After seeing top ranked Minneapolis North on Saturday, its only fitting that I see their top foe in section 4A. That means a trip to #3A Maranatha to see the Mustangs take on Minneapolis Southwest. Plenty of teams scouting with Chaska, Minneapolis North, Minneapolis South and New Life Academy all on hand to watch. The concession stand at MCA is one of the best around and while the variety wasn't there tonight as I've seen in the past, no complaints. The corner sausage slice of Jet's pizza was outstanding. 20 oz of Red Powerade makes it go down smoothly.
Number of Teams I've Seen: 60
Beverage Consumption Counter: 418 ounces (25 days, 36 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: 60 ounces
Red Gatorade: 20 ounces
Hot Dog Counter: 5
Song of the Day
Horse with no name - America
Jeremiah Hanson off to a quick start with a spin for 2 inside, a nice cut for 2 and a drive. Damario Armstrong with a pair of 3s as well. 14-6 Maranatha at 12:55. The pace remains frenetic. Lanick Knight 5 in a row to keep SW within 3. Armstrong with his 3rd bomb of the half in addition to his pushing the pace. 33-20 MCA at the 8 minute mark as the Mustangs are galloping up and down the court. That lead grows to 17 at the half. 55-38 MCA with Armstrong and Hanson combining for 39 of those.
Hanson for 3 and a left baseline floater to start the 2nd half. SW falls asleep on a dead ball full court inbounds and a long pass finds Armstrong who converts it into a 3 point play. Hanson slips a Spurs elevator set for a layup. Jake Meyen 2 freebies, Armstrong with a steal for 2 and Meyen runs for a layup. Hanson adds another bomb and Cam Monson runs for a layup. Then its Armstrong on the break, behind the back with the perfect bounce pass in stride to Hanson for a layup. It ends a 20-6 run that puts this one way out of reach. 84-53 MCA with 12 minutes left is the biggest lead of the night. SW crashes the glass the rest of the way to make the score look far more respectable. Maranatha wins 101-87.
Minneapolis Southwest falls to 1-5 with the loss. They host Minneapolis South on Thursday before trips to Chaska and St. Louis Park before Christmas. The Lakers do end up with 4 players having at least 16 points. Keion Alexander with 3 triples on his way to 19. Lanick Knight with 17, AJ Ray and Arthur Frazier 16 each. Frazier very active on the glass. AJ Ray with a nasty tip dunk attempt that missed in the first half. Besides soph Brennan Hawkins, the Lakers don't see anything from their bench.
Maranatha improves to 6-0 with the win. This was their closest final of the year but not nearly as close as the final appears. Jeremiah Hanson goes for 33 with 5 3s, Damario Armstrong hits 3 1st half triples before going cold. He still ends up with 31. The other 3 starters also reach double figures. The running game was very impressive. The players get out and run the floor and they willingly throw that long pass ahead. They'll still use the euro ball screen offense in the half court, but besides Hanson I wonder who makes a play for them out of it. The discipline to run their stuff and ability to run does make the game vs a fairly undisciplined Minneapolis North team pretty compelling.