So another great day of hoops is in the books with 14 hours and 8 games worth of basketball at Hopkins. Here are some quick thoughts from what I saw during the day. Most of my time was on the main court but we'll a few thoughts from the east court as well.
Game 1: Minnetonka vs North St. Paul
Minnetonka played tough against Chaska and Apple Valley in losses. Thanks to a tough blocking call late, they make a couple of free throws and win 67-63. Its a back to back loss for North St. Paul as Eagan got them last week as well. Matt Haas worked his tail off to get 18 points inside. Goodnews Kpegeol with 13 of his 19 in the 2nd half including a bucket to tie it with 15 seconds left. He's going to have to carry a big load for the Polars this season.
Game 2: #5A Spring Grove vs #4 Browerville-Eagle Valley
A very slow start to this one Bryce Irsfeld with an off day but tried to rally his guys late. Not enough as Chase Grinde and Spring Grove win 58-48. Soph Alex Folz came up big down the stretch for Spring Grove. Both teams with a nice complement of role players to their stars and worthy of their spot in the polls.
Game 3: #1A Minneapolis North vs #2AA Minnehaha Academy
Minnehaha playing short-handed without JaVonni Bickham who broke a hand earlier in the week. That was critical as North's size was a factor all day. Odell Wilson with 21, Isaac Johnson adds 23 in the win. Tayler Johnson also a factor rebounding. Jalen Suggs goes for a double double with 34 points. North had a double-figure lead late and then put in their young guys. Minnehaha would cut it to 5 with 30 seconds left forcing Larry McKenzie to bring his starters back in. North wins 79-74 but they had a comfortable lead for most of the 2nd half after an early run.
Game 4: Robbinsdale Armstrong vs Tartan
This one was fun. Tartan ran double teams at Race Thompson inside all day. That appeared to rattle the young big guy initially. Joevon Walker also impressive early going right at Thompson. Thompson ended up with 24 points. 66 all late before a clutch Jordan Horn 3 with 1:40 left and 2 free throws. He finished with 23 poitns. Kingston Myles was a guy Armstrong wanted to foul but he made both in the last 30 seconds. Tartan wins 77-71. Armstrong played without starting PG Davonte Saeed-El
Game 5: #3AAAA Hopkins vs Rochester John Marshall
Fun tactical move here as Hopkins chose to put 6'10" Joe Hedstrom on JM star Matt Hurt. Hurt still ended up with 30 and 10 but I had him 12-32 shooting. While Hurt did miss some good looks, he was initially passive and it appear that the length of Hedstrom did have an impact on him. Ishmael El-Amin impressive again with 16 of his 22 in the 1st half. All 5 Hopkins starters end up with at least 12 points. Plus frosh Blaise Beauchamp with 11 off the bench. JM hangs around for about 12 minutes before it gets out of hand. Hopkins wins 96-62.
Game 6: #2AAAA Lakeville North vs #5AAAA Cretin-Derham Hall
The highlight matchup of Nate Reuvers vs Daniel Oturu did not disappoint. Reuvers length really bothered Oturu in the post. But Oturu was able to return the favor on the other end. CDH would go on a 17-1 run across halftime to go from 8 down to up 8 (eventually 9). Ethan Igbanugo with 17 of his 22 after halftime to help give Lakeville North the 82-74 overtime win. Nate Reuvers with 36 points, 15 boards and 6 blocks with 11-27 FG on my sheet. Daniel Oturu with 15 points 8 rebounds and 5 blocks on 7-13 FGs.
Game 7: #4AAAA Maple Grove vs #1AAA De La Salle
Gabe Kalscheur with 22 in the 1st half but no help. Tywhon Pickford and Brad Davison were able to match that. 40-32 Maple Grove at half after a buzzer beater 3 by Davison. De La Salle would then start the 2nd half with a pair of 12-0 runs around a 6-0 run by the Crimson. 56-46 De La Salle inside of 10 minutes left. But Davison draws the 4th on Goanar Mar with 8:33 left. That triggers a 9-2 Maple Grove run to get back in it. When Mar returns with 4:02 left the lead is down to 2. Davison taking over the offense late. He makes 3 of 4 free throws to put the Crimson up 62-61 with 3:22 left. Pickford adds 2 free throws to stretch the lead to 3. The Crimson have the ball up 3 late but a Mar block leads to a Tyrell Terry 3 to tie it with 50 seconds left. Davison wins it with 2.1 left with a 3 over Mar. Maple Grove wins 67-64. Davison ends up with 28. Tywhon Pickford with a monster game of 21 points, 15 boards and 3 blocks. He's picking up right where he left off last year. Look for his stock to skyrocket. Gabe Kalscheur with 29 points and 8 boards. Goanar Mar held to 10 after putting up a career high 40 on Armstrong last week. Davison largely getting that defensive chore.
Game 8: #1AAAA Champlin Park vs #6AAAA Apple Valley
The highlight matchup looked out of control early as Champlin Park opened up a 29-9 lead (21-2 Rebels run) at the 8:40 mark. That was thanks to a very hot McKinley Wright start. But Tre Jones would try to rally Apple Valley after a very quiet start. Apple Valley within 44-36 at the half when Champlin Park couldn't slam the door. Then a 3 to start the half and its down to 5. DJ Hunter for 3 and another Wright hoop push the lead back to double figures. Ely Hendrickson with 4 3s in the half off the bench but Champlin Park had an answer for each one. The lead hovers around 10 the rest of the way. Too much Theo John in the 2nd half. Champlin Park wins 91-84. I had him for 22 and 16. McKinley Wright with 27 and 10. Tre Jones with 28 and 9 boards on my sheet. Great matchup of point guards with both having their moments.
Some important results in AAA with Marshall knocking off Minneapolis Henry in a big way. Orono also with a convincing win over Fergus Falls. In AA results, Caledonia held off Esko in a battle of top 5 teams. A big game from Trae Berhow as Watertown-Mayer got up 16 at half on ranked St. Charles before holding them off. Lakeville South with a solid first win by beating Eden Prairie. Woodbury knocked off Chaska in a double OT classic between 2 ranked teams in the 2nd tier of AAAA.