2013 4AAA Semifinals

Prologue
Habemus Czar!  Black smoke from the exhaust of an automobile signals my arrival at Arlington (sorry, it'll always be that to me Washington folks).  Smuggled in Subway replaces the concessions food but 20 oz of Sprite still is enough to quench my thirst.  A very interesting situation for the 2nd game. Right as we're ready to tip, the power on the scoreboard goes out.  After a long delay, we'll use an iPhone to keep the time at the table.  Play on boys.  Finally at 7 minutes into the game, the scoreboard was fixed enough to use. 

Game 1: Central vs Highland Park
Highland opens up an 11-7 lead at the 13:10 mark thanks to a pullup 3 on the break by Dion Bradley.  That lead is 17-15 at the 9 minute mark after back to back Scots buckets.  But after a couple of Bradley buckets, Central making a point of faceguarding Bradley.  That holds him without a field goal for the rest of the half.  The Scots offense stalls while Markus Taylor-Knighten gets out for a dunk, a layup and then a lane floater in the middle of the Highland 2-3 zone.  That's a 12-1 Minutemen run in just over 4 minutes.  27-18 Central with 4:15 left in the half.  Central kills a little clock with the lead and they lead at the break 30-21.

Rayeon Williams with a steal and missed a huge dunk but he rejects Bradley on the other end.  The lead gets to 11 but Bradley is heating up.  Bradley leads a 10-0 Scots run to get them right back in it.  37-36 Central with 11:11 left.  Central goes right inside to their center Malik Durant-Haines for an easy score, Taylor-Knighten with a tip in and a Central putback to push the lead to 6.  Big moment for Highland as they run out for 2.  Then its Bradley 1 on 1 on the break and the Scots get nothing out of it.  47-43 Central with 5 minutes left.  Central counters with an inbounds layup and a bucket off a turnover.    After a Bradley 3, Taylor-Knighten with a great save that results in a Durant-Haines layup with 3 minutes left.  Another turnover is 2 more for Central.  55-46 Central leads with 2:50 left and they aren't threatened from there.  A late 3 doesn't matter for Highland.  Central moves on with a 63-59 win.  Dion Bradley finishes his big season with 25 points.  Markus Taylor-Knighten 19 points and I had him with double digit rebounds as well.  Malik Durant-Haines with 8 of his 12 in the 2nd half.  Central's size was a difference but I thought they could have done a far better job trying to pound the ball inside to exploit that.

Game 2: St. Thomas Academy vs Johnson
A 12-3 Johnson run with the scoreboard out puts the Govs up 14-6 when the power comes on at 11:11.  The Cadets shooting brings them back.  Ben Fiers and Keegan Zimprich knock down 3s and there is success for the Cadets getting to the charity stripe.  16-14 Johnson at the 9:02 mark. Johnson just too tough and getting everything inside.  Easy bucket after easy bucket in a 19-4 run to push the lead to 17.  Fiers knocks down his 3rd 3 of the half at the buzzer to pull St. Thomas Academy within 37-23 at halftime.  St. Thomas Academy with no 2 point field goals in the half.  They had 5 triples and 8-12 FTs.

Nick Griffin's drive with 15:39 left is the 1st 2 of the night for the Cadets.  Nick Waldvogel wtih back to back 3s to force a Johnson timeout.  Cadets now within 45-36.  Drive and kick action giving some great looks for some shooters.  Quashingm Smith-Pugh with an easy layup on an inbounds and the Govs lead is right back to 15.  Cadets gets a post bucket from Harrison Patt, Jalen Patterson with a nice floater and Waldvogel takes a turnover for a layup.  The lead is back down to 9 and Johnson takes another timeout.  53-44 Govs with 8:54 left.  Then slam the door shut.  Johnson goes on a 23-0 run until the last 30 seconds of the game.  Peirre Conwell starts it with strong play inside and the Govs up their level.  St. Thomas can't buy a shot during that stretch.  Johnson wins 76-48.  Quashingm Smith-Pug with 14 of his 16 in the 2nd half to lead the Govs.  Jalen Mobley and Peirre Conwell both add 15.  Ben Fiers and Nick Waldvogel lead St. Thomas with 9 each.  Johnson's toughness ultimately the difference.

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