2013 ARCC Showcase Thoughts

Thanksgiving weekend means we can be thankful for the 1st major in-season event of the season.  Anoka-Ramsey hosted their inaugural showcase.  Only 3 teams of the 12 teams officially ranked coming into the day but at least 3 others that deserve consideration.  Slices of Little Caesar's pizza take care of my food.  Though the late slice had to be cheese because the 2 people in front of me took the last 2 slices of sausage.   A pair of 20 oz Pepsi bottles smuggled in from The Old Kingdom and 20 oz of Coke kindly donated by the far too kind ARCC staff up the beverage total.  Musically, plenty of great 80s.  Since the season now moves into high gear and with no internet it felt like we were underground, this old hit seems appropriate.

Song of the Day
Land Down Under - Men at Work

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 132 ounces  (11 games, 10 days)

  • 12 oz Dr Pepper
  • 20 oz Red Powerade
  • 20 oz Red Gatorade
  • 60 oz Pepsi
  • 20 oz Coke
Game 1: #2AA Perham vs Breck
Breck took a couple of games on the chin to fall out of this week's poll.  Perham turned this into a layup fest.  5 of their 1st 6 buckets layups (with the other being a pretty 15 foot banker in transition).  14-5 Yellowjackets just over 5 minutes in.  Breck claws back with a 10-0 run but they give up a 15-2 run late in the 1st half.  Perham up 10 with 11 minutes left, Breck cuts it to 1 with a 9-0 run.  Graydon Kulick with a 3 point play to start the run and an offensive board for free throws to finish it.  Perham takes time and goes 4 corners with 7 minutes left to hang on to the lead.  They turn it over and a layup on those first 2 possessions.  Breck misses 2 free throws and then after a long possession they miss a decent look.  Perham scores the next 4 to take a 6 point lead.  Breck gets a late 3 from Mo Lawal and 1 last heave from Kevin Linehan that doesn't go in.  Perham wins 55-52 with 20 of their 22 field goals at the rim.  That number is just ridiculous for offensive efficiency.  Hunter Salathe 17 points for Perham.  Mo Lawal 24 points and 4 bombs for Breck.  Will Culliton held to 8 points on 3-14 shooting.  Breck still adjusting to the new style of play for coach Mike Anderson as they looked out of whack on offense and defensively, Perham got anything they wanted.

Game 2: Minneapolis South vs Moorhead
Great production from Kyle Lumbar and Romeo Barber off the South bench.  Barber came in to man the middle because Spuds center Nick Weismann was having his way.  Lumbar with 14 of his 18 in the 1st half.  Barber 9 of his 15 in the 2nd half and he earned himself a ton of playing time going forward.  Story of this game was Moorhead's Cody Dorow.  He goes off for 27 of his 36 in the 2nd half, adds 10 boards and 4 assists.  17-22 from the floor for him.  Soph Payton Bowdry would come up with a 3, a pair of bonus free throws, and an offensive board for 2 more free throws to keep South ahead.  Kenley Farrow also clutch for South 7-8 FTs in the 2nd half.  South hangs on to win 85-79.  Another nice win for the Tigers after spanking Breck last week.  Center Nick Weismann 21 for the Spuds.  Bowdry 16, Farrow 15 as South put 4 players in double figures

Game 3: #5AAA Austin vs Marshall
Connor Winkleman 3 triples in the 1st half for Marshall.  Riley Sharbono 11 points and it looked like Marshall had the Packers 3-2 zone figured out.  Sharbono quickly for 3 and a Tigers putback with 15:50 left have Marshall on top 40-35.  But Marshall would only get 1 more field goal the rest of the game.  Zach Wessels with 11 of his 19 in the 2nd half.  Bret Lukes with 10 of his 15 and a pair of big triples in the 2nd half.  Austin blows this one away in the last 15 minutes as they win 66-46.  Riley Sharbono finishes with 17.

Game 4: Spring Lake Park vs Park Center
11-1 Pirates out of the gate.  Spring Lake Park's Collin Price heats up with 3 bombs as the Panthers pull even at 17 thanks to a 16-6 run over 4 minutes.  Park Center would counter with a 16-4 run and the Panthers respond again with a 12-1 run.  Park Center 36-33 at the half. Too much speed in the 2nd half as the Pirates pull away.  73-50 Park Center goes on to win.  Amani Hooker and Isaiah McKay 18 each while Isaac Matthews added 17.

