Lightning strikes 3 times

Out to Burnsville for the 3AAAA final and the 3rd show by the Eastview Apple Valley circus.  I arrive at 5:30 and the line is already up the stairs, down the hall and 40 feet out the door.  It ends up twice as long later.  Thankfully I find the Presold line and jump right in before the concession stand gets out of hand.  Then its about 60% full when I enter 55 minutes before tip.  Sounds like 200+ (and probably much more than that) were turned away.  The building is cozy and with the amazing weather, the gym (especially up high in my seat) is an absolute sauna.  Might need another 24 oz Pepsi after using the 1st to wash down the cheese pizza.  Both bands in attendance and quality choices starting 45 minutes before intros.  Apple Valley pulls out a Queen classic Crazy Little Thing Called Love.  But the final Song of the Day for this season goes to the Eastview band.

Song of the Day
Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf

Game Time
The 1st half pace is very slow and you'd think that would favor Eastview.  But its Apple Valley that jumps out to an 8-2 lead behind a pair of Tyus Jones buckets and an assist for another.  8-2 Eagles at the 15:07 mark.  Joey King starts to get it going.  He finds Jordan Bulger for 2 on the high/low feed.  Then he counters a Tyus assist with a faceup jumper out of the post.  Apple Valley guards really annoyed the Eastview bigs early by digging inside and sagging but they got used to it.  13-8 Apple Valley at the 8:05 mark.  Bolger with 2 more and then King 6 straight Eastview points to put the Lightning ahead 16-15.  That's their 1st lead.  Dustin Fronk with a pullup jumper in the lane then he goes the other way on the break.  Ben Oberfeld sprints back and challenges that for a miss and then hustles the other way and King finds him running for a layup.  Impressive sequence there.  Its sends Eastview to the locker room ahead 21-18 at the half.  King with 13 of those points but didn't shoot it well.  Tyus with 7.

Quinn Trusty for 2, Oberfeld with the face up jumper in the post and Chris Narum for 3.  7-0 run for a 28-18 lead at the 16:31 mark.  Apple Valley takes a timeout to regroup.  They stay close and then Harry Sonie for 3, Tyus for 2 and then off a screen roll, Tyus to Dennis Austin who regroups and goes to the reverse at the 12:15 mark.  35-32 Eastview hanging on to the lead.  Tyus with a putback at the 10:30 mark to keep the lead at 38-34.  Then 8 in a row from the Lightning.  After a long possession, Oberfeld puts back a miss and then finds Bolger on the post give and go.  King drives for 2 and makes the tough shot.  Tyus with the rare turnovers and Oberfeld runs and Darin Haugh finds him for a layup with 5:48 left.  46-34 Eastview with the lead and it looks to be over.

Haugh with a drive and then find Bolger for another layup with 3:10 left.  51-39 Eastview leading.  Apple Valley won't go quietly.  Tyus with 2 free throws and Eastview misses a front end.  Harry Sonie with a 3 at the 2:20 mark to cut the lead to 9.  Then more missed Eastview free throws and Tyus gets fouled shooting a 3.  Might have kicked his legs out to draw it but he's crafty like that. He makes all 3 with 1:52 left to cut the lead to 6, 53-47.  Jump ball to Eastview, they drive and miss a layup with 1:30 left.  Tyus has a long 3 go all the way down and come out and Bolger converts it for a layup.  Surely it has to be over now. 

Not yet.  Dustin Fronk was cold all night but knocks down a 3 with 53 seconds left and the lead is 5.  Eastview turns it over and Fronk has a good look at 3 that's short.  Tyus misses a 3 with 28 seconds left.  Eastview misses another front end and Chris Laymon comes off the AV bench cold to knock down a 3 with 12.5 left. Holy cow we have a 2 point game.  Eastview has 2 timeouts but they get called for a quick 5 second call on the inbound.  Oh My!  Apple Valley has it back with a chance to tie or lead.  Tyus to the lane and into the trees.  There's some contact but no whistle and Joey King comes away with the miss with 5.5 seconds left.  He makes 2 free throws and that seals it.  Eastview wins 57-53.

Post Game
Apple Valley ends their season at 23-6. All 6 losses were to teams that will play at state next week (3 to Eastview, 2 to Lakeville North and 1 to Eden Prairie).  They lose only 1 senior and almost all of their firepower back with Tyus Jones, Dustin Fronk and Harry Sonie returning.  Expect them to be a top 5 team and favored to make state out of this section next year.  Tyus Jones leads the way with 20 points but thanks to cold shooting his assist number was kept down.  The pace of the game certainly helped slow him down too.  Harry Sonie with 3 3s for 9.  Dustin Fronk had a few good looks but only saw 1 3 go in.  He finished with 7 points.  One of those nights where the ball just doesn't want to go in.  Despite Eastview's struggles to close the game out, give the Eagles credit for making a comeback.  You can see the will to win in Tyus Jones.

Joey King leads Eastview with 20 points and I had him for 9 rebounds.  He struggled with his shot in the 1st half.  Ben Oberfeld 11 points and 18 rebounds.  Another case of Apple Valley's lack of size haunting them.  Jordan Bolger with the surprise of the night as he comes off the bench and scores 14 points.  Always that guy you don't expect in a big game that puts you over the top and Bolger was outstanding.  Eastview stayed mostly man but did show some triangle and 2 against Jones and Fronk.  Teams did that this year and watching Apple Valley next year should be interesting to see how much opponents go to it.  Eastview would be my 2 seed at the state tournament.  Lakeville North 1, Hopkins 3, Osseo 4 with Duluth East and Eden Prairie wanting that 4th spot but ending up as teams you don't want to draw.  I go with Lakeville North due to the win at Eastview in last meeting.  Hopkins without Stahl has to go behind Eastview due to Eastview's win over BSM and the Hopkins loss to BSM without Stahl.  Osseo definitely the best of the rest.

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