2011 6AAA Championship

Prologue
To Chanhassen for the 6AAA championship between Benilde-St. Margaret's and Waconia.  These teams met in the Eden Prairie holiday tournament consolation game with BSM winning big 90-60.  That loss put Waconia at 2-4 but the Wildcats are 18-3 since and ran through the Wright County.  BSM 20-2 (2 losses by 8 points) since that win to win the North Suburban.  To my horror, the pizza wasn't ready when I arrived.  But Pepsi is never a bad thing.  While Chanhassen is huge, a big crowd on hand with Lehigh, Stanford, UNI and Minnesota all looking on.  Mr..Basketball guys looked lonely in the front row center court tonight.  As to music, let's go with this 1 hit wonder.

Song of the Day
Crowded House - Don't Dream its Over

Game Time
Myles Barnes gets the assignment guarding Waconia's Shelby Moats.  BSM trying to use full court man pressure to up the tempo.  Moats with a jumper at the 13:40 mark, 10-6 Wildcats.  BSM with a handful of sloppy turnovers already.  Isaiah Zierden with a nice spin to the basket for 2 at the 12:10 mark.  12-10 Waconia leads.  Then Moats with a steal for a Ben Kortuem 3, Moats for 3, Bronson Scheff with a layup and another Kortuem bomb.  23-11 Waconia after an 11-1 run, 9:10 left in the half.  Barnes with a follow 2 handed dunk at the 4:30 mark for some BSM momentum, but Scheff converts 2 more sloppy turnovers into layups to push the lead back to 10.  Waconia leads 35-27 at the break.

BSM cuts the lead to 5 with a Barnes bucket and Isaiah Gray inside for 2.  Moats with a jumper, Kortuem banks a runner and Scheff follows with a runner of his own.  Waconia pushes the lead back to 10, 46-36 with 13:05 to play.  Then BSM puts on their run and its with Sanjay Lumpkin sitting with 4 fouls.  Zierden for 3, Gray to the basket for 2, Will Dunn with a 3 point play.  That's Kortuem's 4th foul and he'll sit with 8:09 left.  That takes a major offensive weapon off the floor for Waconia.  Waconia misses a front end and a side screen roll has Zierden finding Barnes for a free throw and Gray adds a layup.  Timeout Waconia with 6:59 left as they cling to a 50-49 lead.  Kortuem is back in the game and nails a 3 to kick the lead back to 6.  BSM with the next 7 a Dunn drive and fade, Barnes blocking Moats for a Gray layup and back to the side screen and roll for a Zierden 3.  56-55 BSM with 4:20 to play.

Scheff with 1 free throw to tie it.  BSM turns it over and Wylie Ferron with a putback with 3:25 left to put Waconia back on top.  Zierden misses a good look at a 3 off an offensive board and kick out.  Moats adds a free throw for a 59-56 lead.  2:56 left when BSM takes time and Lumpkin is finally back in.  He mails a jumper with 2:30 left.  Moats on the post with 1:45 left and Barnes fouls out defending him.  BSM makes a bad pass and turns it over with 1:30 left.  But Waconia misses a pair of FTs on the other end with 1:07 left.  Zierden held off the ball and makes the bonus freebies with 46.1 left.  61-60 Waconia leads.  Waconia runs out, Kortuem's long layup is off the glass long, Waconia grabs the miss no good, Kortuem in amongst the trees comes out with that 2nd miss.  That effort was a microcosm of the toughness Waconia showed all night.  But Kortuem misses both free throws.  BSM goes and Zierden misses a 3 with 20 seconds left.  BSM grabs the board but turns it over. Kortuem to the line for 1 of 2 free throws (that's 5 of last 6 FTs missed down the stretch).  15.9 to play, Waconia by 2.  Zierden drives middle and kicks to Lumpkin for a wide open left wing 3 that's no good.  Out of bounds underneath to BSM with 6.3 left and they take a timeout.  BSM goes to a 3 man stack ball side with Zierden on the backside elbow.  They get 1 curl cut and Zierden comes off a staggered double but can't get a catch.  A final pass is intercepted by Kortuem as Zierden doesn't touch the ball at the end.  Waconia wins a thriller 62-60 and advances to state.

Post Game
Benilde-St. Margaret's finishes their season 23-5 with most of the lineup returning next season.  Isaiah Zierden 18 points (I had 20 on my sheet with 3 3s).  Isaiah Gray 14 points.  I thought BSM would have drawn up something better to get a look in that last 6.3 seconds.  I also thought BSM would use more of their run and jump to try and force Waconia to play faster than their desired pace.  The UCLA screen to side pick and roll action with Zierden and Barnes was very effective.  Didn't see the double flare for Zierden either, that's something that BSM has had success with as well.

Waconia is now 21-7 and despite the record, I think based on 2 head-head wins and a better Wright County record than Orono, Waconia is a definite 3 seed in AAA at state (assuming Johnson and DLS are the top 2).  That means Apollo is likely the team that falls out of the seeding due to Orono beating them head-head at the Granite City.  Bronson Scheff outstanding with 14 of his 21 points in the first half.  Ben Kortuem 4 3s and 17 points.  Shelby Moats 14 points.  Give the Wildcats credit for withstanding multiple runs.  They were the tougher team tonight winning the 50-50 balls and they controlled the tempo.  Hard to argue with how the Wildcats played outside of the 5 of 6 missed free throws down the stretch that could have sealed the game.  That was very surprising.

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