Final thoughts on the 2009 State Tournament

I'll start with my experiences on press row at the state tourney.
  • All the Pepsi that I could drink. That alone makes the weekend worthwhile.
  • For those who didn't like Tech vs Hopkins in the 1st half, you're completely nuts. Great chess match there. Great crowd from Tech helped too.
  • Hopkins really didn't play well in either of the last 2 games and still won relatively easily. Definitely the best Minnesota team I've ever seen in my short time on the wrong side of the Mighty Mississippi.
  • That class A title game with GHEC and Ellsworth was terrific especially in the 2nd half. Despite the fact that GHEC drove me nuts in the 1st half by shooting outside shots and my bad perception of their schedule, after seeing them twice, they definitely were worthy.
  • Cole Olstad is that good. Its a shame he won't be on the AAU circuit.
  • Love the Ada-Borup Band. Honorable mention here to the Chisholm guitarist who did a 5-star restaurant quality rendition of Metallica's Enter Sandman on Friday morning about an hour before the game before he was inexplicably told to stop.
  • Spike the Bulldog from St. Bernard's on TV, great stuff. Honarable mention for the hideous Viking from Pelican Rapids. Scary looking, but appropriate. Dishonorable mention to the Osseo Penguin.
  • At least 4 schools had kids chant "B(%*$*@!". Be better than that, especially when TV is there.
  • A media guy tearing me apart Friday morning for saving a spot for Ryan James with Michael Much sitting there taking it all in and leaving me to the rabid wolf. Welcome to the state tournament rookie. For the record, said unhappy media guy did get an apology in as he left that night. (Czar's note 3/31/09: Michael doesn't believe he was there when this happened. Regardless, the intent here was to make light of my 1st time on press row. Its not a secret that not only do I work for Mike, but he's been one of the biggest supporters of this blog. Its worth noting that he was the one to talked to the upset media guy and that got me the apology mentioned. I apologize to Mike for the omission)
  • Corollary: I know people want to cover the event, but this concept that anybody who even remotely has an interest can get a press pass is too much. Especially when they don't compare it to the number of available places to put the media. It would certainly make life easier for the nice lady at the Will Call window who had to take 10 minutes to sift through everything to find my media pass.
  • 152 games is the final number for this season. 1 season down, on to the AAU season. Local events every non-holiday weekend from here until mid-June. Busy schedule.

Hopkins finishes the deal with the 09 AAAA Championship

Cowles right off the opening tip. Broghammer on Dower as expected. John Rowland for 3 and Osseo leads 3-2. No goofy game plan for Osseo. Royce thru Dower and tips in his own miss. Rowland again, this time with the turnaround at 16:40. 5-4 Orioles. Bobby Fischer for 3 and a Hopkins turnover. Dower inside and fouled for a pair of FTs at 16:10. He makes 1 of 2 for a 9-6 Osseo lead. White for a layup from Marcus Williams and he'll shoot 1. No good but Broghammer tips it in. Can't have that. Another Osseo turnover but White with another forced shot. Rowland around and out as he gets another look. Hopkins not converting the turnovers. DJ Phillips with a carry for the 4th Osseo turnover. TV timeout at 13:49, 10-9 Hopkins leads.

Bobby Fischer for 3 at 13:10 to put Osseo back on top 12-10. Moses Sundufu in the game and he crashes the glass for FTs at 12:49. Can Phillips and Fischer can keep Hopkins off the offensive glass? Osseo being very patient on offense with no gimmicks. Hopkins not as patient. Aaron Anderson drives and has a nice dropoff to Jayvin Reynolds for a layup. 14-11 Osseo leads as we go to the TV timeout at 10:55. Royce White with 6 points already. Bobby Fischer and John Rowland with 11 of the 14 Osseo points.

Lockett with another Hopkins offensive board for 2. Reynolds back on the other end. Offense coming from the unlikely sources for Osseo. Lockett rebounds, a nice low crossover and spin for freebies at 9:47. 1 of 2 for Lockett. 16-14 Osseo leads. A feed to Dower results in a turnover. Lockett and Broghammer with misses but white draws the 3rd quick foul on Reynolds at the 9:26 mark. White airballs a step back jumper and then reaches around as he didn't get out to Rowland. DJ Phillips spins, avoid a steal and throws in a short shot. 18-15 Osseo. Cowles banks home a 3 at 7:45 to tie it. Lockett grabs another offensive board but turns and goes thru the d for his 2nd foul outside of 7 minutes. Singleton with a bucket and an Osseo turnover. That takes us to the 6:24 TV timeout. 20-18 Hopkins. They already have 8 offensive rebounds which makes up for 8-23 shooting. Osseo 7-16 but 8 turnovers.

Cowles with another Hopkins offensive board at 5:35. That gives him 2 FTs and gives Hopkins a 22-20 lead. Broghammer pushing Dower out but he fouls Dower for his 2nd with 5:22 left. The bonus freebies tie the game at 22. Cowles for 2, Williams for 2 on a turnover. Dower inside and dunks to stop some bleeding. Cowles gets a great look after the 10th offensive board of the half but its up and over with 4:22 left. Phillips great feed to Djerf backdoor, Dower with a block but Phillips can't finish. 26 all at the 3:46 TV timeout.

Hopkins can't convert 2 more offensive rebounds as Osseo is just tipping the ball, not grabbing it. DJ Peterson does convert an Osseo turnover at 3:05 for 2. Dower inside misses a short jump hook over Royce. Dower smacks a Marcus Williams layup off the board for a nice block. Peterson drives on Rowland and Dower doesn't help and Hopkins gets the layup. John Rowland with another 3 and Osseo is within 1, 30-29 at 1:20. Osseo takes time and holds for 1 shot but Phillips turns it over for a Royce dunk. Djerf misses a triple, White with the long outlet to Williams who finds Singleton who'd fouled at the horn. He makes 1 of 2. 33-29 Hopkins at the break. Bad last minute for Osseo. Hopkins 13-39 shooting but they have 12 offensive rebounds (25-18 total advantage on the glass) and have forced 12 turnovers (4 by Osseo PG DJ Phillips). Royce started hot but he's only 4-11. Cowles and Royce have 9 points each to each Hopkins. John Rowland leads Osseo with 8 points. Sam Dower 1-5 with 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and a total of 5 points. Osseo's 4-7 shooting from 3 helping to keep them close. Oustanding performance by the Alexandria Aces at the half with their hoops tricks. Great way to end the season with the best halftime entertainment of the year.

My Class AAAA All-Tournament Ballot
Ellis Libby and Moses Alipate - Jefferson
Mike Bruesewitz - Sibley
Nate Wolters - St. Cloud Tech
John Rowland, Aaron Anderson and Sam Dower - Osseo
Royce White, Ray Cowles and Mike Broghammer - Hopkins

To the last half of the season we go. Osseo looks for another backdoor Djerf and a post up for Dower but they turn it over. Broghammer with great position on Dower and can't convert. He then blows the dunk on a follow-up. Royce bumps Dower to gain space and banks it home. Osseo misses and a kickout to Royce equals 3. Timeout Osseo at 16:25 with Hopkins leading 38-29. Lockett poaches a passing lane and finger rolls for an 11 point lead. The pressure adding up now. Rowland with a big 3 at the 15 minute mark to keep Osseo within 8. Then he strips Lockett and Dower converts for an And 1 on the other end. 14:34 left with Hopkins leading 40-34 after the missed FT. Reynolds gets posted by Royce and has to mug him to save an easy hoop. That's his 4th with 14:15 left but White misses both. Djerf drives and pulls up at 13:50 to cut the lead to 4. Broghammer steals a pair of offensive boards for FTs. Another reason why Reynolds is sorely missed as he's a top rebounder. Broghammer's 2 FTs extend the lead to 6. Royce helping on Dower and Rowland buries another triple at 12:25. 42-39 Hopkins.

Broghammer posts Dower and scores over him lefty at 12:11. Dower guarding Royce now and he immediately gets posted and picks up another foul. Royce gets lost on an inbounds for an easy dunk at 11:10 and the lead is 7. Danger zone here. TV Timeout at 10:30 with Hopkins leading 46-39.

Djerf with another Osseo 3 at 10:10 and they continue to hang around. Lockett posts DJ Phillips and converts a jump hook. Phillips misses a floater and Williams pulls up for a medium range jumper. DJ Peterson with another Hopkins offensive board at 8:58 for 2. Reynolds will come back in for the Orioles. That's the 19th offensive rebound for Hopkins. Dower scores at the 8 minute mark and Peterson puts back another miss. Rowland with another triple and Osseo takes time with 7:44 left. 54-49 Hopkins leads. Hopkins still cold as they're 9-22 shooting this half.

Broghammer misses a bunny but comes back with a tip away from Dower and then a 17 footer from the high post. 56-49 Hopkins leads. Another entry pass where Dower gets mugged and no call and Hopkins gets possession. Royce guarding Dower now with Broghammer on the bench. Reynolds up high for a tip in at 5:45. Marvin Singleton with a tough finish over Dower who stayed straight up. Dower over Broghammer and gets a putback. Royce over Dower on the other end with a floater. Phillips with a turnover and marcus Williams smartly pulls the ball back. Timeout Hopkins wiht 3:26 left and a 60-53 lead. Osseo with 4 turnovers since the last TV timeout.

Lockett to the basket and Dower gets that one. Dower grabs an offensive rebound at 2:45 and fades for 2. Osseo still within 5. Royce strong and converts at 2:30. With Osseo's big lineup (Reynolds and Rowland together), Cowles guards Rowland so no free looks from 3 against Royce. Broghammer with 1 FT at 2:07. Now Reynolds and Rowland alternate offense for defense. Cowles fouled at 1:06 and he makes 2 freebies and the lead is double-digits, 65-55. Hopkins makes their free throws for a 69-59 win.

Hopkins is the third undefeated team today to come in and leave with a title. Royce White finishes with 20 points, 7 rebounds for the game and no meltdowns for the season. Mike Broghammer with 11 points and 13 rebounds. John Rowland with 17 points including 5 triples. Hopkins with 21 offensive rebounds and they forced 21 turnovers. That offsets 37.7% shooting. Sam Dower finishes his career with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

The Class AAAA All-Tournament Team
Nate Wolters, Alex Hanks - St. Cloud Tech
Royce White, Mike Broghammer, Trent Lockett - Hopkins
Moses Alipate, Ellis Libby - Jefferson
Sam Dower, Aaron Anderson, Nick Djerf - Osseo (no Rowland is a mistake by the voters)

Less than 65,000 people attended the tournament compared to 90,000 in Wisconsin. A simple way to address budget issues, fix the schedule so more fans can attend by having the big schools play the primetime games.

Washburn outlasts Mankato West for 2009 AAA championship

Kevin Noreen watching from the front row behind the Mandato West bench. Another matchup of arguably the top 2 teams in the class, this time in AAA. I must admit there are few better nicknames than Scarlets (Awesome Blossoms, Cobras and Dragons fit into another category). They need to schedule a game against Maple Grove to fight over color.

Mike Richter gets the initial assignment guarding Ra'Shede Hageman. He gets a monster stuff block on Noah Shepherd. He also adds a jumper for the 1st points of the game for the Scarlets. Martin to the basket for 2 and the foul for his 2nd hoop of the night. 4-2 washburn at 15:53 after the missed FT. Aaron Richter to the basket blocked by Martin. Hageman picks it up goes around his world but blows the layup. Martin cleans that up for a 9-4 lead and Mankato West needs a timeout with 14:50 left in the half. Martin 3-3 early. 1 trip up the floor, tipped away. 4 seconds pass and now we get the TV timeout. I hate TV timeouts.

Martin gets a rebound and he's off to the races again and earns a pair of FTs. 11-4 Washburn with 13:49 left. Aaron Richter again strong inside and he has 2 more. 10:43 TV timeout. 12-6 Washburn as they haven't made a field goal in 4:09. Mankato West has no FGs in the last 2:56 so offense is not on display here.

