The Breakdown Tipoff Classic (Girls Version) took the spotlight on the 1st week of the schedule. 4 boys games on the slate, here's what caught my eye.
Game 1: #3AAAA Hopkins vs Cedar Falls (IA)
We knew AJ Green would be highlight for Cedar Falls but the expectation was that Hopkins would pull away for a comfortable win in the end. Not quite what we ended up with. Green was outstanding with 8 3s and 41 points. Cedar Falls would use a late 1st half run and lead 44-42 at the break. Ishmael El-Amin with a big 2nd half to match Green. His 23 in the half outdoes the 21 in the half from Green. Hopkins would go on one of their runs to start the 2nd half (15-4 in the 1st 5 min) and go up double digits. Green hit a handful of tough jumpers as he refused to let his team get blown out. In the end, he doesn't get enough help as Hopkins wins 85-77. Hopkins with 4 in double figures. Ish El-Amin 32, Simon Wright 14, Zeke Nnaji 12, Anthony Davis 10. Ben Gerdes with 14 for Cedar Falls in addition to the 41 from Green.
Game 2: #1AAAA Champlin Park vs Rochester John Marshall
This looked like a heavyweight battle on paper with JM looking to prove a point that they deserve to be in the discussion of elite teams in AAAA. This one is tight for the 1st half of the opening half. Then Champlin Park's 1-3-1 really held JM in check. Brian Smith would score 14 of 16 Rebels points as Champlin Park opened the game up. A late 1st half bloody nose would cost Rockets star Matt Hurt 3 minutes of playing time and a couple of free throws. JM up 57-42 at the break. The Rebels just kept running in the 2nd half as they steam roll to a 113-74 win. McKinley Wright with a game high 27 to lead Champlin Park. Theo John stepped his game up in the 2nd half on his way to 19 points. Brian Smith with 20 of his 22 in the 1st half. DJ Hunter with 14 points and a respectable job guarding Matt Hurt. Matt Hurt ends up with 24 points. Dedoch Chan with 11 of his 16 in a productive 1st half for the Rockets. It doesn't get any easier for JM as they have Hopkins in the Boys Tipoff Classic. 13 3s for Champlin Park as JM had no answers on defense. Very impressive opening statement from them. They have the late game against Apple Valley in the Boys Tipoff Classic
Game 3: #1AAA De La Salle vs Des Moines Hoover
This game as expected was not the up and down type of game that we saw in the previous 2. Hoover forward Douglas Wilson gave the Islanders some trouble inside. He had to sit the last 6:28 of the 1st half with 3 fouls (2 charges). That allowed De La Salle to take an even game and open up a 37-28 halftime lead. The Islanders would quickly open that lead to 15 to start the 2nd half. No danger from there as De La Salle wins 65-50. Goanar Mar with 3 triples and 10-11 FTs on his way to a game high 27 points. Gabe Kalscheur struggled with his shot but still managed 15 points. Douglas Wilson with 22 to lead Hoover. Devonte Thedford with 16 of his 20 in the 1st half for Hoover. De La Salle gets Maple Grove in the Boys Tipoff Classic.
Game 4: #6AAAA Apple Valley vs #1A Minneapolis North
North did a fine job in their halfcourt defense early in the game and got out running on misses for baskets. That propelled the Polars to a 26-21 lead midway through the first half. Apple Valley would rally behind Tre Jones. He finds Mohamed Kone and Luke Martens for 3s to tie the game. Martens adds a free throw and another bomb to give Apple Valley a 42-35 lead at the break. Ely Hendrickson 2 3s to open the 2nd half. Tre Jones adds another bomb and just over 3 minutes into the 2nd half the Eagles fly out to a 58-42 lead. North would try to make it interesting with Jaquan Sanders-Smith scoring and then burying a 3. Isaac Johnson with a spin move for 2 more. North within 66-61 with 6:35 left and their crowd is into it. Odell Wilson was a handful inside. He seals on the weakside of a BLOB for a 3 point play with 4:25 left. 70-66 Apple Valley hanging on. Tre Jones was the difference in this one and he made the big plays late. He counters Wilson's 3 point play with one of his own. Then he adds a free throw. He'll steal an inbounds and then give a sweet up fake for an easy jumper. 78-68 Apple Valley with 2:40 left and they're out of danger. Jones adds another 3 point play late. Apple Valley wins 84-70. Tre Jones with an absolutely sick triple double of 29 pts, 13 rbs, 11 ast, 3 stl, 5 blk. Luke Martens adds 15 for the Eagles. 9 3s from 5 Eagles not named Jones plus 2 more from Tre. That is going to be big for Apple Valley this season. Isaac Johnson with 21 points, Jaquan Sanders-Smith 20, Odell Wilson 19 for North. North gets Minnehaha in a battle of number ones in the Boys Tipoff Classic.