We'll include a Fri/Sat pair here thanks to a special Kingdom cameo by The Emperor. A late arrival at Mahtomedi means I miss out on Dominos. I do make up for missed pizza with the Papa Johns in the hospitality room on Saturday. Plenty of Pepsi to go around as well along with lots of good music. Hopkins went back to regular lettuce but has stayed with the sun chips for the walking taco but it was still outstanding despite the steep $4 price tag. Throw in a quality twitter spat about conduct of AAU coaches at games and it was an eventful weekend.
Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 224 ounces (21 games, 17 days)
- 12 oz Dr Pepper
- 40 oz Red Powerade
- 20 oz Red Gatorade
- 92 oz Pepsi
- 60 oz Coke
Ah the pagentry. My 1st trip to the home of the Zephyrs. Big lunch room for concessions with a tiny gym for AAAA school. But no expense spared on corner camera wells and the big scoreboard with point totals and an added video board that was in play all game. That included "Hug Cam" which is a funny PG play on pro sporting events and their Kiss Cam. Add in dueling student sections and away you go.
As to the game, the intended matchup of bigs never really materialized. Kyle McKinley came off the bench for Stillwater at the 12:47 mark and Mahtomedi's Sean Hjelle sat the last 9:20 of the 1st half with 2 fouls. Stillwater employed an interesting strategy of faceguarding Hjelle full court with a guard most of the night. Mahtomedi did a poor job of trying to pound the ball inside to take advantage of the size mismatch.
Stillwater's Nick Ogren with 3 critical 3s in both halves when Stillwater needed possessions with points. He kept the Ponies close despite a lackluster first half and they were fortunate to be tied at 35 going to the half. Ogren's 3 after coming back with 2 fouls at the 4 minute mark of the 1st half sparked an 11-3 run to end the half.
Then 49 all when Ogren knocks down 2 more bombs around a banked Michael Claude 3. The 2nd one starts a run and the 3rd one of the half ends the difference making 10-0 run. 62-52 Ponies 5:32 left. But Mahtomedi would get 1 last chance. After a questionable push off on Matt Anderson, Hjelle gets a great post look but can't convert with the Zephyrs done 1 and 20 seconds left. After 2 Ponies free throws, Mahtomedi doesn't get a great look. Stillwater hangs on 65-62. After a quiet start Kyle McKinley almost grabbed double digit boards in the 2nd half. Hjelle with 11 for Mahtomedi. Very impressed with his upside and very deserving of a rankings bump. Lucas Buller with 20 to lead the Zephyrs and Nick Ogren leads everybody with 22
Now to the Saturday boys games at the girls tipoff classic. I stayed there all day as I thought the crowd would fill in quicker and braving the cold between game didn't see all that appealing.
Game 2: Hopkins vs St. Michael-Albertville
STMA would hang around for about 6 minutes. Sammy Guillou with a 3 point play at the 11:52 mark to bring the Knights within 13-9. But its all Hopkins after that. Jake Wright 2 3s and 8 points in a row. Kamali Chambers for 3 and then fouled for 3 free throws and he'll add another bomb. You get the idea. Its a 35-8 run to end the half. Hopkins rolls from there 77-36. Jake Wright 4 3s for 18 points. Kamali Chambers 3 bombs and 14 points. Nice performance from Jackson Greenwaldt for STMA with 13 points. Trevor Rothstein DNP for the Knights.
Game 3: Minnetonka vs Breck
Delshon Strickland played his 1st game of the year. He came off the bench and immediately had a dunk and converted a lob. Amar Miller was handing out assists and hit a couple of midrange pullups. Henry Cousineau with 10 quick points before getting into foul trouble for Breck. Will Culliton with a couple of 3s and Mo Lawal scoring for the Mustangs. A 9-0 Skippers run would allow them to open a 43-35 halftime lead. Over the 1st 6:40 of the 2nd half, they would go on a 12-3 spurt to open up a 55-38 lead. Then the Apple Valley game took center stage. Minnetonka go on to win 78-65. Lawal would finish with 27 to lead all scorers. Strickland with 15 in his return, 13 of those before the game got out of hand.
Game 4: Apple Valley vs De La Salle
What an atmosphere with chairs all around the court (end of court bleachers not available due to the other court running late) and the balcony packed. Not to mention a full media row opposite the benches. Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino on hand watching. Only thing missing was Reid Travis who sat out with a foot injury that seems to be dragging out. Gary Trent Jr on fire early for Apple Valley with a jumper and a pair of bombs. 12-8 Apple Valley just over 4 minutes in. De La Salle would come back to take a 17-16 lead thanks to drives from Jarvis Johnson and Geno Grandall's sweet drive and assist to Josh Collins for a layup. Then its time for Tyus. Drive for a free throw, a steal for 2 more freebies. An assist for another Trent bomb and he takes a turnover for a layup. After a nasty Jarvis Johnson standing dunk off an offensive board, Tyus back to the charity stripe for 2 more and he converts another turnover into a 3 point play. 14-4 Eagles run after the Islanders took the lead. 30-21 Apple Valley at the 5:37 mark. That translates to 36-28 at the half. Tyus 16, 4 and 5 so he was part of at least 28 of the Eagles points.
More Tyus, he goes for a dunk and then finds Brock Bertram for an easy 2. Robert Tobroxen gets lost for an easy layup on the BLOB. The lead balloons to 45-29 with 14:25 left. Jarvis Johnson back to back bombs and a 3 point play from Geno Crandall cut the lead to 47-38 with 13:08 left. Tyus right back with a drive and then he dunks a turnover. Crandall buries a 3 and you see momentum to De La Salle. Tyus sits for a rest at that point. Then a turnover for 2 more points is Bertram's 4th foul and Tyus is right back in there after 45 seconds of rest. 53-45 Apple Valley with 10:01 left.
Tobroxen nails a 3 but Crandall counters with 4 in a row. Apple Valley lead down to 56-51 with 7:17 left. But De La Salle would get no closer. Tyus scores (go figure), Anim misses a chance inside and Trent goes glass for 2 more. Crandall hits a 3 but misses a heat check 3 after an Eagles turnover. Dennis Austin scores and Tyus feeds him for 2 more after a turnover. That pushes the lead back to 10 with 5:20 left. No danger the rest of the way. Apple Valley wins 73-63. Tyus Jones 29 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists and 5 turnovers. Geno Crandall with 19 of his 23 points in the 2nd half. Gary Trent 18 points with 4 bombs. De La Salle shot only 17-30 from the line. 21-56 FGs for the Islanders, mostly against a 2-3 zone. Despite Gary Trent's hot shooting, Apple Valley was only 5-19 from 3 (Trent 4-11). 48-30 edge on the glass for Apple Valley including 17 offensive boards but that only translated to a 12-8 edge in 2nd chance points.