To East Ridge for the 4AAAA between Tartan and district rival North St. Paul in a rubber match. The lobby already packed with fans at 5:30 for the 7 PM tip. It did taper off just before game time but we did end up with a full house. Both bands seated in folding chairs on the end line to save bleacher space, very smart. JMOA is on duty for this one along with Ricky Spencer. Not worth fighting the crowd for concessions. Its a full house and a state trip on the line, so let's get to it.
Number of Teams I've Seen: 172 (66 courts, 2 new, 2 TV games, 144 varsity games)
Beverage Ticker: 930 ounces (8540 calories) + 9.7 liters (1370 calories)
- Pepsi: 432 ounces (4850 Calories) + 2 liters (840 Calories)
- Coke: 92 ounces (1080 Calories)+ 500 ml (200 Calories)
- Dr Pepper: 60 ounces (750 Calories)
- Mug Root Beer: 40 ounces (520 Calories)
- Sprite: 76 ounces (900 Calories) + 500 ml (200 Calories)
- Water: 6.2 Liters + 200 ounces (0 Calories)
- Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories) + 40 oz (160 calories)
- Powerade: 20 oz (130 Calories)
Pizza Ticker: 15
Walking Taco Ticker: 12
Pork Sandwich Ticker: 6
10-7 Tartan early before N St.Paul gets it going. Goodnews Kpegeol with a 3 point play and a 3. Soph guard Bryce Phillips scores off a turnover to end the 10-2 run. 17-12 NSP at 8:20. Joevon Walker playing big inside with a pair of hoops and a nice pass to Elijah Johnson who hammers it home. 20-18 NSP at 5:47 as they take a timeout to regroup. Jordan Horn with a 4 point play as Tartan comes from 6 down to tie at 26. Walker with a 3 point play and a Horn 3 sandwich a Goodnews triple. Kpegoel misses 2 free throws but the 2nd miss is tipped in his own basket by Jarvis Thomas as the halftime buzzer sounds. 34-32 North St. Paul at the break.
Horn hits a 3 and puts back his own miss for a 3 point play. Its a 10-3 Tartan run to start the half for a 42-37 lead with 14:30 left. Termaine Daniels for 3 to cut it to 2 but its Horn taking over with a 3, a drive and another bomb. 52-44 Tartan with 10 minutes left and NSP appears to be in trouble. But Tartan starts taking bad shots and NSP capitalizes. Goodnews for 3, Phillips for 3, a drive and he runs out for a 3 point play with 6:15 left. NSP takes the lead 57-54 after the 13-2 run in under 4 minutes.
Daniels and Kpegeol both with clutch bonus free throws. 63-57 NSP to 3:20 left but Horn counters with another bomb. NSP turns it over with 1:44 left and Jordan Thompson scores it for Tartan. Out of a timeout its Adreon Wadlington with a strong drive for 2. Jarvis Thomas called for a travel in the post and its Goodnews for North St. Paul with 51 seconds left to push the lead to 5. Horn hits a 3 with 19.8 seconds left to cut the margin to 3. NSP turns it over and Tartan has a chance. They miss a 3 and then at least 2 offensive rebound chances. Daniels makes 2 free throws with 13 seconds left to seal it. North St. Paul advances to state with the 70-65 win.
Jordan Horn leads Tartan with 31 points via 7 triples. He had 20 of those points in the 2nd half as he carried the offense. Joevon Walker with 14 of his 16 points in the 1st half but in an interesting twist he didn't play much in the 2nd half. He was their only other offense as no one else had more than 5 points. Shot selection a major issue for Tartan. Jarvis Thomas with an off night of only 5 points. The Titans finish the season 24-5 and co-champs of the Metro East with North St. Paul. For as poorly as they played, this one will sting for the offseason. Expectations will be very high for this group next season as almost everybody returns.
Goodnews Kpegeol leads North St. Paul with 23 points. He came up with clutch plays all night. Termaine Daniels with 12. Bryce Phillips with 12 off the bench in high quality minutes. Adreon Wadlington with 11. Give North St. Paul all the credit. They played better and made more big plays and totally deserved to win. Great job mixing defenses in the 1st half to keep the Titans off balance. Then a smaller lineup in the 2nd half (mainly with Phillips) came up huge. North St. Paul likely looking at no seed at state which means 1 of Hopkins, Apple Valley and possibly Osseo in the quarters. If Osseo wins state seeds are pretty well set. Hopkins, Apple Valley, Osseo as the top 3 with Maple Grove 4 and the winner of Lakeville North and Rochester John Marshall at 5. Pick your order for the top 3. I say Osseo 1 and Apple Valley 3. Yes that sounds horrible to have AV at 3 but For me, Osseo has to be rewarded for being undefeated and doing it in the toughest conference around (and they played in the tougher half). Hopkins gets 2 based on head to head. Now if Osseo loses, then that means that 1 of Mounds View, N St. Paul, Blaine or the Eden Prairie/Edina winner will get the 5 seed. I would vote for random draw the bottom 4 instead of the bottom 3 in that case.