2015 Holiday Tourneys Days 3 and 4

Its the final 2 days of the 2015 Holiday Tournament season.  I ended my time with championship day at Tartan and then the final day at Augsburg before ringing in the new year.  2 wonderful walking tacos at Tartan (1 with Fritos and 1 with Doritos).  Labor intensive to make and eat but well worth it.  The crew at Augsburg providing me with personal in-the-bleachers hot dog service so I couldn't turn that down.  1 liter + 20 ounces of Pepsi washes it all down.  That's 672.675 more calories for the calorie counter.

Tartan Championship Day
The 7th place game was a battle of depleted teams as Centennial defeated Glencoe-Silver Lake 80-69.  Freshman guard Riley Van Kirk with a pair of 3s but it was his 7-8 FTs in the last 1:24 that sealed it.  He finished with 19 points.  Jacob Popelka 14 for GSL before injuring a knee late.  Centennial playing 8 guys that will return next year not counting Alex Facon who hasn't played this season.

The 5th place game saw Spring Lake Park defeat Chisago Lakes 57-53.  Pretty close game throughout.  Chisago Lakes would be down 11 early in the 2nd half but Dylan Wood would score 16 of his 19 points in the 2nd half to keep the Wildcats in it.  His interior war with Josh Ojile was 2 guys really banging.   Wood would score 3 straight hoops for Chisago Lakes to help cut the lead down to 2.  But a clutch 3 from shooter Mark Raihle would push the lead to 5.  Spring Lake Park makes 9 of 10 FTs in the last 48.2 to counter 8-8 FTs from Chisago Lakes.  Dylan Wood 19. Tom Gillach 17 for Chisago Lakes.  Mark Raihle 17, Erik LeVahn 15 for Spring Lake Park.

Carmel Catholic from suburban Chicago took on Forest Lake in the 3rd place game.  The Corsairs link to the event is assistant coach Sam Ryan who played at Tartan.  They win the award for best nickname I'll encounter all season.  Its a privateer or pirate (french for pirate).  Noah Alm would score 18 of his 25 for Forest Lake in the 2nd half including 13 straight.  But no other Ranger would make a field goal in the last 13:25.  Forest Lake only 1 FG in the last 7 minutes.  Carmel Catholic wins 61-48.

In the championship game, Tartan hosted Lakeville South.  Let it be noted that were only short spurts where Jordan Horn and Jack Sorenson guarded each other.  Sorenson goes nuts in the 1st half with 22 of the 27 (and he assisted on 1 of those 2 other field goals).  Horn counters with his own late spurt to end the half with 16.  31-27 Tartan at the half.  Sorenson give and go and a another hoop to put Lakeville South ahead early in the half.  Inside/out Horn for 3 and Jarvis Thomas with a tip dunk but a Sorenson 3 keeps Lakeville South ahead.  Noah Whalen back to back 3s and Tartan is up 5 with 10 left.  Horn couldn't buy a hoop in the 2nd half after the 3.  Shae Mitchell with 2 nice assists late and its 57 all inside 2 left.  Sorenson to the rack to put South up after a Horn miss.  Another Tartan miss and then they lose soph Cooper Jackson on an inbounds for a wide open layup with 33.8 left.  Mitchell and Sorenson seal it with free throws.  Lakeville South wins 65-59.  Jack Sorenson goes off for 41 points to lead Lakeville South.  Jordan Horn with 25 for Tartan.

Tartan All-Tournament Team
Josh McGreal - Centennial
Dylan Wood - Chisago Lakes
Mark Raihle - Spring Lake Park
Noah Alm - Forest Lake
CJ Duff and  Shareif Belser-Bailey - Carmel Catholic
Jordan Horn, Jarvis Thomas and Elijah Johnson - Tartan
Jack Sorenson, Shae Mitchell and Jack Swanhorst - Lakeville South

Augsburg New Years Eve
The 1st game of the day featured Sibley and St. Paul Johnson.  Johnson playing without Andre Smith who injured a hand late in yesterday's game.  Sibley would take a 6-3 lead but then turnovers would haunt.  Johnson would go on one of their big runs, 16-0 in this case, and blow the game open.  Johnson too athletic and too tough.  Governors win 67-42.  Saivon Parker 18 points with 4 3s for Johnson.  Carlin Clarke added 15 for the Govs. 

