2015 Comets Shootout Thoughts

The Comets Shootout is always one of the most entertaining events of the season.  Its also hectic with the teams playing the games in a 2 day span.  Especially so for the 17U kids who take the ACT Saturday morning and then play up to 5 games in 24 hours after that.  Here are some of the sights and sounds from the weekend.

The setup for the tourney was a scheduled play-in game to make the 1st game of the 16 team championship bracket on Saturday night.  That meant most of the day was mismatches.  In the 16U play-in games, Bomb Squad (IA) took out Heat Bui and Select Olafeso took out Fury Jaryan in a pair of upsets. Most notable game of the round of 16 was Lockdown taking on Fury Zurn.  Fury looked to have the game put away but Trae Berhow and Lockdown would make a late rally before just falling short 67-62.

Then it was on to 17U play-in games and a major upset here.  Select Ellis took out Real Athletics Jay 83-78.  Layup drill for the Select guys and Real Athletics didn't shoot the lights out like they're capable of.  In the round of 16, Select Ohnstad took out WOTN Nicols 53-42 in a battle.  Select Altenhofen also with a hard fought 73-67 win over Comets Servaty.  ECI Prospect knocked out Phenom.  Heat NW knocked out Select Ellis and Fury Wilde took out Heat Wayzata.  Heat Wayzata with Johnny Beeninga for the weekend and former Badger Jon Bryant coaching them up on the bench.

Its all about donuts thanks to former Comets guard Christian Pekarek. And not mini-donuts either, I have a waistline to maintain.  More than enough to feed me from these full size donuts.  Magic and Comets would move on in the top half of the 16U bracket.  In the 17U quarters, WI Heat shot the lights out and had an 11 point lead late vs Comets Lewis.  But Jordan Bolton was able to get to the rim in the comeback and a late 4 point play from Bryce Irsfeld allowed the Comets to steal one 68-65.  Steal one they did, I have to show some love for the Wisconsin guys playing well this weekend.  They reminded me of some of the old Minnesota Warriors squads.  Heat Vang would take out Select Ohnstad 61-50 behind a clutch shooting 2nd half from Ryan Jacobus.

In the bottom half of the 17U bracket, Select Altenhofen by 10 over ECI Prospects.  Fury Wilde struggled with the trapping of Heat NW in the 1st half but handled it in the 2nd half.  Heat NW would see their offense leave them for the 1st 9 minutes of the 2nd half.  Fury Wilde would pull away for a surprisingly easy 67-43 win.

In the 16U semis, the Magic would take out the hosts Comets 61-50.  Fury Zurn took out Heat Nord 61-47.  Then off to the 17U semis.  Comets Lewis broke open a close one in the 2nd half to defeat Heat Vang 68-46.  The other semi was a Fury Wilde vs Select Altenhofen rematch from last week.  That was Select's only Sanford league loss last week in a 63-60 fistfight.  This one didn't disappoint either.  Right down to the end in this one too and Fury holds off Select 64-58.  Fury would try to run away and Select would make a comeback.  Great game.

Then we get tandem championship games in 15U and 16U.  15U game was a back and forth battle between Future Stars and Comets North.  Things got a little ugly with a scoring controversy in the 2nd half but that dust settled and the Future Stars would hang on for a 48-43 win after trailing by 6 at the half.  In the 16U title game, Magic would control the 1st half and take a 7 point lead to halftime.  Fury would come out on a 12-1 run to get the lead but never fully put the game away.  Fury would break a tie in the last minute and win 57-53.

Then its the 17U championship game.  This championship game may be the latest one we have on the circuit but it never seems to disappoint and this one didn't either.  Fury would jump out to a quick 11-2 lead but the Comets would battle back to tie.  Dalante Peyton with a 3 at the buzzer to send Fury to halftime up 36-33.  The Comets would look to put the game away but Fury with a Furious (sorry, had to go there) rally in the last minute.  Fury missed 3, Comets 2 free throws to go up 5.  Peyton another 3, Comets layup, Sean Ryan for 3 and the lead is 1.  Jordan Bolton makes 2 free throws to put the Comets back up by 3.  Comets intentionally foul Peyton as they don't want to give up a 3.  He makes the first, intentionally misses the 2nd and Ryan crashes in from the left slot, grabs the miss and hits a left baseline fadeaway at the buzzer to force overtime.  WOW! 

In the overtime, its a 1 point game late when Steffon Mitchell gets blocked and Ethan Novacinski scoops on the other end to put the Comets up 1 with 12.7 left.  Fury takes a timeout, Mitchell gets double-teamed.  Jubie Alade stripped as time runs out and the Comets win a thriller 79-78 in overtime. 