Jordan Osberg airballs a 3 and Cedric Martin almost ends up in my lap going after the rebound. Dylan Hale with a steal via a trap on Mike Richter but Mike comes back and swats Hale's layup attempt. Ray Teachout breaks a FG drought of 4:17 for Mankato West to cut the lead to 4. Mankato West with an offense rebound on effort alone, love their intensity. That leads to an Aaron Richter jumper at 8:08. 14-10 Washburn. Hageman gets a nice pass but Derrick Cattryse jumps over from the helpside to knock the ball away. Hageman spins and makes a nice lefty jump hook inside. A steal for a Hale layin, 18-10 Washburn at 6:39. Aaron Richter with 1 of 2 FTs at 6:20. 18-11 Washburn, TV Timeout. Mankato West only 5-17 from the floor. Both teams with 8 turnovers.

Both Richters doing a nice job challenging Hageman on both ends. Hageman 1 of 2 FTs at 5:08 for a 21-11 Washburn lead. DeAaron Hearn grabs a rebound and outlets to Martin in 1 motion and he makes a nice conversion. 23-11 Washburn leads. TV Timeout at 3:28 with the same margin. Mankato West not generating any offense and they take time at 2:08. No FGs in the last 6 minutes.

Aaron Richter gets a very good look inside and it goes backrim. Ice cold. 2 more looks don't go in and Martin feeds Hageman for 2 FTs with 9.6 left in the half. Cattrysse over Osberg for 3 at the horn for his only make in 10 attempts. That breaks a drought over over 8 minutes. 25-14 Washburn leads going to halftime. 6-28 from the floor for the Scarlets. Washburn only 9-24 with 10 turnovers. Aaron Richter with 7 points and 5 boards. Cedric Martin with 10 and 7. Ra'Shede Hageman with 6 and 6 but he's only 1-6 shooting. Washburn's just too athletic. Nice to see Tubby Smith in the building as a VIP.

My Class AAA All-Tournament Ballot
Michael Talley from St. Paul Johnson
Shaun Jensen and Trey Scott from Spring Lake Park
Derrick Cattrysse, Aaron Richter and Mike Richter from Mankato West
DeAaron Hearn, Dylan Hale, Ra'Shede Hageman and Cedric Martin from Minneapolis Washburn

Hale and Hageman on a nice screen/roll set. Hageman misses the bunny but gets it back and powers it home. Inbounds for Mankato West and Ray Teachout buries a triple. Hageman hop and pop for 2 more. 29-17 Washburn with 16:45 left. Aaron Richter with a nice up fake and dribble to get himself a layup. The Scarlets still hanging around with a chance for a run. Preston Brunz flares and drives for a bucket high off the window and the lead is back to single digits. Mankato West misses out on 2 chances to cut the lead to 6. TV Timeout at 14:55 with Washburn leading 29-21.

Cattrysse misses a bunny and Mike Richter puts it back and the lead is cut to 6. Hageman spins left and gets the roll inside. Mike Richter with an offensive board and it gets kicked around the horn for another Teachout triple and the Mankato West crowd rises. Washburn misses and Brunz drills a 3 for the Mankato West explosion. 31-29 Washburn and they take a timeout at the 13:18 mark. In the last 2:44 its a 12-2 run for Mankato West.

Noah Shepherd inside to Hageman and he bulls his way to another layup. Aaron Richter blocks a Martin drive on the baseline but Martin puts it back to push the lead to 6. Mike Richter inside at 11:33. 35-31 Washburn leads. Nick Smith drives and his pass is off Hageman's hands. Hale now trying to contain Teachout but gives up a good corner look that goes back rim. Bruns flares, 2 guys run to him and he finds Aaron Richter for an easy layup as no one rotates. 35-33 inside of 10 minutes. After a washburn turnover, the same play goes to Cattrysse but he misses the open 3. Washburn weaves and that gets Hale a triple with 9 minutes left. 38-33 Washburn leads.
Aaron Richter with a strong move at 8:32 and he finishes over Jay Edward for the 3 point play. Hageman back in at the 7:47 mark and Washburn leading 40-36. Cattrysse off the window at 7:40 and then a carrying call. That generates a "fundamentals" chant from the Scarlets students. Aaron Richter with a bad miss over Edward and Martin converts on the other end. 42-38 with 7 minutes left. The Scarlets turn it over and Hageman cleans up a mess for FTs with 6:46 left. He makes both and we go to a TV timeout with Washburn leading 44-38. Good time for Mankato West to get the TV timeout.

Teachout gets loose on the inbounds out of the timeout but he can't convert the layup. Big miss there. Washburn takes timeout with 5:52 left and the 6 point lead. Teachout cuts the lead in half with a straight away triple. Washburn gives it away on the other end. Double down for Teachout and he gets a good look at the tying 3. No good. Aaron Richter takes a turnover and has a nice jump stop and finish to cut the lead to 1 with 4 and a half left. Washburn holding but they throw a pass over Cedric Martin and its over and back to West. But they turn it over with 4:02 to play and the chance to lead. Hageman back iron on the post over Mike Richter, he fights thru for the offensive rebound and earns 2 FTs with 3:41 to play. Once again Hageman makes 2 FTs to send us to a TV timeout. 3:41 left with Washburn leading 46-43.

Martin steals and finishes at 3:15, big play there. Washburn back to their 1-2-2 3/4 press before dropping back man. Aaron Richter drives and gets bumped by Martin at 2:26 but misses the front end. Teachout tracks down the miss. But after a miss, Aaron Richter fouls Martin. With 2:16 left, Martin gets the first to bounce high and drop in but the second just falls out. 49-43 Washburn. Mike Richter looks like he has a layup but Martin blocks that away and the ball ends up with Washburn and 2 minutes left. DeAaron Hearn drives right baseline and scores with 90 seconds left. There was a chance there to foul Hageman as he got a post touch during the possession. Cattrysse responds on the other end with 1:24 left.

Now the free throw shooting contest begins. Hale is our first contestant and he makes 1 of 2 at 1:23. Aaron Richter off with a 16 foot jumper with 1 minute left and Hale rebounds it. Next up in our contest is Martin wiht 45.4 left. No doubt about these 2. 54-45 Washburn. Washburn fans chant "Season's over" and get the great "So is yours" response. Washburn goes on to win the AAA title over Mankato West by a score of 58-45.

For Wasbhburn, Cedric Martin with 23 and 9 on 8-12 shooting. Ra'Shede Hageman with 18 and 11 but only 5-13 shooting. Aaron Richter with 16 and 8 to lead Mankato West.

Funny moment during the awards ceremony, the MSHSL had the 1st place trophy in hand for Mankato West and only when they went to hand it out did they realize the mistake. So the Scarlets captains were standing there while the MSHSL guy went to the table to get the correct trophy.

AAA All-Tourney Team
Scott and Jensen - Spring Lake Park
Talley and Dion Suggs-Young - Johnson
Cattrysse, Teachout and Aaron Richter - Mankato West
Hale, Martin and Hageman - Washburn

Storrusten outplays Jett for 2009 AA Title

To the AA final, Jordair Jett and Tydan Storrusten. Great matchup of point guards. And Jett may end up guarding Eric Shulstad on the other end. Does anyone else play point guard on 1 end and defend centers on the other? St. Bernard's definitely has some very good options for defending Storrusten. Should be very interesting.

SB 0-7 at the 14:40 TV timeout and down 6-2 with 3 turnovers. They don't find Jan-Erik Linberg and they're down 9-2 after his 2nd 3. Jett blows past Storrusten but charges for his 2nd foul with 13:33 left in the half and he'll sit with the Bulldogs down 9-4. Lindberg 2-4 for 7 points, rest of the team is 1-7 with SB 1-9. Storrusten with a triple. 12-8 Pelican outside of 12 minutes. Shane Taylor with a scoop for 2 and despite being majorly outplayed, SB is only down 12-10 as we go to the media timeout at 10:34. SB 3-12 with 6 turnovers so far. Pelican Rapids is only 4-14 (that's with 2-5 from Lindberg who's getting way too many good looks).

Mike Weah to Brian Sandifer for a layup and we're tied at 14 with 9:24 left in the half. Weah has been absolutely outstanding this entire state tournament. Lindberg for 3 from straight away, grrr!. 17-14 Pelican at the 8:24 mark. Storrusten fouled at 7:58 and his 2 free throws push the lead back to 5, 19-14. Another SB turnover and thankfully Lindberg misses the triple. Sandifer with a triple at 6:40 to get SB some offense. Storrusten floats for 2 and SB turns it over for a Storrusten to Matt Skow-Anderson layup. 23-17 Pelican as we go to a TV timeout at 5:53. SB 6-16 with 10 turnovers.

Jett back in the game as the Bulldogs need offense but he misses a lefty layin on a baseline drive. Jett then loses Lindberg who buries another triple to push the lead to 9. Trent Davis with a layup that rolls off. Storrusten floats for 2 more at 4:15 and its 28-17 Pelican Rapids. TV timeout with exactly 4 minutes left and Bernard's really needs it. 2 turnovers and 2 missed layups in the last 1:53.

Shulstad with a miss on the post and Duncan runs out for a layup. After a Lindberg misses, Duncan does it again to cut the lead to 7 outside the 3 minute mark. Duncan on the run again, great block though and Lindberg finds Brian Guler for a layup. Duncan again inside, Skow-Anderson with another great block and Guler converts it on the other end. WOW. 32-23 Pelican at 1:50. Jett short and SB fouls on the rebound. Coach Cassidy with a look of despair. Jett out at 1:05 to save the fouls. 32-23 Pelican Rapids at the half and they've totally outplayed the Bulldogs. St. Bernard's 9-26 shooting with 13 turnovers. Jordair Jett 0-4 and no points. Averey Duncan with 8 points on 3-6 (30% for the rest of the team). Pelican Rapids only 12-31 shooting but 5-12 from deep. Tydan Storrusten 4-10 for 11 points. Jan-Erik Lindberg 4-9 (8 of those from 3) for 13 points.

My Class AA all-tournament ballot

Nash Faulk and Jeff Hammer from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.
Clay and Cole Olstad from Plainview-Elgin-Millvile.
Jordair Jett, Averey Duncan and Mike Weah from St. Bernard's
Tydan Storrusten, Eric Shulstad and Jan-Erik Lindberg from Pelican Rapids.

Jett drives and scores with the lefty bank right away. Shulstad with a cut to the elbow and he buries the jumper as no one found him. Interesting that Jett has the assignment guarding Storrusten to start the half. Storrusten head fakes Jett for a short jumper. That's something the Bulldogs have struggled with all season. Duncan now on Lindberg which is another strange matchup. Why waste your top defender on a stand-still shooter? Good timeout by the Bulldogs at 15:05 down 36-25. Jett from the left elbow, drives, spins, hangs and scores. We go to the 14:40 TV timeout 38-27 Pelican Rapids leads.

Jett back to back misses and he's now 2-9. Jett taken out on a screen and Storrusten spins on Sandifer for 2 FTs at 13:49. 1 of the 2 is good for a 39-27 Pelican Rapids lead. Jett goes up and snares a Sandifer miss and puts it back. Timeout St. Bernard's at 12:54 down 39-29. 12-35 shooting for the Bulldogs as they still can't find the range. Storrusten again gets the switch to Sandifer and finishes to push the lead to 12. Trent Davis slashes and gets the 3 point play at 12:33. Matt Haugen over Sandifer for 2 more 43-32 Pelican rapids. Shulstad posts Duncan and hits the jump hook. 45-32 Vikings outside of 11 minutes remaining. Mike Weah finally into the game at 10:36, for as well as he's played, very surprising that he didn't get in til now. Jett misses a 3 but Shane Taylor pushes back to cut the lead to 9. Jett gambles and Storrusten makes him pay with a short jumper. Duncan with another Bulldogs putback. 47-38 Pelican with 9:30 left. Weah leaves a triple short and Storrusten pulls up for 3. Timeout St. Bernard's and the Pelican Rapids crowd erupts. 52-38 Vikings lead. Pelican Rapids 8-13 shooting this half.

