With Minnesota getting its annual late start, once again I decided to return to The Old Kingdom to start my season. 3 games last week with a surprisingly limited supply of food (no meals at games in Wisconsin) but a worthwhile week anyway. Here are some thoughts on what I saw.
The annual jamboree is amongst the best around and didn't disappoint this year. 2 sessions of 10 minutes each comprised the games. Many teams choose to use the last 5 minutes for their JV guys so the 1st half has far more meaning. As usual, the pizza was worth the purchase.
Game 1: Minneapolis South vs Braham. South won both sessions by scores of 19-16 and 23-7. Braham with their usual running of THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE. The big surprise here was how porous the Braham defense was. South did whatever they wanted getting to the rim, especially in the 2nd session.
Game 2: St. Thomas Academy vs Orono. The revamped Cadets won both sessions by scores of 17-16 and 14-11. Jalen Patterson impressive for the Cadets. St. Thomas longer and taller than expected.
Game 3: Rosemount vs Tartan. Tartan releasing the hounds as they blew out the Irish 26-9 in the 1st half. Brody Jackson getting easy buckets inside thanks to great ball movement from the Titans. Defensively Tartan showing the expected nastiness. They will be no fun to play against. Rosemount going with the dribble drive motion. They definitely have the guards to shoot it. Soph Logan Halvorsen looks like he'll be in the rotation after a nice spring and summer season. Rosemount won the 2nd half 18-9
Game 4: Columbia Heights vs Hill-Murray. Marshawn Wilson on the bench in street clothes for Hill-Murray was the big news of this game. Hill-Murray swept both halves 15-14 and 18-15.
Game 5: Osseo vs Cretin-Derham Hall. CDH featuring a young lineup with 3 sophs and without soph forward Jashon Cornell up front. Add in an off day from Sam Neumann against a bigtime opponent and you can guess the results. Ian Theisen had his way inside, Bridge Tusler controlled play and Osseo rolled out those role players. Orioles roll 23-14 and 27-13.
Game 6: Minnetonka vs Prior Lake. Coaching pals going at it in this one. No Andrew Grosz in the building for Minnetonka. That's a major loss at a guard spot. Prior Lake jumped out to a 13-1 lead in the 1st half. Backup center Jeff Probert with a pair of nice hooks inside during that run. Minnetonka would score the last 11 of the half but never got over the hump. With the benches seeing lots of time, Minnetonka took the 2nd half 12-7.
Game 7: Hopkins vs Holy Angels. No Charlie Koontz for the Stars. Hopkins steamrolled through the 1st half 27-4. Just way too much defense. People don't appreciate just how intense they are on that end. Totally different level than everybody else. Holy Angels kept the 2nd half close but lost 16-15.
Game 8: Park Center vs Cooper. Section rivals at it in this one. Quinton Hooker with a hot 1st half as the Pirates jumped out to a 16-2 lead. Park Center would win the half 24-15 behind 14 Hooker points. Rashad Vaughn showed all game he could get any place he wanted with the ball. He goes for 14 in the 2nd half including a 360 slam on the break. Lavar McCollough with a huge slam as well as it got out of hand. Cooper wins 2nd half 30-15.
Game 9: Apple Valley vs De La Salle
Tyus Jones with a quiet 1st half until a late dunk. He added a couple of clutch assists for 3s late in the 2nd half to seal that half. Apple Valley wins both halves by identical 18-13 scores. Reid Travis without a field goal. Soph Sacar Anim in the starting lineup and played well for the Islanders. Dustin Fronk struggled with his shot early but hit a pair of big 3s in the 2nd half for Apple Valley. Frosh Brock Bertram very active on the glass. Surprised he didn't start this one but I expect that to be remedied sooner rather than later.
The Week in Wisconsin
Earlier in the week I took in 3 games in Wisconsin. The JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells may be known to some in Minnesota as it hosts a couple of nice AAU tournaments during the spring and summer. They use a showcase court for section play and this year's inaugural Iowa vs Wisconsin border battle. The actual games were absolutely dreadful as Wisconsin Dells pounded Racine Park 90-54 and Kimberly mauled Baraboo 72-16. SW MN State recruit MJ Delmore 24 of his 29 in the 1st half.
The start of the season was #8 Appleton West at #3 De Pere. This one will interest local fans as these teams both play in the border battle at Prior Lake on Feb 2nd. Its a tough road for them as the opponents are Hopkins and De La Salle. Appleton West star Jake Verhagen (Eastern Illinois recruit) struggled in the 1st half at 0-6 but came back to finish with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Lefty guard Matt Reader is a junior who is receiving low D1 looks and NSIC attention. He controlled the game and never changed his speed. Very impressive control of the game from him. Add in 24 points and that was enough for West to win 64-48 and they had the lead the entire way. Final score was worse than it appeared as it was a 40-36 game with 7 minutes left. De Pere's Adam Beyer is an Augustana recruit. He was held to 10 points. Soph shooting guard Brevin Pritzl is one to keep an eye on when he comes here. He had 15 points to lead the Redbirds.
De Pere didn't look good in the game but you can see they'll be a handful for opponents. You'll see 5 out action from them on offense with some wing ball screens. Defensively you'll see man but they also showed some 1-3-1 that I was surprised they didn't go back to late in the game. Appleton West is a 4 out motion team and will play man on defense.