The inaugural Metro Battle took place at Sjoberg Flynn Arena at St. Thomas Academy. The original schedule called for 5 games but a couple of those (and pretty good ones at that) were called off due to the weather. 3 games on the schedule, pizza and a 16 oz Christmas gift Pepsi on the menu. Here's what I saw.
Game 1: Hill-Murray vs Bloomington Kennedy
Hill-Murray shorthanded as they played without star guard Simeon Davis. He had a 46 and 37 points in the 1st 2 games of the season and 22 vs Central on Tuesday. Despite that the Pioneers the do get off to a good start. Lance Meniboon with 6 in a row via 2 hoops and 2 free throws. Alex Kazos with a pair of left wing bombs. 21-13 Hill-Murray as we move past the midpoint of the 1st half. Kennedy explodes from there for a 32-6 run the rest of the half. Markel Aune 3 bombs in the run, Krystian Toliver all over the glass. Plus sloppy Hill-Murray play. 45-27 Kennedy at the break. The lead balloons to 32 with 8:20 left. Hill-Murray would go on a 18-3 run thanks to Conik Runyon knocking down 4 of his 6 3s. That would cut the margin to 17 but no real danger. Kennedy wins 83-62, Josh Bryant with 19 of his 25 in the 2nd half. Forward Krystian Toliver has been a major impact guy for the Eagles this season. He goes for a double double with 19 points. That's double figures for him in the last 3 games. PG Markel Aune adds 17. Conik Runyon 6 3s and 20 points to lead Hill-Murray. Lance Meniboom off the bench with 8, mostly in the 1st half despite fouls. Hill-Murray has now lost 5 straight. Kennedy has now won 4 in a row after a winless season last year.
Game 2: Hastings vs Benilde-St. Margaret's
BSM soph Jamison Battle with 10 points in the 1st 3:28 as the Red Knights jump out to a 13-5 lead. Hastings would battle back and thanks to some Red Knights foul trouble they would take a 33-30 lead just before half. That lead would become 37-35 just after the half. Then BSM would run away with a 27-5 run over 7:30. All 5 starters getting involved during that run. Hastings would cut that to 12 with 5 minutes left but they get no closer. BSM wins 79-61. BSM with 4 in double figures. Will Whitmore 16, Jamison Battle 15, Derek Drees 15, Joe Dunn 12. Colin Kummer with 15 to lead Hastings. BSM now 4-1 going into neighborhood home showdowns with Edina and De La Salle this week. Soph Jamison Battle definitely showed some upside. Hastings falls to 2-3.
Game 3: Richfield at St. Thomas Academy
The day finished with a battle between a couple of former Classic Suburban heavyweights. Richfield would control most of the 1st half but not pull away. The Cadets went deep into their bench to try and find something that would work. 37-31 Richfield at the break. St. Thomas would start the 2ndf half on an 18-4 run to take control. Sam Schleper with 7 points in the run. A Devin Wade-Henderson steal would cut the margin to 3 with 3:35 left. St. Thomas does close it out with a pair of hoops and 7-7 FTs down the stretch. St. Thomas Academy wins 72-66. Soph guard Jack Thompson impressed for St. Thomas as he topped all scorers with 17. Sam Schleper and Louis Baillon added 14 each. George Stewart with 12. Richfield with 15 from Jabari Atiim and 11 from Jason Stewart. St. Thomas Academy improves to 4-2 going into their rivalry game with Cretin-Derham Hall on Thursday. Richfield falls to 2-2. They have a tough week on the road at St. Paul Central and then versus a pair of very good Wisconsin teams that I've seen (Destiny and Milwaukee Washington) at the end of the week.