Vladivostok HELLO! Off to an extreme edge of The Kingdom as I continue my east metro viewing week with my first game at Hastings. The Raiders with a tough home test against #8AAA Simley. A high quality walking taco with 20 oz of Red Powerade is tonight's menu. The Hastings students breakout the Sportscenter cardboard set with one of the "anchors" sporting a star spangled banner ensemble that Chris Berman would have been proud of. UW-La Crosse and St. Olaf in the house for more serious work.
Number of Teams I've Seen: 134 (50 courts)
Beverage Consumption Counter: 1172.9 ounces (71 days, 100 games, 2 scrimmages added on)
- Pepsi: 572 ounces
- Coke: 172 ounces
- Dr. Pepper: 36 ounces
- Sprite: 128 ounces
- Sierra Mist: 12 ounces
- Barq's Root Beer: 20 ounces
- A&W Root Beer: 36 ounces
- Red Powerade: 100 ounces
- Red Gatorade: 80 ounces
- Water: 500 ml
Song of the Day
Centuries - Fall Out Boy
Sam Stensgard put up 24 in the first meeting between the teams. Craig Neilsen gets the task of slowing him down. Early on, his length is a major hassle and he's all over the place getting steals. Matt Amspoker for 3 and an Alex Anderson 3 point play for an 8-7 Simley lead at 15:16. Nielsen to the spin move for 2 and a kick to Joe Dittrich for 3. He'll add 2 more buckets with another spin included. Point guard Christian Bronner very effective out of the Hastings DDM look. His hoop at 3:30 extends the lead to 26-14. Simley can't buy a shot and the Stensgards aren't getting good looks. Sam Stensgard does get a 3 point play to finish a 5-0 mini run at the end of the half. 26-19 Hastings at the half.
Anderson with a jumper and Sam Stensgard with 2 free throws to cut the lead to 26-23. 9-0 run across halftime for the Spartans. Then Hastings pulls away. Sam Skoyen for 3, Dittrich converts a turnover into 2 free throws. Sam Stensgard clearly frustrated by the defense, 2 rushed shots don't fall and Brady Gullicks gets the extra pass for a crushing 3. Then its Bronner off the bounce to one of his many spins and he finds Gullicks for another bomb. Dittrich then drives for 2 more to finish the 13-2 Hastings run. 39-25 Raiders as Simley takes timeout to regroup with 11:28 left. Hastings gets sloppy and Jack Stensgard takes a pair of steals for buckets. Ben Scheffley adds a 3 to cut the lead to 41-32. Good Hastings timeout to stop that with 7:42 to play. Hastings with 4-4 FTs and then a pretty up and under from Neilsen to push the lead back to 15 with 4:40 left. No danger after that. Hastings wins 56-42
Alex Anderson leads Simley with 15 points. But the story of the game was the cold shooting of Simley. There were good looks that just didn't go in. Also plenty of credit to the Hastings defense. They hold the Stensgard brothers to a combined 11 points, 20 under their average. Jack Stensgard 8 total points in the 2 meetings isn't going to be enough in games like this. Sam Stensgard held to 5 points, 1 field goal after the big game in the 1st meeting. Simley falls to 5-5 in the Metro East, 12-7 overall. That puts them 1 game behind Hill-Murray and 2 games behind St. Thomas Academy in league play. It also really hurts their chances in the battle for the 2 or 3 seed in section 4AAA. The upcoming schedule is favorable with Sibley, Hudson, North St. Paul and South St. Paul in the next 4. Then a brutal 3 game ending with St. Thomas Academy and Tartan at home and they end the season at Hill-Murray.
Craig Neilsen and Joe Dittrich lead Hastings with 15 points each. Neilsen did it all in this one. Handle the ball vs pressure, score off the bounce or inside, poach passing lanes and he locked down Sam Stensgard. His length totally took anyway any of the post up action Simley wants to use with him. Brady Gullicks with a pair of clutch 3 in the big run on his way to 10 points. Christian Bronner is a ball handler who adds another dimension of quickness when he's on the floor. Hastings is now 15-3 overall and they stay 2 games up in the Metro East at 8-1. Their winning streak stands at 8 games. This home win was big because they still have to go on the road to Tartan, St. Thomas Academy and Hill-Murray. Those first 2 are next week. Win those and you're likely looking at the top seed in a very wide open section 1AAAA.