Its the top event of the season, the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic. As usual, I'm perched in the main gym for the day. 3 beverages for 36 ounces and 450 calories is the liquid menu. Add in a slice of sausage pizza to keep the waistline happy. A classic day at the event with the 2 top teams in the state going at it. I skip the late game since I've already seen CDH and Minnetonka. We get a special appearance by the Minnetonka Fire Marshal to keep the overflow crowd at bay. So squeeze together folks and get cozy (you can even think about getting a phone number if that applies, just repeating what was said at the game). We can't have anyone in the doorways or in the aisles. But you can get up and dance to our song of the day courtesy of the public address during the Fire Marshal's appearance.
Song of the Day
Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
Number of Teams I've Seen: 59 (19 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)
Beverage Ticker: 120 ounces (1390 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 3 liters (0 calories) + 60 oz (0 calories.
24 days (20 possible game days), 34 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay
- Pepsi: 72 ounces (900 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
- Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
- Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
- Water: 3 Liters + 60 ounces (0 Calories)
- Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Pizza Ticker: 7
Walking Taco Ticker: 4
Game 1: #5A Browerville/Eagle Valley vs Waseca
The matchup of Waseca's Nick Dufault and Browerville's Bryce Irsfeld did not disappoint. This one was really a story of 2 halves. The first half was all Dufault. He knocks down 6 triples and goes off for 24 points. That includes a fadeaway 3 just before the halftime horn. 38-17 Waseca rolling at the break. Browerville adjusts holds him to only 1 field goal in the 2nd half. That was a runout for a layup with 9:10 left and Waseca still has the 21 point lead. But Irsfeld leads a huge Browerville rally with 14 points after that. They would grab and offensive board of a free throw with 1:30 left but turn it over with a chance to tie. Waseca misses a front end and another free throw and there's 1 last chance. Irsfeld misses 1 3 and he ends up getting it back but his 3 at the buzzer is front iron no good. Waseca hangs on 69-66. Nick Dufault finishes with 36 points (24 1st half, 10 2nd half free throws). Bryce Irsfeld finishes with 32 points. He scored 22 of those after halftime to lead the rally.
Game 2: #2AA St. Croix Lutheran vs #3AA Braham
Size and strength for St. Croix Lutheran vs speed and shooting for Braham. St. Croix Lutheran opens with a 3 point play and a Aage Rovney 3. The rest of the half is all Braham with a fast pace. Rovney has to sit the last 7:54 with 3 fouls. Chris Olson goes for 3 of the 6 bombs for Bombers and 18 points in the half. 42-33 Braham at half and considering how bad St Croix Lutheran looked, its a miracle they're that close. Only Trenton Krueger's 12 points with a late 3 and tip in keep them within shouting distance. The 2nd half is all St. Croix Lutheran. Ade Murkey with a drive and hammer dunk plus a finishing 3 as the Crusaders go on a 28-4 run to start the 2nd half. Everything going in for the Crusaders and nothing for Braham. Braham's 2nd field goal doesn't come until almost 10 minutes into the 2nd half. St. Croix Lutheran wins 86-75. Chris Olson 25 and 11 for Braham. Ade Murkey 23 and 16, Trenton Krueger 20 and 21 for St. Croix Lutheran. Key adjustment midway thru the 1st half for the Crusaders moving Trenton Krueger from the wing to the post where he belongs and bringing in Jamaris Johnson to fill the permeter spot. This solved the major tactical problem that I wrote about the Minnehaha game (Krueger starting the game on the wing). Clearly they've been stubborn about their lineup with this early game problem recurring, but this should be a step in a new direction.
Game 3: #1A Minneapolis North vs #4AAA Fridley
Fridley would hang around for most of the 1st half. But way too much talent for North. North goes on a 15-4 run in the last 3 minutes of the half. That was in thanks to some of the 20 turnovers Fridley committed in the half. The 2nd half is run and gun and dunks as North takes off to a 96-57 win. Tessy Pal with 11 points and 15 boards on my sheet for Fridley. Great balance from North with Tyler Johnson scoring 21, Patrick Dembley and Isaac Johnson both adding 20. Dembley adds another dimension to the Polars with his ability to get to the lane and create for others. Also interesting to see Isaac Johnson start at the 5 spot. Odell Wilson saw token first half minutes and never played again. He was a major inside presence for them last year.
Game 4: Tartan vs Linn-Mar
Great battle here between Tartan's Jordan Horn and Iowa commit Jordan Bohannon. Bohannon would miss his last 6 shots of the first half. Horn missed 4 of his first 5 shots on the day. But the 2nd half would see both raise their level of play. Bohannon with 3 FTs on a Horn foul, a tough 2 and converting a turnover into 2 more. That would cut a Tartan lead down to 1. Then Horn counters with a layup and 2 triples to push the lead back to 7. Bohannon off the BLOB for 3 and bonus free throws and Linn-Mar won't go away. Horn closes the deal with 2 drives and a coast to coast 3 point play in the last 1:20. Tartan wins 72-64. Jordan Horn with 24 of his 29 points in the 2nd half. Jordan Bohannon finishes with 26 points and 6 rebounds on my sheet.
