To Bethel for the 2nd half of their annual tournament(s). This is year 30 but the 2nd year of the 4 day, 2 groups of 4 setup that isn't anything like the bigtime 8 team tourney this used to be. This group of 4 is Centennial, Hutchinson, Champlin Park and Robbinsdale Cooper. I'm here to get another look at Cooper star Rashad Vaughn. No concessions except Mug Root Beer for me tonight as I was able to make a quick pit stop at The Czar's Palace before running out for the evening. Iowa St had an assistant arrive for the early game way before tip and then was joined by another assistant and The Mayor himself, head coach Fred Hoiberg for the late game.
Game 1: Centennial vs Hutchinson
Jared Nelson bombing away with 4 3s in the first 8 minutes as Centennial opens up a 24-15 lead at the 10:23 mark. Alex Aalfs knocks down a pair of 3s for Hutchinson to keep them around but Mitchell Kuck also has a big half. 38-27 Centennial at the half. A pair of 3s from Hutch and a layup cut the Centennial lead to 41-35 with 14:21 to play. Nelson still white hot. He pulls for 3 and then another bomb but the lead is only 10. Then Dan Becken runs out for a 2 handed stuff, Kuck with a layup and Becken on the post for 2 more. 56-41 Centennial with 8:25 left. Hutch would get 6 in a row to cut the lead to 60-52 with 4:38 left. But Centennial would close it out for a 71-53 win. Jared Nelson 7 3s and a total of 23 points. Mitchell Kuck with 15 of his 26 in the first half.
Game 2: Robbinsdale Cooper vs Champlin Park
Rashad Vaughn starts the game with a dunk but his half is quiet. Only 2 other buckets are bunnies. Cooper opens a 17-12 lead just inside the 9 minute mark. Champlin Park claws back to 25-22 down at the half and then score the first 5 of the 2nd half for a 27-25 lead. All of those by Anthony Hill thanks to a 3 point play and tough finish for 2 more. Vaughn then starts to heat up. He dishes for a layup and knocks down a 3 to reclaim the lead. Ian Smith counters with 2 and then a bomb. Vaughn slapped on the elbow on a jumper for 2 free throws to slow the momentum. Hill another tough finish, this time lefty. Vaughn then pulls up and buries a 3. 36-35 Champlin Park with 13:29 to play. They add 6 in a row out of the timeout with Matt Juneau on the offensive glass and another Hill foray to the basket. Vaughn pulls up for a long 2. Smith with 2 more and Juneau steps into a foul line jumper trailing the play. 46-37 Rebels open it up with 9:25 left. Juneau then with back to back buckets inside countered by 4 from Vaughn. Time is short though as Cooper takes timeout down 50-43 with 6:50 left. The Rebels don't help themselves as they miss back to back front ends. That allows Cooper to score 5 in a row to cut the lead to 2 on an Eric Brown 3 with 5:30 to play. Champlin Park gets 2 offensive rebounds but it becomes a turnover that Cooper doesn't get points out of. Juneau makes both ends at the 4:35 mark to break the drought of 3:40. Vaughn with a putback and then 2 more FT misses from the Rebels. The Hawks can't capitalize on that either as Vaughn misses. Juneau with 2 more freebies with 2:45 left to push the lead back to 55-50. Vaughn finds Brown for an open 3 with 1:55 left but its no good (a shot he made vs DLS). Rebels hold and make 1 free throw. Then Cooper comes up empty on 2 FTs just inside a minute to play. The rest is free throws and rushed shots. Champlin Park wins 62-52. Anthony Hill leads Champlin Park with 20 and Matt Juneau with 14. Most of those points came in the 2nd half when both came up big. Hill getting to the basic and Juneau on the glass and bullying his way inside. Though he did have a couple of kick it out moments rather than go up against Vaughn inside. Rashad Vaughn was the only Hawks player in double figures. His official line, 22 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks (0 turnovers too). 8-24 FGs with 2-9 from 3 and 4-4 at the foul line. Champlin Park goes 13-23 from the foul line in the 2nd half (14-27 for the game) compared to 4-7 for Cooper (5-8 overall). Most of the other stats are pretty even. The win is big for Champlin Park as they get the head-head nod in the section 5AAAA seedings and finally get a quality win for their resume. Champlin Park vs Centennial in a NW Suburban clash for the title, Hutchinson vs Cooper for 3rd place.