2013 6AAAA Semis Review

Prologue
To Osseo for the 6AAAA semifinals.  High expectations for this night.  The concession stand gets me off to a good start with quality pizza and a 20 oz Pepsi.  My spies told that the chocolate chip cookies were outstanding as well.  The Mr Basketball guys in the building.  NDSCS, Carleton, Central Lakes, Waldorf, Anoka-Ramsey, Pump N Run, Howard Pulley just some of the notables represented.

Game 1: #1 Edina vs #4 Armstrong
Mark Handberg with a pair of jumpers and a layup.  Dane Tueteberg 2 buckets.  If those Edina players are producing its a long night.  12-4 Edina 5 minutes in and Armstrong needs a timeout.  Edina keeps it going with 12 of the next 14.  Reggie Lynch with a bucket and block for a Graham Woodward layup.   Ben Boone for 3, Woodward flares and gets the skip for a 3.  Handberg again has the jumper flowing.  24-6 Edina lead with 8:05 left in the first half.  Woodward 3 free throws, a 3 point play and a pair of late 3s.  Woodward 22-21 over Armstrong at half.  Woodward with half of the Hornets points in the half.  The lead hangs around 20 for most of the 2nd half.  Then Woodward goes on a quick spurt to blow the game up to 30.  Edina wins 83-57.  Graham Woodward with 31, Mark Handberg with a huge game of 18.  Reggie Lynch 11 points, 9 boards and 6 blocks on my sheet.  12 points from James Morris and 10 from Nick O'Hara to lead Armstrong.  A brutal night of officiating from the John Lithgow crew.  Lithgow getting in the call that I'm really beginning to despise.  That's the hard foul being an automatic intentional foul.  Armstrong finishes 19-9.  They lose 7 seniors but have a talented group of sophomores coming back.

Game 2: #2 Minnetonka vs #3 Hopkins
The third meeting of the season for these bitter rivals.   Mike Fernando with a nice cut and 1 handed dunk to keep Minnetonka within 13-10 at the 10:10 mark.  After a Jake Wright 3 for Hopkins, Minnetonka's Riley Dearring with a pair of free throws, a 3 on a kick out and a jumper right off of a rebound.  That's part of a 9-0 Minnetonka run for a 19-16 lead at the 5:50 mark.  Dearring will then pick up his 2nd foul and sit until the last offensive possession of the half.  Hopkins comes back to take the lead with 7 in a row thanks to 4 Kamali Chambers free throws, but the last 5 go to the Skippers.  24-23 Minnetonka at the half. 

Dearring grabs a board and takes it the other way for a pullup 3 in transition.  Then he makes 3 free throws after getting whacked outside the arc.  Fernando runs his way to another dunk.  35-28 Minnetonka with 13:38 left and Hopkins needs a timeout.   Justin Moes for 3 to force another Hopkins timeout.  A set play gets Dearring another 3 with 11:40 left and its Minnetonka's biggest lead of the night 41-30.  Hopkins not going away.  Jake Wright for 3, Amir Coffey with a bucket and a pair of free throws.  Its a 14-3 Hopkins run to tie the game at 44.  Then its back and forth for the rest of the night.  Dearring for 3 and a 3 point play.  Chambers with a tough 2 and a short pull up.  52 all with 5:15 to play.  A terrible non-foul call becomes a jump ball that goes to Hopkins with 3:03 left.  Wright with a jumper to convert that for a 54-52 Hopkins lead.  A pair of Tonka free throws and a Hopkins miss lead to a tough Malcolm Moore bucket.  He drove from the left side and sliced his way to a left handed scoop layup in traffic.  56-54 Minnetonka with the lead.  Andrew Grosz with 4 fouls and tries 3 consecutive flops against Kamali Chambers that thankfully don't draw a whistle.  Chambers makes him pay with a pullup with 45 seconds left.  After a couple of timeouts, Tonka has a chance.  Dearring gives the ball up with 15 seconds left and doesn't go and get it.  Nobody else wants the final shot.  Dearring finally gets it on the left wing but without time to do anything.  His late heave is no good.  Overtime tied at 56.

Chambers with his 2nd steal of a guard to guard pass in the OT.  His free throw at the 2:01 mark ties the game at 59.  Amir Coffey then with a tough drive and finish.  Dearring with 2 free throws to tie it with 1:13 left.  61 all.  Refs miss a 5 count and Coffey is bumped in the center circle.  He makes both with 45 seconds left.  Dearring with a challenged 3 with 25 seconds left and he knocks it down.  Hopkins brings it back down 1.  A left baseline drive gets nothing but Minnetonka leaves Phil Stribling alone under the rim and he lays it in with 10 seconds left.  Hopkins up 1 as we have a Timeout Minnetonka.  Dearring scrambling with the ball on the left wing and gets fouled on the bounce with 2.6 left.  Hopkins takes timeout before the double bonus free throws.  Dearring steps up and the 1st is pure.  The 2nd freebie is short for Dearring's 1st free throw miss of the night (9-9 to that point) and we'll play a 2nd overtime tied at 65.

Chambers strips Dearring from the blind side and takes it for 2 with 2:35 left in the 2nd OT.  71-67 Hopkins.  Tonka gets a free throw and then they almost get a 5 count with 2:03 left.  Hopkins just did get a timeout to save the possession.  But they turn it over anyway with 1:37 left.  Dearring fouled again on a 3 with 1:18 left.  He makes the 1st 2 and misses the 3rd.   Its out of bounds and Minnetonka will retain it but Dearring walks.  Wright makes 2 free throws for a 3 point lead with 43.4 left.  Then a pass off of Dearring's hand with 36.6 left.  The rest is free throws and Hopkins wins 79-72 in double overtime.

Riley Dearring with 34 points to lead the Skippers.  25 of those after halftime.  He knocked down 5 3s and a bunch of tough shots.  But he didn't get much help.  Malcolm Moore with 13, Mike Fernando with 10. The Skippers had the chances you'd want to win.  Best player at the line to win in the 1st OT.  Last possession of regulation with plenty of time to get whatever you want to draw up.   Minnetonka finishes 21-7 and they lose 5 important seniors including Dearring.   But there's still enough left, especially at the guard slots.  The officiating not as bad in this one but still enough questionable calls to draw the ire of both coaches and the fans.

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