Small School Delight

Prologue
To Macalester for the 4A and 4AA championships.  Jammed packed house at the Leonard Center for both games.  The always fun 500 ml bottle of Coke is the drink that closes out the official tally for the beverage counter (hard to track cups at state).  Boo the Toddler Ref is in the house for the late game.

Number of Teams I've Seen: 159 (70 courts)

Beverage Consumption Counter: 1658.7 ounces (107 days, 144 games, 2 scrimmages added on)
  • Pepsi: 844 ounces
  • Coke: 208.9 ounces
  • Dr. Pepper: 48 ounces
  • Sprite: 200 ounces
  • Sierra Mist: 12 ounces
  • Barq's Root Beer: 20 ounces
  • A&W Root Beer: 72 ounces
  • Red Powerade: 120 ounces
  • 0 Calorie Fruit Punch Powerade: 20 ounces
  • Red Gatorade: 96.9 ounces
  • Water: 500 ml
Hot Dog Counter: 22

Song of the Day: Fleetwood Mac - Seven Wonders

4A Championship (#3 Maranatha vs #2 Minneapolis North):
Cam Monson with a layup to start and a Jeremiah Hanson drive for 2 free throws.  4-0 MCA at 15:57 as the North offense can't get going.  JaQuan Sanders-Smith off the North bench with the nice give and go via Odell Wilson in the post and another layup.  Timeout North at 13:27 down 10-9.  Its Sanders-Smith again, this time its a 3 point play to give North their 1st lead.  He adds bonus free throws and Wilson with a jumper as the frosh continues to produce.  21-18 Polars at the 8 minute mark.  Hanson heating up as he buries back to back 3s as the North offense is really ragged.  He then outmuscles a Polar for a rebound and gets fouled.  Then a North attempt to save a loose ball goes haywire and Hanson turns that into a 3 point play.  4 straight turnovers, outworked on that rebound and they give up an offensive rebound of a free throw.  That's an ugly sequence for North.  31-26 MCA at 2:22 after that.  Isaac Johnson with a tough stepback, a 3 point play and running out for 2 more.  Monson with 3 of 4 free throws during that stretch.  Hanson with a technical free throw after the 2nd North delay of game call and he scores the last bucket of the half.  38-35 Maranatha at the half.  Hanson with 21.  Isaac Johnson with 10.

Jamil Jackson had a rough first half but got off to a quick 2nd half start with a hoop and a putback as the Polars score the 1st 6 of the second half.  Isaac Johnson to the left hand for 2 and Tyler Johnson for 3 to end the Polars 11-2 run.  46-40 North at 13:20.  Jackson sits with his 4th foul a minute later.  Monson with a free throw off a turnover, Hanson saves a miss for a Jake Meyen free throw and then Hanson scores.  49-48 North inside 10 to play.  Then the chess match begins.  MCA with a little momentum and in a 1-1-3 zone.  North looks a bit confused but they'll go 4 corners 2-1-2 and hold it.  Then a strange North timeout with 7:31.  MCA stays zone and North will hold for another 50 seconds.  But for some reason North decides to play at 6:40 and Sanders-Smith makes 1 of 2 free throws at 6:32.  MCA takes time and they'll come out man after they miss.  North misses and Hanson scores to tie it.  Jackson comes back in with 5:37 left.  Bad North miss and Damario Armstrong makes 2 free throws with 4:43 left for a 52-50 MCA lead.  They'll go back to the zone.  Tyler Johnson converts a turnover to tie it as its as 2 minute stretch of bad shots and turnovers both ways.  Hanson makes bonus free throws with 2:07 left, Sanders-Smith scoops for 2 but Jake Meyen scores the other way.  56-54 MCA 1:48 left.  Another bad shot and Armstrong makes an ill advised double clutch bank.  58-54 MCA 1:20 left.  Jackson makes 2 free throws and Maranatha helps the Polars by jacking a crazy shot.  Tyler Johnson to the rim for a monster dunk attempt over Hanson that almost went in.  He makes 1 free throw to cut the MCA lead to 1.  Hanson makes 1 of 2 free throws after the last MCA timeout.  North misses and MCA appears to get whacked but its an overrule to a jump ball with 30.3 left and it goes to MCA.  MCA travels with 20 seconds left, Jamil Jackson tips in a miss and North takes a timeout to set their defense with 9.4 left.  MCA gets in the inbounds and darn near turns it over.  But 1 outlet later they're on the break and its Monson under the rim.  Pump once and its a layup for the game winner with 2 seconds left but it doesn't go down, oh my goodness.  59 all and we'll play overtime.

