To far eastern edge of the kingdom for a battle of ranked non-conference foes as #7AA St. Paul Academy visits #4AAA Hill-Murray. A small hot dog is safer for my waistline but I will not be denied a bottle of Pepsi. Tartan in the house to check out their neighboring foe in the Metro East. Today's song is just filled in from listening to the end of the Timberwolves loss to save the 76ers from historic futility.
Number of Teams I've Seen: 24
Beverage Consumption Counter: 184 ounces (14 days, 12 games, 2 scrimmages added on)
Pepsi: 52 ounces
Coke: 80 ounces
Sprite: 32 ounces
Red Powerade: 20 ounces
Hot Dog Counter: 3
Song of the Day
Eminem - Lose Yourself
Chris Moore 6 quick points from his center spot for Hill-Murray as the Pioneers lead 10-7 at 13:40. Kent Hanson counters with 10 straight St. Paul Academy points. Those came in all fashions, a drive, 2 free throws and a foul line jumper. 17 all at the midpoint of the 1st half. Marshawn Wilson heats up late in the half with an inbounds lob for 2, 2 free throws and then a huge block in the last 30 seconds that he converts into a 3. 29-27 St. Paul Academy at the break. St. Paul Academy had chances to expand the lead late in the half and couldn't pull away.
Back and forth early in the 2nd half. Wilson with a board for 2 free throws and Sam Westby for 3 to put Hill-Murray back on top 32-31. Hanson runs for a layup, makes a free throw and grabs 2 offensive boards for 3-4 free throws. Sam Suzuki scores the 1st bench points of the game for either side and its SPA back on top 40-39 with 13:48 to go. Then the critical run. Simeon Davis on the offensive glass for 2. Westby with a free throw on a turnover and he buries a Davis kickout for 3. Moore silent after the early burst but converts another turnover into a 3 point play. That forces an Spartans timeout with 10:34 left. Another Spartans turnover and Wilson thunders that home with the right hand. Then he buries a 3 and puts back a miss to end a 16-2 run. That leads to a Hill-Murray MoKiller timeout up 55-42 with 8:43 remaining.
Then the inside game cranks up for SPA. Hanson curls off a high screen for 2. Abdul Osman for with 2 inside buckets to cut the lead to 7. SPA turns over a chance to get closer with 4:30 left. Wilson makes them pay as he sandwiches a pair of 3s around a Emerson Egly hoop. 61-50 Hill-Murray with 3:40 left. Osman scores inside again and after a Spartans timeout, their 1-2-2 3/4 press forces turnovers. Osman adds yet another pair of inside buckets. Egly finishes the run with a layup off another Pioneers turnover. The run is 8-0 and the Hill-Murray lead is down to 61-58 with 1:31 left. Wilson attacks the rim on the Hill-Murray possession but Osman rejects that. SPA in a hurry to get a 3 which was a surprise. Hanson misses that with a minute left. Davis misses a front end but Hanson gets called for an illegal screen on the other end. Hill-Murray turns it over again but Dalante Peyton misses a 3. Egly grabs the board and makes 2 free throws with 17.9 to go. Wilson fouled and he makes both with 15 seconds left. SPA goes pick and pop for Hanson. The pass is errant but he tracks it down. To Peyton for 1 pass and the 2nd pass find Egly open in the right corner. Wilson jumps out and swats that open 3 point attempt away with 2.7 left. SPA out of timeouts, they get a hectic look from Hanson at the buzzer that is no good. Hill-Murray hangs on to win 63-60.
For St. Paul Academy, Kent Hanson leads with 20 points, 13 of those in the first half. He easily could have had 20 in the 1st half but he gave up a handful of attempts looking for Osman. Unselfish to a fault when nobody could guard him inside. Then in the 2nd half, he wasn't near the post and none of the early post to post cross screen action that was so effective in the 1st half. Abdul Osman scored 12 of his 15 points in the 2nd half. Most of them easy in the post. That post play could have been enough to offset a cold shooting night. Dalante Peyton 3-11 for only 7 points and no trips to the foul line. St. Paul Academy has now lost 3 in a row to fall to 2-3 overall. But 2 of those losses are to top 5 teams in higher classes (CDH is the other loss). No shame in the Roosevelt loss either. But these 2 games show that good guards are something the Spartans will struggle with. Its no easier for the Spartans as their next game is a big section game at St Croix Lutheran next Tuesday.
For Hill-Murray, Marshawn Wilson scored 19 of his 30 points in the 2nd half. That included the last 15 Pioneers points. He was only 4-13 FGs in the 1st half but 6-12 in the 2nd half on my officially unofficial scoresheet. He also added 10 rebounds. He made plays when they needed them which is what star players do. Sam Westby the only other player in double figures for Hill-Murray with 11 points. No points from their bench. The offense very dribble and high ball screen oriented. To make their
shooters effective they'll have to get better ball movement. Hill-Murray remains undefeated at 3-0 and 2 of those wins are over ranked teams. They host Highland Park and River Falls, WI in the next week before a matchup with Minneapolis Henry in the tipoff classic. Very likely that they'll be 10-0 going into the big conference matchup with #3AAA St. Thomas Academy in the 1st round of the Catholic Spirit Tourney at the University of St. Thomas on December 27th.