Smith powers Minutemen over Scots

Its back to back weekdays in the St. Paul City as I visit Highland Park for their showdown with Central.  These teams are in a 3 way logjam with Como Park for 2nd in the league.  Central won the first meeting back in January by 7.  Orono and Concordia in the building looking at Central for upcoming non-conference games.  I thought Orono coach Barry Wohler got lost on the way back to Hamline before I saw Jordan Smith's dad with him.  Highland decided not to do pizza tonight which is always disappointing.  But I was just happy to get to the other side of the gym as Highland is cozy but the worst building to get around in.  Quality performance by the Highland Park dance squad at the half.  We need something musical with bagpipes in it since we're at the home of the Scots.

Song of the Day
Its a long way to the top - AC/DC

Game Time
Highland Park decides to come out box and 1 on Central's top guard William McDonough.  9-8 Highland Park when Nate Anderson drains a 3, then a Dion Bradley layup off a blocked shot and a Cordero Washington putback.  16-10 Highland Park at the 12:30 mark.  Martin Smith too effective inside so Highland Park goes 3-2 zone.  The lead is 5 when Central gets a Diallo Powell jumper and back to back Montrell Williams 3s for a 27-24 Central lead at the 6:15 mark.  Bradley with 5 in a row and a triple to push the lead to 5 inside of 3 minutes.  40-38 Highland at the half.  Martin Smith 15 and 6 inside most in the early part of the half along with a pair of assists.

Montrell Williams back to back 3s (4th and 5th ones of the game) and a Smith putback followed by Williams with a layup.  10-1 in the 1st 3 minutes for Central and they lead 48-41.  Bradley with a 3 and a pair of drives, but Martin Smith still doing work inside.  His 3 point play with 8:31 left keeps Central ahead 62-55.  Bradley with 4 free throws that sandwich a great tip in by Montrell Williams.  66-62 Central with 7:20 left.  Neither team pulling away.  Smith picks up his 4th foul with 6:19 left but Highland misses a front end and a layup.  McDonough counters with 2 free throws on the other end for a 69-62 lead with 5:07 left.  Washington off the inbounds for a post up 2, Central turns it over out of THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE and Bradley finds Ty'Shaun Williams for a layup.  69-68 Central with 3:15 left.  Highland has a chance to lead next time down but gets called for a walk with 2:58 left.  That gets Smith back in the game and he makes a free throw.  Bradley with a nice pullup on the left baseline to tie the game at 70 with about 2:30 left.  The teams trade misses and then Smith turns down 1 post chance only to get it back on a nice lob pass for 2 with 1:20 remaining.  Highland misses a 3 and a layup but Central goes 1-4 from the line.  Bradley uses a high screen and gets Smith on him.  But Bradley's 3 is no good.  Highland rebounds it for 1 free throw.  Montrell Williams makes 2 with 32.9 left for a 75-71 lead.  Highland turns it over next time down as McDonough dives on the floor and gets the smart timeout with 19.6 left.  3 of 4 FTs from there are enough for a 78-73 Central win.

Post Game
Dion Bradley leads Highland Park with 15 of his 27 points in the 2nd half.  Highland's other lefty guard Ty'Shaun Williams with 20 points.  Cordero Washington 15 points and 8 rebounds on my sheet.  The Scots fall to 3-3 in the St. Paul City and 10-8 overall.  Tough loss as the Scots will likely be fighting Mahtomedi for a section seed.  The head-head win over them will help but Highland needs to also keep up in the win column.  Highland Park plays next at Harding on Thursday.

Martin Smith with the big night for Central.  He finishes with 30 points and 13 rebounds as the small Highland Park lineup had no answer for him on the post or on the glass.  Montrell Williams had a real hot streak just around halftime as he had 6 3s on the night and a total of 24 points, 15 in the 2nd half.  William McDonough held to 10 points, with 8 of those in the 2nd half.  Central is also 10-8 overall and now 4-2 in the St. Paul City.  They have a non-conference tilt at Concordia on Friday before a week off.

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