Spartans slay the mythical beast

Prologue
Its a trip to the smallest gym on my circuit as I visit St. Paul Academy to see their Tri-Metro game against Brooklyn Center.  Hot dog gets a solid A though I haven't had Pepsi in a gym in a while.  A couple of fun moments from the JV game.  First was a kid in front of me talking about making a Walking Taco with Fritos.  Sign that kid up for the space program, absolute genius!  Then on a no call on a drive to the basket, the SPA JV coach calmly says to the official "That's usually a foul".  I found it pretty funny (and good relations with the ref, voice of experience).  At halftime of the varsity I had a visit from the SPA camera crew.  Always nice to chat with the youngsters.  So with all the social conscience of the day, this song seems fitting

Song of the Day
Tracy Chapman - Talkin' About A Revolution

Game Time
Josh Gray with 5 of the first 6 for SPA and we're tied at 6 less than 4 minutes in.  Then point guard Spencer Egly and 6th man Davante Peyton (8th grader) with 3 point plays for 6 in a row from the Spartans.  12-6 SPA at 10:49.  Deandre Bell with a putback for Brooklyn Center at the 8:10 to keep the Centaurs within 15-10.  But then the Centaurs lack of firepower keeps them to 1 field goal in the next 7:10.  SPA goes on a 13-3 run with center Steven Olson beating the press for a layup and putting back a miss.  Harrison Egly curls for an inbounds layup and Josh Gray scores another bucket also during that run.  28-13 Spartans with 1:39 left in the half.  The Centaurs cut that to 30-18 at half with 5 in a row from Sammie Watkins.

Watkins with another 3 and a runout for BC nets them 2 more.  A quick SPA timeout as Coach McKenzie wasn't happy with his team's transition defense.  The teams trade triples and Bell grabs an offensive board which results in 2 free throws.  33-28 SPA with the lead and 15:08 to play.  Then Spencer Egly to the basket for back to back layups and Josh Gray drives for 2 free throws.  Spencer Egly off the high horns screen kicks to Peyton for 3 just inside of the 10 minute mark.  Gray then beats the Centaurs pressure at the 9:15 mark for 2.  44-31 SPA after the 11-3 run in just about 6 minutes.  A Centaurs 3 with 7:50 left would cut the lead to 8 but Brooklyn Center would get no closer.  Gray to Olson for a layup to again beat the press and Olson puts back a miss.  Gray for 3 and Spencer Egly's 2 FTs with 4:34 left conclude a 12-2 run.  58-40 Spartans with their biggest lead.  Brooklyn Center's pressure allows them to cut into the lead but SPA still goes on to win 65-52.

Post Game
For Brooklyn Center, soph guard Sammy Watkins leads with 13 points.  I liked his game and thought he would do more.  Tyler Wilebski with all 10 of his points in the 2nd half.  They were more athletic than SPA and took advantage as they hammered the offensive glass.  That was especially true early in the game.  But they just have no way to generate offense in the halfcourt.  Their 2-2-1 was able to bother SPA some but when you can't score to get into it, life is difficult. Most of the roster is not seniors, but at Brooklyn Center you never know what you'll have year to year.  Brooklyn Center falls to 3-12, 2-8 in the Tri-Metro.  They host St. Anthony and visit Breck next week.

For St. Paul Academy, junior guard Josh Gray leads with 22 points.  Junior PG Spencer Egly with 14 of his 17 points in the 2nd half.  Center Steven Olson with 11 points.  He's also a junior.  8th grader Dalante Peyton with 8 points off the bench and a couple of assists.  Productive outing for the youngster.  He'll have a nice career there.  The expectations that I had coming in were set very high and those expectations were quite unfair.  Its rare to see warmup drills that are unique and productive but I like the SPA slides, post feeds and got a nice tweak by combining one of the base drills with some concepts from DLS warmup drills (i.e coaches passing for extra shots).  The Spartans improve to 7-9 overall, 3-5 in the Tri-Metro.  This is after a stretch where they lost 7 of 9.  A pair of tough road games awaits as they visit DeLaSalle and Heritage next week.  That's followed by home games with Concordia, St. Anthony and trips to St. Croix Lutheran and Providence.  Tough stretch.the last month of the season.

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