A battle at Breck

Prologue
Lucky number 13 on my game count tonight.  It takes me to a battle between Holy Angels and Breck.  Always like the cozy atmosphere at Breck.  Coach Matt McCollister was a long time assistant to AHA coach Larry McKenzie so great to see them get together.  Interesting moment sees a parent bring in her tiny dog that would have made Paris Hilton proud.  Add that to list of things I haven't seen before.  A decent hot dog is my 5th of the season.  Beverage #11 is a can of 7 Up to raise the total ounce count to 172 for the season.  Good crowd fills in the building.  New Life, Roseville, and BSM on hand scouting.  Our officiating crew is John Lithgow and The Nutty Professor.

Game Time
Right off the opening tip, its Jordan Dembley with the halfcourt lob to Delshon Strickland who rises high to tip it in.  Then the full court pressure is on and it bothers Breck.  Strickland adds a step back J and a free throw line jumper off of nice inside out play.  12-1 Stars and we're only 2:45 into the game.  But Lithgow is working so get out your tic tacs.  The hand check calls are out in full force.  Only 4:25 in and Breck is already in the bonus  They make 6 of their 1st 8 free throws before finally getting a field goal from Tilyn Hollis at the 12:20 mark.  15-8 Stars still on top.  Danny Sullivan already seeing bench thanks to 2 fouls and Charlie Koontz gets his 2nd as the defender flopped.  10th team foul on AHA at the 8:33 mark and that's Sullivan's 3rd.  Dembley with a bucket and then a pull up 3 on the break.  29-19 Stars at the 5:20 mark.  7 of the next 9 to Breck thanks to a Will Culliton 3 and Kevin Linehan with a 3 point play.  31-26 AHA with 2:23 left in the half.  Holy Angels would finish the half on an 8-0 run thanks to a couple more Dembley buckets.  39-26 AHA at the half.

The run ends up being 15-2 crossing halftime with 7 of the 1st 9.  46-28 Stars with 15:07 left.  Mo Lawal with a 3 and then a Strickland T with 14:12 left sends him to the bench with 4 fouls.  46-34 AHA as they take time with 13:30 left.  Hollis picks up his 4th on a charge and has to sit with 13:06 left.  Lawal heating up with a bucket and free throw.  A text book backdoor layup out of the DDM offense for 2 more.  Culliton with the lefty finish for a 3 point play.  Linehan with an inside blk that turns into points.  54-44 AHA with 10:45 left.  Some jawjacking going back down the floor and its a silly T on Breck that costs 2 points. 

Breck goes on a run after that.  Lawal for 3, Linehan with a great cut on the BLOB for a layup and the freebie.  Hollis and Strickland come back at the 9 minute mark.  Hollis immediately pays dividends with back to back bombs.  57-56 AHA with 8:12 left and we have a ball game again.  Then Hollis off the bounce after a couple of AHA misses and Breck has come all the way back to lead 58-57 with 6:38 left.  Its a 14-1 Breck run over 4 minutes since the T. 

A Breck turnover and Dembley goes the other way and finishes through the contact for a 3 point play.  Not much later, Dembley gets the call for an iso 4 low and breaks ankles for a straight away 17 footer while eating a sandwich.   Sullivan with a smart playing getting the smaller Linehan on his back in the post for an easy bucket with 3:44 left.  Timeout Stars leading 66-62.  Holy Angels misses some open looks and Sullivan fouls out just inside of 3 minutes left.  Linehan to Culliton for a jumper with 1:50 left to cut the Stars lead to 66-65.  Holy Angels takes a timeout with 1:27 left. Culliton steals the inbounds and takes it the other way for 2 and the lead.   67-66 Breck with 1:20 left.

Then the game defining sequence.  Holy Angels gets chance after chance after chance and can't convert.   Breck finally corrals the rebound but gets trapped by the basket.  Strickland gets a steal out of it and finishes a 3 point play with 53.6 to play and the Stars student crew erupts.  Breck takes a timeout as they can't get it in.  It doesn't matter as Dembley steals the inbounds after the timeout for a layup.  71-67 AHA with 45 seconds left.  Breck turns it over and Dembley adds a pair of free throws.   Strickland makes 2 more free throws and that's enough to seal it.  Holy Angels defeats Breck 75-69 in a very fun game to watch.

Post Game
For Breck, 4 players in double figures.  Mo Lawal with 20, Will Culliton with 19.  Tilyn Hollis 8 of his 14 after coming back with 4 fouls.  Those put Breck on top after being down 18 early in the 2nd half.  Kevin Linehan gave the Mustangs great minutes off the bench running the point and scoring 10 points.  Would love to see him at the point more so Hollis can be more of a scorer.  A very thin bench for Breck was thinner tonight with forward Graydon Kulick going down with a knee injury in the 1st half.  Kwaku Bodom was away at a leadership conference so he wasn't available.  Very interesting to see the Dribble Drive Offense from Breck and that it generated a ton of 1st half foul trouble thanks to Holy Angels hand checks.  Breck falls to 1-1 and plays at New Life on Friday.

For Holy Angels, they gave up an early second half lead of 18 points but made the plays on defense down the stretch to win.  Jordan Dembley leads the way with 24 points.  Delshon Strickland 13 points (I had 15 on my sheet).  Charlie Koontz with 15 points.  The Stars once again had a size advantage but could have pounded the ball inside more.  Coach McKenzie had to use 11 guys in the 1st half thanks to the foul trouble.  With that in mind, the Stars play BSM on Friday and then have to deal with another group of guards when they play Roseville in the tipoff classic.  The Stars improve to 1-1 with the win.

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