Its off to Rogers and the theater seating for the 5AAAA section finals. Its a pair of defending section champs in game 1 and an upstart with a star looking for another upset in game 2. Mediocre hot dog as the pizza wasn't ready yet. I had to resist the temptation to have the mini donuts. Quality music on the public address and from the Cooper pep band. Nothing like 50 Cent for the introductions. Find me in the gym.
Game 1: #1 Osseo vs #4 Maple Grove
The first half was all about Bridge Tusler of Osseo. He drives for back to back buckets for a 9-6 Orioles lead. Then Tusler for 3 after Maple Grove reclaimed the lead on a Bryce Wojta 3 at the 9:35 mark. Tusler drives and finishes on the left side with left hand. Lets add 2 more on the block.. 23-19 Osseo at the 4:28 mark and Tusler has 15 of those 23. Soph star post Ian Theisen with a pair of free throws on a post up and another post bucket to push the lead to 9 inside a minute to play in the half. Jake Weineke drives for 2 and Grant Kaufman knocks down a 3 to cut the Osseo lead to 31-27 at the half. Tusler with 17 points.
Maple Grove would cut the lead to 2 before a pair of Tusler buckets started an 8-0 run. 41-31 Osseo with 15:20 to play. Pick and roll for Theisen to convert on the reverse layup and he blocks a shot that leads to a Tusler bucket. DJ Hebert drains a 3 and the total run is 17-5. 50-36 Osseo with 12:35 to play. Maple Grove would cut the lead to 8 with 5:40 remaining. Wojta with a nice cut for a layup and reserve post Erik Olson with a putback to end that run. But Maple Grove would not threaten from there. Orioles move on to the section final with a 67-59 win. Bridge Tusler leads all scorers with 29 points. No answer for his strength and getting to the rim. Ian Theisen 15 points and 8 boards going up against the big body of Bemidji State recruit Dan Lochner. Jake Weineke leads Maple Grove with 14.
Game 2: #3 Champlin Park vs #7 Robbinsdale Cooper
Cooper looks in great shape early as Rashad Vaughn scores on a turnover and a jumper. 10-2 Hawks at the 14:14 mark (10-0 run after giving up opening bucket). Vaughn to new starting center Curtis Shelby for 2 and then Vaughn scores after an Eric Brown steal and leaks out on a loose ball for a dunk. 16-9 Hawks at the 11:25 mark and Vaughn has 8. Shelby and Vaughn with another basket each as the lead grows to 22-11 at the 8:25 mark. Champlin Park makes a comeback behind back center Brennan Witt, a sophomore. He scores 8 points in the next 5 minutes as the Rebels cut the lead to 4. Vaughn and Shelby with buckets again. Cooper stretches the lead back to 7, 29-22 at halftime.
Trevor Garrison again had the task of trying to slow Vaughn down but he scores 6 quick points to start the half. Cooper's lead cut to 31-30 with 15:18 to play. Vaughn's pair of free throws with 12:18 left pushes the lead back to 5, 37-32. Witt and Garrison add buckets and with Vaughn changing jerseys on the bench (blood), Anthony Hill goes to the headfake and nails the jumper in the lane for a 38-37 Champlin Park lead. That's their 1st lead since the opening basket. Vaughn returns at the 9:50 mark but Cooper has 6 guys on the floor. That's a technical with the Hawks clinging to a 39-38 lead. It would be their last lead. The Rebels miss both free throws but Hill converts on the possession and then buries a 3. Champlin Park misses back to back front ends but Cooper can't score. Witt comes back and gets the switch on the cross screen. The high-low feed nets him 2 free throws with 5:12 left. 45-39 Champlin Park with the lead after a 13-2 run in 7 minutes. Witt with a nice block on Vaughn and the crowd thought he got Vaughn again but Vaughn makes 2 free throws on the foul. 2:50 left and the Rebels lead 45-41. Rebels hold and make 1 free throw. The Hawks miss a front end. By the time Vaughn makes his first field goal of the half at the 1:07 mark its nothing more than a foul shooting contest. Champlin Park wins 56-48 and will face Osseo for the section title on Friday. The Rebels hold Cooper to 12 points in the first 16:53 of the half. Anthony Hill leads Champlin Park with 18 points. Soph Brennan Witt played very well inside and got the 2nd half start for his play. He finishes with 14 points. Rashad Vaughn leads Cooper with 21 points and 8 rebounds but he was held down in the 2nd half. 5 of his points were in the last 1:07 after the outcome was fairly certain. Nice to see Curtis Shelby rewarded with the start tonight after his solid performance off the bench in the win over Park Center.