SPA hangs on for important 4AA win

Off to one of my favorite venues for a Tri-Metro showdown between 2 of the top teams in section 4AA.  Its St. Paul Academy visiting Minnehaha Academy.  Not a bad crowd on hand for these schools of close proximity but on opposite sides of the Mississippi.   Grade B hot dog with a 24 oz Dr. Pepper to pad the beverage counter.  Best bit of the night those is our 1st pep band of the year.  The Minnehaha band decked out in Santa gear and even gave us some Christmas music.  So they get today's song.

Song of the Day
We Wish You a Merry Christmas (courtesy of Minnehaha pep band)

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 312 ounces  (26 games, 23 days)
  • 36 oz Dr Pepper
  • 24 oz Sprite
  • 40 oz Red Powerade
  • 40 oz Red Gatorade
  • 92 oz Pepsi
  • 60 oz Coke
  • 20 oz Barq's Root Beer
Game Time 
Frosh Simeon Davis with a triple and another jumper for a 5-2 Minnehaha lead at the 14:29 SPA timeout.  SPA responds.  Soph Dalante Peyton with a steal and dunk, a jumper and another tough J off a BLOB in a 19-2 Spartans spurt.  21-7 SPA at 7:50.  Minnehaha counters with 6 in a row thanks to a couple of putbacks.  Then SPA right back with an 11-0 run of their own.  Harrison Egly hot for SPA with 3 jumpers in that run.  32-13 SPA running away with 1:50 left in the half.  Minnehaha closes strong.  8th grader Jovanni Bickman off the Minnehaha bench with a 3 point play and an offensive board for 2 freebies.  He also converts a turnover for a layup in the 9-2 run that ends the half.  34-22 SPA at the break but if not for the late Redhawks run and 5-13 FT shooting in the half, it could have been much much worse.  SPA forces 12 turnovers, holds Minnehaha to 8-28 shooting and shoots 50% themselves and only leads by 12.

As cold as Minnehaha was in the 1st half, the same basket didn't do SPA any favors in the 2nd.  A sloppy half sees the Redhawks continue their run with 7 of the 1st 8 points of the half.  Then an easy nominee for worst call of the year.  Kent Hanson sets a high ball screen, with a bit of hand-fighting (in a game where tons of stuff was let go) Jake Richardson just blows him up and the call from the Hollywood crew is an illegal screen.  Oh my, that is a horrendous call and its right in front of the SPA bench.  Coach Kevin McKenzie storms off the bench to get after Hollywood (who didn't make the call on the 2 man crew) and earns his technical.  Hollywood handing out the T with his usual deer in the headlights look.  Kyle Kispert makes the 2 technicals but Minnehaha can't convert on the possession.  Minnehaha within 35-31 and still 13:18 to play.  Redhawks run is 18-3 since being down 19 late in the 1st half.

Richardson cuts the lead to 1 with another Redhawks rebound at the 9:10 mark.  Harrison Egly the only offense in the 2nd half for SPA.  5-6 from the line in the half after 2 freebies at the 8:02 mark.  Then he buries a corner 3 off the BLOB at the 7:25 mark.  That breaks a drought of 12:25 from the field for the Spartans.  It also pushes the lead back to 6, 42-36.  Richardson buries a 3 and Simeon Davis turns a turnover into a 3 point play.  42 all with 5:35 to play.  A quiet night for SPA star forward Kent Hanson but he counters on the next possession with a clutch right wing 3.

Minnehaha can't convert a long possession against the Spartans 2-3 zone.  After an SPA turnover, Bickman drives for 2 to cut the lead to 1.  Frosh Emerson Egly runs for a layup to keep the SPA lead at 47-44 with 2:30 remaining.  Peyton makes both ends of the bonus after the Redhawks miss an open 3.  Then Harrison Egly gets the extra pass after a Redhawks turnover and no fear folks, he buries the cold blooded bomb from the left corner with 1:05 left.  52-44 SPA and they would go on to win 53-47.

Post Game
For Minnehaha, 8th grader Jovanni Bickman comes off the bench to score 14 points and crash the glass as a factor inside.  Frosh PG Simeon Davis 13 points.  Highly touted frosh Joevon Walker who was outstanding at the Clash of the Classes only saw 2 halves of JV and got the DNP CD in the varsity game.  Liked what Jake Richardson did hounding the ball defensively (more on that later).  I also had him for 11 points (not 7 like the book had).  The Redhawks fall to 1-3 on the season and clearly the youngsters are still trying to find their way.  Back to back trips on the road in non-conference at Cannon Falls on Sat and Holy Angels on Monday.

For St. Paul Academy,  Harrison Egly comes up big with 3 bombs and 24 points.  That offsets an off night of 7 points from star forward Kent Hanson.  Good news for SPA is that 4 of tonight's starters are back next year and the top 2 players are sophomores.  Soph wing Dalante Peyton is playing out of position at the point and Richardson showed that an athletic defender can disturb the offense.  SPA 13-25 from the charity stripe and that includes 5-6 from Harrison Egly.  SPA did like their different 1-2-2 variations for presses and the 2-3 zone had some success.  SPA improves to 7-1 against a soft schedule but this is a quality win.  But they do get the advantage of getting the Redhawks early in the year . Then again they get to go on the road to Blake and De La Salle at the end of the year, so I guess it all evens out.


  1. Joevon Walker - why not more PT? Transfer issues? Seemed like he would be outstanding this yr the way he cleaned up at COTC. -MR


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