The marathon hoops crusade to March 15th begins tonight with Brian Sandifer's inaugural Minnehaha jamboree. A perfect chance to see Brian's outstanding recruiting class of Joevon Walker, Simeon Davis (both 2017) and JaVonni Bickman (2018). I had to try to come up with a game plan last year against Bickman in 13U ball and let's just say the kitchen sink wouldn't have helped us. Minnetonka, Stillwater, St. Paul Central and East Ridge all on a quality schedule. 35 minute running time games. Walking Taco on the menu which is a must try. Czar's Eval: The beef was a bit dry and the dollup of sour cream on top never could get mixed in properly. Needed a hit of salsa on it too. 1st 20 oz of beverage is in the books as well. We need a song as well, so in honor of the start of the season
Song of the Day:
Jump - Kris Kross
In the 2nd session, St. Paul Central pulled away from Stillwater 41-29. Central's Kalu Abosi really played well. Stillwater big Kyle McKinley showed flashes with a couple of shot blocks but his usually outstanding mobility wasn't on display and the offensive game is still improving. Forward Matt Anderson did show some flashes as well. In general a pretty dead performance from a Ponies squad that many think should surprise. Soph Sam Gubbrud saw lots of time for a largely unrecognized Central lineup without coach Scott Howell.
East Ridge had no problems with Hill-Murray in their 47-18 win. Marshawn Wilson did knock down 3 triples in an off night. If I were the Pioneers, expect to see a ton of faceguarding, box and 1 and running double teams at Wilson to make anybody else beat them. Could even go to the Megatron defense of Triangle and 2 just on Wilson. That term comes from the double teams Calvin Johnson sees on the goal line.
I know Hill-Murray has been pounded by 2 very good teams in scrimmages but East Ridge is just flat out scary folks. They defend like crazy, they're crazy deep, have very good players at every position and plenty of scoring punch. Expect their Kansas high low action with the Ryans (Keenan and Mathis) to be very effective for them. Keenan's mobility running rim to rim is a pleasure to watch. They have to get through Apple Valley in section which is a tall order, but how many teams can say they matchup as "well" with the Eagles? That's why I picked that section final as 1 of my 10 events of the season.
Park Center walks in 10 minutes late for their scheduled scrimmage with Minnetonka so that means we end up with 2 big school vs AA school mismatches to end the night. Careino Gurley back in the lineup for Minnetonka (sat out at the Pulley Jamboree on Saturday) but still no Delshon Strickland with the stitched up left hand. Minnetonka's defensive pressure totally threw Minnehaha's youngsters for a loop. That propelled the Skippers to 16-0 and 35-4 leads and allowed the JVs to coast home at the end. Final score 62-27. Minnehaha is very talented but their youngsters are making a big step up. Expect some early season kinks there.
Park Center's athletic guards too much for St. Croix Prep to handle. 43-19 Pirates win. Amani Hooker, Isaiah McKay and Arione Farrar make a nice 3 guard trio with Isaac Matthews inside. SCPA needs to find help for Michael Gutierrez.