Its an early start at Harding so I catch 1 game there, then the last 2 back at Hamline. Plenty of Pepsi to go around. Too bad the JMOA assigned a Hollywood crew for the late game. How does that happen?
Game 1: Henry Sibley at St. Paul Harding
Harding would go on a pair of early runs to take a 27-20 lead. Sibley would counter with a 19-4 run across halftime. Reishaun Satar with a pair of hard-way 3 point plays in that run. 39-31 Sibley early in the 2nd half. De'Million Randle with a 3 point play in a 9-1 Knights run. That puts Harding up 51-49 with 8:27 to play. Back and forth after that. Chris English with a free throw, Sibley misses 2 FTs and turns it over before English converts a layup. PG Jovan Christian adds a layup for a 66-60 Harding lead. Jack Korte with a 3 point play and a drive for 2 more around a Harding FT. Harding then turns it over for Satar to convert and we're tied with a minute left. Harding holds and turns it over with 30 seconds left (Christian may have been tripped). Antonio Vibar puts back a miss with 13 seconds left. Harding turns it over with 1.69 left. Sibley wins 69-67. Congrats to John Carrier on his 1st win at Sibley and his 1st Varsity Head Coaching win in 7 years and 17 days. Here's what that 1st one was like. Jovan Christian 18 points for Harding. Reishaun Satar leads Sibley with 25. Jack Korte with 13 of his 19 in the 2nd half.
Game 2: Wayzata vs Breck
I would arrive about midway through the 1st half of this one. That was just in time to see Breck go on a run and pull within 20-18 at the 5:28 mark. Coach Bryan Schnettler not at all happy with his crew. They respond with a 14-2 run out of that timeout. Gavin Baumgartner with a nasty posterizing dunk as part of 8 points and an assist in the run. Drew Galinson for 3 and then another hoop as Wayzata scores 8 of the first 10 points of the 2nd half. Interesting to see the Trojans play some 1-3-1 here. Didn't really matter what they played at that point. Wayzata wins 78-57. Gavin Baumgartner with 15 of his 20 in the 1st half. Drew Galinson with 15 including 3 triples. David Roddy 12 to lead Breck. Baumgartner is one of those outside Mr Basketball award candidates. He has solid though not spectacular numbers for a strong lineup plus he's got the defensive stopper task each night.
Game 3: North St. Paul vs Cristo Rey Jesuit
Shaka Smart (Texas Head Coach) in the house to watch recruit Jericho Sims. South Dakota also looking on. Lets just skip over the 1st 6 minutes of this one (only 2 FTs). Cristo Rey playing some 2-3 zone. North gets 3s from Jake Steckler, Michael Geving and Jaquas Towns 13-0 NSP leading at the 8:10 mark. Jericho Sims getting limited touches in the battle vs Goodnews Kpegeol and others. He dunks an inbounds pass and takes a steal coast to coast for another dunk. Kpegeol for 3 and a Steckler hoop put the Polars up 20-6 at the 5:40 mark. But Cristo Rey holds them without a field goal for the rest of the half. Franklin Doyle 2 free throws and a hoop. Sims adds 5 free throws and a late post bucket. That cuts the NSP lead to 23-20 at the break.
NSP scores the 1st 8 of the 2nd half thanks to an array of Pumas turnovers. Cristo Rey gets those 8 points right back thanks to a Karlton Gregory putback and a steal for a dunk. Gregory then finishes a sweet pocket pass from frosh PG James Sommer and Sims finds him cutting for another bucket. Cristo Rey will not go away down 36-32 with 9:35 left. Kpegeol for 3, a turnover results in another layup, set play for Kpegeol to backdoor Sims is a 3 point play. 45-34 NSP with 7:25 left and it looks like that may be the critical run. But the Pumas are not done. Sommer converts a turnover. Doyle with 2 free throws after a Kpegeol T for hanging on the rim after missing a dunk on the same backdoor set as before. Doyle adds a 3 on the possession and the Polars lead is down to 4 with over 5 minutes left. Game on.
Gregory 2 freebies after the Polars missed a front end. The Pumas get a stop and Sims tips in a miss with 3:40 left and we're all tied up at 45. Its an 11-0 run for Cristo Rey. The teams trade free throws. Then its Kpegeol with the tough post fade over Sims with 2:30 left. 1st NSP FG in 5 minutes. Back to back Cristo Rey turnovers around a Polars turnover. NSP holds, Cristo Rey doesn't foul. Kpegeol drives and is fouled with 31.3 left. He makes 1 of 2 for a 3 point NSP lead. The Pumas quickly go inside to Sims and he converts with 17.5 left. Last timeout for the Pumas. Steckler makes 1 of 2 and the Pumas have a chance. They get the ball to the frontcourt but step on the sideline with 10.8 left. Kpegeol misses 2 with 9.3 left and here we go. Sims pushes and gets harassed in the front court. He gives it up with 2 seconds left. He gets it back after the buzzer. Cristo Rey doesn't get a shot off. North St. Paul survives 51-49. Goodnews Kpegeol with 21 points to lead North St. Paul. 2-6 FTs for the Polars in the last 31.3. Jericho Sims with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks on 6-10 FGs. But all his FGs were inside. All of his jump shots were way off on this night. Cristo Rey had plenty of chances that they could have converted throughout the game. But they kept playing and good things happened. North will be unhappy that they didn't put this game out of reach when they had the chance.