Game 5: #9AAAA Roseville vs Eastview
24-23 Roseville inside of 6 minutes to play but all Roseville after that.  Too many weapons and too much pressure defense.  The lead was 12 at the half and Roseville ran off to a 86-51 win from there.  Kyler Briggity leads the way with 22 points and 3 3 pointers.  Drew Guebert leads Eastview with 11.  Its a young Eastview squad with only 2 seniors (center Jordan Machacek is the notable one) so expect struggles this year as they build for next season with a large junior class and 3 sophomores.  Lance Gardner sat out for Roseville.  Loved forward Jesper Horsted's activity for Roseville, he had 12 points as the 2nd leading scorer for Roseville, 10 of those in the 1st half.  Gives them a quality duo with Derek Magnuson inside.

Game 6: East Ridge vs Shakopee
A fun game that was tight the entire way.  1st half was an inside showcase for Shakopee.  Jake Maiers destroying anybody trying to guard him as he would face up Ryan Keenan or Ryan Mathis and take them to the rim and go over the top.  33-32 East Ridge at the half.  East Ridge would limit the Sabers post touches and jump out to a 48-40 lead with 9:52 to play.  Shakopee not helping themselves at the charity stripe with a 2-9 FT shooting start to the 2nd half.  Evan Hagen 2 big buckets and a Steffon Mitchell 3 get Shakopee right back in the game.  Hagen again and then Shakopee goes 1-3-1 to force a turnover.  That results in a Dominick Schleper 3 point play on a ridiculous reverse layup finish.  Tyler Weiss puts back a miss and its 56-54 Sabers with 3:05 left (16-6 run over 6:45).  Sid Tomes promptly counters with a 3.  57-56 East Ridge.  Next Sabers possession, Weiss spins baseline but gets called for the charge.  East Ridge misses a front end with 1:50 left and Mitchell converts a tough post to post pass from Maiers for a layup.  East Ridge turns it over.  Then Mitchell is trapped on the wing, sideline official see him on the end line, baseline official has a foul 1st (right call).  Mitchell steps up and drains both free throws with 50.8 left.  East Ridge turns it over but Tomes steals it back and misses a good look from 24 feet with 30 seconds left.  Shakopee goes on to get the 63-58 win.  Steffon Mitchell with 17 points to lead all scorers.  Jake Maiers 15, Tyler Weiss 12.  Jake Knupp 14, Sid Tomes 13 for East Ridge. Ryan Keenan 6 points and sat down the stretch.  He was never a factor.  East Ridge now a surprising 1-2 but they figure to heal quickly as 4 of their next 5 are against St. Louis Park, Mpls SW, Hastings and Park.

Breakout Performers:
  • Cody Dorow - Moorhead
  • Romeo Barber - Minneapolis South
  • Jesper Horsted - Roseville
  • Jake Maiers - Shakopee

Crimson comeback crusade

The Bison of Buffalo rumble into Maple Grove to take on the Crimson in an annual non-conference showdown (and former section 8AAAA game).  If this were a mascot battle, it'd be a total mismatch as Bison tramples leaves or it could be leaves smother Bison like Rock Paper Scissors.  Elk River and Osseo head coaches in the building getting double scouting points since they both play Buffalo in December.  Cheese Pizza courtesy of Dominos is on tonight's menu and our 1st taste of Pepsi for the season.  We get 4 students dressed up as Gumby which is classic.  It also leads to a ridiculous song of the day for those of you who remember a famous Gumby reference on Saturday Night Live.

Song of the Day:
Party all the time - Eddie Murphy

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 72 ounces
  • 12 oz Dr Pepper
  • 20 oz Red Powerade
  • 20 oz Red Gatorade
  • 20 oz Pepsi 
Game Time:
A pair of Buffalo 3s, an offensive board for a free throw and a lob for 2 easy points on the baseline inbounds are all part of a 10-3 Bison run.  24-11 Buffalo at the 8:37 mark.  Soph big Reed Nikko with back to back buckets for Maple Grove.  Zach Dahl for 3 for a 29-16 Bison lead.  Then frosh PG Brad Davison has a big finish to the half for Maple Grove.  He goes 9-10 from the line and adds a steal for a bucket.  He ends the half with 13.  Collin Olmscheid too much on the Buffalo side as he goes to the reverse layup, a post up and knocks down 4 free throws on his way to 19 first half points.  41-28 Buffalo at the half.

