Its MLK weekend and that means its time to venture back to The Old Kingdom for the Midwest Players Classic. While it no longer has Pepsi as the title sponsor they still contribute. I took advantage of that and the outstanding Big Boar BBQ. Always great to run into many old friends back home. Then techincal failure as I held down The Emperor's Palace so that pushes the writeup back to now. Then Monday was the Dream Classic with Roosevelt and Washburn running all day. I caught the final 2 at Roosevelt.
Midwest Players Classic
#1AA St. Croix Lutheran survived a 10-0 run from #6 3A Waverly-Shell Rock (IA) in the 1st half to stay within 3. Trenton Krueger would pick up a quick 4th and sit a large chunk of the 2nd half. An 11-0 Crusaders run with 4 Ade Murkey FTs and 5 from Aage Rovney would put SCL up 41-33. The lead would get down to 2 before a Venkat Valluri 3 and a Murkey dunk. UNI commit Austin Phyfe was largely contained inside but he made 1 last burst before fouling out with about 5 minutes left. St. Croix Lutheran closed it out from there for a 69-57 win. Ade Murkey with 26, Trenton Krueger with 11 most late. Austin Phyfe held to 12.
Brad Davison would go off for #3AAAA Maple Grove against #4 D1 Milwaukee Riverside. He goes for 39 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. 24 of those points in the 2nd half to break open a tie game. Reed Nikko chips in with 17 and 7. Nice performance from the Crimson playing without both Pickfords (Tywhon out for the year due to a knee injury). Terrence Lewis 25 and 6 for Riverside but like the Timberwolves Shootout most of those weren't meaningful. Wisconsin assistant Lamont Paris was on hand to watch. Davison's 39 points broke the event record previously held by Matt Thomas.
#5AAAA Champlin Park had their hands full with defending state champ #1 D1 Stevens Point (SPASH). Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski on hand to watch his guy Sam Hauser. HSam didn't disappoint as he went bonkers with 35 and 8. It looked for a long while like that 39 point mark would go down. UWGB signee Trev Anderson with 25 points and 7 boards. Soph Joey Hauser adds 22 and 9. The big 3 go for all by 7 of SPASH's points. McKinley Wright would have 22, Aaron Kloeppner 14 for Champlin Park. Too much of the big 3 though as the lead hovered in the 10-15 range most of the 2nd half. SPASH wins 89-73.
#5A Rushford-Peterson and #2AA Caledonia were also very impressive in wins. Caledonia broke open a 6 point game at the half to win 85-45. Owen King with 25 and he sat the last 8 minutes. St. Croix Lutheran hung around to watch and what a matchup that would be at state. Caledonia's deep and athletic. St. Croix Lutheran is bigger and very experienced but lacks depth. Rushford-Peterson held #11 D4 La Crosse Aquinas to 8 field goals with their 1-1-3 zone. Their offense would grind it out with really good motion and finding big body Matt Culhane inside. Culhane's 12 points lead the way for the Trojans as they win 43-22.
#4AAAA Osseo looked like they wanted to run away from South with a 26-5 first half run. 30-12 Orioles at the 6:29 mark of the 1st half. South would counter with an 11-2 run, then after 5 Osseo points, South would close the half on a 7-0 run. South within 37-30 at the break. Michael Harris hitting from all over in the 2nd half. He hits 2 3s, each bringing South within 3. Osseo would hang on. John Bezdicek for 3, Demario Armstrong with a steal for a dunk, Dontae Jones for 2 more. Harris another bomb before Allan Anderson counters with 5 in a row. Then Jones with a 4 point play chance. Matt Bezdicek then buries a pair of 3s and Osseo is out of danger. Osseo wins 79-67. Allan Anderson and Kameron Bettie 14 each. Matt Bezdicek 10 off the bench. Michael Harris buries 6 treys on his way to 27 points to lead South. Payton Bowdry 15, Johnnie Turner 10.
In the nightcap, a big night for Roosevelt's Elijah Hannah. He scores the 1st 11 Roosevelt points as the Teddies jump out to a 17-6 lead. Mitch Gabrilcik and Dusty Willert for 3 and Buffalo is right back within 3. In the 2nd half, its Willert with back to back 3s and Buffalo has the lead down to 34-33. Elijah Hannah 2 more free throws to push the lead to 5. But its Gabrilcik with a 3 and floater to tie it. Then Brandon Weber with a 3 point play on the BLOB. Buffalo all the way back to take a 46-43 lead with 3:14 left. Then it all falls apart for Buffalo. TaRay Graves with bonus free throws and after a Bison turnover, he puts back a miss. Another turnover for an Elijah Hannah free throw. Devon Hannah takes another turnover for a layup. Roosevelt up 4 inside a minute left. Elijah Hannah misses a front end but Devon Wade-Henderson tips it in. Roosevelt scores the last 11 points of the game to win 54-46. Elijah Hannah goes for 27 points to lead all scorers. TaRay Graves 13. Mitch Gabrilcik with 11 to lead Buffalo.