Off to Blaine for the section 3AAA semifinals. They're the only game in town and the coaches were out. Augsburg, UW-River Falls, St. John's, St. Thomas, Crookston, Bemidji St, Dakota County, Rochester Community and Tech College just some of the colleges in the building. No food at the building as I had Burger King on the way and no I didn't wear the crown afterwards. Don't laugh. You all wanted the Burger King cardboard crown as kids too, you know you did. Hot dogs looked pretty good though. Respectable crowd on hand and great props to the Blaine crowd control for putting students in their own area and helping fans (e.g me) not get stuck behind them. Rare to have crowd control at a game and have it do its job well. Also the usual outstanding performance from the St. Anthony pep band.
Game 1: #1 Spring Lake Park vs #4 Totino-Grace
Game of contrasts here with the small and frenetic Panthers taking on the slow paced Eagles and their big man Nick Carr. Jordan Thimmesch-Slepica with 3 bombs. Sean Scott adds 2 more bombs and a takes a steal for a dunk. 23-13 Spring Lake Park at the 8:30 mark. The full court man pressure from Spring Lake Park really bothering Totino-Grace and they're turning it over. Scott knocks down 2 free throws and another 3 after a pair of turnovers. That 3 pushes the lead to 40-20 at the 4:12 mark. 45-29 Spring Lake Park at half. Nick Carr with 13 in the half for Totino-Grace. Scott 15 for Spring Lake Park.
The Panthers shot selection in the 2nd half allows the Eagles to get back in the game. Carr 2 inside buckets, a kick to Sam Meyer for 3 and a post bucket on the side out of bounds. Meyer adds another 3 and Spring Lake Park needs a timeout. 47-41 Spring Lake Park with 13:25 to play. 21-7 Eagles run in less than 8 minutes. Thimmesch-Slepica a putback and his 4th 3 of the night and its back to double digits. But he commits his 4th foul moments later and sits with 11:01 to play. Carr with the lefty finish for 2 and an assist on an Andy Moritko layup. 57-50 Panthers with 9:35 left. Robert Ben with back to back layups on the same inbounds play underneath as the lead grows back to 13. Carr on the block and Meyer to the fadeaway and its back down to 9 with 5:38 to play, 63-54. Scott with a tip for 2 and Thimmesch-Slepica back in with a steal for 2 as Spring Lake Park puts it away. 73-56 Spring Lake Park wins despite a very ugly second half. Sean Scott 19 points to lead the Panthers. Jordan Thimmesch-Slepica 14 points and was the glue guy. Nick Carr was a handful inside with 25 points. Sam Meyer got loose for 4 3s and 23 points. The Eagles did try some triangle and 2 on Scott and Bryce Williams in a strategy that made sense but Slepica was big early.
Game 2: #2 De La Salle vs #3 St. Anthony
St. Anthony really focused on Reid Travis and Luke Scott in this one. They used triangle and 2 with both in the game and diamond and 1 with only 1 of them in the game. Throw in some 2-3 zone to boot. Huskies star Anthony Brama starting strong with a drive for 2 and a layup. Timeout DLS at the 11:31 mark with St. Anthony leading 11-8. He scores 12 of the 1st 15 for St. Anthony before DLS slows him down. After a couple of early buckets Jarvis Johnson adds 2 more buckets as DLS opens the lead to 27-21 at the 4 minute mark. Then Johnson with back to back 3s from in front of the Huskies and Spike Lee must be on the Huskies bench as Johnson has some words. 33-23 Islanders at the 2 minute mark. 33-25 Islanders at the half. Brama and Johnson with 14 each.
The second half has Reid Travis take control. His back to back buckets push the lead to 41-28 at the 15:15 mark. After a Huskies timeout, he catches on the right block and goes to the Hakeem Olajuwon baseline spin (always a travel) for the dunk. He adds a layup and the lead is 17. Travis on the offensive glass for 2 more and his backup James Lawson with a tip for 2. 49-31 with 12:15 left. That ends a 16-4 run. Then some deja vu as Brama would make 3 triples to keep it respectable (like the 1st meeting). But the lead is never less than 14 again. De La Salle wins 73-54. Reid Travis 26 points and 9 rebounds. 18 of those points in the 2nd half. Jarvis Johnson 14 of his 16 in the 1st half. Luke Scott 3 more bombs and 15 points. Anthony Brama finishes his career with 29 points.