48-32 Buffalo leading after Levi Bean drills a 3 with 15 minutes left.  Maple Grove using their inside triangle set to get some post looks.  Jacob Sterling for 2, Kayode Awosika for 2 and the foul, Sterling an inside BLOB 2.  Guard Tyler Barker adds the outside offense with a drive, Davison scoops to the hoop and Barker with a bomb.  That 11-0 run cuts the Buffalo lead to 48-43 with 10 minutes left.  Buffalo hanging on to a close lead when Sam Ortmann picks up a tick tack 4th foul with 8 minutes left.  Matthew Lindgren for 3 and a pair of free throws as the Crimson are within 1.  Then Sterling back to back hoops inside and Davison goes off the window for 2 more.  61-60 Maple Grove on top with the ball and 2:30 to play.  Davison surprisingly misses a front end with 2:02 left.  Bean on the post for 1-2 freebies and we're tied at 61 with 1:45 left.

Maple Grove with a long possession and its Davison off the bounce again.  Ortmann appears to step in and draw the charge but Davison gets the call with 1:05 left and Ortmann is gone with 5 fouls.  That's a huge call that changes the entire way the final minute played out.  Davison drains both freebies.  Buffalo makes 1 of 2 on the other end.  After running clock and taking a timeout, Maple Grove gets an easy bucket against the trap as Davison finds Taylor Schott for an easy layup.  63-60 Crimson with 42 ticks left.  Buffalo with a quick 2.  Maple Grove takes a timeout in the backcourt after 10.1 had run off the clock so they avoid the 10 count.  22.2 left and Buffalo can't get a foul.  Finally Lindgren is fouled with 12 seconds left and makes both.  Olmscheid misses a forced 3 and there's a scramble.  Levi Bean grabs the board and is fouled but the clock ran out. However, no one heard the horn.  The refs conference and determine Bean will shoot 2 with 0.3 remaining down 3.  Bean makes the 1st and Buffalo takes time to draw up the intentional miss down 2.  Reed Nikko grabs that miss after sitting the last 6+ minutes or more.  Maple Grove comes back from 16 down in the 2nd half to win 67-65.

Post Game
For Buffalo, Collin Olmscheid leads the way with 26 points.  Levi Bean with 11 of his 18 in the second half.  But they couldn't find any other offense with only 24 second half points with Olmscheid being slowed down.  Buffalo was 7-16 from the foul line in the 2nd half (including the last intentional miss).   There were some looks on curls and post ups that were available that they'll do a better job of finding as the season goes on.  The Bison host Elk River on Tuesday and then visit Moorhead and Bemidji on back to back days next week.

Maple Grove gets their 1st win of the season against the opening loss to Park Center.  Frosh Brad Davison was outstanding with 21 points, 11-14 FTs.  He also added some important steals and assists in driving the offense, especially late in the 1st half when the game looked like it could get out of hand.  Big post Jacob Sterling with some limited but very good minutes to get his 11 points.  6 points and lots of 2nd half bench time for soph star Reed Nikko after a great debut against Park Center.  Frosh Tywhon Pickford also part of the talented young rotation for the Crimson.  They host Champlin Park next Tuesday.

Cats clawing for a win

Hi there, niiiice kitty.  Its a trip to Legacy Christian to see the Lions take on the Pumas from Cristo Rey Jesuit.  I sink my claws into my 1st hot dog of the season.  Not bad, not outstanding, but respectable.  20 ounces of Red Gatorade keeps the beverage counter rolling.  Legacy is in their transition period from the old Meadow Creek Christian days.  So they've gone to the Miami Orange and Green for the uniforms which is always outstanding.  The outside of the court still has the wide blue border but the volleyball court and lane markings are in the Miami orange.  All we need now is a dry ice machine to introduce the Lions.  Since we don't have that we'll get our 80s fix from the music between games.

Song of the Day:
Parents Just Don't Understand - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 52 ounces
12 oz Dr Pepper
20 oz Red Powerade
20 oz Red Gatorade

Game Time:
Cristo Rey without a couple of bodies including touted freshman Jericho Sims.  But they get a pair of early bombs from lefty Drakarr Lobley.  His 2nd is part of a 9-0 run to give the Pumas a 12-6 at the 11:18 mark.  Legacy coach JP Lindgren not at all happy with his team at that point.  Legacy's big 3 go on a 7-0 run to put the Lions on top 18-17.  Luke Johnson pounding Cristo Rey inside but Davonte Smith outrunning the Lions back and getting to the rim at will.  Smith gets all layups for 14 1st half points.  Johnson with 12 for Legacy.  30-28 Legacy takes the lead into the half.

