2014 Midwest Players Classic Thoughts

Prologue
Off to The Old Kingdom for the 4th Annual Midwest Players Classic at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, WI.  Not quite the Minnesota representation of past years but we still get 3 Minnesota teams and 2 from the metro.  Quality games all day with some nice current and future talent on display.  3 20oz bottles of Pepsi get me through the day.

Game Time
I open the day by watching my alma mater (La Crosse Central) take on Wisconsin Rapids.  Rapids down 7 at the half when I arrive thanks to the awful travel conditions.  But freshman Philip Flory has a big 2nd half and Central can't score.  Czar goes -18 on the scoreboard.  Flory goes for 26 and Wisconsin Rapids wins 60-49.  So much for my playing time.  Nice to get a chance to see Wisconsin's top frosh play well.  He's already verbally committed to Marquette.

Game 2 featured Rochester John Marshall taking on Wauwatosa West.  Soph Michael Hurt with a big day for the Rockets.  His 3 at the end of the 1st quarter puts JM up 18-15.  8 more points in the 2nd allows the Rockets to go up 10 at half.  But Tosa West goes on a 16-2 to take the lead midway through the 3rd quarter.  JM would pound the offensive boards and that would be a difference.  Hurt misses a late front end but makes 1 of 2 and that's enough for JM to hold on for the 67-64 win.  Hurt goes for 26 points in the win and had to have double digit boards.

We'll skip ahead to the showcase game De La Salle vs Iowa City West.  West is the 2 time defending state champs in Iowa and just had a 60 game winning streak snapped.  The Trojans knocked off Marquette commit Nick Noskowiak and Sun Prairie in Wisconsin Dells last weekend.  De La Salle without Geno Crandall and James Lawson but Reid Travis back in the starting lineup.

David Dileo knocks down a pair of 3s from UNI commit Wyatt Lohaus to get Iowa City West rolling.  Lohaus and his soph brother Tanner are the sons of former Iowa star big man Brad Lohaus.  Goanar Mar with a 3 point play late in the 1st quarter to keep DLS within 16-11 at the 1st break.  Jarvis Johnson a 3 off the high screen, Sacar Anim a baseline drive for a nasty dunk and a Malcolm Porter putback late in the 2nd give the Islanders a little moment as they stay within 25-20 at half.

Lohaus up and under and frosh Conner McCaffrey (Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey's son) for 3 and the lead is quickly up to 10.  Travis responds with 3 post touches for 2 dunks and a free throw.  Lohaus cuts for 2, then a pair of jumpers and he beats the buzzer with a tough 2 as he scores 10 in the quarter, including the last 8 for the Trojans.  40-31 West after 3.

De La Salle has the proverbial run in them and its right out of the gate.  Jarvis Johnson jumper, Travis with another dunk, Anim for 3, Travis inside for 2 more after a West timeout.  We're back to even at 40 with 4:50 to play.  Dileo cold after the 1st 2 3s knocks down back to back bombs and McCaffrey from deep with 2:30 left.  49-44 West appears in control.  Lohaus another bucket with 2 minutes left to push the lead to 6.  Josh Collins with a layup with 1:20 left to cut the lead to 3.  But De La Salle has only 1 team foul.  In the process of trying to get it in, De La Salle pushes West backwards down the court.  Jarvis Johnson gets the eventual turnover and scores with 29.7 left to cut the lead to 1.  De La Salle still with 3 fouls to give.  Finally with 16.6 seconds left they send Lohaus to the line and he misses the front end.  De La Salle sets up 1 final play and West uses their foul to give with 7.7 left.  Collins fouled with 2.2 left down 1.  He makes the 1st, misses the 2nd but somehow gets it back and has a great look at a 14 footer at the horn to win it.  But that's no good and we'll have overtime tied at 51.

Anim converts a turnover for 2 and makes 2 free throws for a 56-54 DLS lead with 2:19 left in the OT.  Travis grabs a miss but misses 2 free throws with 1:42 left.  Lohaus misses another front end with 45 seconds left.  Jeffrey Daubanton scores with 20 seconds left to push the lead to 4 and Anim adds the final bucket for a 60-54 De La Salle win in overtime.  Sacar Anim 13 of his 15 in the 4th quarter and OT.  Reid Travis 11 of his 15 in the 2nd half. Jarvis Johnson 13.  Wyatt Lohaus finishes with 23 and despite the 2 missed front ends was outstanding.  David Dileo 4 3s for 12 points.

The nightcap was East Ridge taking Middleton, WI.  East Ridge is a total MASH unit right now with their entire frontline sitting out.  Ryan Keenan and Ryan Mathis out due to injury and Brian Ishola out for the year with an ACL injury.  But the guards are still plenty talented.  Jake Knupp with 10 points in the 1st quarter to lead the Raptors to a 3 point lead at the 1st break.  Seth Green with a 3 point play to end a 10-0 play across the quarter.  21-13 Raptors at the 5:09 mark of the 2nd.  UW-Milwaukee walkon Derek Rongstad knocks down a 3 to break that streak and then buries 2 late 3s to keep Middleton close at the half.  26-22 East Ridge at halftime.

Luke Schafer and Jake Knupp carry their team's offense in the 3rd quarter.  Both score 7 points in the quarter.  37-35 East Ridge after 3.  Sid Tomes for 3 and a Knupp drive to push the lead to 6.  Schafer for 3 and he takes a turnover for 2 more to cut the East Ridge lead to 45-43 with 3 minutes left.  Green with back to back buckets around a Middleton turnover to extend the lead to 6.  Middleton on the offensive board for a 3 point play.  East Ridge misses a front end but Middleton can't convert.  Sid Tomes makes 4 straight freebies.  Schafer with an offensive board for 2 free throws to cut the lead to 2.  Knupp makes 1 last free throw and Rongstad's 3 at the horn is short.  East Ridge wins 54-51.  Jake Knupp with 10 of his 22 in the 1st quarter.

Only 1 game out of the 6 wasn't right down to the wire.   While there wasn't the high profile local talent of years past (Matt Thomas, Bronson Koenig), still plenty of outstanding players and games to see.  Once again, great to see the hometown put on a quality showcase.

1 comment:

  1. I have watched De play a few times this year. They have some younger hidden gems shinning lately. Daubanton not getting enough credit, was second in total minutes, 9 rebounds, 4-7 shooting including a nice two handed Travis type dunk. This team will be very solid next year as well. Check out the box score. http://www.mnbasketballhub.com/game/show/6075357?subseason=122199&referrer=905130

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