Apple Valley clinches another conference title

Prologue
Its Super Tuesday with 5 Conference Titles possibly at stake tonight.  I venture to #5AAAA Lakeville North for their South Suburban showdown with #1AAAA Apple Valley.  Lakeville North could share the crown with a win while Apple Valley would win it outright with a win.  We get a bad officiating crew which lived up to its billing.  Full house in the stands and all the way around the railings.  The large North pep band also up on the rail with the tuba section.  Mr Basketball committee chairman Ken Lien getting jiggy with the drum line just before tip.  A great selection of 80s from them.  We get 1 classic from the band and repeated later on the public address.

Song of the Day
Sweet Child O'Mine - Guns N Roses

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 1268 ounces  (107 games, 90 days)
  • 12 oz 7 Up 
  • 20 oz Barq's Root Beer
  • 20 oz Mug Root Beer 
  • 68 oz Sprite 
  • 84 oz Dr Pepper
  • 160 oz Red Powerade
  • 212 oz Red Gatorade
  • 184 oz Coke 
  • 508 oz Pepsi
Game Time
JP Macura with a pair of sweet Dirk Nowitzki fades from the left block for a 6-2 Lakeville North lead.  Tyus Jones countering with a floater off the ball screen, a free throw and then he finds Robert Tobroxen for 3 to put Apple Valley up 10-8 at the 11:10 mark.  Macura with 2 free throws and a putback.  Tyus to the rim off the ball screen for 2 and he knocks down a 3.  Macura again in the post for 2 free throws.  Brock Bertram a 3 point play on the BLOB, then Macura blocked and Dennis Austin scores for a 23-16 Apple Valley lead at the 3:15 mark.  Macura gets away with a pushoff and then converts a 3 point play.  Tyus to Bertram on the screen and roll but that leads him directly into his 3rd foul just before the half.  Tyus with a pair of free throws, JP with a 3 and then a pair of late free throws.  27-25 Apple Valley at the half.  JP Macura with 19 of those 25 for Lakeville North.  Tyus with 12 points and 3 assists for 7 more to carry the Apple Valley offense.

Bertram quickly picks up his 4th foul on another charge and has to sit.  But Apple Valley expands the lead to 7 thanks to a Gary Trent 3 point play.  Lakeville North regroups after a timeout.  Macura coast to coast for 2 free throws, an assist for a layup and coast to coast again for 2 more.  Now Apple Valley needs a timeout.  34-33 Eagles with 10:25 left.  A foul called on Macura has the Apple Valley crowd howling about star treatment which is ironic considering all of the calls Tyus has gotten over the years.  Connor Flack was the only other offense for Lakeville North in this one.  His bucket in the post and then 3 tie the game at 38 with 8:06 left.  That was after a sweet pass from Trey Pipkins to Dennis Austin for a layup out of the side screen/roll action.

Coach Goring rolls the dice and brings Bertram back into the game with 7:58 left and a 2 point lead.  A sweet Macura assist keeps the lead at 2 before a Dennis Austin post up, Macura missed front end and a 3 point play from Tyus.  47-40 Apple Valley at that point and it appears they may pull away.  Carl Engwall stops that with a 3 point play that gets the crowd roaring as its the 5th foul on Bertram.  JP with 2 free throws and a Bronson Bruneau jumper after he comes back in with 4 fouls.  47 all with 3:25 to play.  Macura misses a good look at a 3.  Apple Valley takes timeout and the PA plays Sweet Caroline.  Turn the music off and play and we'll sing anyway!  OOOH OOOH OOOOOH!.  Tyus to Pipkins who can't finish the layup with 2:15 left.  Lakeville North runs their deliberate offense and takes it down to 13.7 left when they take timeout.  Out of the timeout, Flack catches in the backcourt and just goes.  He gets all the way to the rim and can't finish.  Out of bounds to Apple Valley with 6.6 to play.  Tyus gets and flies down the right wing, his pullup from 17 feet is in and out at the buzzer and we'll play OT.

Tyus starts the overtime with a 3 point play and 1 of 2 from the charity stripe.  North can't convert a turnover and Trent makes 2 free throws on the other end.  Then after another Lakeville North miss, Austin is fouled on purpose in the post but steps up and makes both.  Tyus fouled on a rebound and surprisingly misses both freebies.  North for 3.  Then Tyus drives and in another surprise tries to dunk and misses that.  Macura lays that in and the lead is down to 3.  Then another Apple Valley turnover converted by Drew Stewart and the lead is down to 55-54 with 40 seconds left.  Tyus makes 1 of 2 with 21.7 left.  Macura drives baseline but his pass back out is picked off by Austin and on the breakaway its an intentional foul.  Austin makes both and that's all she wrote.  Apple Valley wins 59-56 in overtime.

Post Game
Another instance of JP Macura not getting much help.  He finishes with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.  So he was part of at least 40 of the 56 points.  Connor Flack finishes with 15 points.  Lakeville North ran a ton of X delay game (2 guards pass/cut, backcut if overplayed, very common delay set) to keep the pace of this one down.  Macura struggled to get looks cutting or off the bounce against Robert Tobroxon but had success in the post that the Panthers surprisingly never came back to in the second half.  The Panthers shoot 17 of 27 from 2 but only 3 for 20 from 3 (vs 15-30 in the first meeting).  Lakeville North falls to 20-5 overall, 15-2 in the South Suburban.  They end the regular season on Friday at Prior Lake.

Apple Valley wins the conference title outright and maintains their winning streak against Minnesota opponents.  Tyus Jones with not one of the better performances.  25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers with some decisions that were not Tyus like.  Dennis Austin 12 points, Brock Bertram 9 points and 10 boards but most of that damage was done early.  Lakeville North still got beat on the glass but it was only 37-26 in this one and only 11 2nd chance points.  Apple Valley now 24-1, 17-0 in the South Suburban.  They finish up at home against Rosemount on Friday.

Both teams will head into the playoffs as the favorites in their respective sections but the roads won't be easy.  Farmington gave Lakeville North all they wanted earlier in the year and the Panthers needed a blowout performance from Macura to hang on in OT.  Rochester John Marshall is no slouch in that section either.  Apple Valley gets East Ridge and Cretin-Derham Hall.  Cretin-Derham Hall's high powered offense is always dangerous.  East Ridge was a mash unit for most of the conference season and won the Suburban East anyway

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