Jett drives and goes back rim and then he reaches in on the rebound for his 4th foul with 8:31 left. Jett picks Storrusten's pocket and goes the distance. After Storrusten misses the front end of the bonus, Duncan misses a layup. That kind of day for the Bulldogs. Jett with 2 free throws that both miss short. Storrusten to the rim for another layup, then a turnover and Guler straight to the rim as Jett has to let him go. 56-40 Pelican with 7 to play. Jett with 2 free throws as we go to the 6:55 media timeout. 56-42 Pelican Rapids leads.

Interesting that Jett is on the bench out of the timeout. He comes back with 6:29 left. Jett short again but Weah puts it back. Lindberg with a nice step back on Duncan. 62-44 Pelican Rapids with 6 minutes left. Jett with a pair of FTs and then Duncan steals the inbounds and puts it in to cut the deficit to 63-50. Storrusten gives and goes on a sideline out of bounds and gets the 3 point play. Nice heady play. Hands down the MVP of the AA tournament (yes I said that). 67-50 Pelican Rapids with 4:53 left. Lindberg with a layup as Pelican picks apart the press. 70-56 Pelican Rapids at the last TV timeout with 3:55 to play.

How many shots short did Jett miss? After a Duncan putback, Storrusten touchdown to Skow-Anderson for a layup. The only drama is if Storrusten will end up with a triple-double. Storrusten to the rim for a layup at 1:14 and Pelican empties the bench. Pelican Rapids wins the state title 80-68 and it wasn't that close. Pelican Rapids played with better discipline and was far more sound on defense. Not a good performance at all for the Bulldogs.

Jordair Jett ends his career with 20 points and 8 rebounds but only 7-23 from the floor. Only 2 assists which is a big number for him. Low assists means he's playing 1 on 1. Averey Duncan finishes with 14 points and 12 rebounds and a handful of steals. Trent Davis 2-13 shooting. Overall St. Bernard's finished 1-17 from the 3 point line and 27-70 from the floor. Pelican Rapids shot 16-26 in the 2nd half against very porous Bulldogs defense. Tydan Storrusten finishes with 34 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Jan-Erik Lindberg with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Eric Shulstad with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The AA All-Tournament Team is the 10 guys I voted for above.

GHEC wins the 2009 Class A title

GHEC had multiple postup opportunities and didn't take advantage of Tim Garry and Taylor Nawrocki in the post. With more patience, they had whatever they wanted inside. Nice job by Ellsworth to manage Trevor Gruis with 2 fouls for the last 6 minutes of the half. In on offense, out on defense. Taylor Nawrocki had his hands full trying to guard Gruis. GHEC getting lost defensively trying to guard Ellsworth's power motion. Ellsworth finding Gruis inside or getting Casey Schilling or Adam Van Der Stoep open for easy jumpers. GHEC 7-24 from the floor. Ellsworth only 12-31. Taylor Nawrocki 11 and 4, Casey Schilling 8. Trevor Gruis 4 points and 6 rebounds. 28-18 Ellsworth at the break.

My All-Tournament Ballot for Class A

Gruis, Van Der Stoep and Schilling from Ellsworth
Taylor Nawrocki and Tim Garry from GHEC
Brian Bueng and Yuri Johnson from Ada-Borup
Taylor Skoglund from Chisholm
Drew Johnson - Bethlehem Academy
Kevin Noreen - MTS

Garry with a couple of triples early in the half but GHEC is still shooting triples instead of looking inside. Their screen/roll motion offense is getting them absolutely nothing. Marcus Teachout drives right into Gruis, misses and then gets blocked. Then another drive and another block. Where is Taylor Nawrocki inside? Ellsworth helping as they can't hit anything right now and GHEC is still within 7. Teachout with another inside force and miss. Tom Nolte having a nice role playing game. Garry with his 3rd triple of the half then an Ellsworth turnover leads to 2 Tanner Nawrocki freebies on a clean block by Nolte (bad call) right in front of me. 36-32 Ellsworth with 10:40 to play. 11-4 GHEC run over the last 4:43.

GHEC stays with their 1-2-2 and Taylor Nawrocki converts a layup on a turnover and the lead is down to 2. Gruis good look and short. Taylor Nawrocki short with a triple after a long possession. That impatience is a killer. Nolte makes GHEC pay with a hoop at the other end to push the lead back to 4. Gruis staying on Garry. Teachout for triple for 1-8 shooting to cut the lead to 1 inside 8:30. Nolte again inside. I should have voted for him all-tournament. Garry with a jump hook over Gruis. Gruis with a nice skip to Van Der Stoep for 3. 43-39 Ellsworth with 7:40 to play. Taylor Nawrocki scoops for 2 and GHEC dives on the floor for the loose ball and gets the timeout. 7:13 to go, Ellsworth 43-41 and the intensity has really jumped to another level.

Teachout airballs a left corner 3 and he's now 1-9. Van Der Stoep has no chance guarding Nawrocki inside and GHEC isn't looking at it. Nawrocki blocked by Gruis (great help) and gets it back for a kickout (3 seconds?) for another 3 by Garry and GHEC has their first lead of the day, 44-43 with 6:18 left. Nolte against the trap for a layup to put Ellsworth back on top. Casey Schilling called for an elbow against the trap, another brutal call. 5:25 to play 45-44 Ellsworth leads.

Gruis now not guarding Taylor Nawrocki or Tim Garry. He may be able to sit back and help. Teachout still shooting and he buries a jumper to put GHEC back on top. Matt Buntjer right back for Ellsworth with 4:30 to play. Garry for a layup with 4:10 to play as no one can get a stop. Van Der Stoep with a surprising airball. Taylor Nawrocki strong to the hoop but misses the layup with 3:30 left and Gruis scores on the other end. 49-48 Ellsworth with 3:10 left. Tyler Harder in and out for GHEC. He'll need to make shots to Gruis guarding him. GHEC forces the turnover and they'll have the ball with 2:46 left after the final media timeout.

Taylor Nawrocki drives, banks and is fouled with 2:34 left for a 3 point play. 51-49 GHEC as they stay 1-2-2. Gruis short with 2:10. Teachout driving and gets the benefit of a bump from Nolte. He'll shoot the bonus with 1:43 left but misses the front end. Timeout Ellsworth in the front court with 1:31 to play. Gruis out of the timeout gets a good look for 2 and we're tied with 1:26 left. GHEC holding the ball for 1 shot with a stall. Timeout GHEC with 15.9 to play tied at 51.

Taylor Nawrocki drives and he gets lucky as the ball goes off an Ellsworth defenders leg out of bounds. Timeout GHEC with 10.7 left and they'll have the ball under the basket. Taylor Nawrocki drives from the top and kicks to Teachout in the left corner but that's no good. Ellsworth rebounds and calls time with 0.9 left with a chance to go full court. The pass is tipped away and we'll play overtime.

GHEC with the world's WORST offense to start overtime. Gruis backs off Garry and he knocks down a 17 footer from the left wing. GHEC's Tanner Nawrocki dives on the floor he gets the turnover and the foul with 3:10 left. 1 of 2 from the stripe gives GHEC a 54-51 lead. Another Ellsworth turnover against the 1-2-2. Garry pulls up and the iron is kind. 56-51 GHEC leads. Gruis has a pass tipped away for another Panthers turnover with 2:30 left in the OT. GHEC goes back to the delay game with double stacks on the elbows. Van Der Stoep fouls Taylor Nawrocki but he misses the front end. Ellsworth with 2 missed triples but they run both of them down. Nolte has a left layup trickle off with the rim with 1:20 left. Marcus Teachout fouled with 1:11 to play and he makes both. 58-51 GHEC in control now. Nolte pulls up with a floater. Time Ellsworth with 58.5 left down 5. They get the turnover and will take it out with 50.9 left. Gruis to the basket and fouled with 46.4 left. He makes 1 of 2 to cut the lead to 4 as the 1st FT just rimmed out. Marcus Teachout fouled and he makes 1 of 2. 59-54 GHEC and Teachout tracks down a missed 3. He's back to the line with 27.9 left and again makes 1 of 2. Teachout on the runout to seal the deal. GHEC wins the state class A title, 62-54.

Tim Garry leads GHEC with 20 of his 25 points in the 2nd half and 10-13 shooting. Taylor Nawrocki with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Marcus Teachout with 11 points on 3-12 shooting. Trevor Gruis 10 points and 14 rebounds on 4-10 shooting. Tom Nolte leads the Panthers with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The all-tourney team

Brian Arola and Skoglund from Chisholm
Bueng and Johnson from Ada-Borup
Garry, Taylor Nawrocki and Marcus Teachout from GHEC
Van Der Stoep, Gruis and Schilling from Ellsworth

Jett comes up large in the AA semis

All dog fighting rules suspended tonight for the AA semifinal matchup of Bulldogs with Plainview-Elgin-Millvile and St. Bernard's. PEM goes 2-3 zone. Sandifer with a 3. Jordair Jett gets the initial matchup on PEM star Cole Olstad. PEM also trying their 2-2-1 press. Jett to Jordan Gittens against that. Clay Olstad off a baseline triple and Gittens runs him over for a 4 point play. 6 all at 16:02. Jett with a laser to Averey Duncan for a layup then with a steal for a layup at 15:08. 10-6 St. Bernard's at the 1st TV timeout with 14:29 left in the first half.

Great inbound set that gets Jett a layup. Clay Olstad drives and no one takes the charge. 12-8 SB. Cole Olstad then scores inside on Jett to cut the lead to 2. Andy Zych off the bench for SB. He gets the hoop and harm at 13:09. 15-10 SB. Jett with a rebound, coast to coast, great pass to Duncan who bobbles it out of bounds. Cole Olstad keeping PEM in it. A triple at 12:30 makes it 15-13 SB. Jett out on the break again and finds Mike Weah for 2 FTs at 11:39. St. Bernard's just looks tougher and is outhustling PEM. Duncan not guarding either Olstad. Very strange. On blocks, a nice chant from the SB students. "Turkey, Turkey, You Got Stuffed!". 17-13 Bernard's at the 10:50 TV timeout. I get a kick out of watching the student sections boo each other when the other is shown on the big screen and then cheer when they're on the big screen.

Trent Davis with a steal off a nice job with the press and he cleans up a mess for 2. 19-13 at the 10:15 mark. Bernard's now 1-3-1. Jett a nice pass from the high post to a cutting Brian Sandifer who botches the layup. Cole Olstad from the right corner. 22-19 SB at 8:46. Olstad on the post ditches Jett at 7:43 for 2 free throws. 22-21 St. Bernard's leads. Jett bites on a upfake and Cole Olstad takes it and scores for the PEM 23-22 lead, their 1st of the night at 7:03. Duncan gets a loose ball and converts. Bernard's gives up another inside bucket and their defense leaves much to be desired right now. 25-24 PEM, TV Timeout at 6:12. PEM 4-6 from deep, 4-14 from inside the arc.

