Day 1 of the 2016 State Tournament has concluded. I attended the Target Center night session. Here are some thoughts from the 2 games I saw plus the rest of the day.
No surprises at Target Center in AA or AAAA. Apple Valley and Hopkins rolled thru their games in the bottom half. Osseo beat Eden Prairie earlier in the year and won again. I wasn't surprised that Lakeville North knocked off Maple Grove. North being there for the 5th straight year and no Tywhon Pickford were part of that reasoning. But also I didn't like the matchup for Maple Grove for who would guard Nate Reuvers and/or Carter Brooks.
That sets up a pair of dynamite Thursday night semifinals with undefeated Osseo taking on Lakeville North. Then its the highly anticipated rematch of Hopkins and Apple Valley. That will be off the charts. Amir Coffey took a nasty spill in their game. Hopefully he's 100% for another mano-a-mano matchup with Gary Trent. No fire marshal required for this one thankfully. Enough seats for all.
In AA at Target Center, St. Croix Lutheran's big 3 went nuts against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. Aage Rovney with 6 3s and 22 points in the 1st half as the Crusaders ran away and hid. They roll 86-51 with the big 3 going for 69 points and 18 rebs on 27-37 shooting. Braham did their part in the other game by knocking off Maple River 67-58. Chris Olson with 23 points and 3 3s for Braham. John Larson added 19 points and 12 boards.
That means we get another main gym at the Tipoff Classic rematch. The 1st game was a tale of 2 halves. St. Croix Lutheran looked as awful as they could during the 1st half. Braham opened up a 42-33 halftime lead. Then St. Croix Lutheran turned the tables in the 2nd half with a 28-4 run to get started. They went on to win by 11. But a team that lives and dies by the 3 trying to shoot in the Target Center is a dicey proposition. Especially against a team that has the ability to get easy buckets inside. I like St. Croix Lutheran in that rematch.
Meanwhile over at Williams Arena, the top 3 seeds are thru plus 5 seed Monticello knocks off Chisago Lakes. De La Salle trying to hold down Matt Todd will be very interesting. Red Wing's stifling defense against the great ball movement and shooting of Fergus Falls is a great contrast of styles. Those 2 are the afternoon session at Target Center.
In AA at Williams, it was all about poor shooting. 2 seed Caledonia is out after shooting 9-41 from 3. That's despite getting 28 more shots than Jackson County Central. JCC turned it over 25 times and gave up 21 offensive rebounds. JCC only took 47 shots total. Annandale knocked off Esko 52-40 in the other game. The teams combined to shoot 4-33 from 3. That keeps us from getting the Bodey Behrends (20 and 17 tonight) vs Adam Trapp inside. Also not on the semifinal list Owen King vs Jaxson Turner which would have been a fun guard matchup. Annandale won't wow you but they play a playoff style and the coaching staff has been here.
Finally, Class A tips off their quarterfinals tomorrow. I wonder if anybody goes to a stall against Minneapolis North. The thought of Hopkins vs St. Cloud Tech with Nate Wolters comes to mind if Browerville and North play in round 2 (Star PG Bryce Irsfeld playing the Nate Wolters role for Browerville). Imagine the partisan North crowd (who you know will be out in force) going nuts at Target Center on Friday afternoon if that would happen. Quality television there from that passionate fan base.