Spartans survive a section battle

Prologue
Another long night on the road as its a trip to Simley for their section 3AAA home game with St. Paul Highland Park.  Simley won the section last year but Highland Park won the regular season meeting 81-60 last year.  Only a St. Thomas Academy upset of the Scots kept the rematch from happening in the section final.  A ho hum hot dog with 140 calories of Doritos Nacho chips.  Dr Pepper not something I find too often so I did that for beverage selection.  After seeing the Humboldt JVs win at the buzzer earlier in the week, Highland Park's JVs give up a 3 at the regulation buzzer to force OT (#FoulOrDefend).  Simley wins that JV game by 6 in OT. One of the best music selections I've heard in a while as well.  Beat It and Black Or White (Michael Jackson),  Separate Ways (Journey), We Didn't Start The Fire (Billy Joel), You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon), Hurts So Good (John Cougar, AKA John Mellencamp), Revolution (Beatles), Layla (original Derek and the Dominoes version).  A+ playlist.  All of that plus this classic.

Song of the Day: Ram Jam - Black Betty

Number of Teams I've Seen: 56 (13 courts).  13 out of state, 6 girls

Beverage Ticker: 322.7 ounces (3315 Calories)
24 days, 31 games, 2 scrimmages added on

  • Pepsi: 104.9 ounces (1310 calories)
  • Coke: 40 ounces (480 calories)
  • Dr. Pepper: 12 ounces (150 calories)
  • Sprite: 20 ounces (240 calories)
  • A&W Root Beer (240 calories )
  • Red Gatorade: 88.9 ounces (765 calories)
  • Red Powerade: 20 ounces (130 calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 5
Walking Taco Ticker: 3
Pizza Ticker: 3

Game Time:
DeAndre Smith spins for 2 to start the game and adds 2 free throws as Simley jumps out to an 11-3 lead 6 minutes in.  Joe Taubert sparks Highland Park off the bench with 4-4 free throws in a 7-0 Scots spurt.  Smith drives for 2 more, Sam Vujovich and Isaiah Robinson with 3s leading to an 8-0 run and MoKiller timeout from Simley.  That leads us into Beat It though.  Extra pass finds Vujovich for another bomb, Robinson runs for the old fashioned 3 point play.  The Simley run is 18-2 in 3:17.  29-12 Spartans at the 5:30 mark.  After sitting out most of the half, Dreem Kelly-Jabbar enters for Highland Park.  Plus you have Smith sitting with fouls while coach DePerry gambled on Amitri Collins-Westlund staying in with 2 fouls.  That pays off plus the Scots go on a 7-0 run in the last minute of the half to pull within 34-24.

Highland Park continues with their scrambling run and jump pressure in the 2nd half after showing it late in the 1st.  That speeds Simley up and leads to a 7-0 run to start the half for the Scots.  Simley settles down and starts to get the ball middle vs the traps.  Robinson converts one of these to break the run.  Kelly-Jabbar goes up high to softly put a lob home to pull the Scots within 38-37.  Junior forward Jake Binley for Simley has a do everything type of role and he made critical plays here.  He knocks down a jumper and then sets a nice backscreen out of the Swing Offense to get himself an open 3.  That's in a 9-2 run to push the lead back to 8.  Binley adds a tip in and a breakaway dunk to put Simley up 61-47 with 3:50 left.  The lead is 10 at the 2 minute mark and 65-58 with 1:04 left.  I figure that's enough for an evening.

Boy does that choice look like a mistake.  Highland Park somehow rallies to force overtime at 65 all.  Their pressure did rattle Simley so its not a major shock.  Simley would hang on to win 75-71 in OT.

Post Game
Highland Park suffers their 1st loss of the year to fall to 3-1.  Joe Taubert with 19 points off the bench to lead the Scots.  Guard Amitri Collins-Westlund was held in check for most of the night.  He finishes with 15 points.  Dreem Kelly-Jabbar and Josh Aune seeing limited minutes in this one.  Jabbar would finish with 13 points, 10 after halftime.  They used their quick guards to effectively scramble and force Simley into turnovers.  Plus they were able to block shots inside when Simley beat the pressure.  Not something you'd expect from a lineup that isn't big.  They go into the holiday break with 3 home games.  Sibley on Saturday and then South and Southwest next week.

DeAndre Smith leads Simley with 23 points despite some early foul issues.  He's a difficult matchup as he has enough bulk to bully people inside but can play enough away from the basket to work against a bigger defender.  Jake Binley with 17 as part of the critical plays in the 2nd half.  Isaiah Robinson chips in with 15 off the bench.  Simley improves to 3-1 with the win.  Its a back to back vs the St Paul City for the Spartans.  Como Park comes calling on Friday.   Simley is then off until the Winona Warrior Club Tournament over the holidays.

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