Notable Players
Odell Wilson - Future Stars 15U (Mpls North)
Jenson Beachy - Comets North 15U (Perham)
Mitchell Plombon - Comets North 15U (Perham)
Mykal Howard - Magic Vatsaas 16U (St. Louis Park)
Brian Sitzmann - Magic Vatsaas 16U (Prior Lake)
Kade Hart - Magic Vatsaas 16U (Fairbault)
Trae Berhow - Lockdown 16U (Watertown-Mayer)
Myles Hanson - Fury Zurn 16U (Chaska)
Owen Chose - Fury Zurn 16U (Eden Prairie)
Dalante Peyton - Fury Wilde 17U (St. Paul Academy)
Austin Slater - Fury Wilde 17U (Wayzata)
Sam Sustacek - Select Ohnstad 17U (Orono)
Jordan Bolton - Comets Lewis 17U (Apple Valley)
Kobe Boraas - Comets Lewis 17U (Sauk Rapids)

2015 Comets Shootout Predictions

Its time once again for the Comets Shootout, one of the great events of our local grassroots season.  No shoe company teams showing up except for the Net Gain 15s so the field is very wide open.  A shame that we don't get a chance to see D1 and Net Gain as we have in past years.  Its also a much bigger field than we've had.  There are 48 teams each in 17U and 16U divisions and 44 in 15U.  The tourney format is an opening round game to play into the 16 team Platinum championship bracket.  For the teams in the last handful of opening round games, sorry, no soup for you.  Say hello to the Gold bracket.   So with that in mind, many of the opening round games are mismatches so I'm going to skip ahead to my thoughts on bracket play.

15U Predictions
3 possible round of 16 games here stick out to me.  Let's start with apologies to 3 of my players from last year as I can't pick them in their opener vs Comets North.  My team was 0-2 vs Comets teams at the Comets last year, can't go against that here.  Comets North is a very nice team but they'll get a stiff challenge from the MN Eagles.  They are a group of Apple Valley kids who had great success this year.  Also in the bottom half, Fury Johnson looks like they take on Comets Little who had a great season last year.   Then the sleeper game and that's the Comets top group against Crossfire Swanson.  The Crossfire group was largely together with the Heat last year and have some extra pieces to go with it.  The Comets complete the sweep but the game looks to not be a pushover.

Comets Schmidt takes out Select Hermer in a Sanford League game in the quarters.  Future Stars vs Lockdown and Fury Johnson vs Net Gain should be high quality quarterfinal games.  Comets North is my pick to move thru the last quarter with North Hoops being a major sleeper here if its Minneapolis North kids.  Future Stars vs Comets Schmidt in 1 semifinal and Fury Johnson vs Comets North in the other.  Fury Johnson and Comets Schmidt move on to the final with Fury Johnson winning a grudge match.  Love the matchup of point guards in that game.

15U Players to watch:
Matt Todd - Fury Johnson
Jarvis Thomas - Lockdown
Cam Jackson - Comets Schmidt
Odell Wilson - Future Stars (or North Hoops?)

16U Predictions
Comets again get no favors for their top team as I see them drawing Real Athletics Robinson in the round of 16.  But I think the Comets are too deep and move on.  ECI Prospects move on over WOTN Ewing.  Heat Bui and Magic Vatsaas play a tight game with Heat barely moving on.  I'll take Fury Jaryan to advance over Heat Gardner to conclude the top half.  Heat Nord thru against the MN Swish.  Playmakers Streege move on as well.  Comets DLR gets the home court edge over WOTN Herber.  Then a dynamite game at the bottom with Lockdown and Fury Zurn.  Fury moves on in a stiff opening round test.

Comets Stumpf advances over ECI, Heat Bui moves on over Fury Jaryan.  Fury Zurn also advances over the Comets.  Heat Nord advances over the Playmakers.  No Heat vs Heat final as the Comets and Fury knock them out.  So again its a Comets vs Fury top team showdown for the title and again I'll take the Fury.

16U Players to watch:
Dedoch Chan, Myles Hanson, Owen Chose - Fury Zurn
Siman Sem - ECI Prospects
Trae Berhow, Mar Mar Hughes- Lockdown
Derek Thompson, Dillon Haider - Comets Stumpf
Kade Hart - Magic Vatsaas
Isaac Johnson - Real Athletics Robinson

17U Predictions
Long story short, don't leave before the late games.  The best 2 games here are in the 10 PM slot Saturday night.  Fury Wilde rums into Heat McKee (all Wayzata kids) and Heat Northwest has a war with Real Athletics Jay.  Heat Northwest big but if they can add Xavier Johnson this week, that would be huge to go against the guard strength of Real Athletics.  I'll take Real Athletics with their shooting.  Also in the bottom half, I'll take ECI Prospects over WI Playmakers Boll.  Select Altenhofen continues their nice run with a win over Comets Servaty.   In the top half, Comets Lewis over Fury Jordan.  Heat Schumann moves on over Red River Heat.  Select Ohnstad def WOTN Nicols and Heat Vang knocks off the MN Swish.

Comets Lewis no problem moving on to the semis over Heat Schumann.  Select Ohnstad knocks off Heat Vang in a tight one.  Select Altenhofen moves on over ECI.  Fury Wilde with another stiff test knocking out Real Athletics Jay.  They win a rematch with Select Altenhofen in the semis.  Select Ohnstad won a title last week and I'll take them to knock off the hosts in the semis.  Fury Wilde completes the Fury sweep with a win over Select Ohnstad in the final.

17U Players to watch:
Steffon Mitchell, Dalante Peyton - Fury Wilde
Seth Coatta, Chris Olson, Cedric Boone - Real Athletics Jay
Isaiah Wade, Lucas Walford - Heat Northwest
Ryan Lindberg,  Jack Sowada - Heat McKee
Brady Kuchinka - WOTN Nicols
Charlie Irmiger, Carter Brooks, Jack Stensgard - Select Ohnstad
Sam Baker, Nick Dufault - Select Altenhofen
Cole Dahl, Bryce Irsfeld, Ethan Novacinski - Comets Lewis
Samm Jones, Quenton Siebenahler - Heat Vang