Game 5: #1AAAA Apple Valley vs #2AAAA Hopkins
Overflow crowd for this one. A delay to start the 2nd half to make sure aisles were clear and a later delay in the 2nd half for the Fire Marshal to clear the doorways. Great atmosphere for this heavyweight contest. Amir Coffey starts the game taking a loose ball for a dunk. Then its Gary Trent going right at Coffey early. Jordan Bolton runs for a layup, lob to Cam Kirksey for a dunk and a Trent steal for 2 more. Another Kirksey hoop after a Hopkins timeout and the Apple Valley lead is 12. A Hopkins turnover and Tre Jones is out on the break. Ish El-Amin goes to challenge and Jones posterizes him with the dunk. WOW! Rest of the half is all Hopkins. El-Amin with a pair of 3s, then Simon Wright adds another bomb. Trent with an ill-advised foul on Coffey with 1.3 left. Coffey makes all 3 FTs for a 45-40 Hopkins lead. 19-4 Hopkins run in last 5 minutes.
Coffey backdoor, Wright for 3, Vinnie Shahid for 3 in a 10-1 run to start the half. 29-5 Hopkins in the last 9 minutes across halftime. 55-41 Royals lead. Trent drives for 1 hoop but then Coffey draws the charge on him on the break. 11:31 left Apple Valley down 10 and its Trent's 4th foul. But he doesn't sit long. He nails a 3 at the 10 minute mark, Brock Bertram inside for 2 and after Trent backcuts a Kirksey screen, Kirksey pops and hits the jumper. Hopkins lead is down to 4 inside of 9 left. Hopkins misses a breakaway dunk, Bertram scores and Trent hits a long 3 and we're tied at 70 with 4 minutes left. Game on!
2 on 1 and Jones with a charge as Trent ran to the 3 point line. El-Amin and Coffey score around another Eagles turnover. Tre Jones guarding Coffey with Trent having 4 fouls. Hard foul on the break leads to 2 Wright free throws. 3 point game when Coffey converts a 3 point play just inside 2 minutes left. AV falls asleep on a free throw and Coffey dunks. Hopkins wins 89-81 to take over the #1 spot. Gary Trent 27 points (12-27 FG), Tre Jones 13/9/3, Brock Bertram 21 and 11. Bertram became Apple Valley's all-time leading rebounder during the game. Amir Coffey with a quiet first half but finishes with 22 and 10. 5 Royals in double figures. Vinnie Shahid 16 and Ish El-Amin 16 off the bench.
Game 6: #3AAAA Maple Grove vs #7AAAA Wayzata
Johnny Beeninga 2 fouls in the 1st 2 minutes. Wayzata can't make a shot and this was never a game. Wayzata with only 5 field goals in the first half. They trailed by 24 at half. 2nd half is even but that's not relevant. Maple Grove wins big 70-47. Tywhon Pickford and Taron Pickford outstanding with 25 and 13 points respectively. Brad Davison adds 15. Jack Sowada 3 3s on his way to 15 points. Johnny Beeninga only 2 free throws on the day. Nice strategy to have Taron Pickford faceguard him some. Very impressed with Maple Grove. They ran lots of weave action which was very effective for their more athletic guards. That is in major contrast to the Davison pick and roll or power triangle motion to pound the ball inside that they ran last year.
Game 7: #1AAA De La Salle vs #4AAAA Champlin Park
We do get the McKinley Wright guarding Gabe Kalscheur matchup that I was hoping for. But this game was all about fouls and lots of them. 52 fouls for the game. Kalscheur goes 11-13 from the line, Theo John 10-10 all in the 1st half. That helps Kalscheur put up 23 in the half. That foul trouble adds up in the 2nd half as Goanar Mar picks up his 4th with 12:45 left. De La Salle has a 6 point lead at that point. Brian Smith for 3 from Wright, Theo John 2 free throws and a Wright putback all part of 15-4 run starting with Mar's 4th. He comes back in with 9:14 left as the Rebels go from down 7 to up 4. 4 seconds later Kalscheur has his 4th foul. Wright going to another level as he goes end to end in a flash for 2. Then a nasty crossover for a jumper to push the lead to 7. Mar for 3 to cut the lead to 2 but John counters with a 3 point play with 5:46 left. Then Wright gets over the set play flare for Kalscheur, tips the pass away and then drives for 2 on the other end. What a sequence.. Wright knocks down a 3, another nasty pull up and an assist for a layup to close it out. Kalscheur fouls out with 3:11 left to limit the DLS offensive options late. Champlin Park wins 75-68. Gabe Kalscheur with 23 of his 28 in the first half living at the line. Theo John with 22 including 13-13 FTs. De La Salle really struggled to battle him inside (see also the 30 they gave up to a D1 center in Johnson showcase). McKinley Wright finishes with 26, 19 in the 2nd half. Soph Christian Dickson with a nice game of 14 points off the De La Salle bench.