I continue my extremes of the metro tour with a pair of section semifinals. Nothing like 4 games in 2 locations with big stakes. Quality pizza at Burnsville and Chaska. The 24 oz Pepsi at Burnsville always a must have too. Nice work in the Prior Lake student section with the retro blue Denver Nuggets jersey. That's a quality Alex English jersey. Very good crowd at Burnsville and next Friday there should be an absolute zoo.
Game 1: #1 Eden Prairie vs #4 Bloomington Kennedy #2AAAA Semifinal #1
Grant Schaeffer for 3, an assist to Andre Wallace for 3 and Schaeffer for 3 again. 16-4 EP at the 12:34 mark and Kennedy needs their 2nd timeout. They settle down and cut the lead down to 5 thanks to a 6-0 run with 4 points from junior Jumah'ri Turner. 20-15 EP at the 6:06 mark. Soph CJ Lewis with a 3 to cut the lead to 27-23. Then center Jordan Peterson with the hustle save for a Wallace floater. Peterson adds a 3 point play to end the half. 34-26 EP at the break. Turner hits a 3 for the 1st Kennedy bucket of the 2nd half to cut the lead to 7 but Kennedy would get no closer. Center Jacob Kohner with a pair of buckets in a 6-0 run that cuts the EP lead to 61-53 with 7:10 left. Kennedy would only get 1 more basket the rest of the way. EP moves on 74-57. Sander Mohn with 22 points, 12 in the 1st half. Soph Andre Wallace with 18, junior PG Grant Schaeffer with 16. Jumah'ri Turner 14 to lead Kennedy.
Game 2: #2 Chanhassen vs #3 Prior Lake
This one was tight the entire way. Biggest 1st half lead was 4 points by Chanhassen. Star soph PG Jon Sobaski would erase that quickly for Prior Lake with a burst to the rack for 2, a steal for 2 more and 2 free throws on another turnover. Carson Shanks sits the last 9:01 with 2 fouls but Prior Lake has Jack Kaiser. Kaiser goes back and forth with Storm star Kevin Jensen in the last 3 minutes. Kaiser scores 6, Jensen 8 in that stretch with a pair of 3s. 32-31 Chanhassen at the half.
Shanks picks up a quick 3rd foul on a double foul fighting inside (I always hate the double foul call as there's usually a personal long before that point, thank you John Lithgow for that call). Shanks goes back to the bench for the next 6 minutes. 38-34 Chanhassen at the 14:51 mark before a Prior Lake run. Noah Scanlon for 3, set play for a Evan Kotchevar 3, Sobaski for 3 and a steal for 2 more to end an 11-2 Lakers run. 45-40 Prior Lake with 11:45 to play. Chanhassen counters with 8 straight as Cole Otto drains a 3 to end the run and break a 45 all tie. Shanks back in the game and he immediately goes to work with 6 Lakers points in a row from the left block. 53-51 Chanhassen with 6:40 left. Jensen on the post with a pair of Chanhassen buckets as the Storm go ahead 59-53 with 4:35 left. The Storm have a couple of rough possessions and the Lakers come back. Kotchevar with a pair of free throws and another rendition of the same set play finds Kotchevar for another bomb just inside 3 to play. Tie game at 59. He then goes back door and is fouled for 1 of 2 free throws. That was after the teams traded turnovers. 60-59 Lakers with 1:29 left. Storm point guard Brandon Arnold drives for 2 and then steals the inbounds. After a timeout, Prior Lake goes to a trap and forces a turnover with 1:05 left. Prior Lake misses a couple of chances and they have to foul freshman Joey Witthus with 24.6 left. He drains both. Kotchevar gets loose for another 3 (same set) and we're tied at 63 with 8.8 to go. Arnold gets down the lane and can't get the layup to drop in the last 3 seconds and we'll go to overtime.
Jared Lea with a steal and basket with 1:20 left in the overtime for a 67-65 Chanhassen lead. Shanks gets the ball on the left block but its low and under the basket and it ends up in a turnover with 46.1 to play. Jensen makes 2 free throws with 26.9 left and then Witthus is pure with 2 at the 13.9 mark to seal it. Chanhassen moves on to play Eden Prairie next Friday with the 71-67 win. Kevin Jensen 18 and 9, Witthus with 12. Evan Kotchevar 5 3s and 20 points to lead Prior Lake. Jon Sobaski 19, Carson Shanks 10.