Clay Olstad with 2 FTs at 5:35 for a 27-24 PEM lead. Cole Olstad posts and scores on Duncan. 29-24 PEM leads. 6 in a row for PEM over the last 2:43. TV Timeout at 3:58. Jett drives against the 2-3 zone and floats for 2. Cole Olstad back at 2:39 after a quick breather and misses a tough shot. Bernard's 2-3 with the extended guards and Cole Olstad at the foul line. Not a good recipe for success. Cole Olstad finds Ross Grobe on a nice cut and pass. That was after PEM pulled the ball out against an SB 2-3 zone and they switched it to a 1-3-1 and the back guy never dropped down when the ball was in the opposite corner. 31-26 PEM at the half. PEM with a 16-5 run from about 10 minutes to about 5 minutes left to get the lead. Cole Olstad huge with 16 points on 5-10 shooting. Clay Olstad with 8 more points so the Olstads have 24 of the 31 points. Jett with 6 points on 3-8 shooting and 2 assists. 2 other plays where he should have earned assists. Neither team shooting well as PEM is 10-26, SB 10-28. SB 2-9 from 3 against mostly a 2-3 zone. Mike Weah leads St. Bernard's with 7 points. PEM converted 5 turnovers into 11 points.

Nice to see St. Bernard's come out and play man to start the 2nd half. Cole Olstad to Grobe again on a nice cut. Jett goaltends it away. Cole Olstad with 2 and St. Bernard's needs a timeout at 15:45. 35-28 PEM leads. Duncan from Jett to cut the lead to 5. Cole Olstad inside on Jett for 1 of 2 from the line. 36-30 PEM at the 14:35 TV timeout. St. Bernard's better hurry up and flip the switch. Cole Olstad with a nice skip out of the post and the extra pass for a Clay Olstad 3. 39-30 PEM. Jett right back with a triple on the other end. Gittens now playing the high post for SB against the zone but he's not an offensive threat. Get Jett back there. Jett high for a board and banks it home over a guy all in 1 motion. After a PEM turnover, SB can't convert. Good timeout by PEM at the 12:05 mark with a 39-35 lead.

Nice set to get Cole Olstad an inside look and he gets 2 free throws from it. Jett with a triple from the left wing. 41-38 PEM with 11:30 to play. Cole Olstad gets a wide open left corner 3 that's long . Jett drives and goes over Cole Olstad for 2 and 1. 41 all at 11:01. 11-2 SB run over 2:48. Cole Olstad with a bucket on the other end with a Trent Davis 3 as a response. 44-43 SB back in front at 10:20. TV Timeout at 10:07. Jett 4-4 with 11 points in the half so far. Cole Olstad with 7 of the 12 PEM points.

A PEM turnover and Jett is back the other way for 1 of 2 FTs. 45-43 SB at 9:54. Mike Weah with a left wing triple. Then a jumpball to Bernard's and Jett with another laser to Duncan for a layup. 50-43 SB leads at 8:18. 20-4 St. Bernard's run over 5:31. After 2 PEM FTs, Trent Davis can't convert an easy putback. Clay Olstad on the other end gets on the glass for a pair of FTs at 7:27, 50-46 St. Bernard's. Chris Conrad with a bank after a Jett miss. 50-48 SB and PEM stays man for about the 3rd straight possession. Jett drive and lefty bank at 6:40. 52-48 SB with the lead. TV timeout at 6:20 and don't change that dial.

Jett with a steal and falls down. No travel call and Shane Taylor gets 1 of 2 free throws. 53-48 St. Bernard's. Trent Davis with a sweet strip and Jett banks from the right block. 55-48 SB with 5 to play. Clay Olstad chucked on a cut by Duncan but misses the front end of the 1 and 1 with 4:45 left. Jett 1 dribble and bank from the right wing. Sick more. 57-48 SB and PEM needs a timeout with 4:11 left. 7-0 St. Bernard's run over 2:19 and Jett has 6 of the points going glass all 3 times. A very under-appreciated skill that not very many players can do these days.
PEM extending now as St. Bernard's spreads the floor vs the man defense. Clay Olstad now guarding Jett who's stationed at the foul line. Shane Taylor fouled at 2:49 on a very close over and back call. He converts both freebies. 59-49 SB leads with 2:49 to play. Cole Olstad from long-distance at 2:33 to cut the deficit to 7. Jett trapped in the corner and finds Duncan for another layup and its back to 9. 2 Andrew Larson FTs countered by a Mike Weah layin. Duncan clobbers Clay Olstad on left corner 3 with 1:55 left but he only makes 1 of 3. Trent Davis to the line with 1:36 left and misses the front end. Cole Olstad left alone at 1:25 for some unknown reason. He buries the triple with 1:27 left. 63-58 SB. Jett to the line with 1:22 left and he makes 1 of 2. Grobe with a miss at the other end. Weah to the line with 1:09 left and makes 1 of 2. 65-58 St. Bernard's leads and they take timeout.

Jett with a big block with 45 seconds left and that's the exclamation point. Bernard's crowd gets in the appropriate "Superman" chant that they've been using. Jett to the line with 41.8 left for 1 of 2 FTs. Duncan beats Jett to a loose ball and he makes 2 with 31.2 left. St. Bernard's on to the state championship game with a 68-61 win.

For PEM, sophomore Cole Olstad with a late 3 to finish with 32 points. Stud. 10-18 shooting, 5-9 from deep and 6 rebounds. Clay Olstad with 14 points and 13 rebounds for PEM. Hard to imagine them not being back here at state next year. For St. Bernard's, Jordair Jett with a HUGE 2nd half. He scores 20 points with 7 assists in the 2nd half alone. That would be 34 of the 42 2nd half points. He finishes with 26 points and 8 assists for the game. Mike Weah off the bench with another nice performance for SB off the bench with 13 points as he filled in for a cold Brian Sandifer (2-9). St. Bernard's shoots 14-21 in the 2nd half.

BTW, can you believe that David LaVaque of the Star Trib actually had the stones to ask the question who the best #11 on the floor was at the half? (that's Jett and Cole Olstad). Come on David, that's shameful. (See this link)

Hopkins takes out Tech in the 2nd half.

Tech with a great crowd in attendance. Nice "Transfer" chant for the Hopkins intros by the Tech students. Royce scores on Hanks and the Hopkins crowd chants "This game's over" on the 1st bucket. Brilliant. Wolters crosses over Williams to the ground (totally sick) and scores. Williams really getting after Wolters. Tech coach Randy Jordan going Jerry Tarkanian with the orange towel on his should. Williams leaves and DJ Peterson enters 2:30 into the game as Williams appeared to get injured on the sick crossover on the 1st Tech possession. Tech spreads the floor with 5 high with a 5-2 lead. 5-4 Tech at the 1st TV timeout at 14:20. Tech with Wolters at the center circle and stacks on each hash mark looking for backdoors with the lead.

Williams back in and he's back on Wolters. Wolters takes him and finishes lefty. 7-4 Tech before Williams drops a triple. Interesting that Hanks has the assignment guarding Royce. After a Williams turnover, Tech misses 2 layups and white gets a dunk at 12:30 and Hopkins has a 9-7 lead. Williams again looking to pass instead of score (what I said in my "How to beat Hopkins" post) and he walks. Tech down 2 but staying with the 5 high set. Wolters with a rebound, behind the back dribble and an outlet for a Hanks layup. 9 all at 10:30. Royce on the block 1 on 1 with Hanks but then he runs over a Tech player for a charge. 11-9 Hopkins at the 9:45 TV timeout.

Marvin Singleton puts back some garbage at 9:10, 13-9 Hopkins and Tech still says high and wide. Tyson Euerle blocked and puts it back. 13-11 Hopkins. Hopkins with a couple of doubles on Wolters trying to get the ball out of his hands. Wolters with a steal and finishes against Broghammer. 13 all at 7:50. Hopkins fans try to get a "This is boring chant" going. 13 all at the 6:47 TV break. Very gutsy game plan by Tech. But you wonder if they have any chance to get a stop on defense. Wolters misses a floater over Broghammer after a long possession. Cowles now gets his shot guarding Wolters. Wolters with his 2nd kickout that results in a missed 3. White immediately scores inside on the other end. Euerle with a bad miss at 3 but Hopkins can't convert that as a lob goes off White's hands. 15-13 Hopkins at the 2:42 TV timeout.

Wolters drives and finds Hanks for a layup with 2 minutes left in the half. 15 all. White misses an iso jumper from the right elbow and Tech can take the lead. But Hopkins gets a reach out tap away. Royce with a nice kickout from the post to Marcus Williams. Broghammer collects the miss and converts 1 of 2 FTs with 24 seconds left. 16-15 Hopkins at the break in an absolutely amazing half. Tech can't get a hand-check call which would be huge. Great "Randy Jordan" chant from the Tech students as we go to the locker rooms. This is especially amazing since Hopkins hasn't played well at all. Wolters has had the ball a ton, can he keep it up in the 2nd half. Wolters 3-6 leading the way with 7 points and 3 assists for Tech (that's 13 of their 15 points). Tech 7-21 shooting though. That has to improve. Hopkins only 7-16 with 8 turnovers. Royce White 4-5 and 8 points. Tech with only 5 turnovers and they only gave up 2 offensive rebounds.

Royce with a steal and tries to dunk over a defender and gets fouled. He misses both but Broghammer grabs the miss and he'll shoot FTs. He makes both for a 3 point Hopkins lead. Royce over Hanks on the right block. 20-15 Hopkins at 16:50. Tech stays spread and Hanks goes backdoor for a layup. Wolters then with a steal and he flushes with 2 hands. 20-19 Tech and their crowd wakes up. Marcus Williams gets the initial assignment on Wolters this half. Adam Johnson rejected by Broghammer who's almost playing a 1 man zone to stop backcuts. Wolters comes down on a foot at 15:22 and hobbles toward the bench but he's staying in there noticably limping. Oh No! White with 2 more missed freebies. Tech still hanging around as they're down 20-19 at the 14:53 TV timeout. Wolters still part of all but 2 of the Tech points.

White posts Hanks and spins for a 2 handed dunk from the right block. Adam Johnson with his 3rd straight effort where he couldn't finish at the rim against Broghammer. Broghammer converts for 2. 24-19 Hopkins. Broghammer misses an easy jump hook short and Tech gets a much needed stop after an airball. Royce with a steal at halfcourt that turns into a Lockett layup and Tech needs a timeout. 26-19 Hopkins with 12:51 left. Tech stays with the spread plan out of the timeout. Nick Jordan tries to find Wolters cutting but throws it away. Lockett puts back a Royce miss at 12:10 and the lead has ballooned to 9. 8-0 Hopkins run since Wolters got injured. Wolters with a force and gets no call. Lockett converts that into a free throw on the other end. 29-19 Hopkins. Wolters with a carry and Broghammer gets a dunk from Royce on a high-low feed. Wolters still aggressive and he makes 1 of 2 FTs at 10:51 for the 1st score in 5 and a half minutes for Tech. Lockett strips but Broghammer with a great block that results in a Lockett dunk. Tech turnover for 2 more from Royce and Tech needs another timeout. 35-20 Hopkins with 9:46 left. Tech no field goals since the Wolters dunk cut the lead to 20-19 with 16:23 to play (that also means no FGs since Wolters got hurt). Hopkins on a 15-1 run over almost 7 minutes. Wolters still part of all but 2 of the Tech points.

Wolters goes thru a Hopkins player, no call and still gets the FG. Nick Jordan misses a wide open 3 and that's just typical of this night were Tech isn't converting opportunities. Lockett with a steal and a nice reverse. 40-22 Hopkins at the 7:50 mark. Hanks drives and gets fouled for 2 FTs at 7:45 and the Tigers try to come with pressure. Sundufu makes them pay with a layup. Tech now has to go to conventional offense down 18. Wolters gets the continuation call and the foul at 7:08 for a 3-point play. 42-27 Hopkins leads. More Tech pressure and Broghammer gets a layup. Hanks baseline and a nice reverse at 6:38. But that's the last real highlight as Hopkins is just too much in the 2nd half. Hopkins moves on to the state championship game with a 55-36 win.

For Tech, Wolters terrific and Hanks made a couple of nice plays, but nothing beyond that. The students do get a quick "We don't recruit" and "You're all transfers" chants in. Wolters finishes with 17 points on 6-12 shooting. Hanks 13 points on 5-11. The rest of the team was 3-19. Ouch. Hopkins shoots 16-25 in the 2nd half. Mike Broghammer and Royce White each with 14 points and 6 rebounds as the Hopkins size was too much. Key stat. Mike Broghammer's 7 blocks as kept Tech from converting inside.

