13 of his points in the 1st half. Ben Glover leads the Hylanders with 17 points. Heights never punished the Lofton traps with layups or ball reversal. I recall only a couple of middle touches out of those traps. Heights now a surprising 0-2 and dead last in North Suburban play after being upset at home by St. Louis Park on Tuesday. They fall to 6-2 and likely out of the state AAA poll. They visit Como Park tomorrow in a game that should be very up and down. Then Irondale and trips to Minneapolis Henry and Robbinsdale Cooper in the next 4 isn't a cakewalk.
For Benilde-St. Margaret's, Isaiah Zierden with 21 of his 29 in the 1st half and he was the centerpiece of both 1st half runs that kept the Red Knights close. I had him 9-18 from the floor with 4 triples (all in the 1st half). Sanjay Lumpkin 21 total points with the 15 of 16 run in the 2nd half. Easily the best game he's played all season and all because he had an aggressive mindset after being very passive on offense in previous games. Kyle Washington 6 points with 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. Coach Moore again experimenting with lineups tonight as Lumpkin and Washington both came off the bench with Isaiah Gray and Myles Barnes getting the starts. BSM now 1-0 in North Suburban play with 5 other teams. BSM now 5-2 with Onalaska, WI in the TWolves Shootout on Satruday. Then a home game with Cooper and a trip to Irondale to continue North Suburban play next week.