In overtime, Jackson a tip in to put North up 1.  Armstrong off the bounce, Sanders-Smith with a floater.  Armstrong to Monson for a layup.  64-63 MCA with 2:15 left in OT.  Hanson up and under but its a walk with 1:30 left.  Tyler Johnson puts back a miss and Hanson misses with 1 minute left.  North bails out MCA with a quick miss.  Monson makes 1 free throw and MCA gets the miss back for Hanson to score .  Sanders-Smith fouled and makes 2 with 33.1 left and we're tied at 67.  Maranatha takes their last timeout to setup the final possession . Its Armstrong off the bounce and he makes the floater with 14 seconds left.  North out of timeouts and here they come.  The push up the right wing and Jackson has an open right side look that's no good with 5 seconds left.  MCA grabs the rebound and North makes no attempt to foul?!?!?!?!  Maranatha wins 69-67 in OT.  Jeremiah Hanson leads all scorers with 33 points, Damario Armstrong with 11 and despite struggles in regulation came up large with 2 buckets and an assist for another in the OT.  JaQuan Sanders-Smith leads North with 15, Issac Johnson with 15.  Jamil Jackson with 12 and Tyler Johnson with 10 points but both of them struggled as well.

4AA Championship (#1 St. Croix Lutheran vs #3 Minneapolis Roosevelt):
To show you how respected Roosevelt was in the section, SCL had 2 losses all year (DLS and St. Thomas Academy), #1 in the state poll and power polls and a better record but Roosevelt still got the top seed.  Interesting defensive matchups as its Trenton Krueger who gets Elijah Hannah, Ade Lamu gets London Cobbs and Venkat Valluri gets Arione Farrar.  Ade Lamu active early for SCL with a pair of steals for a bucket and 2 free throws plus a tap in.   London Cobbs carrying the Roosevelt offense as he scores their 1st 9 points with 3 buckets and a triple.  That 3 starts a 7-0 Roosevelt run to put them up 13-10 at the 8 minute mark.  Trenton Krueger and a high low feed for free throws vs the 2-3 zone.  That surrounds a Cobbs 3.  16-15 Roosevelt.  Then Roosevelt coach Rob Mestas leaves the bench at the 4:30 mark and does not return.  Krueger with a 3 point play.  Cobbs fouled and then makes a free throw.  He won't take the 2nd due to blood on the cheek.  But a Roosevelt assistant fixes that by ripping off his tie and using it to get rid of the blood.   Arione Farrar finds Abdullah Aden for a momentum building 3 right before the half.  Roosevelt 23-18 lead going to halftime.

Lamu active again to start the 2nd half as he goes steal for 2 and steal for 2 free throws.  After Cobbs puts back his own miss, its Aage Rovney for 3 and Krueger with another 3 point play.  12-2 Crusaders run puts them back on top 30-26 with 14:20 left.  Cobbs will sit with his 4th foul at the 10:52 mark.  Rovney hit on a 3 for 2-3 FTs and Gunnar Maki converts inside to push the lead to 6 with 9:20 left.  Aden a BLOB 3, Farrar pull for 2 and then buries a 3.  That's a quick Roosevelt 8-0 run for a 38-36 Teddies lead with 7:12 left.  Cobbs back in with more than 6 minutes in a bit of a surprise considering how close the game is.  Lamu with a sick ridiculous block going high at the rim to smack one away.  Krueger with a layup and a SCL pins the backside of the zone for a Rovney 3 from the left corner with 4:10 left.  41-38 SCL back on top.  Roosevelt misses, SCL takes time.  They'll spread the floor but not hold against the zone.  That patience pays off in a Krueger layup thanks to great ball movement with 3:20 left.  43-38 SCL after their 7-0 run.  But the Crusaders can't take care of the ball (PG Valluri sitting).  Farrar to Cobbs for 3 after a turnover, another turnover leads to Cobbs getting hit on a 3.  He makes 2 of the 3 to tie the game at 43 with 1:29 left.  Another SCL turnover with 1:05 left.  Roosevelt takes another timeout to set up offense and SCL comes out 1-3-1.  They get a trap at the halfcourt circle to force another Teddies timeout with 37.8 left.

Teddies shot no good, Cobbs hustles to snare the miss and Krueger bumps him with 22 seconds left.  That's his 5th foul.  Cobbs makes the 1st free throw but misses the 2nd.  Roosevelt runs down that miss too and Farrar is fouled with 18 seconds left.  Timeout SCL before the free throws.  Farrar misses the front end and here come the Crusaders.  Down the right side we go and the ball eventually ends up in the hands of Tommy Metcalf, the 5th guy you would think of in the Crusaders starting 5.  Maybe he's not even in the game if Krueger doesn't foul out.  But who cares, its an open 12 footer from just off the left lane line and its pure with 7 seconds left!  Roosevelt pushes the ball back and Farrar gets called for a walk right at the 3 point line with 0.7 left.  St. Croix Lutheran wins a thriller 45-44.  Trenton Krueger 14, Ade Lamu and Aage Rovney 12 as the big 3 do their part for SCL.  London Cobbs leads all scorers with 21 points, Arione Farrar with 11.

What an amazing night of basketball.  The stands were packed and people were 2 and 3 deep on the 3 rails.  Great fans, great hoops and an overall great environment.  Heartbreak hotel for the Minneapolis City Conference (and my picks) as they lose all 3 of their section finals by a combined 7 points. On a more serious note, best wishes to Rob Mestas, hope he gets well soon.

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