Game 2 was Eastview taking on Chanhassen.  Martin Mitchell 2 quick fouls and he has to go to the Eastview bench.  That was after Mitchell hit a pair of 3s in a 9-0 run. Sean Ryan takes over from there.  Eastview would have a 17 point lead in the 1st half.  Mitchell would pick up 2 quick ones to start the 2nd half and go right back to the bench.  Raevon Davis for 3 and a steal for 2 more and the Eastview lead is 18 with 13 minutes left.  Chanhassen would rally with a 12-2 run.  Jordan Bonk with bonus free throws and a hoop.  Good minutes for Alex Spillum off the bench and he adds 2 free throws as Mitchell returned and quickly got his 5th.    Mike Witthus for 3 and a 3 point play from Trey Prince.  All of a sudden the Eastview lead is down to 72-66 with 4:45 left.  Eastview makes 11 of 12 free throws from there.  Eastview wins 85-76.  Sean Ryan 4 triples and 36 points, 20 of those in the 1st half.  Jack Elgren 13 of his 15 in the 1st half to lead Chanhassen.  Trey Prince added 14 for the Storm.

In the nightcap, #1AAAA Hopkins took on #5AA Minnehaha.  The teams start out tied at 4 and its all Hopkins after that.  Jalen Suggs picks up 4 fouls in the 1st half.  Hopkins makes it a track meet with Amir Coffey taking over early.  Anthony Davis off the Hopkins bench (Ish El-Amin DNP) and he ran his way to 13 1st half points (mostly layups). Vinnie Shahid banks in a long 3 at the 1st half buzzer, 63-24 Royals at half.  The 2nd half does see running time with Hopkins bench guys getting minutes.  Hopkins wins 86-53.  Amir Coffey 16 of his 18 in the 1st half..  Vinnie Shahid and Anthony Davis each add 17.  JoVanni Bickham with 16 points and 9 rebounds, Jalen Suggs with 14 points on 4-11 FGs on my sheet.  Those type of percentages will go up as his shot selection improves.  That's something most kids don't get.  The impact of nothing more than shot selection on FG%.  Suggs did show some really nice flashes splitting the pick and roll in the 2nd half.   That's incredibly advanced for any high school player, let alone one as young as him.

2015 Holiday Tournaments Day 2

Its day 2 of the 4 day 2015 Holiday Tournament season.  Day 2 takes me back to Fridley but this time for the 1 boys game in the Fridley Holiday Tourney, then its off to the U of St. Thomas for the finals of the UST Holiday Tourney.  12 oz of Pepsi out of the can during the day and then 12 out of the fountain for the night session.  Can, bottle or fountain you ask?  I'll take can but the old 16 oz bottle is a classic too.  Plastic bottle totally different.

Game 1: St. Paul Como Park vs Minneapolis Southwest
Its a Twin Cites game between Como Park and Southwest in the Fridley Tourney.  No Brennan Hawkins for Southwest.  Como Park in early control with their star Demetrice Mitchell on the offensive glass and going backdoor for 2.  The Cougars continue with a 14-4 spurt for a 22-11 lead at the 7:45 mark. A couple late hoops keep SW within 10 at the break.  Como Park 10-1 right after the break and all of a sudden its 44-27 Cougars inside 14 left.  Southwest places their bench a ton after that.  That's despite a pair of 3s cutting the lead to 11 inside 12 left.  Southwest would get no closer.  Como Park wins 68-52.  Demetrice Mitchell 20 points to lead Como Park.  Jack Walker 10 for Southwest.  Caine Knuckles nice work distributing for Southwest.

Game 2: Cretin-Derham Hall vs St. Thomas Academy
To the UST Holiday Tournament.  CDH head coach Jerry Kline with the whistle and football pads out for pregame warmups after last night's loss to Park Center.  Daniel Oturu comes off the bench for CDH as well.  John Myran off the STA bench and buries a 3 at the 12:20 mark to put the Cadets up 10-9.  CDH awakens with a 9-0 run.  Nate Chaffee had problems finishing around Oturu but he makes a couple of hoops late in the half.  STA within 37-28 at the break.  STA turns it over on their 1st 4 possessions of the 2nd half and CDH pushes the lead to 15.  STA within 12 before Oturu goes for a 3 point play and its Chaffee's 4th foul with 10:17 left.  Then another CDH And 1 extends the lead to 18.  CDH wins 76-53.  Daniel Oturu 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks on my sheet.  Too much of him inside.  Nate Chaffee 14 to lead St. Thomas Academy.

Game 3: Park Center vs Hill-Murray
I'm seeing green as both teams have the correct uniforms after last night's uniform issues.  Unfortunately the crowd largely disperses for this one (move your car St. Paul snow emergency people!).  The start is slow thanks to Hill-Murray's 2-3 zone.  Park Center jumps out to an 8-0 lead with 2 3s from Derrick Ogechi.  Simeon Davis and Chris Moore carry the Hill-Murray offense.  Losini Kamara counters with 9 in the half for the Pirates.  Park Center 26-21 at the break.

