Class AA Business Picks Up

Its the biggest game in the history of the Lansing Sports Center at Mounds Park Academy.  Ok I'm cheating as its #2AA Minneapolis North taking on #1AA Minnehaha Academy.  Full house on hand as expected.  The always terrific concession stand does not disappoint with a pulled pork meal deal.  Extra 160 calories of Lays chips thanks to the deal.  Most of the local basketball nuts in attendance tonight.  Multiple reps from the Mr Basketball Committee watching.  Plus a couple of football coaches from Northern Iowa looking at Tayler Johnson.  No officiating comments here and no music on the PA so we go silent today.

Number of Teams I've Seen: 118 (101 games, 57 days, 37 buildings, 18 online)

Beverage Ticker: 737.4 ounces (8040 Calories)
  • Pepsi: 226.7 ounces (2830 calories)
  • Coke: 129.8 ounces (1540 calories) 
  • Dr. Pepper: 36 ounces (450 calories)
  • Sprite Zero: 20 ounces (0 calories) 
  • Sprite: 136.9 ounces (1620 calories) 
  • 7 Up: 12 ounces (140 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 1000 ounces (700 calories)  
  • Red Powerade: 40 ounces (260 calories) 
  • A&W Root Beer: 24 ounces (340 calories) 
  • Mug Root Beer: 12 ounces (160 calories)
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs: 19
  • Walking Tacos: 5
  • Pizza: 16
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich: 1
  • Chipotle: 1 (thanks to Bethel staff)
Game Time:
Its a hot start for Tayler Johnson.  He scores 8 of the 1st 10 points for North getting to the rack.  Polars open up a 10-3 lead at 13:25.  8th grader Prince Aligbe off the Minnehaha bench and immediately productive with a putback and a triple off a turnover.  Chet Holmgren adds a layup to complete a quick 7-0 run.  Minnehaha right back to within 12-11 at 10:25.  Odell Wilson jumper and a Zion Sanford finish stretch the North lead to 8.  Minnehaha unphased with JaVonni Bickham and Aligbe bookending a 8-0 run with triples.  That ties the game at 21 all inside of the 4 minute mark.  JaVonni Bickham leaves with a right ankle injury with 2:39 left in the half and doesn't return for the rest of the night.  Odell Wilson with the only other bucket of the half.  North leads 23-22 at the half.  Minnehaha ice cold shooting 7-28 from the floor.  Jalen Suggs 0 points and 0-4 FGs.

But Suggs immediately comes out at a higher level.  He swats a shot, runs down the miss and then fires ahead to a teammate who gets fouled attacking the rim.  8th grader Tre Holloman knocks down a 3 on a Wilson kickout from the post and adds a layup.  30-24 North leading with 14:25 left.  Kaden Johnson with a putback, Suggs and Aligbe both with 2 free throw.  Then its Aligbe scoring and 2 more Suggs freebies attacking.  Minnehaha takes their 1st lead 34-32 (10-2 run) with 11:41 left.

Terry Lockett runs for a layup and Suggs with a floater.  But Odell Wilson has the answers for those with a 3 point play and another post bucket.  38-37 Minnehaha with 9:23 left.  Then a stretch where North misses 7 straight attempts at the charity stripe.  Terry Lockett with a couple of hoops along with another Suggs bucket.  Plus Wilson picks up his 4th foul with 5:56 left.  Minnehaha gets the lead to 46-40 on that foul.  Minnehaha tries to kill a little clock and that doesn't go well.  Tayler Johnson scoops and scores but North then misses a dunk.  Suggs with a free throw and hoop around a Wilson putback.  49-45 Minnehaha with 3:43 left.

Out of a timeout, Suggs picks up a silly 5th foul on a loose ball with 3:20 left.  Oh my (RIP Dick Enberg).  The rest of the way its a free throw parade.  Eli Campbell makes 4-4 around a Holmgren dunk.  Lockett goes lefty but Tayler Johnson makes 2-2.  53-51 Minnehaha with the ball and 1:47 left.  Then the implosion begins.  Minnehaha misses both ends of a double bonus.  Holloman makes 2-2 FTs  to tie it with 1:29 left. A turnover becomes a Nasir El-Amin 3 point play with 1:01 to play and North takes the lead.  Minnehaha turns it over on the inbounds and Tayler Johnson makes 2 more freebies.  He'll make another one after a forced 3 by Minnehaha is no good.  That pushes the lead to 6.  Another Minnehaha miss but instead of holding the ball, Tayler Johnson is going straight to the rack to dunk on Chet Holmgren.  Its a foul on the dunk attempt and a T on Holmgren after the play.  That adds 3 more to the final margin.  North wins 62-53.

Post Game
Minnehaha falls to 13-3 with the loss.  They will play hosts Stevens Point (WI) in the Border Battle on Saturday night.  But no Joey Hauser for the 3 time defending D1 champs.  Prince Aligbe leads the Redhawks with 13 points.  Terry Lockett adds 12.  Jalen Suggs with all 11 of his points in the 2nd half after a very quiet 1st half.  The late game meltdown was very surprising as we've seen Suggs foul out before and Minnehaha still able to close games out.  Turnovers and bad shots during the final minute had it all panic and that's not what we've seen from Minnehaha.  They get outscored 17-4 in the final 3:20 without Suggs including 13-0 over the final 1:47.  They didn't hit shots (no 3s in the 2nd half) and they weren't able to consistently attack the paint vs a squad that can match the athleticism.

North improves to 11-3 overall.  They will also play in the Border Battle in Stevens Point on Saturday afternoon.  They get Wisconsin's top ranked D2 team Kaukauna and West Virginia PG commit Jordan McCabe.  Tayler Johnson was terrific for North with 24 points in the win . Odell Wilson solid with 16 points.  The foul shooting story in the 2nd half was very interesting.  After looking in trouble after missing 7 straight, the Polars made 15-17 free throws in the last 3:20 with only 1 field goal.  They end up 20-32 in the 2nd half after 0-3 in the 1st half.  Minnehaha was 4-8 in the 1st half and 9-18 in the 2nd half.  So 50 total free throws in the 2nd half after 11 in the 1st half.  Give North credit for making the plays.  But what a story line we have should they meet again in the state tournament (still have to have them as the top 2 seeds but Caledonia visits Minnehaha next month with a chance to have a say in that).  No Bickham in the 2nd half, Suggs fouling out late and an unlikely implosion give a defending state champ a reason to look for redemption vs a 2 time defending champ.  How delicious!

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