It was another year of high profile boys games added to the girls tip-off classic. 4 games for top Minnesota squads against 2 Wisconsin and 2 Iowa foes. The long 14 hour day means plenty of calories. 450 of those thanks to 2 doses of Dr Pepper (thank you media room) and a Pepsi. Plus lunch and dinner consisting of a pair of walking tacos. Hopkins has the unique version in the metro. This year its the canister like Barrel O'Fun chips. But with everything stacked on top of those uncrushed chips, very hard to mix without making a mess. And remember, a walking taco is all about how you mix it. Very good crowd for the showcase game but not the massive crowd we saw for De La Salle vs Apple Valley game a couple years ago.
Game 1: Madison East (#6 in WI Division 1 Preseason Poll) vs Minnetonka
The 2 stars for Madison East got it going early. Deang Deang with 7 early points and a pair of 3s from soph Keshawn Justice helped the Purgolders jump out to a 23-8 lead. Seth Coatta would add a nice tip late in the half. Madison East up 17 at half. Minnetonka would open the 2nd half on a 18-5 run to cut the lead to 46-42. The unheralded Tonka bigs Matt Haas and especially Max Cooper really working hard inside on the offensive glass. Cooper sticks back a free throw miss and the lead is still just 7. Then a missed front end, a turnover for a Deang layup and a Deang block for a layup on the other end pushes the lead back to 13. Amar Miller keeps the Skippers close with 15 points in the last 7 minutes. No answer for him getting to the rim and the bigs were cleaning up any misses. But Deang adds 10 of his own down the stretch. Madison East wins 82-73. Amar Miller finishes with 27 points, Seth Coatta 17 and Max Cooper with a great double double of 19 and 15. Deang Deang 23 points and a handful of assists. Keshawn Justice with 5 triples on his way to 24 points.
Game 2: #1AAA De La Salle vs Milwaukee Washington (#3 in WI Division 2 Preseason Poll)
Offense was a major struggle in the first half of this one. Goanar Mar makes the 1st Islander FG at the 12:45. Then Gabe Kalscheur goes to the bench with his 2nd foul at the 10:56 mark. De La Salle only scores 2 more field goals the rest of the half, both by Mar. An 8-0 run by Washington gives them a 7 point lead before DLS cuts it to 19-16 at half. Kalscheur returns for the 2nd half and makes an immediate impact with 5 quick points. Illinois commit Te'jon Lucas matching him after a quiet 1st half. His 3 ties the game at 33 with 7:05 left. Then back to back Kalscheur bombs for a 6 point lead. Lucas with a couple of drives as Washington rallies to tie at 41. De La Salle has the ball in the last minute in a tie game and they choose to go early to Kalscheur on an iso for a bucket with 30 seconds left. Thought they'd wait and run that at the end. Lucas misses 2 free throws but redeems himself with a tough 3 at the buzzer to force overtime after De La Salle missed a free throw. We have a foul or defend situation at the end. Coach Thorson said afterwards that they played it out since they hadn't practiced it. He's has stated his opinion that the correct option is not one or the other, its is the one that you've practiced. Fun to see the application of theory to reality. Kalscheur with a strong rebound and putback for a 3 point play with 1:20 left in OT. Lucas misses a 3 and then fouls out. De La Salle wins 56-48 in OT. Gabe Kalscheur with 25 of his 27 points after halftime. Te'Jon Lucas with 21 of his 24 after halftime. Goanar Mar adds 17.
Game 3: #1AAAA Apple Valley vs Iowa City West (#1 in Iowa's top class)
Iowa City West jumps out to a 10-4 lead with nice ball movement for a pair of 3s. Gary Trent with 6 in a row to bring the game back to even. Showing more emotion than we normally see. Brock Bertram with a pair of putbacks and AV takes the lead 17-15. Iowa commit Connor McCaffery with a free throw, a jumper and 3 point play of his own to bring the Trojans back to 21 all. Trent to the rack for 2 and then coast to coast for 2 more. 31-27 Apple Valley at half.
Trent with a bucket for a 37-35 AV lead. Trent losing track of McCaffery though on the defensive end. McCaffery for 3, Trent for 3, McCaffrey 2 FTs and a great long pass for a layup. McCaffery curls a screen for 2 in the lane and then buries a 3. 2 more West free throws. 49-44 Iowa City West with 11:43 left. Tre Jones with 2 lightning fast pushes coast to coast for a layup and a 3 point play. Iowa City West trying to use Indian Hills commit Wali Parks to attack Bertram off the bounce. He scores 4 in a row to keep West up 2. Kirksey strips McCaffrey for a dunk and takes a charge. Then Trent with a steal for a 3 point play and a Bertram hoop. 9-0 Apple Valley run for a 60-53 lead with 5:25 left. Trent runs for a layup and the lead is 10 with 4 minutes left. But a couple of ill-advised shots leads to a pair of McCaffery hoops and the AV lead is down to 66-62 with 2:22 left. But a clutch Tre Jones hoop and a Trent dunk put it away. Apple Valley wins 72-64. Gary Trent 27 points, Tre Jones 21 points for Apple Valley. Connor McCaffrey with 28 for Iowa City West. Wali Parks with 13 for Iowa City West but with the number of attacks of Bertram that number needed to be over 20.
Game 4: #2AAAA Hopkins vs Des Moines Hoover
A post hoop and a triple to start and Hoover is up 5-0. Then forget about it. Vinnie Shahid 2 steals for layups and a tough 2. Amir Coffey dunks 2 turnovers around a Shahid triple. Coffey adds a putback. Its a 22-2 Hopkins run for a 22-7 lead just 7 minutes in. A Hosea Treadwell 3 keeps Hoover within 12 inside 6 to play in the half. But Hopkins slams the door with 2 Simon Wright free throws on a turnover. Shahid with another steal for 2, a lob for a Coffey dunk and a Wright triple. 58-33 Hopkins at the half. The 2nd half sees Hoover never get closer than 19. No running time but no danger either. Hopkins wins 93-70. Amir Coffey finishes with 32, Vinnie Shahid adds 27 and was a defensive menace on the ball, Simon Wright 16. Hosea Treadwell 5 triples, 21 points for Hoover. Hoover very young playing 3 freshmen and a sophomore. Hopkins played without Ishmael El-Amin but it appears he'll be back for the big showdown vs Apple Valley next week.