Nate Bertsch for 3 and then he draws the 4th foul on the 1 big that Cristo Rey had in the lineup.  Add in a Legacy free throw and you think they may start to pull away.  But that never happens.  Jeffrey Hudson with a pair of 3s to keep Cristo Rey close.  39-36 Legacy leading inside of 15 to play.  Saiku Kanneh with a pair of easy hoops to put the Pumas up 5, then they miss a golden opportunity by not finishing a 2 on 1 break.  52-47 Cristo Rey with 9 left.  Luke Anderson makes them pay on the other end as he's heating up.  He scores 6 in a row to pull Legacy within one.  Then Nate Bertsch scores and Legacy is back on top 55-54 with 5:30 left.  Cristo Rey turns it over twice but Legacy can't turn those possessions into points.  Then its a pair of Legacy turnovers that lead to 5 straight Davonte Smith points.  59-55 Cristo Rey on top with 4:10 left.

Kanneh grabs a loose ball and puts it back for a 4 point lead.  Conflicting officials calls and the underneath official gives his call away and the outside guy has the charge against Legacy with 2:41 left.  Smith goes strong and finishes to put Cristo Rey up 4.  After a Bertsch bucket, Jack Yeager thinks he draws a charge at halfcourt and it goes against him.  His reaction draws what is justly a technical by rule but common sense needs to prevail in a hotly contested game there.  But free throws again haunting a team.  Cristo Rey misses the front end on the foul and only makes 1 of the 2 technical free throws with 2:03 left.  They do make 1 of 2 on the possession.  Another big swing against the home squad.  A 2nd really strange illegal high ball screen call sends Johnson to the bench with his 5th with a minute left.  Legacy fouling for the last 2 minutes to stay in it and its working.

Caleb Johnson makes 1 freebie with 17.8 left to cut the lead to 4.  His 2nd is no good, a scramble ensues and Legacy gets 2 shots to just barely miss.  Caleb back to the stripe where he makes 1 of 2 again.  Cristo Rey turns it over on the inbounds so Legacy gets it back on the side.  Legacy ball down 71-68 with 9.9 left.  Nate Bertsch can't get an initial look at a 3 but does get a decent look from the left corner that just misses.  Jump ball to Cristo Rey with 0.8 left.  They have the ball underneath and send everybody deep.  But the full court pass hits the divider above center court (remember Blake Hoffarber at Wayzata in section play a few years ago folks?).  Legacy gets 1 last chance from underneath their own basket.  Bertsch gets a heave from 25 feet that 's no good.  Cristo Rey hangs on to win 71-68.  A fun game that never saw a double digit lead.

Post Game
For Cristo Rey, they improve to 1-1 after being trounced at Concordia last week.  Davonte Smith with at least 28 points (I missed a couple of 2nd half hoops so he may have had more).  He wasn't stopped going to the rim in the halfcourt or especially in transition off of defensive rebounds.  They get 4 other guys to heave in 7 bombs which kept gaps open in the Legacy 3-2 zone.  Add in another kid off the bench who gets 8 hustle points in the 2nd half and it works out.  6-17 free throws for the Pumas in the last 2:03 when they were trying to put the game away is a major concern.  Jeffrey Hudson with 11 for the Pumas.  It a quick turnaround for the Pumas as they go the other direction to play an MCAA foe with a trip to Bethany Academy tomorrow.  Since they don't really have access to the Colin Powell Center (school is attached), they play most of their schedule on the road.  They start with 7 straight away from home.

For Legacy Christian, they fall to 1-1.  Their big 3 had all but 15 of their 98 points against Lakeview Christian (once again woeful on defense I might add).  Tonight only 4 points from the non-big 3.  Luke Anderson 16 of his 24 in the 2nd half to lead the Lions.  Nate Bertsch with 15 of his 23 in the 2nd half.  Luke Johnson with 12 of his 17 in the 1st first half.  Masterful job by coach Lindgren of going offense for defense in the last 2 minutes and getting his 2 stop scorers off the floor with 4 fouls on defense and right back in on offense.  I also liked the work off of 2 feet in their 5 out offense.  A fun chance for me to watch a high school team run some of the same stuff I've used with my youth teams.  A bad loss for Legacy against a team that wasn't as talented and was undermanned.  Transition defense, stopping penetration in their zone and just getting out worked were major points in this one.  They aren't deep but their top 3 make them a team that should be pretty solid in MCAA play.  Bertsch gives them a guard who can handle and shoot, Anderson is versatile and Johnson plays hard and works his way effectively inside.  They host FAIR next Monday before jumping into the MCAA North schedule at PACT next Tuesday

Saturday is all right for playing

So after taking the opening Friday night of the season off, its back on the road in full force for the opening Saturday of the 2013-2014 season.  A pair of youth games, a doubleheader at the Fridley tourney and then off to the western fringe of the metro to take a look at a couple of teams outside The Kingdom.  No food at games today as travel forced me to eat and run between events.  I did add 12oz of Dr. Pepper to the ledger though.  I missed yesterday due to the outstanding Elton John concert at the X and its Saturday night as I write this, so today's music choice must be...

