Its the 2014 Breakdown Tip Off Classic once again held at Minnetonka. Lots of high expectations with all 4 #1 teams participating and matchup of #2 vs #3 in class AAAA. Great crowds for the later games and great energy for those games. Close games all over the place made for a very entertaining day. I didn't borrow a Christmas sweater for the coldness of the gym early in the day but it was hot by the end of the day. Plenty of Pepsi to keep hydrated and Dominos pizza to keep me fed.
Number of Teams I've Seen: 58
Beverage Consumption Counter: 388 ounces (24 days, 35 games, 2 scrimmages added on)
Pepsi: 184 ounces
Coke: 80 ounces
Sprite: 32 ounces
Barq's Root Beer: 20 ounces
A&W Root Beer: 12 ounces
Red Powerade: 40 ounces
Red Gatorade: 20 ounces
Hot Dog Counter: 5
Song of the Day
Star Wars Theme - John Williams
Game #1: #3AAA Hill-Murray vs Minneapolis Henry
Hill-Murray star Marshawn Wilson sat out with the flu. Henry's Jermal Davis with quality bench minutes in the 1st half, a big 2nd half from Demetrius Edwards-Brown and a big game from Jacarius Ford had the Patriots primed for an upset. Jack Fahey's hot shooting and clutch play from Simeon Davis kept the Pioneers in this one. Fahey would shockingly miss 2 late free throws and Henry goes 4-4 in the last minute of regulation and appears to be ready to win. But Davis knocks down a straight away 3 at the buzzer to force overtime. Hill-Murray has a chance to tie with 15.3 left in OT but they miss 2 of 3 free throws. Henry turns it over and Davis buries a left wing 3 with 5 seconds left in OT to win it 83-82. Jack Fahey 27, Simeon Davis 26 (19 after halftime) for Hill-Murray. Demetrius Edwards-Brown 18 of his 25 after halftime, Jacarius Ford 22 for Henry
Game #2: #8AAA Orono vs Eagan
Forward Sam Sustacek still out for Orono and SG Chase Seiberlich also out for Eagan with a concussion. The game starts slowly with a 4-4 tie at the 14:58 mark. Orono then goes on a 26-4 over the next 9:30 holding Eagan to 1 FG. Cole Hennings 9 points in that run. 30-8 Orono at the 5 minute mark. Blowout city? Not so fast. Eagan comes back with a 14-4 run to close the half and only be down 12. Alexander Kill made 2 3s in the 1st half run and he adds to 2 more in the 2nd half to keep Orono up 10 with 10:45 left. Junior Sam Schuberg with 5 points in a 12-2 Eagan run. 49 all with 4 minutes left. Hennings with a reverse layup and a pair of free throws to end a 6-0 Orono run to counter that spurt. That's enough for Orono to hang on 59-53. Cole Hennings 22 for Orono. Sam Schuberg 16 for Eagan.
Game #3: Lakeville North vs #1A Minneapolis North
No Patrick Dembley or Randy Mathews for Minneapolis North. Minneapolis North jumps out to a 10-2 lead, but Lakeville North climbs back in it with quality play from Marquise Walker off the bench. Issac Johnson knocks down 4 3s in the half. Minneapolis North by 1 at the break. Carter Brooks continues a stretch of good play and his back to back hoops put Lakeville North up 10 with 10 left. Minneapolis North gets a big 2nd half from Tyler Johnson and he is a big part of a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 2. Carter Brooks with a pair of tip ins to preserve the lead and Cal Pesola with a big transition 3 with 3:20 left to put Lakeville North up 5. The rest is free throws. Lakeville North wins 83-76. Tyler Johnson 21 of his 23 after the half for Minneapolis North. Isaac Johnson adds 20 on 5 3s. Jamil Jackson 2 points. Carter Brooks 20 points in a coming out party for Lakeville North. Lakeville North with 5 in double figures. Also keep an eye on sophomore forward Nathan Reuvers. Minneapolis North with bad body language and bad team defense. They played a game based on individual talent rather than team chemistry.
Game #4: #6AAAA Maple Grove vs #10AAAA Hopkins
This was the Brad Davison show. He was finding Reed Nikko for lob dunks or driving to find Jack Hutchinson for corner 3s. Then he's scoring on top of that. A 13-2 run late in the 1st half by Maple Grove sends the Crimson to halftime up 16. The lead expands to 22 on a Hutchinson 3 with 14:22 left. John Warren starts a big Hopkins run as he scores the 1st 13 Hopkins points of the half. Then its 14 in a row from Vinnie Shahid. The Hopkins run is 27-6 to cut the lead to 62-61 with 5:12 left. Davison with an assist for a layup, a 3 point play off the bounce and he closes it with free throws. Maple Grove wins 75-69. Brad Davison with 25 points and I had him for 11 assists that turned into 27 more points. John Warren 21 of his 23 in the 2nd half, 5 triples. Vinnie Shahid 16 of his 22 points in the 2nd half. Only 2 points from anybody else in the 2nd half for Hopkins. I thought the Maple Grove size and strength inside would be a factor and it was totally not there. Nikko scored his points on dump offs and lobs and only 1 hoop from Kayode Awosika.
