Saturday is all right for playing

So after taking the opening Friday night of the season off, its back on the road in full force for the opening Saturday of the 2013-2014 season.  A pair of youth games, a doubleheader at the Fridley tourney and then off to the western fringe of the metro to take a look at a couple of teams outside The Kingdom.  No food at games today as travel forced me to eat and run between events.  I did add 12oz of Dr. Pepper to the ledger though.  I missed yesterday due to the outstanding Elton John concert at the X and its Saturday night as I write this, so today's music choice must be...

Song of the Day
Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting - Elton John

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 32 Ounces (not counting the 20 ounces at the Minnehaha Jamboree as its not a regular season event)

Fridley Tourney
Game 1 in Saturday's session at Fridley was North Branch taking on St. Paul Harding.  Kenneth Swanson with a pair of bombs in a 15-1 Harding run to break open a close game midway through the 1st half.  That would propel the Knights to a 28-20 halftime lead.  That margin would stay between 10 and 5 for the until inside of 4 minutes to play.  42-33 Harding with 3:49 left after a BLOB layup.

Matt Bloomquist for 3 for North Branch countered by both ends of the bonus for Harding's Donovan Adesoro.  44-36 Knights with 2:50 left.  North Branch misses and the Vikings should be done at this point.  Problem is that free throws are not necessarily free points in today's game.  Harding misses a front end and the Vikings counter with both ends on their possession.  Another missed front end for Harding and its a North Branch 3.  Harding makes 2 freebies but then misses 2 on their next chance.  46-41 Harding with 1:16 left.  Bloomquist with a clutch 3 with 1:02 left and the noose tightens.  Harding clanks 2 more free throws.  Same set for Bloomquist and his good look doesn't go down with 40 ticks left.  1 of 2 for Harding and North Branch still has hope.  They get an offensive putback with 15 seconds left to cut the lead to 1.  Then Harding misses 2 more once again.  North Branch comes back the other way and a tick tack call sends Bloomquist to the line with 5.2 left. 

He sinks the front end of the bonus to tie the game and then after Harding ices him, he calmly sinks the back end and that's your game winner.  North Branch steals one 48-47.  Harding 3-14 from the foul line in the last 2:24.  They had an 8 point lead with the ball at that point.  Matt Bloomquist with 8 of his 15 in the last 3 minutes to lead the comeback.  Brandon Thauwald of North Branch topped all scorers with 19. 

Game 2 was St. Anthony taking on the hosts Fridley.  This was not the kind of hospitality to give new St. Anthony coach Chris Hergenrader.  St. Anthony's Noah Bluth made 2 free throws at the 11:13 mark to cut the Tigers lead to 12-10.  He would roll an ankle soon after and the Huskies were done at this point.  Fridley used their pressure defense of half and full court man traps to go on a 22-0 run and hold the Huskies without a field goal for almost 10 minutes.  Fridley would run out to a 41-20 halftime lead.  They pushed the lead to 63-24 when the clock flipped to running time.  Fridley rolls 76-33.  Matt Duehn 14 points, Chaney Pal 10 to lead Fridley.  Its a young St. Anthony squad with only 3 seniors of note going with a pair of sophomores and freshman in the rotation.

Marshall at Orono
A quality class AAA battle as Marshall makes the trip to the western border of the metro to take on Orono.  Early on its about fouls as its 9-1 against Orono at the 9 minute mark.  Coach Barry Wohler not happy with The Nutty Professor and his crew.  That causes Orono to throw in everyone and the kitchen sink.  Despite that the Spartans would hold a 19-12 lead at the 6 minute mark of the first half.  They Marshall star Riley Sharbono gets going with a pair of 3s and 8 points in a 12-0 run to put the Tigers up 24-19.  Orono finishes the half on a 7-0 run including a pretty backdoor SLOB layup by Chandler Jacoby (he'd later leave on crutches due to an injury midway thru the 2nd half).  26-24 Orono at the break.

Neither team able to pull away.  Sharbono and Ethan Larson both put up 8 early points to balance each other out.  Orono's Sam Sustacek would have a nice spurt inside pounding the offensive glass.  44-39 Spartans with 10 minutes left.  Marshall center Jordan Schroeder with 5 points off the pick and roll going strong.  47-44 Orono just outside of 7 minutes left.  A UCLA cut nets an easy layup and add on a Connor Winkleman steal for 2.  Sharbono with a big 3 with 3:50 left and that cuts the Orono lead to 52-51.  But that was the last Marshall field goal.  Orono makes 10-10 free throws the rest of the way and only gives 2 freebies the rest of the way.  A solid 62-53 win for Orono.  Ethan Larson 18 points to lead 9 Orono scorers.  Riley Sharbono 21 points to lead all scorers.  Concordia-Moorhead in the house looking at some of the Marshall kids.

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