Heritage wears the Cinderella slipper

Prologue
To Anoka-Ramsey Community College for the section 4A final between 5 seed Heritage Christian (12-17) and 6 seed Mounds Park Academy (9-19).  Once upon a time I used to do the combined 4A/4AA finals at Holy Angels.  Once that went away, I stayed away.  But the story of one of these Cinderella teams making it was too good to pass up.  Hollywood on the call with black sleeves tonight.  The good folks at ARCC taking care of me for a rare evening of the low angle view at the scorer's table.

Game Time
Heritage comes out 2-3 zone and that's just part of a slow early pace.  MPA patient in their zone offense.  Heritage patient in their Swing Offense.  Yahya Mader 2 early 3s for Mounds Park.  Ben Allen a deep Heritage 3.  Seth Halvorsen adds a putback and 2 FTs at the 9:15 mark for Heritage.  13-12 Mounds Park Academy on top.  The free throws come on Madar's 2nd foul.  He stays in but MPA goes 3-2 to try to save him. 

Later, the teams trade triples and Halverson hits from deep as he starts to turn it on.  Heritage takes the lead 22-19.  MPA then starts to turn it over.  Halvorsen adds a free throw and a bucket on 2 of those.  That's inbetween 2 putbacks by MPA soph Alex Nicoski.  27-25 Heritage before an end to end trip by Nick Guiang ties it.  .  MPA 1 last possession to tie it, they go a few seconds too quick and Halvorsen runs out for a hammer 1 handed slam just before the buzzer. 31-27 Heritage at the break.  Halvorsen 15 points with the momentum dunk.  Madar 9 before sitting late in the half with the fouls.

The stars keep it going to start the 2nd half.  Madar 2 blocks on 1 possession and he'll take it the other way for the hoop and harm.  Halverson converts a turnover on a pretty Eurostep move.  Soph TJ Guggenberger comes up big for Heritage off their bench with 8 in a row via 2 triples and a drive for a nice scoop finish.  43-33 Heritage stretching the lead with 11:35 left.  Halvorsen adds a 3 for a Mokiller timeout and a free throw.  9:32 left as Heritage leads 49-35 after a 14-4 run in under 4 minutes.  Sam Frederickson adds 2 layups to stretch the lead to 16 with 8:20 left.

Mounds Park Academy won't go away.  Ben Nippolt with his 3rd and 4th triples of the night before fouling out with 4:23 left.  Those cut the lead to 10.  Madar with a pair of 3s to cut the lead to 6 with 1:30 left.  They'll press and force a turnover as Heritage ducks the shoulder trying to gain space with 1:05 left.  But turnovers will seal it.  Ben Allen converts 1 into 2 free throws.  Then a Halvorsen steal and an absolutely nasty monster 2 handed dunk on Madar with the foul.  Easily the best dunk I've seen all year (Here's the video).  Heritage Christian Academy advances to the state tournament with the 64-56.

Post Game
Junior Yahya Madar leads Mounds Park Academy with 4 triples and 19 points.  Junior guard Ben Nippolt adds 4 triples of his own off the bench for 12 points.  Nick Guiang chips in with 10 points.  The Panthers finish their season 9-20.  That's more wins than they had in the last 2 years.  That included breaking a 10 year 100+ game losing streak in conference games and a win over Larpenteur Ave neighbor Hill-Murray.  Lots for head coach Jake Schwartz to be proud of in his 1st year.

Seth Halvorsen was terrific for Heritage.  He leads the Eagles with 26 points.  Him and Ben Allen really controlled the pace of the game.  Sam Frederickson and soph TJ Guggenberger each add 10 critical points.  The Eagles defense generated enough turnovers to be the difference.  Heritage is pretty thin depth wise but they're well coached and who ever they draw at state will have to work to knock them out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.