To Bloomington Jefferson for the brand new Friday night edition of local section semifinals. Its 3AAA taking the court for the incredibly early 5 and 6:45 PM starts. What's the hurry? Very vocal crowds for the late game.
Game 1: 1 St. Thomas Academy vs 4 Simley
Early on we're tied at 8 as DeAndre Smith and Jake Binley work inside for Simley. But St. Thomas Academy blows this one open quickly. Sam Thompson with 3 triples and 2 other jumpers. Sam Vascellaro takes a blocked shot for a layup and later dunks a turnover. The Cadets run is 22-4 in just over 6 minutes. 30-12 St. Thomas at 8:15. Simley scores the next 5. But after a Cadets timeout, they score 8 in a row to push the lead to 21. Binley would have a hoop and a 3 point play early in the 2nd half to cut the margin to 13. But the Spartans get no closer. St. Thomas Academy wins 71-52. Soph SG Jack Thompson with 20 of his 22 in the 1st half including 4 triples. Eddie Perry with 3 triples in the 1st half for 9. Louis Baillon scores the last 10 for St. Thomas to get to 12 points. Jake Binley with 15, DeAndre Smith 13 for Simley. Simley had chances to get back in the game but they only made 2 field goals from 13:40 left until the final minute of the game. They had some good looks that just didn't want to go in.
Game 2: 2 St. Paul Highland Park vs 3 Richfield
The start of this one was a struggle. Kids charging over people and throwing the ball all over. Amitri Collins-Westlund picks up 2 charges and has to sit just under 3 minutes into the game. Big loss for Highland Park. Coach DePerry would go offense/defense with him for at least the last 6+ minutes of the half which was a critical decision that paid off. Highland Park would be up 16-11 before the game started to swap back and forth. Antonio Maddox for 3 to put Richfield up 17-16. Dreem Kelly-Jabbar with a steal for a dunk to put Highland Park up 5. 29-25 Scots at the break.
After the opening hoop, Richfield goes on a 12-0 run. Maddox for 3. Devin Wade-Henderson with the steal for 2 free throws. A technical on the play adds a Maddox FT. Richfield converts the possession and steals the next possession for a hoop as well. 37-31 Spartans with 14:50 left. Richfield dominated Highland Park on the offensive glass in the 2nd half but never could pull away. Collins-Westlund with a hoop and Kelly-Jabbar with another steal and hoop. Soph Evan Brodtman was terrific off the bench for the Scots. He hits a jumper, Collins-Westlund scores and then adds a 3. Highland Park from 7 down takes a 46-44 lead with 8:44 to play. Collins-Westlund coast to coast countered by a Maddox putback. 50 all with 6:30 left. Down to the end we go. Brodtman for 3 with 1:50 left to put Highland Park up 59-57. Scots force a turnover but they can't handle the ball at the end. Jabari Atiim with a steal to tie it and Wade-Handerson converts after another Scots turnover. Scots have a chance to tie in the last 30 seconds but a jump ball switches the possession to Richfield with 22.4 left. Jake Hartke steps up and knocks down both ends of the bonus with 10.2 to seal it. Richfield wins 63-59. This game may not have been a visual masterpiece but it was highly entertaining. Devin Wade-Henderson with 19 points to lead Richfield. Amitri Collins-Westlund with 23. Evan Brodtman adds 16.
So that means top seed St. Thomas Academy takes on 3-seed Richfield for the section title at Jefferson next Thursday.