Its a rare Saturday prior to February where there's no event going on. So that means puzzle the schedule together and see how many games can be done. That means 3 in St. Paul on this day. A quality walking taco (though a little heavy on sour cream) at Highland Park. Then the always outstanding hot dog plus Saul (raspy but still on his game) at Cretin-Derham Hall. Then a quality 4AA night cap at St. Croix Lutheran.
Game 1: Minneapolis Roosevelt at St. Paul Highland Park
Star forward Devon Hannah in a walking boot and no head coach Rob Mestas for Roosevelt. Roosevelt's Jordan Johnston takes matters into his own hands. He knocks down 5 3s in the 1st 9 minutes for a 18-14 Roosevelt lead. Highland Park finally stops him in the half and goes on a 15-2 run of their own to take a 37-30 halftime lead. Roosevelt started the 2nd half on an 8-0 run to regain the lead. Johnston with another pair of bombs plus a Leo Buchwald 3 for a 47-43 lead with 9:40 left. But Roosevelt goes cold after that. Amitri Collins-Westlund with the last 5 points in a 15-2 run. Johnston's 9th 3 breaks the drought but its too late. Highland Park wins 65-56. Jordan Johnston 9 3s for 27 points. Amitri Collins-Westlund 15 points and Dreem Kelly-Jabbar with 16 for Highland Park.
Game 2: East Ridge at Cretin-Derham Hall
A rare Saturday conference matinee. CDH would jump out to a 10-2 lead. East Ridge would claw their way back thanks to Courtney Brown Jr. Both teams going zone and CDH would hold for over 2 minutes vs the East Ridge zone with a 10 point lead in the 1st half. East Ridge would score the last 5 of the half to be within 28-23 at the break. The CDH lead would expand to 15 5 minutes into the half. But good activity inside from frosh Ben Carlson for East Ridge. He scores 6 in a row to cut the margin to 10 inside of 10 left. He adds a dunk and a free throw and the lead is down to 5 with 2:39 left. 4 point game late when Brown sees a triple go in and out. Cretin-Derham Hall wins 66-61. Daniel Oturu with 17 points to lead 4 Raiders in double figures. Soph Jaeden King 14 with 4 3s. Courtney Brown Jr 18 to lead East Ridge. Frosh Ben Carlson chips in with 13 of his 15 in the 2nd half. Once again Cretin's zone defense leaving much to be desired. They weren't active and didn't rebound out of their 1-2-2. Not to mention, they are too talented in this game to not play man.
Game 3: New Life Academy at St. Croix Lutheran
Early foul trouble for St. Croix Lutheran sees Jamaris Johnson and Jack Kuckhahn both pick up 2 fouls. 14-12 St. Croix Lutheran at 8:10 after a Deven Friese 3 but the Crusaders only make 1 more FG in the half. Kyle Kaemingk heats up for New Life with a 3 and a bucket. Its an 11-2 Eagles run to end the half and lead 27-18. The lead gets to 12 before an 8-0 SCL run. Kuckhahn and Johnson carrying the Crusaders offense. Meanwhile Kaemingk still hot as he drifts weakside for 3 and the lead is back to 10 . Johnson 5 in a row and then Kuckhahn with 5 more in a row for a 10-0 run. Kaemingk scores and its Kuckhahn again, this time for 3 and St. Croix Lutheran is back on top 51-50 with 3 minutes left. New Life counters with a 3 and gets a stop. Sr. Croix with only 2 team fouls has to give 4 and they do. They also get the turnover they need and its Kuckhahn getting a crazy continuation call for a 3 point play with 21.9 left. New Life makes 2 freebies and the Crusaders have 1 last chance. Their 3 is no good and 2 free throws seal it. New Life hangs on to win 59-54. Jack Kuckhahn with all 16 of his points in the 2nd half to lead St. Croix Lutheran. Jamaris Johnson with 13 of his 15 in the 2nd half. Kyle Kaemingk continues to impress as he leads New Life with 23 points and 5 3s. After losing most of their lineup from last year St. Croix Lutheran starts 4 juniors and has 2 more off the bench. The record of 4-7 is deceptive as they looked better than that.