Washburn blows out Johnson in AAA Semis

What a fast pace to start. Johnson with a 9-0 run over 1:22 to lead 21-14 at the 10:40 mark. Monster huge intensity in this one. 7 guys already have scored for Johnson. Johnson 11-16 from the floor as they're attacking the rim on the dribble and on the offensive glass. Dylan Hale trying to keep the Millers in it as he scores inside and then nails a triple at 9:59. 23-19 Johnson. Noah Sheppard with a right corner 3 off the side of the backboard. He gets it back and airballs the next attempt. Hale with another triple (his 3rd of the half), Cedric Martin puts back a miss and Johnson turns it over for a DeAaron Hearn FT. Hageman with a putback. 14-2 Millers run over 3:52 and they lead 28-23 at the 6:51 mark. Hageman picks up his 2nd foul at 6:42 and sits. Last Johnson FG at 10:09. Rosenbloom at 4:52 finally breaks the shooting drought. 33-28 Washburn. 40-37 Washburn at the half despite 14-34 shooting (5-11 from 3) compared to 15-28 (4-12 last 10 minutes) for Johnson. Dylan Hale 11 points on 4-8 shooting. Dion Suggs-Young with 8 points.

Suggs-Young with a nice fade countered by 2 inside Hageman buckets. 8-0 Washburn run over 2:04 as we go to the 1st media timeout at 14:51, 48-39 Washburn. Hearn with a jumper and 2 FTs for the other points in the fun. Michael Talley with a putback to break the run. Hearn with another jumper and then a Johnson turnover leads to Hearn finding Hale for 2. 52-41 Washburn at 13:45 (13-2 over 3+ minutes). Noah Shepard with a triple to push the lead to 14. After a missed Johnson FT, Nick Smith outruns everyone back for a layup. Inexcusable. 59-44 Millers inside of 12 minutes. Suggs-Young with a jumper at 10:50 as Johnson finally gets a shot to go in. Too many quick shots for the Govs against the Washburn 2-3 zone.

Now the game takes forever. We have bonus each way, no online stats. Oof. 65-50 Washburn at the 7:38 mark. Johnson scrambling and Hale spins and fades from the right baseline. Nice shot. 67-52 Millers inside 7 minutes. Then on a runout Hale hangs, takes the contact and scores. 70-52 Washburn at 6:15. Hearn up top to Hale for the dunk at 5:20 74-52 and we're officially out of hand now. Washburn for some reason has their starters in with 2 minutes left and a 25 point lead. Washburn rolls 91-66 as we don't finish until almost 4:30 PM. Dylan Hale with 25 points to lead all scorers.

In the 2nd class A game of the day, talk about cold. Ada-Borup lays a total beatdown on Cass Lake-Bena. Martin Wind shoots (not a typo) 5-27 (2-11 from 3). Nate Howard 4-16 including 1-9 from 3. Amazing shooting percentages in this one. CLB shoots 16-72 including 3-24 from deep, Ada-Borup shoots 35-54 including 8-15 from 3.

GHEC upsets MN Transitions

WOW, a final from Williams Arena. GHEC upsets MN Transitions. Down 1 late, Kevin Noreen turns the ball over with 14 seconds left. Jerrell Washington misses a 3 and MTS is out 64-61.

Tim Garry with 20 points for GHEC

Kevin Noreen finishes with 23 and 16.

MTS just 5-23 from deep (Kyle Noreen 2-8, Kevin Noreen 1-6)

Mankato West takes out Spring Lake Park

Mankato West hangs on 72-70 over Spring Lake Park in the first AAA semifinal. Aaron Richter with a clutch recovery of a bad pass late in the game for Mankato West. He finishes with 14 points. Mike Richter with a late dunk and he goes 8-9 for 16 points. Derrick Cattryse with 15 points and 6 assists as the Scarlets had 5 players in double figures. Great job to withstand the late runs by SLP.

For the Panthers, Trey Scott with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Shaun Jensen 9-22 shooting after 1-8 in the 1st half. He finishes with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists. SLP tried to come back from a 10 points deficit in the last 3:40 as they hit a couple of tough triples. Not enough.

Thoughts from Day 1 at state

Class AAAA
The obvious is Sibley going down. Mo Hernandez on a bum ankle 1-13 FGs with 1-11 triples. Mike Bruesewitz plays well in his career ending game but Jefferson gets it done.

Osseo let Apple Valley hang around too long but Nick Djerf (who was a masterful coaching change in the starting lineup by coach Thiesen) gets it done for them.

Class AAA
Complete chalk. Johnson vs Washburn at 2 PM will be dynamite. Will Spring Lake Park do more than give the ball to Sean Jensen in their game against Mankato West?

Class AA
HLWW shoots 6-26 in the 1st half of the nightcap and is only down 9 at the half. They get a shot with 4 seconds left to move on.

They get Pelican Rapids who was down 1 with 10 minutes left before blowing out defending champ New London-Spicer.

I wrote the Virginia vs PEM article for MN Preps. Read that here.

St Bernard's let Triton hang around for too long. Funny moment when a Triton player blocked a Jordair Jett shot and then yapped at him all the way down the court and all the way back. And the lady in the pink shirt with the pink sign that said "Boo". Save your voice when getting after the officials. I like it.

1st half of the Big Schools are done at State

Hopkins in a rout over Blaine 68-26. Blaine goes the 1st 11:15 without a FG and then Hopkins outscores them 28-7 over the last 6:45 of the 1st half. Billy Giddings of Blaine with 4 fouls in the half for his 2nd straight game of foul trouble.

What more can be said about Nate Wolters of St. Cloud Tech. He blocks the 2nd chance that Winona had to win the game at the end as Tech moves on 40-39. Wolters with 17 points, 6 boards and 3 steals. Absolutely criminal that he didn't make the Mr. Basketball list and this is just another demonstration of why. People are already hopping mad over this. Let's see what he does against Hopkins. A good game there and the outrage will blow the roof off.

In AAA, New Prague runs out of gas in the 2nd half as Mankato West moves on 49-37.

Spring Lake Park moves on over Rogers 83-65 as the Royals give up 57 to Sean Jensen and Trey Scott.

How to beat Hopkins

So while Hopkins is a huge favorite to win the state title in AAAA, no team is invincible. So based on what I've seen in my numerous viewings of Hopkins this season (and over the years), here's how I would try to defeat the Royals.

Assumptions: Hopkins will run a 8 man rotation with DJ Peterson and Marvin Singleton being the main guys. Moses Sundufu will be the 8th man. Joe Coleman is the 9th guy but he'll only see significant meaningful time if the game is out of hand or foul trouble comes into play. Don't expect to see freshman Siyani Chambers at the point unless the game is out of hand.

1) Don't Fight Pressure, Beat Pressure
When Sibley turned the ball over 10 times in 10 minutes in the 1st meeting, they got destroyed. When they took care of it, they cut a big lead to 4. They will overplay you so get some cheap backdoor points to beat the pressure. That said, stay away from Marcus Williams and Trent Lockett. Let somebody else get the ball to the frontcourt.

2) Keep Hopkins off the offensive board.
Trent Lockett and Mike Broghammer do a terrific job of crashing the offensive glass. You have to make them 1 and done.

3) Go after DJ Peterson.
He's the weakest link (note that I didn't say weak link) of a bunch of good links. When he's playing the backup PG spot, press Hopkins to death to see if you can get some cheap points. Marcus Williams won't rest much, but the few minutes he is out, you have to take advantage of no true point guard being out there. On defense, he's the least athletic defender so see if you can take advantage.

4) Take advantage of mismatches.
Coach Novak is very stubborn with his defensive matchups. If you get a favorable matchup (e.g Bruesewitz vs Broghammer out on the floor), you've got to take the NBA philosophy and abuse the matchup until it changes.

5) Eliminate the cheap points
Hopkins does a great job of running a set play for a layup on the 1st possession of the game and the 1st play of the 2nd half. They'll also run sets for cheap points out of timeouts and off the opening tip. On all underneath inbounds plays they'll have Broghammer (or whoever's playing center) on the ball-side block. If you face him, they'll throw it to the front of the rim for an easy 2. Eliminate those and you could save 6-10 points right there.

6) Don't let the shooters beat you.
There's no reason Ray Cowles should get a single 3 point look. Any 3 point shot he takes is a defensive mistake. Moses Sundufu is a good shooter but he can be streaky. Find him if hot. Trent Lockett has had big games from 3 but I'd rather have him and Marcus Williams beat me. Williams can make that shot, but he'd rather rack up assists. When Williams drives, play him to pass and make him finish.

7) Be Physical with Royce.
Bang Royce all over the place, deny him. Put in the Jordan Rules for him. Get in his head, put him on the foul line (especially late in the game as he's their worst FT shooter). If he tries to turn the game into a mano-a-mano game, that's a plus. I'd front him under most circumstances, but Hopkins does a nice job of going high-low with him and Broghammer in their 3 out-2 in motion so that could be more dangerous than useful. On offense, go at him instead of Williams or Lockett. Make him play both ends.

8) Slow the pace
Shakopee used this to frustrate the heck out of the Royals 3 years ago. They ran a very patient X cut offense looking for layups. Despite being significantly outmanned, they only lost that game by 6. You can't run with Hopkins so you might as well pull them out, let them get over aggressive and frustrated. I'm not necessarily saying stall, but if a team got ahead in the 1st half and went stall, I would be all for it. Play zone but make sure you've got a guy for Cowles.

State Tourney Predictions

Class A:
Bethlehem over Chisholm. Chris Palmer et al have too much but this should be fun. I think this could be the best of the 4 games.

MTS takes out GHEC to prove that MTS should have been #1 in the polls. I'm not a fan of the GHEC schedule or lack thereof.

Ada-Borup vs Cass Lake-Bena. CLB gets back to state despite all the kids they lost. Tough pick, but CLB has that goofy system. I'll take them to win.

Sebeka vs Ellsworth. I like this game. Joey Cupherus and Trevor Gruis are 2 names you'll hear more of next year. Give me Ellsworth as they know the drill.

Give me MTS over Bethlehem and Ellsworth over CLB. MTS gets revenge on Ellsworth for the title as MTS has too much talent.

Class AA:
Virgina vs PEM. I'll take PEM as I'm really looking forward to seeing the Olstads for the 1st time.

St. Bernard's vs Triton. This one will be very very ugly. Bernard's in a total blowout.

Pelican Rapids knocks out the defending champs New London-Spicer.

Montevideo knocks out Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted to see how Pelican Rapids blows out in the semis.

St. Bernard's over PEM in a fun showdown of Olstad vs Jett. Pelican Rapids big.

Pelican Rapids over St. Bernard's for the title via depth. Jett vs Storrusten will be outstanding. Eric Shulstad needs to be big in that one.

Class AAA
My 4 seeds in order. Mankato West, Washburn, Johnson, Grand Rapids. You don't want to draw Spring Lake Park or New Prague in the 1st round. Obviously New Prague is the feel good story of the entire tournament as they try to win one for their fallen coach. Danny Geiger and Connor O'Brien are good enough to do it. Washburn beats Johnson in the rubber match in the semis and then takes out Mankato West for the title.

Class AAAA
There's the seeds and then the not-seeded. Hopkins, Sibley, Tech and Osseo are how I'd seed the 4 teams. Say what you will about Tech, but they're undefeated so I can't deny them the 3 seed despite the fact that I think they'd have little chance holding down Sam Dower. I'm hoping Alec Brown and Winona get drawn for the #4 seed so they play at 4 PM against Osseo. That would really add some intrigue. The MSHSL has the #1 seed playing at 10 AM. No wonder nobody goes to the state tournament. Then again that game will be a rout (as will Sibley at noon) so sleep until 2 or just skip day 1 at Target Center as 5 of the 6 games promise to be bad. Hopkins and Sibley win semis. Sibley plays Hopkins tough in the final but Hopkins ultimately takes home the gold.

