Another class AAA team in survival mode

Prologue
A late change of plans allows me to get in one of my games of the week as #2AAA St. Paul Johnson visits Lakeville South.  A 20 ounce Coke keeps the beverage counter ticking.  It was needed as the hot dog bun was a bit dry and almost dusty.  Limited sightings tonight but there were a couple AAU guys in the building along with a couple of coaches scouting.  The anticipated matchup of D1 Minnesota point guards doesn't unfold as soph Jack Sorenson sat out with mono.

Beverage Consumption Counter: 64 ounces (2 days, 2 games, 2 scrimmages added on)

Pepsi: 32 ounces
Coke: 20 ounces
Sprite: 12 ounces

Hot Dog Counter: 2

Song of the Day: Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino

Game Time
Brenon Larson-Gulsvig (BLG) opens with a pair of free throws, a triple, a post bucket and a drive for the 1st 9 Lakeville South points.  9-6 Cougars at the 14:44 mark.  Johnson evens the game at 11 before a Lakeville South run.  BLG starts it with his last bucket of the half, Jack Swanhorst comes off the bench with 4 bunnies and frosh Shea Mitchell to the rack for 2 and the harm.  The Cougars run is 14-2 in just under 4 minutes.  Lakeville South takes the MoKiller timeout at 9:12 with a 25-13 lead.  South gets a field goal at the 8:15 mark but no more buckets the rest of the half.  Johnson got out of a diamond press and switched to a softer 3/4 court 2-2-1 that really bothered Lakeville South.  Thankfully the new hand check rules cause 14 Governors fouls for 13-19 Cougars FTs.  36-28 Lakeville South with the lead at the half thanks to the last 9 points being free throws.  BLG hot in the 1st 5 minutes but struggled after that.  Jalen Mobley with a quiet half of 6 points for Johnson.

BLG picks it back up to start the 2nd half.  Shea Mitchell drives and finds him for a 4 point play.  He also gets a skip for 3 and a pair of layups for the 1st 11 Cougars points of the half.  Mitchell adds a jumper for a 49-37 lead with 10:43 left.  Johnson coach Vern Simmons takes timeout to talk to his guys.  2 quick buckets force a Lakeville South timeout with 8:47 left.  Coach John Sheehan tries to steal a break for BLG but that strategy backfires as the offense looks lost.  BLG right back to the table after 2 more Johnson buckets.  After he scores and misses a layup, Jalen Mobley comes to life.  He catches the zone sleeping on the backside and dives in for a BLOB layup.  Eric Elliot steals the ensuing inbounds for a pair of free throws.  That cuts the lead to 1 with Johnson on a 13-4 run since their timeout.

Mobley buries a 3 with 5:40 left for Johnson's first lead since 3-2.  55-54 Govs back on top.  Mitchell grabs a rebound and goes coast to coast to find BLG for a layup.  That puts BLG at 30 for the night.  58-55 Cougars up with 5 minutes left.  After a pair of free throws by Justus Murphy, Johnson finally gets back in the 2-2-1 that was so successful in the first half.  Surprised they waited that long.  Mobley back at it grabbing his own board for 2 free throws and a putback.  That was after Mitchell went to the hoop twice and somehow didn't get a whistle.  Max Barber with a big 3 point play to tie the game at 61 with 3:43 left.  Murphy with a 3 point play to put Johnson up for good.  BLG hand-checked on the next possession but his drive doesn't get that whistle either and its a charge.  Lakeville South switches their flat 3-2 zone with BLG on top (had great success with it) to a more extended version with Mitchell on top.  I'd have him there all the time anyway, plus it would be better disguise for traps.  However, he needs to be more active up there to make the zone a factor.  Mobley drives for 2 with 1:43 left for a 5 point Govs lead.  After a South miss, Mobley misses both ends of the bonus but Johnson gets it back but doesn't convert.  After a BLG ends his scoring night with a clutch triple, its 70-67 Johnson wth 26.4.  Mobley makes the 1st of 2, misses the 2nd but gets his own miss back and that will seal it.  2 offensive rebounds of free throws in the last minute just can't happen.  Johnson comes back from 12 down with 10:43 left to win 73-67.

Post Game
For Lakeville South, Brenon Larson-Gulsvig picks up the slack with Jack Sorenson out.  He scores 21 of his 34 in the 2nd half.  Jack Swanhorst next in line with his 8 point spurt.  Frosh Shae Mitchell with 7.  The last 3:30 they couldn't make a play.  Despite a 10-12 point lead early in the 2nd half, it always felt like the Cougars were just hanging on as Johnson had not yet make their run.  When that happened, they couldn't get the momentum shifted back.  3 tough no calls down the stretch were big too.  Offensively, the ball tended to stay on 1 side which is something I'm sure they'll look to address.  The Cougars fall to 0-1 and now go on the road for 5 out of 6.  That includes games at Chaska, Edina, Prior Lake and Apple Valley with a home rivalry game against Lakeville North thrown in before the holiday break.

Johnson is 1-0 with the win.  They have a tough home game with Stillwater on Tuesday.  Jalen Mobley with 18 of his 24 in the second half to help bring the Govs back.  Justis Murphy with 11 points after seeing limited first half action.  The rest was just typical Johnson balance and generating offense with defense.  26 fouls for the Govs were a big factor as the hand check rules were called much tighter tonight than I saw last night.  That lead to Lakeville South shooting 23-35 from the charity stripe.  That compared to 18-28 for Johnson (16-20 2nd half vs 2-8 in the 1st half).  They'll have to keep that gap down.

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