To Maple Grove for senior night vs Elk River in a NW Suburban crossover game. I arrive late but not too late to take in the wonderful Rush Creek beef sandwich deal. Sandwich with quality beef on a sturdy bun, chips, a chocolate chip cookie and A&W Root Beer all for a regular meal deal price. Can't beat that. The band and a DJ in the house, bad mix. But who do I see first when I walk in? Yep, that guy. Lithgow working tonight with 2 very regular and recognizable guys. Nebraska assistant Jim Molinari in the house to watch Maple Grove's Tywhon Pickford. A good way to use time with the Huskers being in town to play the Rodents.
Number of Teams I've Seen: 155 (55 courts + 5 online). 26 out of state, 13 girls
Beverage Ticker: 1216.5 ounces (13465 Calories)
100 days, 132 games (127 in person), 2 scrimmages added on
- Pepsi: 320.9 ounces (3760 calories)
- Coke: 300 ounces (3340 calories)
- Dr. Pepper: 48 ounces (600 calories)
- Sprite: 144 ounces (1680 calories)
- A&W Root Beer : 45.8 ounces (650 calories)
- Mug Root Beer: 40 ounces (520 calories)
- Barq's Root Beer: 32 ounces (430 calories)
- Red Gatorade/Powerade: 241.8 ounces (1705 calories)
- Orange Gatorade: 20 ounces (140 calories)
Pizza Ticker: 12
Walking Taco Ticker:10
Its senior night so we introduce all 10 seniors for lineups. Brad Davison starts with 4 non-regular starters. He's looking to get them involved early. He finds Noah Champion for 3 then adds a bucket and 2 free throws of his own. Then the other 4 regular starters join him and push the Maple Grove lead to 14-4 at the 10:55 mark. Elk River gets 8 in a row ending with a Wyatt Morrell triple. That cuts the margin to 18-14 inside 5:30 to play in the half. Davison goes over the top of the Elks zone to find Pickford for the lob dunk to break the run. Pickford adds a layup and Jack Hutchinson gets whacked and banks in a 3 at the halftime buzzer. Its a 7-0 Crimson run to end the half. That stretches the Maple Grove lead to 29-18 at the break.
Pickford hits from the deep beyond to push the lead to 35-21. Elk River then goes to a 4 corners look but they attack out of it rather than just hold it. Jacob Heyne hits 2 3s out of that look plus another Elks bomb. That pulls Elk River within 7 with 10:30 to play, 39-32. Maple Grove puts the game out of reach with the next 9 points. Pickford with a strong bucket. Brad Davison unhappy with Lithgow's travel calls against him decides to get after it. He drives for a free throw and hits a jumper. Pickford adds bonus free throws to end the run. Its a 16 point lead with 4:10 left. Maple Grove goes on to win 56-38.
Wyatt Morrell leads Elk River with 11 points. He was the only Elks player in double figures. There was just no offense to be had for them in this one. Elk River falls into a tie for 2nd in the NW Suburban North with Blaine. Both teams 9-9 in league play going into winnable final games on Friday. It could be especially important for Elk River for section purposes. Coming into the night at 14-11, they were barely ahead of St. Michael-Albertville. However, STMA has the head-head win and the QRF margin is within the tiebreaker rules. That would swap their 4/5 seeds and give STMA the 1st round home game. But I expect the Elks to hang on to the 4th seed via a win over Irondale and STMA being done. That also means tonight could be a preview of a week from Saturday at St. Cloud State in the 8AAAA semifinals.
Brad Davison leads Maple Grove with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists on my sheet. Tywhon Pickford adds 13 points. Maple Grove was very slowed by the Elk River 2-3 zone. But in the end they had too much firepower. Plus its senior night and the Crimson were somewhat coasting. Maple Grove is now 23-2 overall, 16-2 in the NW Suburban West. They can clinch the division title outright on Friday with a win at Andover or an Armstrong loss at Champlin Park. Then they'll open 8AAAA play on Tuesday at home. That almost certainly will be in the 1 vs 8 game against Moorhead.