Game #5: #7AAAA Eden Prairie vs Stillwater
This looked like a quick blowout too as Eden Prairie jumped out to a 15-4 lead. Connor Gamble's hot hand kept the Ponies close. Grantham Gillard matched that hot hand for Eden Prairie. Eden Prairie holds Gamble down to 1 late 3. Stillwater holds the pace down in the 2nd half with 3 man X offense and a couple of quick and effective Randy Jordan timeouts. But its not quite enough as Eden Prairie wins 71-65. Grantham Gillard with 6 of his 8 3s in the 1st half on his way to 32 points. Connor Gamble 20 of his 24 in the 1ts half for Stillwater. Eden Prairie more open with their offense this year as they have lots of guys who will shoot it from 3.
Game #6: #2AAAA Cretin-Derham Hall vs #3AAAA Champlin Park
Joe Rosga goes off for 17 points and 3 assists early to carry CDH. Like he did against Hopkins earlier this year, JT Gibson picking up his game to keep the Rebels close. McKinley Wright adds a late 3 point play and bucket to propel Champlin Park to a 32-28 halftime lead. Jeremy Johnson up high to throw down a lob and that causes the full house to explode. Rebels by 6 and a CDH timeout. CDH with a 12-0 after that. Johnson for 3 and then Gibson with a 4 point play. Sam Neumann with his 3rd bomb of the half. Gibson counters with a block, steals the rebound and goes for 2. Gibson with a stepback and runs for 2 more. Marty Hill for 3 to end the 11-2 Rebels run. 54-48 Champlin Park 6:18 left. Rosga with a 3 for his only bucket of the 2nd half, Donnell Gresham back in with 4 fouls and takes a steal for a 3 point play before fouling out. 59-57 Champlin Park 3:08 left. They make 6-6 free throws down the stretch and survive 1 last CDH chance. Champlin Park wins 65-62. Joe Rosga 20 points, Sam Neumann 19. JT Gibson 23, McKinley Wright 17. Wright also very active on the glass on both ends.
Game #7: Chanhassen at #5AAAA Minnetonka
Chanhassen without their star wing Joey Witthus for this one. Center Evan Altenburg out of the Minnetonka lineup. The early story is turnovers for Chanhassen as they fall behind 13-2. Chanhassen scores the next 7 before Cedric Boone converts 2 more turnovers into 5 points to stretch the lead to 27-14. Chad Mapes hot shooting is most of the Chanhassen offense. He buries 2 3s to keep Chanhassen within 8 at half. Amar Miller with a pair of early 3s and he runs for a layup and the lead is back to 14. It oscillates between 10 and 20 the rest of the way with the outcome never in doubt. Minnetonka wins 79-67. Chad Mapes 6 3s on his way to 22 points for Chanhassen. Amar Miller 25 points with 3 3s. Justin Moes 4 3s for 19, Cedric Boone with 19 off the bench. Seth Coatta 2 points.
Game #8: #1AAAA Apple Valley vs #1AAA De La Salle
Early on, Gary Trent on fire. He buries a knocks down a jumper, Jarvis Johnson dunks on the other end, Trent for 3 and the hush sign and Jarvis scores and gets fouled on the other end, Trent then buries another bomb. Players making plays, great atmosphere, high level teams, this is fun. 25-15 Apple Valley at the midpoint of the 1st half. Trent goes cold and won't score the rest of the half. Sacar Anim goes on a 7-0 run and after a Brock Bertram bucket, takes a steal for a dunk. Cam Kirksey's offense has gone up a level this season. He makes 2 free throws, drives for 2 and spins for 2 more to ignite a 10-0 run. 44-33 Apple Valley at the half. Jeffrey Daubanton with a nice lefty 2 in the lane and Anim off the high ball screen to take the hit and finish. 61-53 Apple Valley lead with 8:11 to go. Bertram tips in a miss, Kirksey runs out for a dunk and Trent hit on a 3 and makes all 3 free throws before making a 3. That 3 ends a 12-4 spurt to push the lead to 16. De La Salle makes 1 late push with Anim for 2, a Josh Collins reverse, Jarvis Johnson for 3 and a 3 point play from Anim. Islanders within 6 with 1:33 left but they won't get closer. Apple Valley wins 83-69. They pound De La Salle 52-19 on the glass per Eagles stats. Sacar Anim goes for 35, Jarvis Johnson adds 21. Gary Trent 31 points, Brock Bertram with 17 points and double digit boards for Apple Valley. Apple Valley with 5 in double figures. Outside of Johnson/Anim, the rest of the Islanders combine for only 13 points. Jordan Bolton and Cam Kirksey giving Apple Valley great secondary contributions this season. I still don't like the fact that they don't run like they used to (find the PG and kick it up the sideline in half a millisecond) and I think their offense is too isolation oriented.