Another top seed misses out on a state trip

Billy Giddings

Game #138, a personal record, as I make the trip to Elk River for the 7AAAA final between Blaine and Forest Lake. Forest Lake with the big regular season win but Blaine is hot right now. Big Forest Lake student section (and a disappointing Blaine one). Gotta love the spelling of "Go Rangers" on the front row of students (1 letter per shirt). We even have the band directors having a discussion as both bands are playing at the same time. No police required for that one though. All of the likely 4 seeds at state in the building taking this one in as they have the chance to draw the winner of this game.

Chippy from the start as Billy Giddings of Blaine and Forest Lake's Zach Riedeman exchange words. 3-2 Rangers after a Riedeman FT at 15:25. Dylan Rodriguez on fire for Blaine as he scores 11 straight Bengals points via 3 triples and a putback. Its a 13-4 Blaine run over 4:35 for a 15-7 Bengals lead. Rodriguez adds a pair of FTs for 13 straight for Blaine. Riedeman gets going for the Rangers. He drives for 2 FTs, knocks down a triple. 19-14 Blaine with 7:20 left in the half. The offenses go cold as each team only gets 1 bucket over the next 4 minutes. Rodriguez inside for 2 at 3:15 to push the lead to 7. But Riedeman with a bucket and then a steal for a dunk in the last minute make it 23-20 Blaine at the half. Rodriguez with 15 points, Riedeman 13 points. Forest Lake cold from the field.

Doug Sewall with a jumper at 14:30 to cut the Blaine lead to 27-25. But Forest Lake can't get over the hump. Giddings (who sat 10 minutes in the 1st half with 2 fouls) with a double clutch for 2 and the foul. Then Rodriguez with a block that leads to a Giddings layup on the other end. 34-26 Bengals and Forest Lakes needs a timeout with 11:15 to play. Riedeman and Rodriguez trade points, but trading buckets isn't getting Forest Lake anywhere. Rodriguez with a catch at the FT line vs the Rangers 1-3-1 and he takes it strong for a nice lefty finish with 7:15 left. 41-33 Blaine leads. A Jeff Harstad putback at 4:55 extends the lead to 45-34. Ty Cremisino with 2 and the foul at 4:45. While standing on the line to take the free throw, Billy Giddings picks up a T. Cremisino misses the FT, Riedeman makes 1 of the 2 technical FTs and then a fadeaway with 4 minutes left. 45-39 Blaine leads. Jesse Briggity with a bad miss with 2:50 left but Riedeman drives and misses. Rodriguez with a hoop at 2:15 and the lead is back to 8. Griffin Lentsch with a 3 for Forest Lake with 1:18 left to cut the lead to 5. Giddings misses a front end, but Riedeman misses a long 3 and Forest Lake won't get any closer. Blaine moves on to state with a 55-46 win. Of course, I picked Blaine and they lost year. I pick against them this year and they win. I get served with poetic justice.

For Forest Lake, Zach Riedeman leads the way with 21 points on 6-16 shooting and 5 rebounds on my sheet. Griffin Lentsch with 11 points. All night no real good answer for the Blaine 2-3 zone. No attempts to get anything from the short corner which was strange. Interesting how many words exchanged between a couple of different players from each team in this one.

For Blaine, if they draw Osseo in the state tournament, that would be interesting. UMD recruit Dylan Rodriguez huge early to give Blaine the lead that they ultimately would never relinquish. He finishes with 24 points and 5 rebounds on my sheet via 9-16 shooting and 3 blocks. Jesse Briggity with 11 points and 10 rebounds from the guard spot. Nice to see sophomore Dan Robel back running the point some tonight after missing some time late in the season due to injury. SW MN State recruit Billy Giddings with 7 points and only 4 shots on my sheet. Some of that due to fouls but a quiet night for him. Blaine's shot selection can be questionable but they have the ability to put up points.

Billy Giddings photo courtesy of

Osseo upsets Cooper for 5AAAA Title

To Rogers for the 5AAAA championship game between Cooper and Osseo. The size and patience of Osseo vs the athleticism of Cooper. Noteworthy local stars on hand included Josh Pedretti of Maple Grove, Jasper Duberry of Champlin Park and Trent Lockett of Hopkins. Great sequence between the student sections during the game. I may not have it totally right but something like this.

Cooper Students: Golden Gophers
Osseo Students: Go Zags Go
Cooper Students: Where's Gonzaga? (as in Gon-Zayg-Ah)
Osseo Students: In the Tourney! (referencing Gonzaga's win over Akron yesterday and the Rodents loss).

That's good students and we had both bands do a fine job. Now to the game.

Rodney Williams gets the Cooper assignment of defending Sam Dower. Dower with 8 quick points via pair of putbacks. Kenquane Brown with a pair of triples. 11-10 Osseo at the 11:20 mark as Dower converts his own missed dunk. Back to back Orioles turnovers give Cooper 4 in a row. 14-11 Hawks at the 8:35 mark. But then the turnovers set in. Nick Djerf with a pair of triples vs Cooper's 2-3 and Brown has 4 turnovers in this run. John Rowland in the starting lineup tonight and he nails a 3. Dower with a dunk off a nice post set play. DJ Phillips takes a rebound coast to coast for a layup. Timeout Cooper. 28-17 Osseo leads with 3:09 left in the half. Its a 17-3 Osseo run over 5:11. 30-21 Osseo at the half. Dower with 12 and 6 on 6-9 shooting. Kenquane Brown with 8 points and 4 boards but costly turnovers. Rodney Williams 1-3 for 2 points.

Joe Bright keeping Cooper close with a pair of hoops as Rowland can't handle him. 37-27 Osseo at 14:35. Aaron Anderson with 2 FTs, Dower with a pair of postups around a straight away 3 that Rodney airballed. 43-27 Orioles with 11:42 to play. Bright with a bucket and a triple but Jayvin Reynolds is on him now and has swatted away a couple of Bright's inside looks. Rodney with 2 misses FTs and a missed front end. Quincy Bethea misses a front end and Rodney can't get the putback to go. 43-32 Osseo with 8:30 left. Bright with a nice interior pass to Brown for a layup and then a putback. 45-36 Osseo with 6:35 left. Timeout Osseo as the lead has now gotten under 10. Cooper turns up the defense and they really get after Bobby Fischer. Freddie Burton strips Fischer and that leads to 2 Brown free throws. DJ Phillips picks up his 5th foul on a technical called by an official a mile away from the play. Very strange. A big loss as Osseo needs his ballhandling right now. Brown makes 1 of the 2 FTs and then buries a triple on the possession. 51-44 Osseo with 3:05 left. Cooper gets to Fischer again but Bethea misses the layup. After Djerf makes 1 of 2, Brown counters with another triple. 52-47 Osseo with 2:20 left and momentum as Osseo is really struggling against the pressure. Rowland with 2 freebies and then Burton goes baseline and finds Brown in the opposite corner for another triple. 54-50 Osseo and there's still 1:35 left. Anderson held on the inbound and makes 2 FTs. Bethea and Burton get good looks at 3s and they're short. But Bright gets a steal from Anderson for 1 of 2 FTs with :55 seconds left. 56-51 Osseo. Osseo wins 58-51 to move on to state.

For Cooper, Kenquane Brown with 22 and 7 (5 triples) but a handful of turnovers. Joe Bright was a beast with 19 points. Rodney Williams ends his prep career on a very sour note. 6 points and 6 rebounds. 2-9 FG and 2-8 FTs. Cooper loses all 8 players who played for them tonight but they have a talented JV squad that will be very interesting to watch next year.

For Osseo, Sam Dower leads the way with 18 and 11. I had him 8-12 from the field. Junior Nick Djerf with a nice night of 16 points and he had a tough task of guarding Williams and Bright during the night. Djerf and John Rowland with a pair of triples each to extend the Cooper defense. They're probably looking at the #4 seed in the state tournament. Nice strategy by coach Thiesen to throw a bunch of different defenders at Rodney. That even included Dower on a critical possession in the last 90 seconds.

With tonight's results, I drop Rodney Williams out of my finalists for Mr. Basketball. He's replaced by Jordair Jett who's played sufficiently well in big games that I can no longer keep him off the list. It raises an interesting debate of how Mr. Basketball should be decided. Most Valuable to team (Dower, Wolters, Jett), best player (White) or combination of those factors (Bruesewitz).

Washburn vs AHA Thoughts (6AAA Championship)

To Concordia-St. Paul for the 6AAA title game with Washburn taking on Holy Angels. An Oh Boy before the game as we have a less than playoff quality officiating crew on hand. They lived up to that tonight. Vocal AHA student section but the "ACT" and "Hooked on Phonics" chants during the game were totally uncalled for and classless. From a private school too which is even more surprising. Thankfully the student sections were on opposite ends as the Washburn section was not at all pleased and rightfully so. To the game itself.

Washburn's DeAaron Hearn with the initial assignment on Tyler Bredow. Cole Frechette with a layin from Bredow in picture perfect execution of a 2 on 1 break. Washburn counters with 5 in a row via Ra'Shede Hageman inside and a Dylan Hale triple. 12-9 Washburn at the 13:01 mark. But Holy Angels goes 1-3-1 and that sparks a run of 10 straight points concluded by a Jack Hogan jumper after a nice up fake that sent the Washburn defender flying by. 19-12 Stars at 10:40 after a 10-0 run in 2:21. Bredow with a triple at 8:21 off a classic inbound and run to the corner play and then another Bredow hoop extends the lead to 26-14 with 7:40 left in the half. In 5:21, AHA outscores Washburn 17-2. At the 6:29 mark, Bonzi Wells (Sahr Ngekia) makes 2 FTs going past Hageman to keep the lead at 12. Some blood and lingerie on the deck for a short delay. Something got said during the delay as Washburn swarms all over the place on defense. AHA with at least 5 turnovers and it may have been 10 during the last 6:29. The Millers outscore the Stars 16-0 to finish the half . AHA went back to the 2-3 before the run. 32-28 Washburn at half. Hale with 14, Hageman with 9. Bredow with 7 for AHA.

Holy Angels sticks with the 2-3 in the 2nd half. Bonzi spins for 2 and then Bredow gets into Hageman for 2 more and we're tied at 32 with 16:25 left. Bonzi with a jumper from Bredow and we're tied at 34. Hageman with a steal and he goes coast to coast as no one wants to take the charge. He then sits with his 3rd foul at the 12:13 mark. Bredow finds Cole Frechette for 2 and then a jumper at 10:05 for a 38-36 Stars lead. Hale and Nick Smith both with triples. 42-38 Washburn with 8:42 left. Bonzi with a strong drive for 2 free throws. Washburn turns it over and AHA runs out. Bredow throws ahead to Bonzi for an easy layup but Hale chases it down and goes up with Bonzi for the block. Great play by Hale at 7:50. Andy Jirik with great footwork pivoting around Hageman on the left block for a layup with 7:30 to play, tied at 42.

Smith then comes up in transition and both guys at the top of the zone just watch as he pulls up and nails a straight away 3 at 6:50. Bredow with a charge on the next possession. Hale then with a triple at 5:15. 48-42 Washburn. Bredow with a pair of free throws and then Bonzi with 1 of 2. 48-45 Washburn with 4:36 left. But the Stars get no closer. Hageman with a layup, a Holy Angels turnover and then 2 Hale FTs. 52-45 Washburn with 3:26 left. Cedric Martin with 4-4 FTs for his only points of the night, Hageman with a layup and then an exclamation point dunk. Washburn moves onto state 63-52.

