Its the 1st of back to back Saturdays in St. Paul. Next week is championships but this week is rivalries. We'll start with a city rivalry between Central and Highland. Then we'll mosey up the street to neighboring Cretin-Derham Hall for their annual battle with De La Salle. A day of outstanding food with a very good walking taco at Highland Park. Nacho cheese on it rarely seen but a high quality addition. Then the always outstanding all beef hot dog at CDH. Unfortunately the beverage choice was all Coke all day. Also need to praise the best national anthem I've heard all season. That was done by a CDH senior student before the CDH/DLS girls game. An a cappella national anthem for a guy is a nightmare task but this kid hit a grand slam.
Game 1: Central at Highland Park
The Highland Park student section full and standing for this one. Leader of that group in the highly appropriate kilt. Very intense game throughout. This was the hardest that I've seen 2 teams play all season. Jack Beckman dives on a loose ball and then has 2 Scots dive on him. That tie up results in some head injury and Beckman doesn't return. Big loss there for Central with 6:24 remaining in the first half. Back to back hoops along with a pair of free throws from Khari Dennis would put Highland Park up 54-47 with 10:45 to play. Sam Gubbrud 5 in a row to bring it back to even for Central. We're tight the rest of the way. Gubbrud with clutch triple to tie it at 62 with 1:34 left. Highland spreads and drives for a layup, Central ties with free throws. Highland tries to hold but they'll miss with 22 seconds left. Gubbrud fouled with 4 seconds left, misses the front end, gets it back and is stripped (no whistle) at the end of regulation. 64 all to overtime. Central with the ball up 1 with 18 seconds to go in the overtime. Highland steals the inbounds pass and promptly gives it right back. Gubbrud makes both free throws and Highland doesn't get a good look at the end. Central wins 72-69. Sam Gubbrud with 30 points, 22 of those after halftime to lead Central. Mike Cornelious with 22, Khari Dennis with 17 to lead Highland Park. The wins means Central will play at Johnson on Thursday for at least a share of the league title. With a win or Johnson loss this week, Central will go to the Twin Cities game for a rematch with Minneapolis North.
Game 2: #1AAA De La Salle at Cretin-Derham Hall
De La Salle has struggled with bigs all year, how would they deal with Daniel Oturu inside? How would CDH react after a tough 5 overtime loss at Stillwater last night? Its Oturu with 2 early buckets and it looks like here we go again. But De La Salle subs and the lineup ends up with Goanar Mar playing center and matched up with Oturu. De La Salle hasn't done that all year in the games I've seen. They've avoided Mar on big guys like the plague. But tonight, it was very effective. It didn't hurt Mar's offense either as he had it going all night. Chris Perry had the task of guarding Gabe Kalscheur and was in foul trouble all night. That hurt his offense as he ended up scoreless. Dominic Bledsoe with 3 triples off the bench to add additional offense. CDH without a true point guard and that showed in turnovers against the man to man pressure. CDH really struggled trying to get into sets. CDH would be within 3 early in the 2nd half but DLS would pull away. DLS wins 64-49. Goanar Mar 29 points, Gabe Kalscheur 15. Daniel Oturu 17 points and 12 rebounds on my sheet to lead CDH. Jordan Ammons adds 14. CDH probably still looking at a 2 seed in 4AAAA, but if Tartan or North St. Paul wins out, then the discussion for that 2 seed behind Woodbury becomes tougher.