Game 3: #1 Eastview vs #4 Eagan
Joey King with the 1st 5 for Eastview. Lightning point guard was outstanding in this one. He knocks down 3 straight 3s. Eagan guard Nick Sabatke counters that with 2 of his own. That keeps Eagan within 17-15 at the 9:35 mark. King with a pair of buckets to sandwich another Haugh triple (4th of half). The Eastview lead opens up to 24-15 at the 5:45 mark. That's a 13-3 Eastview run as Eagan once led 12-11 after the 1st Sabatke 3. Haugh nails another 3 and beats the halftime buzzer. 31-24 Eastview at half.
The Eastview defense dominates the second half. The Lightning go on a 15-2 run over the 1st 9 minutes of the half. Joey King highlighting that with a lefty bullet touch pass to Jordan Bolger for a layup. Bolger would get another layup off a Haugh steal as he was all over the place pressuring the ball. 46-26 Lightning at the 9:15 mark. Haugh splits a trap and finds Quinn Trusty for a layup. Great look. Eastview rolls from there to a 62-43 win. Darin Haugh 6 3s and 21 points (17 1st half) in another marvelous performance. Joey King with 20 but was fairly quiet. Nick Sabatke led Eagan with 16 points. Shea Mandli had foul trouble all game and was held to 6 points by the big Eastview front line.
Game 4: #2 Apple Valley vs #3 Cretin-Derham Hall
Cretin-Derham Hall would knock down 2 3s to start the game with a 6-2 lead. Apple Valley would counter wtih a 14-1 run. Tyus Jones giving the ball up early and Dustin Fronk was one of the beneficiaries. He knocks down 2 3s and scores 10 points in that run. 16-7 Eagles at the 12:12 mark. Fronk with another 3 to stretch the lead to 22-12 at the 10:53 mark. CDH would cut the lead to 2 thanks to back to back triples from frosh Sam Neumann and point guard Cortez Tillman. 26-24 Apple Valley just inside the 6 minute mark. Tyus with the pullup and then a crazy good bounce pass to Mitch Hechsel running down the middle for 2 more. Tyus for 2 more and splits the defense (ooh) for another bucket. Fronk ends the scoring in the half with another 3. 41-33 Apple Valley at half.
CDH comes out pounding the ball inside with their height advantage (something they could have done much more of). CJ Neumann starts it on the 1st possession with a set postup, Luke Hamel adds a pair of buckets inside. Tillman knocks down a pair of 3s. That allows CDH to pull within 1, 46-45, with 15:42 to play after the 12-5 start. CJ Neumann with a tip in and a nice cut that he converts for 2. That ties the game at 51 with 14:20 to play. Tyus with a steal for 2 and he leans in for another bucket and gets the foul call. That easily could have been a charge or no call. It a 9-0 run in under 2 minutes. 60-51 Apple Valley in the lead with 12:33 left. The CDH bench pulls the Raiders back in it. Frosh Jashon Cornell with a putback and Teddy Chapman for 3. 62-57 Apple Valley with 10:39 left and Apple Valley takes timeout. Hechsel with a jumper after a CDH T and then a putback for 3. Bang just like that the lead is back to 11, 68-57 with 8:29 left. He adds another bucket before a Taylor Montero 3. 72-65 Eagles with 5:25 left. Then Tyus draws a cheap foul and buries 2 free throws. After a CDH miss, he throws a full court pass on the money which is kicked out for a Fronk 3. 77-65 Apple Valley with the lead and CDH needs a timeout with 4:12 left. The senior Montero not going out without a fight. He knocks down a 3, then a jumper and another pullup jumper after an Eagles turnover. 78-73 Eagles with 2:21 left. CDH gets no closer as Tyus drives for 2 and drains 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch. Apple Valley moves on to play Eastview on Friday with the 87-76 win. Tyus Jones ends up with 33 points and 8-10 assists. He was 13-15 from the foul line, all in the 2nd half. Dustin Fronk a huge night with 29 points and 6 3s. 18 of those points in the 1st half. Taylor Montero leads CDH with 21 points. Cortez Tillman 5 3s and 17 points. CJ Neumann 15 points but I was surprised he was utilized more inside against the undersized Apple Valley front line.
Stat of the Night: Apple Valley shoots 23-26 from 2 point range.