Polar opposites

Its the final days of the regular season.  I make a pair of trips to see Polars to end my regular season.  That's North St. Paul on Friday and the Twin Cities Game at North on the final Saturday.  Quality pizza and a walking taco on the menus.  Pepsi everywhere which is never bad.

Friday: #3AAA Mahtomedi at North St. Paul
Senior night at North St. Paul and they do the traditional starting of 5 seniors.  But Shayne Frost puts a quick end to that with 3 quick bombs and Mahtomedi takes an 11-2 lead less than 3 minutes in.  Now we need the starters.    They do indeed come and totally change the game.  They go on a 10-2 run to get back in the game.  Then Parker Fox goes with the 2 handed poster on the break followed by a reverse dunk on a breakaway.  The Polars still not going away as they take the lead with an 8-0 run.  Goodnews Kpegeol getting going in that run.  26-25 North St. Paul at the break.

The Polars add on to the last 4 of the 1st half with a 12-2 run to start the 2nd half.  Mahtomedi goes 6 minutes in that stretch without a field goal.  Jaquas Towns with a 3 point play and 2 hoops in that run.  38-27 North with 15 minutes to play.  Mahtomedi goes to a faceguard on Kpegeol.  Fox with a putback to end a 7-1 run to pull within 5.  Then its Frost from Fox for 3 and Frost pulls up on the break outnumbered and buries a dangerous 3.  Fox with 2 free throws and an assist to Andy Voyen and we're back to even at 44 with 10 minutes left.  Gary Dixon with 2 bombs around a Fox hoop for a 50-46 North lead with 8 minutes left.

But its Fox for 3 and Lincoln Rock on the drive for 2 more and Mahtomedi is back in front.  North St. Paul needs a timeout.  Mahtomedi comes out of it in a 3-2 zone and North has no answer for it.  Fox with a 3 point play and a bucket in the post for a 58-52 Mahtomedi lead.  Frost with a critical 3 point play with 2:36 left to make it a 7 point game.  The rest is free throws.  Mahtomedi wins 67-56 after being down by 11 in the 2nd half.  North St. Paul with only 2 field goals in the last 8 minutes, mostly vs the zone.  Goodnews Kpegeol leads the Polars with 16 points.  Parker Fox with 25, Shayne Frost with 5 3s and 18 points for Mahtomedi.

Saturday: St. Paul Central at #1A Minneapolis North (Twin Cities Game)
Central hanging around early with a 13-12 lead at the 10 minute mark.  That came after a 3 from soph Daveonte Davis.  Central trying to spread the floor and cut to generate offense.  Isaac Johnson would take a steal for a hoop and JaQuan Sanders-Smith for 3 in a 14-2 Polars run late in the 1st half..  That sends North to the half with a 33-22 lead.

North opens the 2nd half on a 13-2 run.  Everybody getting in the act with Sanders-Smith scoring 5 of those.  46-24 North with 15 minutes left and it looks like the rout is on.  But Central comes back with a 20-5 run of their own.  Re'Twan Balenger attacking the rim with 9 straight Central points.  Balenger sits with his 4th foul at the 11:41 mark.  Davis picks up the offense with a 3 point play and triple.  He finishes the run with a free throw.  Central within 51-44 with 9:31 left.  That's as close as the Minutemen get.

But North scores the next 6 with Nasir El-Amin on the run for a layup and Isaac Johnson converting a turnover.  The North lead is 13 and Balenger is summoned back in the game with 8:33 left.  Odell Wilson controlling the paint with a couple of putbacks for North along with running the floor well.  Central never gets closer than 9 after their spurt.  North wins 81-65.  JaQuan Sanders-Smith and Odell Wilson with 22 points each to lead North.  Isaac Johnson adds 18.  Daveonte Davis and Re'Twan Balenger with 20 each to lead Central.

Minneapolis with no problems in the lower level games.  Henry jumped on Humboldt 24-5 and won 66-38 in the Freshman game.  North jumped on Central 31-5 in the JV game and cruised to a 75-31 win.  Early predictions have those 2 returning to the game next season.

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