Song of the Day
Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting - Elton John

Total Beverage Consumption Counter: 32 Ounces (not counting the 20 ounces at the Minnehaha Jamboree as its not a regular season event)

Fridley Tourney
Game 1 in Saturday's session at Fridley was North Branch taking on St. Paul Harding.  Kenneth Swanson with a pair of bombs in a 15-1 Harding run to break open a close game midway through the 1st half.  That would propel the Knights to a 28-20 halftime lead.  That margin would stay between 10 and 5 for the until inside of 4 minutes to play.  42-33 Harding with 3:49 left after a BLOB layup.

Matt Bloomquist for 3 for North Branch countered by both ends of the bonus for Harding's Donovan Adesoro.  44-36 Knights with 2:50 left.  North Branch misses and the Vikings should be done at this point.  Problem is that free throws are not necessarily free points in today's game.  Harding misses a front end and the Vikings counter with both ends on their possession.  Another missed front end for Harding and its a North Branch 3.  Harding makes 2 freebies but then misses 2 on their next chance.  46-41 Harding with 1:16 left.  Bloomquist with a clutch 3 with 1:02 left and the noose tightens.  Harding clanks 2 more free throws.  Same set for Bloomquist and his good look doesn't go down with 40 ticks left.  1 of 2 for Harding and North Branch still has hope.  They get an offensive putback with 15 seconds left to cut the lead to 1.  Then Harding misses 2 more once again.  North Branch comes back the other way and a tick tack call sends Bloomquist to the line with 5.2 left. 

He sinks the front end of the bonus to tie the game and then after Harding ices him, he calmly sinks the back end and that's your game winner.  North Branch steals one 48-47.  Harding 3-14 from the foul line in the last 2:24.  They had an 8 point lead with the ball at that point.  Matt Bloomquist with 8 of his 15 in the last 3 minutes to lead the comeback.  Brandon Thauwald of North Branch topped all scorers with 19. 

Game 2 was St. Anthony taking on the hosts Fridley.  This was not the kind of hospitality to give new St. Anthony coach Chris Hergenrader.  St. Anthony's Noah Bluth made 2 free throws at the 11:13 mark to cut the Tigers lead to 12-10.  He would roll an ankle soon after and the Huskies were done at this point.  Fridley used their pressure defense of half and full court man traps to go on a 22-0 run and hold the Huskies without a field goal for almost 10 minutes.  Fridley would run out to a 41-20 halftime lead.  They pushed the lead to 63-24 when the clock flipped to running time.  Fridley rolls 76-33.  Matt Duehn 14 points, Chaney Pal 10 to lead Fridley.  Its a young St. Anthony squad with only 3 seniors of note going with a pair of sophomores and freshman in the rotation.

Marshall at Orono
A quality class AAA battle as Marshall makes the trip to the western border of the metro to take on Orono.  Early on its about fouls as its 9-1 against Orono at the 9 minute mark.  Coach Barry Wohler not happy with The Nutty Professor and his crew.  That causes Orono to throw in everyone and the kitchen sink.  Despite that the Spartans would hold a 19-12 lead at the 6 minute mark of the first half.  They Marshall star Riley Sharbono gets going with a pair of 3s and 8 points in a 12-0 run to put the Tigers up 24-19.  Orono finishes the half on a 7-0 run including a pretty backdoor SLOB layup by Chandler Jacoby (he'd later leave on crutches due to an injury midway thru the 2nd half).  26-24 Orono at the break.

Neither team able to pull away.  Sharbono and Ethan Larson both put up 8 early points to balance each other out.  Orono's Sam Sustacek would have a nice spurt inside pounding the offensive glass.  44-39 Spartans with 10 minutes left.  Marshall center Jordan Schroeder with 5 points off the pick and roll going strong.  47-44 Orono just outside of 7 minutes left.  A UCLA cut nets an easy layup and add on a Connor Winkleman steal for 2.  Sharbono with a big 3 with 3:50 left and that cuts the Orono lead to 52-51.  But that was the last Marshall field goal.  Orono makes 10-10 free throws the rest of the way and only gives 2 freebies the rest of the way.  A solid 62-53 win for Orono.  Ethan Larson 18 points to lead 9 Orono scorers.  Riley Sharbono 21 points to lead all scorers.  Concordia-Moorhead in the house looking at some of the Marshall kids.

