Its day 1 of the 4 day 2015 Holiday Tournament season. Day 1 takes me to Calvin Christian for 1 afternoon game and then to Bethel for the night session. Only 1 12 oz Coke (140 calories) on the day's menu.
Game 1: West Lutheran vs Liberty Classical
This was game 1 of the day at the Calvin Christian tournament. A late arrival gets me a folding chair behind 1 the far basket. Only room for 1 row of folding chairs for fans on the sideline. Concessions outside only so the lunch window wasn't open to have the ball covered with nachos. This one was a game of runs. 12-0 Liberty run with 4 3s opens up a 15-5 lead. West Lutheran then holds the Lions without a field goal in the last 11:53. That helps fuel a 20-3 Warriors run. Free throws keep Liberty within striking distance down 36-25 at half.
Liberty right back in the game with an 8-0 run thanks to a pair of Jacob Grill 3s. West Lutheran's top player Ben Beise has to sit with 4 fouls at the 14:52 mark. Grill with a 3 point play and 4 free throws from Nate Bliss as Liberty goes on a 12-0 run. 49-44 Liberty with 10:42 left. West Lutheran feels it slipping away and brings Biese back in. He immediately scores and West Lutheran goes on a 10-2 run. Bliss making a living at the foul line, but Biese comes up big. He makes a free throw, puts back a missed free throw and makes 2 layups to salt the game away. West Lutheran wins 70-66. Ben Biese 19 for West Lutheran. Nate Bliss 33 for Liberty, Jacob Grill adds 23.
Game 2: Andover vs Bloomington Jefferson
Then its off to Bethel for the night session. The start is slow thanks to Andover's zone. Andover generates offense by converting a pair of turnovers for a 9-6 lead at 12:40. Jack Tillotson sits for Jefferson with his 2nd foul soon after. Lucas Olson with a 3 point play to break a tie at the 5:12 mark. But Andover doesn't score the rest of the half. Jefferson gets a layup and a 3 but they go scoreless the last 4:15. 18-16 Jefferson at half in their kind of watch paint dry game. Andover getting to the lane almost at will but nothing to show for it.
Andover makes a run in the 2nd half. Olson with a floater, Corbin Johnson for 2 and takes a turnover for 2 more. Then another Jefferson turnover for a Logan Rezac hoop pushes Andover to a 38-31 lead with 7:05 left. Its a 13-2 Huskies spurt. But Andover gets careless and before you can blink we're tied. Tillotson drives for 2 free thrwos and Tyler Riemersma makes both ends of the bonus to end the 11-0 Jefferson run. Andover gets a Rezac hoop and a Dylan Echtenkamp hoop on a turnover. 44 all with 3:10 left. Johnson with a huge 3 and after a missed Jags layup, Rezac to the rack for 2. 49-46 Andover 44 seconds left. After a Jefferson hoop, Andover is out on the break 3 on 1 but an extra pass leads to a Jefferson block. Back the other way we go and its Riemersma on the offensive glass with 13 seconds left for the Jags lead. Andover takes a 2 timeouts around Jefferson's 1 foul to give. Rezac's look goes around and out. Jefferson makes 1 free throw and without a timeout, Andover has to throw up a prayer that is no good. Jefferson grinds one out 51-49. Tyler Riemersma 12 and 10, Joe Hird 13 for Jefferson. Corbin Johnson 10 off the Andover bench.
Game 3: Mounds View vs Mahtomedi
Biggest test of the season so far for undefeated Mounds View. Parker Fox starts quickly for Mahtomedi. He takes the opening tip for a dunk, lays in a lob, hits a 3 and dunks a turnover for an 11-6 Mahtomedi lead. The only field goals early for Mounds View coming on a hoop and 2 3s from junior Nick McMillian. Mahtomedi 17-11 when Nate Albers ducks the shoulder and its a charge for his 2nd foul at 8:09. Joe Rock runs for 2 layups and all of a sudden the margin is double digits. Albers has to come back in. Fox back door for 1-2 free throws and a layup. Jacob Martin with his 2nd 3 off the Zephyrs bench and a Gus Farrell putback give Mahtomedi a 38-20 lead in the last minute. Albers off a late inbound for 3 and steals a pass in the last 3 seconds for 2 more. 38-23 Mahtomedi at the half.
Mounds View takes that momentum to the 2nd half. Missed call as Shayne Frost dribbles off a Mounds View foot but Mounds View gets it and Albers converts a 3 on the possession. Lead down to 8. Albers in the post for 2 free throws before a strange T from somewhere around the Mounds View bench. No real explanation given. Frost makes the technicals but the Zephyrs don't convert on the possession. Albers, McMillan and Tyler Fairchild all knock down 3s and we're even at 50 with 9:20 left. Martin with another 3 off a BLOB and Mahtomedi goes up 58-53 with 6:30 left. Zeke Thompson with great bench minutes for Mounds View getting to the line. He makes 3 of 4. Fairchild floats one in and then Thompson with a great pass to Steven Skwarek for a layup with 2 minutes left. 60-59 Mounds View back in front. Its their 1st lead since 5-4. Thompson and Albers make 4-4 free throws. Skwarek with a layup on the break and Albers puts back a miss on a turnover to seal it. Mounds View comes from 18 down late in the 1st half to win 68-64. Nate Albers with 16 of his 27 in the 2nd half to lead Mounds View. He made 4 3s. Nick McMillan adds 3 bombs and 15 points. Parker Fox 22 and 9 to lead Mahtomedi. Jacob Martin 10 of his 13 points in the 1st half in a very productive night off the bench for the stretch 4. Tyler Fairchild and Zeke Thompson give Mounds View a couple of bulldogs guarding the ball.