For Holy Angels, what a run in February and March after the 1-13 start. Tyler Bredow with 20 points to lead the way. I also had 4 assists for him. Washburn threw a bunch of defenders at him. Bonzi Wells with 11 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Strategically I was very disappointed. Bonzi had a quickness advantage on Hageman and was bigger and quicker than Jay Edwards. Yet no real effort to get him postups. Especially when Hageman had 2 fouls for the last 6 minutes of the 1st half. The couple of touches he did get he didn't go at Ra'Shede. Very surprised too that AHA never went back to the 1-3-1 in the 2nd half. Strange too that freshman Parker Bredow got time tonight after seeing no time at all for the 2nd half of the season. Considering that he might be the starting point guard next year, I'm not against the concept but it was strange. They have 8 of the 11 kids who played tonight coming back next year. Watch out in 2009-2010.

For Washburn, I'll never figure out why coach Perkins insists on leaving Ra'Shede Hageman in on offense when teams have to foul. AHA missed a couple of chances to put him on the line including 1 case where Martin (an excellent FT shooter) was fouled instead. Dylan Hale with 24 points and he got after it on D during the 1st half run to get Washburn the lead. Ra'Shede Hageman with 17 points. I had Hageman for 6 rebounds and 8-12 shooting. I also had Hale with 9 rebounds. Washburn did show some of Cedric Martin at the FT line against the 2-3 zone which I liked but they never looked high-low.

08-09 Section Final Previews

Hopkins is in after beating Wayzata. 10 more finals to play, 8 of them on Friday, 1 tonight and 1 on Saturday. I went 16-0 in semifinal games on Tuesday where I had the chance to be right (Apple Valley was the one wrong answer and I had Lakeville North so no chance there). All 11 section winners in the metro still alive in my picks. Let's take a closer look at the games.

Thursday's 6AAA final Washburn vs Holy Angels
Washburn won the regular season meeting 78-49 on January 20th. But that was part of the 1-13 AHA start thru January 27th. Since then the Stars are 8-6 with close losses to Northfield, Delano and Farmington and wins over New Prague and the 2 tourney wins over Waconia and De La Salle. I picked AHA to win the 1st 2 games, but I can't pick them here as Washburn is just too talented. This one could get ugly if Washburn shows up. The lackluster 1st half performance against BSM in the semis may have been a much needed wakeup call.

Friday's 8 Championships:
  • Section 4A MTS vs SW Christian. This is the 1 matchup that gives somebody else in the section a chance. MTS won the regular season meeting at SWC 112-93 on February 6th via a 20 point halftime lead. Kevin Noreen with 41 and 17 for MTS. Caleb Palkert with 29 and 17 for SWC. Ryan Cummings blew up for 34 for SWC to keep it interesting. Keep a spare scoreboard handy in this one. If it gets close, will MTS be prepared? Will Palkert get critical touches? MTS is the pick.
  • Section 4AA St. Bernard's vs Holy Family. Not the matchup for ratings. Jordan's bigs would have been very interesting to watch in this one. St. Bernard's has way too much and it gets out of hand very quickly.
  • Section 3AAA: Spring Lake Park vs Columbia Heights. Tons of guard play here. Jacob Thomas with 34 on February 24th in a 82-73 win to offset 29 from Shaun Jensen. Good matchup for the Hylanders. I take them in the upset in a fast paced game.
  • Section 4AAA: Johnson vs Mahtomedi. Mahtomedi may be able to crash the glass in this one, but Johnson is way too quick and way too deep. They win easily.
  • (Czar's Note, 3/19/09 I mistakenly wrote the original preview with Edina when I should have used Jefferson, I've removed the mistake) Section 2AAAA Jefferson vs Eden Prairie. Eden Prairie's defense holds down Jefferson and Wragge is too tough. Ugly defensive struggle with Eden Prairie moving on.
  • Section 3AAAA Eastview vs Apple Valley. Eastview won both regular season games (last meeting 73-55 on Feb 6th) and their back to full strength. Fun matchup of point guards with AV's Varmah Sonie against EV's Vinard Birch. City bragging rights on the line in this one so throw out the records. Drew Johnson and/or Drew Bjordal need to make shots in this one. I think they will for the trip to state.
  • Section 4AAAA Tartan vs Henry Sibley. Sibley's just too big and there's no good answer for Mike Bruesewitz. Sibley won both regular season meetings easily and I don't see that changing.
  • Section 5AAAA Osseo vs Cooper. These teams meet for the 3rd straight year in the tourney and 2nd straight year in the final. Sam Dower is a tough matchup, but Cooper is so athletic. As I said in my preview. Cooper is the same team as last year, Osseo doesn't have the X factor that was Carrington Tankson.
Saturday's 7AAAA Championship Forest Lake vs Blaine
Tough to figure this game. Forest Lake won the regular season meeting 57-40 in Forest Lake on December 22nd. Zach Riedeman with 16 and 11 in the win. Billy Giddings with 16 in the loss. But that was part of a dismal 1-10 stretch for the Bengals. Blaine is 10-4 since then with a close loss to Osseo and a bad loss to Andover where they were up by double digits at the half. The Rangers held down Dylan Rodriguez in the 1st meeting. If they do that again, they win. A slow pace favors Forest Lake. A fast pace favors the 3 scorers (Giddings, Rodriguez and Jesse Briggity) for Blaine. The pick is Forest Lake.

09-10 section alignment changes

The MSHSL released new section alignments for the 2 year period starting with the 2009-2010 season today. Here are the changes in the metro.

Class AAAA
  • Richfield drops out of section 2 (now 6AAA) not replaced
  • Central drops out of section 4 (now 3AAA), Roseville moves in from section 5
  • Spring Lake Park moves up from section 3AAA to replace Roseville in section 5
Class AAA

Section 6 gets a major overhaul.
  • Holy Family moves up from 4AA
  • Richfield drops down from 2AAAA
  • The new Chanhassen high school joins
  • De La Salle moves to section 3
  • Orono and Delano move to section 5
Section 3 also revamped
  • De La Salle added as noted above
  • Central drops in from section 4AAAA
  • Como Park moves in from section 3
  • North Branch and Chisago Lakes both move to section 7.
  • Spring Lake Park moves up to 5AAAA as noted above.
Section 4 changes
  • The new East Ridge High School joins this section.
  • Due to Winona dropping from 1AAAA to 1AAA, St. Thomas Academy joins the section. Goodbye cakewalk for Johnson.
  • Como Park moves to section 3.
  • Arlington drops down to section 4AA.
Section 4AA
  • Holy Family moves up to section 6AAA.
  • Jordan moves to section 2.
  • St. Paul Arlington moves from section 4AAA to section 4AA.
  • International School moves up from section 4A to section 4AA.
  • Dunwoody and St. Paul Humboldt move down from section 4AA to section 4A.

Section 4A
  • International School moves up from section 4A to section 4AA.
  • Southwest Christian moves from section 4A to section 2A.
  • Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity moves from section 5AA to section 2A.
  • Dunwoody and St. Paul Humboldt move down from section 4AA to section 4A.
  • Meadow Creek moves up to section 5AA rather than 4AA.

St. Bernard's vs Minnehaha, the replay for subsection gold

The final in the East Subsection of 4AA featured the expected matchup of St. Bernard's and Minnehaha. Much to my horror, Randy and Chris Breuer come in and it looks like they're going to sit right in front of me. Not a personal thing, you have to understand that the height difference between Randy and I is measured in feet, not inches. Fortunately they sat down the row so I still could see.

Minnehaha tries to face guard Jordair Jett with Greg Meyer. The same 1 on 1 matchup as the 1st meeting. Interesting that St. Bernard's is not using Averey Duncan on Parker Hines to disrupt the Redhawk offense. Trent Davis gets that task. We're back and forth early. Brian Sandifer with a triple and a Minnehaha turnover for a Duncan layup. 7-4 Bulldogs at 15:50. Hines and David Burnham with jumpers for Minnehaha around another Duncan bucket. 9-8 Bulldogs at 14:30. Taylor Sparkman with a ticky-tack 2nd foul at 14:25. Trent Davis stops a 6-0 Minnehaha run with a triple at 13:10. We're tied at 12. Another call against Minnehaha and coach Johnson is not at all pleased and I can't say I blame him. Both games of this night were not playoff quality officiating. Jett then gets it going. A triple at 12:10. A lefty floater from the post at 9:15. He takes a rebound coast to coast for a layup at 7:59, a steal for 2 and then a mid-air catch and all in 1 shoot and bank. 28-19 Bulldogs with 7 minutes left in the half. 16-4 Bulldogs run over 5:10. St. Bernard's now playing a 1-3-1, very interesting new twist. Burnham with a couple of triples but that's the extent of the offense against the zone. 37-27 Bulldogs at the break. Jett with 13 and 9 rebounds. Duncan with 14 points. Burnham with 10 points for Minnehaha. Overall, not a good half at all for the Redhawks.

St. Bernard's showed some 1-2-2 late in the 1st half and they're back in it to start the 2nd half. Duncan playing the top of it and he gets a steal for a 2 handed dunk and the 4 point awkward landing. 41-27 Bulldogs. But the Redhawks are finding a huge gap at the FT line in the zone. Burnham with a triple, Hines with a hoop, Taylor Hanson drives from the foul line for 2 to force a St. Bernard's timeout. Hines then with a triple against the 1-3-1. 46-41 Bulldogs with 12:30 to play and this one is back to being a game. Burnham with a layup countered by a Trent Davis scoop. Burnham then executes a pretty give and go for 2. Greg Meyer with a steal and Hanson is left all alone for an easy layin. 50-47 Bulldogs after a 16-4 Redhawks run over 4 minutes. Jett misses a 3 but Austin Brown misses a tough shot that would have cut the deficit to 1. Jett with a pullup jumper countered by a Brown bucket. Trent Davis with a jumper on a screen/roll. 54-49 Bulldogs with 8:25 left. Minnehaha tries some 1-3-1 of their own, but the Bulldogs hold for a minute. They go man and St. Bernard's holds for another minute before Jett finds Duncan for a layup with 5:40 left. Jett picks up his 4th 15 seconds later and goes to the bench with the Bulldogs leading by 6.

But Minnehaha can't make a run. Davis comes right back with a 3 point play to push the lead to 9. The Bulldogs spread the floor with 3:50 left. When Jett comes back with 2:49 left, the game is already in hand. The Bulldogs make late free throws for a 73-59 win.

For Minnehaha, David Burnham was the only consistent offense as he finished with 19 points. Greg Meyer with a quiet 14 points. No real answers for the St. Bernard's 1-3-1 which was surprising since Minnehaha plays plenty of 1-3-1 of their own. The Redhawks finish a terrific season 26-3.

For St. Bernard's, who else. Jordair Jett with 26 points and I had him for 17 rebounds. Despite being 6'1 he played bigger than everybody on the floor. More than once he went up over a crowd to grab a rebound. Averey Duncan with 14 of his 18 in the 1st half.

Holy Family vs Jordan thoughts (08-09 4AA West Subsection final)

We'll go in reverse order tonight as we start with the late game from the west subsection. A matchup of Minnesota River teams as top seeded Jordan takes on Holy Family. A very good sized and vocal student section all decked out for the game. And how fitting that its St. Patrick's day and we've got all green.