2014 Season Opener

Its the 2014 Season Opener but in a strange place.  Its off to Mound-Westonka for a section 6AAA showdown between the Whitehawks and Holy Angels.  Its Jesse Foley's return to the bench for AHA and Tyler Biwan's debut on the Mound-Westonka bench.  20 oz of Red Powerade to go with a healthy slice of cheese pizza.  Blake's Sean Kruger in the building to watch his former assistant and get some section scouting in at the same time.  Only 1 side of bleachers and you could hear a pin drop on some home free throws which is a nice touch.

Game Time
Its a fast start for Mound-Westonka with the Swing Offense.  Ryan Rahn back to back bombs for 3 and the Whitehawks are up 9-2 just 2 minutes in.  Holy Angels comes right back with an 18-5 run of their own.  Taylor BonGiovanni with 8 points in the run including a steal and cold blooded pullup 3 on the break to close it.  20-14 Holy Angels takes the lead with 8:30 left in the half.  Charlie Koontz starts to dominate inside for Holy Angels and they stretch the lead to 9.  The hot shooting for Mound-Westonka continues with Rahn's 3rd triple.  28-25 Holy Angels at the 4:32 mark.  Koontz leads an 18-6 run to finish the half as he scores the last five in the final minute.  Rahn's arm must have gotten tired as he missed 2 or 3 good looks from deep short late in the half.  43-31 Holy Angels at half.

The 2nd half was all the story of Holy Angels appearing to pull away and then Mound-Westonka would make a play to hang around.  Tynan O'Hara with a big half for Mound-Westonka.  His 3 off a nice skip pass cuts the margin to 45-37 with 16:25 left.  Koontz with a putback to push the lead to 10 before a classic baseline cut and layup out of the Swing.  O'Hara on the block for a 3 point play and its still an 8 point game.  The lead gets to 12 before Rahn makes a pair of freebies and follows it with his 5th trip to the deep beyond.  Timeout Holy Angels up 59-52 with 9:13 left.  Gabe Wear makes both ends of the bonus to cut the lead to 5.  Then missed opportunities for the Whitehawks.  2 Stars turnovers and no points.  AHA stretches the lead back to 8 with 5:08 left.  Wear with a triple but then Mound-Westonka misses a layup after a Stars miss.  An offensive rebound and the Whitehawks miss the front end of the 1 and 1.

Despite all of that, an offensive rebound, kick out and wonderful extra pass finds Rahn for the 6 pack and its 63-61 Holy Angels with 2:50 left.  Mound-Westonka gets a stop and chance to tie but turns it over with 2 minutes left.  Evan Beeson with a drive and 3 point play with 1:38 left and that's a killer.  O'Hara inside earns 2 free throws to cut the lead to 3 with 1:10 left.  Mound-Westonka plays straight man defense coming out of the timeout but gives up an easy post flash and bucket to Koontz.  The Whitehawks can't score on the other end and that's as close as they'll get.  Holy Angels hangs on 69-63.

Post Game
For Holy Angels, Charlie Koontz leads the way with 27 points and 7 rebounds on the Czar's highly officially unoffiical stat sheet.  19 of those points in the 1st half and he didn't get enough touches in the 2nd half against single coverage that he destroyed all night.  Taylor BonGiovanni with 17 of his 19 in the 1st 20 minutes.   The Whitehawks student section got in his head the rest of the night with an "Airball" chant whenever he touched it.  Nobody else with more than 8 for the Stars.  They're a little depleted right now.  They have to be disappointed they didn't put away the game when they had a double digit lead.

For Mound-Westonka, it was all about the 3 ball.  Ryan Rahn with 6 of them on his way to a team high 24 points.  Good action out of the Swing to have him set the cross screen and then double down for him to the top for quality looks.  Tynan O'Hara stepped up big in the 2nd half on his way to 23 points and 3 triples.  He did some really good work battling inside against a bigger Stars lineup that bothered the Whitehawks.  Gabe Wear with 8 of his 11 in the 2nd half.  Mound-Westonka with 13 makes from deep and only 6 from inside the arc.  Definitely not what coach Biwan is looking for out of the Swing.  Plenty of missed chances when the game got close that kept the Whitehawks from getting the lead back.

2013 Minnehaha Jamboree Notes

The marathon hoops crusade to March 15th begins tonight with Brian Sandifer's inaugural Minnehaha jamboree.  A perfect chance to see Brian's outstanding recruiting class of Joevon Walker, Simeon Davis (both 2017) and JaVonni Bickman (2018).  I had to try to come up with a game plan last year against Bickman in 13U ball and let's just say the kitchen sink wouldn't have helped us.  Minnetonka, Stillwater, St. Paul Central and East Ridge all on a quality schedule.  35 minute running time games.  Walking Taco on the menu which is a must try.  Czar's Eval: The beef was a bit dry and the dollup of sour cream on top never could get mixed in properly.  Needed a hit of salsa on it too.  1st 20 oz of beverage is in the books as well. We need a song as well, so in honor of the start of the season

Song of the Day:
Jump - Kris Kross

In the 2nd session, St. Paul Central pulled away from Stillwater 41-29.  Central's Kalu Abosi really played well.  Stillwater big Kyle McKinley showed flashes with a couple of shot blocks but his usually outstanding mobility wasn't on display and the offensive game is still improving.  Forward Matt Anderson did show some flashes as well.  In general a pretty dead performance from a Ponies squad that many think should surprise.  Soph Sam Gubbrud saw lots of time for a largely unrecognized Central lineup without coach Scott Howell.

