Thoughts from 2017 GPA

Another quality weekend at the Great Plains Alliance in St. Cloud.  Champioship games in St. Cloud never seem to disappoint and they didn't this weekend either.  We had 2 overtime title games and the other was a tight classic.  Here's some of the notes from what I saw.

17U
Powerhouse Red won the 17U bracket over Comets Lewis in a 70-69 overtime thriller.  Powerhouse rallied from 5 down in the last couple minutes of regulation to force the OT.  Josiah Strong with a couple of big buckets late.  The Comets would get a late hoop but Powerhouse would see Colton Codute go coast to coast to beat the regulation buzzer.  The Comets had 1 last chance in OT but Matt Todd's lane fadeaway at the buzzer was off.

The game was a very fun coaching chess match as 6'10" center Joe Hedstrom for the Comets ended up guarding the 5'10" PG Codute for a significant portion of the game.  Powerhouse would show a Golden State like "death" lineup with Jarius Cook, Josiah Strong, Anthony Davis, Duoth Gach and Michael Schaefer to start the 2nd half.  I was really hoping to see more of that group just for the humor value.  Very logical lineup too as you wouldn't want Hedstrom chasing any of that group around the 3 point line.  But the leadership and defense of Codute is really hard to take off the floor.  Jarius Cook hit a couple of big 3s in the game and as the biggest stockriser on the Powerhouse squad he did not disappoint.

Powerhouse looked like they would steamroll the MN Eagles in the semis.  Schaefer had 25+ thanks to hot shooting before fouling out.  Codute also fouled out and the roof almost caved in.  Powerhouse saw a 25 point lead with 12 minutes left shrink all the way down to 6 with 2:40 left.  But the rally would fall short.

Speaking of rallies and hot shooting, another great game on the weekend in 17s was ECI Prospects vs Wisconsin Shooters.  Preston Maccoux of the Shooters showed a smooth stroke leading the Shooters to a 14 point halftime lead.  ECI would rally to take a late lead.  But a Grant Basile layup and 2 free throws in the last minute would lead the Shooters to the last 8 points of the game and the victory.  Maccoux didn't play on Saturday and the Shooters fell to Select Ohnstad in the quarterfinals.

Credit to WI Playmakers Clark for their performance.  They took Comets Servaty right down to the final 6 seconds on Thursday night before a Jordan Belka 3 did them in.  Then they won a couple of bracket games before falling to Comets Lewis in the quarterfinals.  Speaking of Belka, the Rogers forward is one of the hottest names coming out of the event as he starts to rack up a bunch of D2 offers.

16U
SD Attack won the 15s last year at the GPA and defended that title in 16s with a 77-73 win over Comets Stumpf.  Even more impressive when you consider they did it without star PG Sawyer Schultz (has Augustana offer).  That left Noah Freidel as the main attraction and he did not disappoint.  He made tough shots all weekend and had 36 in the championship game.  Its a fun squad to watch as they execute good offense well, play rock solid defense and don't make mistakes. 

The biggest story of the 16U bracket has to be Wayzata G Jacob Beeninga.  He was fantastic all weekend and finished it with 42 points in the championship game.  The mano-a-mano battle with Friedel in that game will be remembered for a long time. 

Beeninga and White Bear Lake's Sam Schwartz for Heat MacDonald were the leaders for their squads in the semis.  Beeninga had a big first half with 16 of his 22 points and Schwartz brought his crew back in the 2nd half to finish with 19 points.  A late Beeninga steal and free throw would finish the game.  Comets Stumpf won that semifinal 58-55.

WOTN Swedberg lost to the eventual champs in the quarterfinals but won their other 4 games of the weekend.  Lakeville North forward Tate Staloch played well and definitely helped himself.  Fury Zurn played up in the 16s and drew the champs in the round of 16s.  But Fury also won their other 4 games to win the consolation championship.  They knocked off a talented ECI Prospects squad and solid Heat Wright and Real Athletics squads along the way.  ECI's Isaac Undlin was a physical inside presence that caused problems and Mitch Larson showed nice range on his shot over the weekend.


15U
In the 15u bracket, WOTN Davis won the title 68-62 in OT over Comets DLR.  6'8" C Steven Crowl from Eastview looks like he'll be a nice compliment to Tate Machacek on the Lightning frontline.  Add in a shooter like Gabe Bassett from Farmington and forward Reid Gastner from Lake City and you have a nice squad.  They played very well in Sanford League play and extended that here.