Red Knights jump to top of North Suburban

Prologue
After a down year last year, Benilde-St. Margaret's is much improved so its an opportunity to see them host North Suburban leader Spring Lake Park.  Early meal means I stay away from the usually quality hot dog but I add 20 ounces of Red Powerade to the beverage tally to hit the century mark there.  Hamline head coach Jim Hayes enjoys the hot dog while he's in to watch Spring Lake Park's TC Robinson.  I can't stand today's tune but since it seems to be in every pregame mix, I had to look up who wrote the garbage.

Song of the Day
Jay-Z, Kanye and who ever else - Clique (clean version)

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 672 ounces  (64 games, 50 days)

  • 36 oz Dr Pepper
  • 24 oz Sprite
  • 100 oz Red Powerade
  • 40 oz Red Gatorade
  • 292 oz Pepsi
  • 140 oz Coke
  • 20 oz Barq's Root Beer
  • 20 oz Mug Root Beer 
Game Time
Benilde-St. Margaret's controls this one from the start.  Sam Lynch flares for 3 out of classic Princeton chin and knocks down a jumper.  9-2 BSM at the 14:39 mark.  Lynch rolling with a layup, the sweet kiss off the glass on the short jumper and a nice UCLA cut for a free throw.  Lynch deep and playable at 9:05.  22-11 BSM at that point.  Spring Lake Park sticking around as they pull out THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE and that nets shooter Collin Price a pair of 3s.  TC Robinson sits out the last 3 minutes after a quick pair of fouls gives him 3.  A turnover sees soph Sam Baker go behind the back to Colin Polarek for a layup late in the half.  36-24 Benilde-St. Margaret's leads at the half.

Benilde breaks the Panthers pressure for a second layup in the game and the lead is 15 early in the 2nd half.  TC Robinson makes his 1st field goal at the 13:10 mark, its a 3 that cuts the lead to 11.  But he picks up a cheap 4th foul in the backcourt with 10:56 to play and has to sit.  Forward Eji Ejiya picks up his 4th at the 9:58 mark and he'll sit too.  2 major weapons on the bench for Spring Lake Park.  Lynch breaks an 8 minute drought from the field with a bucket at the 7:45 mark.  But Spring Lake Park's offense only generates 5 points during that stretch.  So the lead is still 9 when Lynch scores.  Sam Baker adds a 3 with 6:10 to push the lead to 53-39.  TC Robinson scores 14 points in just under 3 minutes but Spring Lake Park gets no closer than 9.  Benilde-St. Margaret's wins 65-53.

Post Game
For Spring Lake Park, TC Robinson leads the Panthers with 19 points.  He scored 14 of those inside of 4 minutes to play after the Panthers were down 16.  Collin Price with 16 points, 13 in the 1st half.  He knocked down 4 threes.  All 5 starters score but they get absolutely nothing from the bench.  I like their high low entry into their offense.  But I was surprised to not see a bigger emphasis on pounding the ball inside, especially when the Red Knights went man.  As much as it pains me to say it, I was surprised to not see more flex in the 2nd half.  Spring Lake Park falls to 6-5 and 2-1 in the North Suburban.  A win would have kept them in sole possession of first.  They go on the road to St. Louis Park and Champlin Park (a game I'll be at) before a big game with Fridley on Friday.  Then a trip to Farmington looms.  Tough stretch for the Panthers. 

For Benilde-St. Margaret's, lefty Sam Lynch with a crafty 24 points to lead all scorers.  13 of those in the 1st 9 minutes.  Colin Polarek with 12.  Soph Sam Baker adds 10 off the bench.  I loved the 2-3 high offense.  4 out with a screener in the middle to get some shuffle and UCLA cuts.  Add in some Princeton chin action and space to go back door and it was fun to watch.  Coach Moore switching between man and 1-3-1 for much of the night.  You could argue this is his best coaching job since the 2008 state championship team with Mr. Basketball winner Jordan Taylor.  The Red Knights get the 1st shot against Fridley next week before visiting Totino-Grace on Friday.  Those are big games in the standings.  But before that there's the battle for the Christian Brothers Cup at De La Salle on Saturday.  The Red Knights are now 8-5 and move into 1st place at 3-1 in the league.  4 other teams trail them at 2-1.  Fridley 1 game back in the loss column.  Wouldn't be crazy to see as many as 6 of the 8 teams beat each other up and stay in contention for the last North Suburban title.

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