East Ridge had no problems with Hill-Murray in their 47-18 win.  Marshawn Wilson did knock down 3 triples in an off night.  If I were the Pioneers, expect to see a ton of faceguarding, box and 1 and running double teams at Wilson to make anybody else beat them.  Could even go to the Megatron defense of Triangle and 2 just on Wilson.  That term comes from the double teams Calvin Johnson sees on the goal line.

I know Hill-Murray has been pounded by 2 very good teams in scrimmages but East Ridge is just flat out scary folks.  They defend like crazy,  they're crazy deep, have very good players at every position and plenty of scoring punch.  Expect their Kansas high low action with the Ryans (Keenan and Mathis) to be very effective for them.   Keenan's mobility running rim to rim is a pleasure to watch.  They have to get through Apple Valley in section which is a tall order, but how many teams can say they matchup as "well" with the Eagles?  That's why I picked that section final as 1 of my 10 events of the season.

Park Center walks in 10 minutes late for their scheduled scrimmage with Minnetonka so that means we end up with 2 big school vs AA school mismatches to end the night.  Careino Gurley back in the lineup for Minnetonka (sat out at the Pulley Jamboree on Saturday) but still no Delshon Strickland with the stitched up left hand.  Minnetonka's defensive pressure totally threw Minnehaha's youngsters for a loop.  That propelled the Skippers to 16-0 and 35-4 leads and allowed the JVs to coast home at the end.  Final score 62-27.  Minnehaha is very talented but their youngsters are making a big step up.  Expect some early season kinks there.

Park Center's athletic guards too much for St. Croix Prep to handle.  43-19 Pirates win.  Amani Hooker, Isaiah McKay and Arione Farrar make a nice 3 guard trio with Isaac Matthews inside.  SCPA needs to find help for Michael Gutierrez.

2013-14 What to Watch

This is the 25th and final preview in my 2013-14 Season Preview Series.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.  For those who don't sift through all the previews, here's a condensed version of the top teams, top players, where to find them and when to find them during the 2013-14 season.  These lists are in no particular order.

10 Metro Area Teams to Watch
  • Apple Valley
  • Osseo
  • Hopkins
  • De La Salle
  • Lakeville North
  • East Ridge
  • Shakopee
  • Champlin Park
  • Roseville
  • Cretin-Derham Hall

10 Metro Area Players to Watch
  • Tyus Jones
  • Reid Travis
  • Jarvis Johnson
  • JP Macura
  • Amir Coffey
  • Ryan Keenan
  • Ian Theisen
  • Wheeler Baker
  • Delshon Strickland
  • Jon Sobaski
10 Metro Area Events To Watch
  • Anoka-Ramsey Classic - Nov 30th at Anoka-Ramsey
  • Apple Valley vs De La Salle - Dec 7th at Hopkins (Girls Tip Off Classic )
  • Apple Valley at Hopkins - Dec 10th
  • Chicago Whitney Young at Apple Valley - Dec 12th (ESPN TV game)
  • Breakdown Tip Off Classic (Boys) - Dec 14th at Minnetonka
  • Timberwolves Shootout - Jan 4th at Target Center
  • Hopkins at Osseo - Feb 11th
  • Apple Valley at Lakeville North - Feb 18th
  • Twin Cities Game - Feb 22nd (St. Paul Site)
  • Section 3AAAA Final - March 6th at Farmington (Apple Valley vs East Ridge projected)

Road Trip of the Year
De La Salle vs Findlay Prep - Sat Dec 28th at Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

Honorable Mention Road Trips
De La Salle vs Iowa City West (IA) - Jan 19th at La Crosse Center in La Crosse, WI
De La Salle vs View Park (CA) - Dec 21st in Waukesha, WI
Border Battle - Jan 25th in Kaukauna, WI

2013-14 Section 7AAAA Preview

This is the 24th preview in my 2013-2014 season preview series.  The final week of previews winds down toward the end with a look at section 7AAAA.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Defending Champion: Andover

Predicted Seeding
  1. St. Francis
  2. Andover
  3. Forest Lake 
  4. Duluth East
  5. Cambridge-Isanti
  6. Blaine
  7. Coon Rapids
  8. Anoka
Jake Johnson leads the Saints to the top seed in another weak year in section 7.  The defending champs Andover return a ton led by football star Connor Wilkie and will be battle tested by the Northwest Suburban schedule.  Forest Lake and Duluth East both have to replace significant pieces, especially East.  Cambridge-Isanti has 3 top kids coming back including a pair of talented juniors (see Kyle McDonald).  Blaine, Coon Rapids and Anoka will struggle again.

