The Crusade Begins

Prologue
Off to St. Croix Lutheran where the #3AA Crusaders have their home opener vs section 4AA foe #2AA Minnehaha.  This begins a stretch for St. Croix Lutheran of 7 games over 3 weeks against 4 ranked opponents, a team that beat them last year and a section final rematch.  The concessions menu is full of slush combinations which I pass on but I missed out on the Carmel Corn.  Have to make sure I get that in during my next visit.  So I settle for my 1st hot dog of the season.  I'm back on the water diet with a 20 oz bottle of Dasani.  Full house for parents night with the extra bleachers behind the opponents bench in use.  We also get the Crusader pep band in red and white stripes.  All they needed were caps and horn-rimmed glasses for the Where's Waldo look.  Would love to see the entire band go that route if they make state.

Song of the Day
Imagine Dragons - Radioactive (Courtesy of Crusader Pep Band)

Number of Teams I've Seen: 19 (9 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 24 ounces (190 calories) + 500 ml (210 calories) + 2 liters (0 calories) + 20 oz (0 calories.
13 days (10 possible game days), 10 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay
  • Pepsi: 12 ounces (150 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 2 Liters + 20 ounces (0 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 1
Pizza Ticker: 3
Walking Taco Ticker: 1

Game Time:
Ade Murkey (SCL forward formerly known Ade Lamu) starts with the 1st 5 for St. Croix Lutheran.  Then its Aage Rovney putting back his own miss, knocking down a pair of 3s and a drive.  17-7 SCL at the 11:16 mark.  Benny Larry with a deep 3 and then banks one in off the quick release in transition.  JaVonni Bickham finishes the 11-1 Minnehaha run with a nice euro step finish to avoid a charge.  18 all at the mid-point of the half.

Jalen Suggs with a steal for 2 free throws and that's the 2nd foul on Trenton Krueger trying to challenge it.  Suggs converts another layup and Jake Richardson puts back a miss.  Minnehaha back on top 28-27 just inside the 5 minute mark.  Lots of foul trouble early in this one and guys staying in or Jalen Suggs being swapped in and out.  Suggs with a bomb and JaVonni Bickham with a layup.  35-29 Minnehaha at the 2:48 mark after a 13-2 run.  Teams scoring like crazy to end the half.  Rovney and Venkat Valluri for 3 around a Suggs 3.  Murkey finishes his big half with a 3 point play to send the game to halftime tied at 43.

The start of the 2nd half is all St. Croix Lutheran.  Krueger 2 layups on the backside of the Minnehaha 1-3-1 zone.  Murkey with a steal and hammer dunk.  Rovney runs out for a layup and he drains a 3 off an offensive rebound.  Krueger drives baseline and goes to the reverse for 2.  2 Minnehaha turnovers for 2 layups.  Murkey out of the high post to Rovney for 3 vs the zone and Murkey buries his own 3 after the Redhawks got out of it.  The run is 25-4 in just under 7 minutes.  68-47 St. Croix Lutheran running away.

Minnehaha will not go away.  Bickham with a putback and drive plus a Suggs hoop for 6 in a row.  Bickham adds a 3 point play for Kreuger's 4th foul with 7:21 left.  Richardson converts a turnover and all of a sudden the lead is down to 11.  71-60 St. Croix Lutheran leading with 6:46 left.  Krueger won't sit for long as he's right back in there. Krueger runs out to break the press with a 2 handed dunk and the lead is 14 with 5:40 left. 

Minnehaha keeps coming.  8th Grader Kaden Johnson very productive off the Minnehaha bench.  He drains a kick out pass for 1 of his 4 triples on the night.  Another St. Croix Lutheran turnover turns into a Suggs 3.  Then he buries another long 3 followed by a Bickham iso hoop and another Kaden Johnson 3 busting a 1-3-1 zone out of a timeout.  Minnehaha cuts the lead from 21 down to 3 with 3:05 left. But Minnehaha can't get buckets to fall down the stretch.  St. Croix Lutheran makes 15-16 FTs in the last 3:16 to seal it. Murkey puts the icing on the cake with a dunk to end it.  St. Croix Lutheran wins 96-83.
 
Post Game
For Minnehaha, 8th grader Jalen Suggs and soph JaVonni Bickham each finish with 26 points.  Suggs with 5 3s on the night.  8th grader Kaden Johnson with 4 3s and 14 points off the bench.  Minnehaha with 11 3s total but they can rely on that too much.  The bench features 2 8th graders and a freshman.  Suggs hit a couple of really long bombs.  He also had moments where he forced like you would expect from any 8th grader.  Minnehaha falls to 1-1 overall.  They will play Washburn in the Southside Showcase on Saturday.  Then a showdown next Saturday in the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic vs Northfield.

Ade Murkey leads St. Croix Lutheran with 38 points including 19-21 from the foul line.  He was 10-10 at the line in the last 3:16.  Too much slashing and attacking the rim from him.  Aage Rovney with 5 3s on his way to 27 points.  Trenton Krueger chips in with 16.  They shoot 28-35 at the line compared to 14-20 for Minnehaha.  Early in the game, the man-man offense from St. Croix Lutheran was very strange with Lamu and Krueger away from the basket where they aren't great threats.  Bickham just zone up inside and it totally took the Crusaders out of anything they wanted to do.  Krueger was moved more inside in the 2nd half and he was far more effective there with 11 of his 16 points.  The bench is really thin again this year and their 5th guy on the court is going to have to be very selective about his offense. The big 3 go for 81 of the 96 points.  I liked the early game strategy of double Bickham on every touch. I thought that took Minnehaha out of some offensive rhythm.  But that's dangerous with the shooters the Redhawks have.  The Crusaders are now 2-0.  They play at St. Thomas Academy on Friday (one of their 3 losses last year) and then a section final rematch on Saturday vs Roosevelt in the Southside Showcase

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