2018 Twin Cities Series

Its the annual Twin Cities Series on the final Saturday afternoon of the regular season.  As is recent tradition it hosted by a varsity league champion.  This year that means we're in St. Paul at Johnson for all 3 games.  Vocal Highland Park crowd for the freshman game and a quality turnout for the always late starting varsity game.  The Johnson walking taco without sour cream today but that's only a minor problem. 

Number of Teams I've Seen: 146 (145 games, 94 days, 51 buildings, 26 online)

Beverage Ticker: 1128.1 ounces (12410 Calories)
  • Pepsi: 304.5 ounces (3800 calories)
  • Coke: 229.8 ounces (2740 calories) 
  • Dr. Pepper: 72 ounces (900 calories)
  • Sprite Zero: 20 ounces (0 calories) 
  • Sprite: 208.9 ounces (2480 calories) 
  • 7 Up: 36 ounces (420 calories)
  • Red Gatorade: 140 ounces (980 calories)  
  • Red Powerade: 40 ounces (260 calories) 
  • A&W Root Beer: 36 ounces (510 calories) 
  • Mug Root Beer: 12 ounces (160 calories) 
  • Barq's Root Beer: 12 ounces (160 calories)
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs: 28
  • Walking Tacos:8
  • Pizza: 22
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich: 1
  • Chipotle: 1 (thanks to Bethel staff and Chipotle Gal)
Game Time:
North forcing turnovers early for points. Some of that coming from their 1-2-2 3/4 court pressure.  Tre Holloman with a dunk and layup off of turnovers.  Plus a steal and sweet spin with the lefty finish for 2 more.  Tayler Johnson runs for a dunk and Omar Brown converts a turnover.  18-8 North at the 11:45 mark.  7th grader DeWayne Givens with good minutes off the Johnson bench.  He scores twice as Johnson cuts the lead to 26-21 at the 6:51 mark.  Odell Wilson with the patented spin move to the left hand and a dunk gets the lead to 9.  Govs counter with 7 in a row.  But North scores the last 8 of the half. Wilson with 1 free throw and a feed out of the post to Nasir El-Amin on the baseline cut for 2 more.  Holloman ends the scoring with a nice scoop for 2 and the foul.  40-30 North at the half.

First 5 of the half go to Johnson.  But North puts it away from there.  Wilson with a tip in, spin and layup off a turnover and a free throw as he scores 7 straight.  That's part of a 13-2 run to put the Polars up 53-37 with 13 minutes left.  Givens with a hoop and a nice 3 point play around a Tayler Johnson 3.  Givens keeps scoring but Johnson with the dunk off the lob and runs out for a lefty layup to keep the lead at 17.  Then the exclamation points.  Holloman BLOB 3 from the weakside corner.  DHO to Johnson and he throws it up for a Wilson finish.  Then a Govs turnover.  Johnson throws it ahead for Holloman who goes behind the back for the return feed and Tayler hammers it home on one of the prettier plays you'll see.  74-53 North with 6:20 left  North goes on to win 84-58 with lots of bench time the rest of the way.

North scoring came from the big 3.  Tayler Johnson 25, Odell Wilson 24, Tre Holloman 20.  Will somebody in sections pull out the triangle and 2 against them like Kaukauna did with great impact in the Border Battle?  DeWayne Givens not phased at all for being a 7th grader in this game.  He leads Johnson with 15 points.  Best game I saw from the youngster this season.  Shemar Tucker-Adams with 10 points.  This game was a really bad matchup for the Govs.  North with bigger and quicker guards to contain the Govs offense.  Plus Keylon Jackson going up Odell Wilson who's a bigger and better clone inside.

Lower Levels
In the freshman game, Washburn got off to a good start with an early 12 point lead.  Highland Park would claw their way back within 2 at the half.  Then late both teams have chances they can't convert and we get overtime.  Isaac Foster with the drive and 2 clutch free throws with 2.2 to play in the OT to give Highland Park the 52-51 victory.  Lots of versatile parts for Highland Park and look for a group of these guys to see plenty of varsity time next year.  Washburn with some nice quickness at the guard spots.  You have to wonder what this group would be like down the road with frosh Cade Haskins.  Haskins played varsity for the Millers this year before transferring to De La Salle after the 1st semester.

In the JV game, Henry jumped out to a 19-2 lead on Central in the 1st 7 minutes.  Central would come all the way back to within 26-25 just before the half.  Henry would score the last 4 of the half to start a 21-6 run across halftime.  That run is the difference in the game.  The lead would grow to 22 late before Central would make a run at the end to keep the final margin 63-54.  Henry's group of sophomores plus a couple of other junior returnees should keep them fighting in the upper echelon of the Minneapolis City.  Central plays basically all juniors on a loaded varsity squad already so not much time for these JV kids next year.  But Central has 3 freshman (2 of whom played well in this game and another who is now up on Varsity) that will form a very nice varsity core to keep things going in 2 years after the current group graduates.

Play of the Day
Larry McKenzie running this nice sideline out of bounds idea.  Box set with Odell Wilson setting the zipper screen for Tre Holloman to get the ball inbounds.  Holloman then takes a couple of dribbles to the weak side before reversing field.  That lead dribble gives Wilson time to come back high for the pick and roll with Holloman.  Simple and quick way to get 2 of your best guys into a 2 man game (something coach McKenzie loves).  You can't really switch the zipper screen because that would allow a straight post feed to Wilson with a likely mismatch.  Best bet might be to have the inbounder deny the zipper cut and front the post with backside help and make anybody else catch it.

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