Sleeper: Cambridge-Isanti.   They may be young and have taken some lumps but they will have experience and shooting.

Section Winner: Andover.  Another case where I don't want to pick the favorite.  I'll go with the defending champ with all the pieces they have coming back.

2013-14 Section 6AAAA Preview

This is the 23nd preview in my 2013-2014 season preview series.  This final week of previews continues with a look at section 6AAAA.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Defending Champion: Edina

Predicted Seeding
  1. Hopkins
  2. Minnetonka
  3. Eden Prairie
  4. Robbinsdale Armstrong
  5. Edina
  6. Minneapolis Southwest
  7. Minneapolis South
  8. St. Louis Park
A difficult section only gets tougher with Eden Prairie moving in.  They won section 2 last season.  Hopkins is the clear favorite with most of their roster coming back.  Minnetonka has firepower at the guard spots and a couple of bangers inside.  Eden Prairie has a goto guy in Andre Wallace.  Armstrong will be dangerous with the amount of talent they have returning.  After that its a dropoff.  Edina has to gain experience.  Southwest has lots back but they aren't at the same level as the top teams.  South and St. Louis Park bring up the tail end.

Sleeper: Robbinsdale Armstrong.   Point guard is a question for the Falcons but they can fill the other spots.  Ryan Casperson is a versatile 4 man.  Sean Burns can block shots and they have a shooter in Evan Nolan.

Section Winner: Hopkins.  After a significant down year but Royals standards, Hopkins makes their return to state.  Too athletic and intense on the defense end for most to handle.

2013-14 Section 5AAAA Preview

This is the 22nd preview in my 2013-2014 season preview series.  This final week of previews begins with a look at section 5AAAA.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

(11/4/13 Note: Fixing initial mistake of including Armstrong in this section instead of Maple Grove)

Defending Champion: Park Center

Predicted Seeding
  1. Osseo
  2. Champlin Park
  3. Park Center
  4. Maple Grove
  5. Centennial
  6. Wayzata
  7. Robbinsdale Cooper
  8. Irondale
Osseo is the clear favorite here with D1 signees Ian Theisen and Wheeler Baker returning.  Add in transfers Jordan Dembley and Elliot Kane with the usual assortment of role players and this is a deep squad that should be one of the best in the state.  Don't sleep on their neighbor Champlin Park.  Brennan Witt is underappreciated inside and the guard tandem of Ian Smith and JT Gibson is outstanding.  Park Center returns Isaiah McKay on the wing with a bunch of talented but fairly inexperienced guards.  Maple Grove has youngsters Reed Nikko and Brad Davison.  But they lose a ton as does the rest of the section so there's a dropoff after the top 3.

Sleeper: Park Center.   They have talent back from last year and their young guards have the ability to score in an up and down game.

Section Winner: Osseo.  All the right pieces and depth on top of it.  Can't pick against a team that will be a top 3-5 team all season.

2013-14 Section 4AAAA Preview

This is the 21st preview in my 2013-2014 season preview series.  The previews of class AAAA continue with a look at Section 4.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Defending Champion: Woodbury

Predicted Seeding
  1. Tartan
  2. Roseville
  3. Woodbury
  4. Stillwater
  5. Mahtomedi
  6. Mounds View
  7. White Bear Lake
  8. North
A very balanced section.  Tartan and Roseville should battle it out all year for the top seed.  3-6 could go in any direction and will make for very good 4 vs 5 and 3 vs 6 1st round games.   Stillwater and Mahtomedi are definitely better than 4 and 5 seeds.  Stillwater will have the size and Mahtomedi will have the guard play.  Woodbury has the tradition.  Mounds View can jump in that discussion with their experience.  White Bear Lake has too much to replace to be any higher.  North continues to rebuild.

Sleeper: Mounds View.   They'll fly under the radar with no stand out player but they're experienced and sound.  They will be a difficult out in March.

Section Winner: Roseville.  I can't pick every #1 seed and Roseville is experienced and deep.  I think they win out over Tartan's youth.