Nate Weingart gets Holy Family rolling as he makes a jumper out of the post and then after 2 offensive rebounds he nails a 3 and Holy Family is up 7-0 at 14:30 and Jordan needs timeout. Weingart after another offensive rebound for 2 and then a triple at 10:41. 14-5 Fire and Jordan calls another timeout as they're getting totally outworked. Jordan star TJ Oakes 0-4 shooting on bad shots. After Oakes gets 4 points via a Weingart technical foul, the Fire's leading scorer Dan Lunsford goes off. He makes an elbow jumper on a handoff (a staple of the Fire offense over the years), then a layup and a triple. After Jordan throws up an airball, they take their 3rd timeout of the half at 7:32. Lunsford with a baseline scoop at 6:50 and the Fire lead is 25-9. Wow! After Jordan cuts the lead to 11, Lundsford with a couple of assists and a backdoor bucket of his own. 31-16 with 3:35 left in the half. But the fouls are starting to mount and Oakes make the Fire pay. He scores the last 11 Jordan points of the half in a 3 minute stretch. 35-25 Holy Family at the half. TJ Oakes with 17 points and 10-10 FTs but only 3-11 shooting on my sheet with most of those being extremely forced shots. Jordan's Yuriy Malashenko held to 4 points and 1 rebound due to early foul trouble. Weingart with 10 and Lunsford with 11 points for the Fire.

Malashenko is one of the top rebounders in the metro for a reason. He comes out all over the glass in the 2nd half. He draws the 3rd foul on center Mitch Mandel early in the half and Mandel has to sit. 6'8 frosh Ryan Dahl comes in and gets matched up with Oakes in a very bad matchup for Holy Family as Oakes can play away from the basket and Dahl is huge. The senior introduces the frosh to tourney play with a 3 and 2 FTs for his 4th foul. Malashenko gets the 5th on him a minute later going to the offensive board. 45-41 Holy Family at the 13:36 mark with momentum. Mandel still not back in. Malashenko to the offensive glass again for a 3 point opportunity and misses the FT. Mandel back in at 12:39 and scores at 11:53. 50-43 Holy Family as they cling to the lead. Mandel then goes back down the floor and picks up his 4th. Coach Thuli looks to Jared Wimmer for post minutes. Jordan then with 5 in a row to force a Holy Family timeout with 10:10 to play and the crowd gets into the game on both sides.

Weingart pushes off at 9:25 and that's his 4th which sends him to the bench. Mandel back in. Oakes buries a 3 with 9:10 left and Jordan has come back from as many as 16 down for their 1st lead of the night. Malashenko with a phantom charge at 8:54 for his 4th and he has to sit. Brutal call. Mandel gone at 7:29 with his 5th foul and the 2 bigs for Jordan have nobody to guard them as Holy Family's 2 bigs have used up their 10 fouls. Weingart comes back in. Can he last? During a Jordan timeout at 5:24 (52-51 Holy Family leads), a terrific "Douse the Fire" chant from the Jordan students. If only we would have had a fire alarm go off at this game. Oakes witih 2 freebies and then a triple at 4:25 to give Jordan a 56-52 lead. It concludes a 13-2 Jordan run over 7 and a half minutes. Zack Rockers with a short jumper and then Lunsford with a clutch triple. 57-56 Holy Family back on top with 3:40 to play. Tanner Oakes (not to be confused with TJ) with 2 FTs. Wimmer counters with a tip in. TJ Oakes with a tough postup for 2 with 3 minutes left. 60-59 Jordan leads. After 2 Fire misses, they give too much help on Oakes and he finds a wide open Malashenko. He's fouled but misses both freebies with 2:06 left. Weingart goes to the post and is fouled. He makes the freebies with 1:46 left. Malashenko counters with a drive for 2 at 1:12. Lunsford to the basket and blocked with 1 minute left. Josh Malz fouled with 48 seconds left and makes 1 of 2 for the Hubmen to give them a 63-61 lead. Timeout Holy Family and everyone in the building is standing. Back to Weingart in the post and the same result of 2 FTs with 37 seconds left. Jordan takes the ball to halfcourt and calls their final timeout with 33.1 remaining. I didn't like this move at all. Call a play and go and if you get out of whack you still have the timeout to use. Now you have to worry about getting the ball inbounds as well as executing. Sure enough Jordan does get completely out of whack. Malashenko drives to the right baseline, gets a good 10 foot look at the horn and its no good and we've got overtime tied at 63.

Lunsford backdoor for 2 countered by a Malashenko layup at 3:10. Weingart fouled again and makes both with 3:04 left. Malashenko now on Weingart in a nice bit of defensive strategy. Rockers misses 2 FTs for Holy Family, but the 2nd takes an extra bounce on the rim. That allows Wimmer to put it back with 2:05 left for a 69-65 Fire lead. Malashenko misses a 3. Jordan O'Neill with 2 FTs. A very questionable charge on TJ Oakes with 1:32 left. Weingart with 1 of 2 for a 72-65 lead with 1:24 left. Jordan never threatens after that. Holy Family moves on after a very entertaining 78-69 overtime win.

For Jordan, TJ Oakes with 38 points including 15 of 16 FTs and 5 triples. I also had him for 11 rebounds. Yuriy Malashenko with a huge 2nd half to finish with 18 points and I had 13 rebounds on my sheet. But he was only 2-10 from the charity stripe. Take out TJ Oakes and Jordan was 6-21 from the FT line. The Hubmen finish 21-8 with Malashenko and Tanner Oakes returning next year.

For Holy Family, Nate Weingart got it done down the stretch. He finishes with 22 points. Dan Lunsford with 19 points. Jared Wimmer with 6 points and 7 rebounds in a terrific effort off the bench. Unfortunately I think they get blown out by St. Bernard's. Jordan's bigs would have been very interesting to see against the Bulldogs.

Section Semifinal day preview

One of the finest days of the year as 8 of the 11 metro sections have semifinal doubleheaders tonight. Overall, my picks break down as follows.

14-2 in section 4A
12-1 in section 4AA
14-0 in section 3AAA, 4AAA and 6AAA
20-8 in class 4A (Yuck)

I still have all 11 of my section winner picks alive (and 30 of 32 statewide), but today is where the rubber meets the road. If you had picked high seeds to this point, you'd be 59-12. Holy Angels saves my bacon with their 2 upsets to keep me 1 game ahead.

Top game of the night is Minnehaha vs St. Bernard's in section 4AA's East subsection final. Too bad its the early game at Holy Angels. Minnehaha has really focused on this one since the regular season loss. I'll be very interested to see what adjustments the Redhawks made since the last meeting. The west game should be interesting since Holy Family and Jordan split their 2 MN River Conference meetings. Yuriy Malashenko with 22 points and 25 rebounds for Jordan in a 67-60 win on Feb 27th.

3AAA in Blaine has a couple of very interesting games with Spring Lake Park vs Henry and Fridley vs Columbia Heights. Those games could go either way. Guard play on display all night with Jordan Hughes et al against Shaun Jensen and Isaiah Thomas vs Jacob Thomas in the late game. Heights won both regular season meetings. Isaiah Thomas with 46 in the 1st meeting (10 in the 2nd). Jacob Thomas with 30 in the 2nd meeting (14 in the 1st meeting).

In section 4A, a pair of rematches from games I saw. SW Christian gets MCA on a neutral court after a close loss at MCA at the end of January. New Life is at least a little bit familiar with the surroundings at Heritage (their regular season game was at NLA), but MTS won easily when the teams met in January.

Beyond that, a whole lot of blah. 4AAAA and 5AAAA may have all 4 games be blowouts. 4AAA is just another step toward the inevitable Johnson trip to state. 3AAAA nothing sticks out and 7AAAA is already blah. But Blaine and Andover did split their games this season with Andover winning on their home court on the final day of the season behind 36 from Brett Tester. But Blaine was up 13 at half in that game.

AHA vs DLS Thoughts (08-09 6AAA Semifinal #2)

AJ Barker

Game 2 is the upstart 7 seed Holy Angels against 3 seed De La Salle. I called the upset in this one last weekend. Would I be right? Dave Thorson back behind the bench for the Islanders after sitting out the Orono game.

Jalen Jaspers with the 1st 4 points of the game for De La Salle. 4-3 DLS at the 15:20 mark. Tyler Bredow then getting warmed up. A triple on a high screen/roll and 2 FTs. Then a drive for 2 and another triple. 15-8 Holy Angels at the 9:55 mark and Bredow has 10 of those points. Then the defense kicks in. A minute goes by, Coke has removed rust from a car battery terminal. A second minute goes by, I'm at the dentist office. Wait a minute. Wait A Minute! Hold It! Haven't we already been through this (yes we have). No field goals for AHA in the next 9 minutes. DLS tries to take advantage as AJ Barker nails a 2 and then flares for a triple. 15-13 AHA at the 8:35 mark. Jaspers with his 2nd foul 15 seconds later and he has to sit. Moments later Barker with 2nd on a questionable wipe away call. But he has to stay in for offense. LaMonte Hall with a stick back at 6:31. Barker with another jumper at 5:35 and DLS has the lead 17-16. Barker with his 3rd foul moments later and now he's on the bench and there's still 5:24 left in the half. Where will D find points? Bredow breaks a 9 minute FG drought for AHA with a triple at 1:45. Bretson McNeal off the D bench with a triple at 1:25 for the 1st D FG in 4+ minutes. Bredow with 4 FTs to end the half. 25-24 AHA at the break. Tyler Bredow with 17 of those points. Barker with 7 points and Jaspers with 6 for DLS. With all the foul trouble, I'm very happy to be within 1 if I'm DLS. For AHA, an opportunity squander by going without a FG for those 9 minutes.

Bredow still flammable as he opens the 2nd half with a 3. Jaspers with a jumper and then Barker drives and scores his 2nd hoop of the half to tie the game at 30 with 12:30 to play. Bonzi Wells (Sahr Ngekia) with a post bucket and a post bucket before Jonah Travis runs out for a layup with 8:45 left. 36-34 AHA. Then Sam Gullickson with a 3 and a fist pump Cole Frechette goes baseline for 2 and then a steal for 2 more with 7:08 left and AHA is up 43-34 wiht 7:08 left. Timeout Islanders after a 7-0 AHA run in 1:12. Travis grabs a rebound with 6:22 left and throws an elbow and Bonzi jumps into the fray. The officials confer and Jaspers huddles his team for some words of encouragement. Its a technical on Travis and a personal on Frechette for the initial hack. Bredow makes both to conclude a 9-0 run. AHA tries some 2-3 zone but Barker nails a 3 and Jaspers with a jumper. 45-40 AHA with 4:37 left. Andy Jirik travels and then Travis swipes a rebound away from him. That leads to 2 Barker FTs with 3:49 left. 45-42 AHA after an 8-0 De La Salle run in 2:33. Bredow goes by Barker on the other end for a clutch foul line J with 2 minutes left. Barker then misses an NBA 3. Travis rebounds a missed front end and makes 2 freebies with 1:46 left. 47-44 AHA. Bredow past Barker again for another foul line jumper with 1:15 left. Brilliant since it went in, but not the shot you may want there. DLS misses and AHA makes their FTs to pull the 56-45 upset.

For DLS, AJ Barker leads the way with 18 points. I had him shooting 7-18. Jalen Jaspers with 12 points on 4-7 shooting. Bonzi did a nice job on him by matching strength. The 1 time they ran a flare screen for Jaspers and Bonzi got hung up on it, it really got to him. I was surprised DLS didn't come back to that. I'm all for motion offense, but D really needs to look hard at opening up the offense up a bit. They have the talent to do it too. Guys like John Hertle and Jonah Travis didn't get enough touches in my opinion. They get no easy baskets because they don't run and they have zero post ups. Yes they went 17-9 and that's a credit to how well they defend. But you can't really win as a pure jump shooting team. Blocker-mover offense doesn't mean that the blockers never look to score and that's how the Islanders ran it this year. If other guys have more freedom, that will open it up more for the primary scorers. They lose AJ Barker, but realistically I think they have the same team back next year.

For AHA, what can you say about Tyler Bredow. He finishes with 30 points with 4 triples and 12-12 from the line. I had him in the area of 7-12 shooting. Amazing game. Bonzi Wells with 9 points and 5 boards off the bench and he was a perfect matchup for Jaspers. They get the unenviable task of playing Washburn on Thursday for the title at Concordia-St. Paul.

AJ Barker photo courtesy of