The Tri-metro wars begin

Prologue
The Tri-Metro season kicks off in Brooklyn Center with a big west division game between the #5AA Centaurs and #4AAA Columbia Heights.  Yes it brings back memories of the old Metro Alliance.  The Old Spice guy on duty.  An absolute zoo of a crowd but I manage to weave my way through it for sausage pizza and Dr. Pepper.  We also get the Brooklyn Center cheerleaders and a surprise appearance from the pep band.  They dug out a bunch of classics.  25 or 6 to 4, Poker Face and Don't Stop Believing on the set list.  But it was this classic that gets tonight's tune.

Song of the Day: Michael Jackson - Beat It (from the Centaur pep band)
Number of Teams I've Seen: 102 (82 games, 41 days, 27 buildings, 13 online)

Beverage Ticker: 511.6 ounces (5680 Calories)
  • Pepsi: 170.7 ounces (2130 calories)
  • Coke: 96 ounces (1140 calories) 
  • Dr. Pepper: 36 ounces (450 calories)
  • Sprite Zero: 20 ounces (0 calories) 
  • Sprite: 104.9 ounces (1240 calories) 
  • 7 Up: 12 ounces (140 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 40 ounces (2800 calories)  
  • Red Powerade: 20 ounces (130 calories) 
  • A&W Root Beer: 12 ounces (170 calories)
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs: 12
  • Walking Tacos: 4
  • Pizza: 13
  • Chipotle: 1 (thanks to Bethel staff)
Game Time:
The start of the half is the difference in the half.  Christian Kelly and Quentin Hardrict score off turnovers.  Deundra Roberson with a nice pull up and then a triple.  That's a 9-2 start for Columbia Heights.  Columbia Heights dominating the glass early in the game.  Columbia Heights keeping the pace reasonable with their flat 3-2 zone.  That held the Centaurs to 1-13 from 3 in the 1st half.  Wendell Matthews effective on post touches as well.  32-23 Heights at the half.

Good start to the 2nd half for Brooklyn Center.  Lu'Cye Patterson with a couple of tough hoops in an 8-1 run to start the half.  That cuts the Hylanders lead to 33-31 just before 3 minutes into the half.  Heights counters with a banked Bryan Mayfield 3 to start a 8-0 run and the lead is back to 10.  Roland Russ doing nice dirty work inside with 2 hoops plus a 3 point play.  Patterson with a difficult spin and finish and the lead is down to 6 with 10 minutes left.

Hardrict jumper, Matthews in the post for 2 and the lead is 11.  Then Matthews with 4 free throws and a lob finish around a Rudy Tahir triple.  60-50 Heights inside 5 minutes left.  Then a Centaur missed front end and 2 more freebies missed.  Matthews with a pair of 3 point plays and another hoop as the lead grows to 17 with 2 minutes left.  Heights very sloppy turning it over late but the end result is not in danger.  Columbia Heights wins 81-70.  But the final doesn't really do the game justice.

Post Game
For Brooklyn Center, Lu'Cye Patterson leads the way with 23 points.  3 other starters also in double figures with Rudy Tahir scoring 14.  The game was a slower pace than Brooklyn Center would have liked.  Once again the interior play was too much for the Centaurs to stop.  Brooklyn Center falls to 8-3 overall and 0-1 in the Tri-Metro.  This game begins a brutally tough 5 game stretch of the schedule over these 2 weeks.  They play Esko on Saturday in the Breakdown MLK classic in Duluth.  Then league games vs #1AAA De La Salle and at St. Croix Lutheran next week.  They end the stretch a week from Saturday against a tough St. Paul Central squad.

Wendell Matthews leads Columbia Heights with 19 of his 25 in the 2nd half.  But with a lack of touches and difficulty finishing at the basket to start the 2nd half, he could have had 40.  I was surprised they didn't go to him even more as there was little resistance inside.  Quentin Hardrict with a very solid 15 points.  You can really see the difference he makes running the show.  Christian Kelly with 13, Deundra Roberson with 11.  Columbia Heights remains undefeated at 10-0 and now 1-0 in the Tri-Metro.  They have 3 winnable games coming up but don't overlook a trip to Fridley next Friday.  Two major tests lurk at the end of the month against Hopkins (at Trinity) and hosting St. Croix Lutheran.  That's just the start of a tough back half of the schedule.

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