Hill-Murray scores the 1st 7 of the 2nd half with Moore scoring inside and a Davis drive.  28-26 Pioneers 2 minutes into the second half.  Then Park Center blows up the zone with 7 3s in the next 5:30.  Kamara makes the 1st 5 and Ogechi makes the last 2.  49-32 Pirates after a 23-4 run.   The lead is 15 with 8 minutes left and Park Center spreads it out.  Hill-Murray finally goes man and the Pirates knock down 5 more 3s just for good measure.  Park Center makes 17 3s total, 12 in the 2nd half.  They win the UST Holiday Tournament 73-47.  Losini Kamara 6 3s, 26 points to lead Park Center.  Derrick Ogechi and Isaiah Simon each knock down 4 bombs.  Chris Moore 18, Simeon Davis 14 for Hill-Murray.

2015 Holiday Tournaments Day 1

Its day 1 of the 4 day 2015 Holiday Tournament season.  Day 1 takes me to Calvin Christian for 1 afternoon game and then to Bethel for the night session.  Only 1 12 oz Coke (140 calories) on the day's menu.

Game 1: West Lutheran vs Liberty Classical
This was game 1 of the day at the Calvin Christian tournament.  A late arrival gets me a folding chair behind 1 the far basket.  Only room for 1 row of folding chairs for fans on the sideline.  Concessions outside only so the lunch window wasn't open to have the ball covered with nachos.  This one was a game of runs. 12-0 Liberty run with 4 3s opens up a 15-5 lead.  West Lutheran then holds the Lions without a field goal in the last 11:53.  That helps fuel a 20-3 Warriors run.  Free throws keep Liberty within striking distance down 36-25 at half.

Liberty right back in the game with an 8-0 run thanks to a pair of Jacob Grill 3s.  West Lutheran's top player Ben Beise has to sit with 4 fouls at the 14:52 mark.  Grill with a 3 point play and 4 free throws from Nate Bliss as Liberty goes on a 12-0 run.  49-44 Liberty with 10:42 left.  West Lutheran feels it slipping away and brings Biese back in.  He immediately scores and West Lutheran goes on a 10-2 run.  Bliss making a living at the foul line, but Biese comes up big.  He makes a free throw, puts back a missed free throw and makes 2 layups to salt the game away.  West Lutheran wins 70-66.   Ben Biese 19 for West Lutheran.  Nate Bliss 33 for Liberty, Jacob Grill adds 23.

Game 2: Andover vs Bloomington Jefferson
Then its off to Bethel for the night session.  The start is slow thanks to Andover's zone.  Andover generates offense by converting a pair of turnovers for a 9-6 lead at 12:40.  Jack Tillotson sits for Jefferson with his 2nd foul soon after.  Lucas Olson with a 3 point play to break a tie at the 5:12 mark.  But Andover doesn't score the rest of the half.  Jefferson gets a layup and a 3 but they go scoreless the last 4:15.  18-16 Jefferson at half in their kind of watch paint dry game.  Andover getting to the lane almost at will but nothing to show for it.

Andover makes a run in the 2nd half.  Olson with a floater, Corbin Johnson for 2 and takes a turnover for 2 more.  Then another Jefferson turnover for a Logan Rezac hoop pushes Andover to a 38-31 lead with 7:05 left.  Its a 13-2 Huskies spurt.  But Andover gets careless and before you can blink we're tied.  Tillotson drives for 2 free thrwos and Tyler Riemersma makes both ends of the bonus to end the 11-0 Jefferson run.  Andover gets a Rezac hoop and a Dylan Echtenkamp hoop on a turnover.  44 all with 3:10 left.  Johnson with a huge 3 and after a missed Jags layup, Rezac to the rack for 2.  49-46 Andover 44 seconds left.  After a Jefferson hoop, Andover is out on the break 3 on 1 but an extra pass leads to a Jefferson block.  Back the other way we go and its Riemersma on the offensive glass with 13 seconds left for the Jags lead.  Andover takes a 2 timeouts around Jefferson's 1 foul to give.  Rezac's look goes around and out.  Jefferson makes 1 free throw and without a timeout, Andover has to throw up a prayer that is no good.  Jefferson grinds one out 51-49.  Tyler Riemersma 12 and 10, Joe Hird 13 for Jefferson.  Corbin Johnson 10 off the Andover bench.

Game 3: Mounds View vs Mahtomedi
Biggest test of the season so far for undefeated Mounds View.  Parker Fox starts quickly for Mahtomedi.  He takes the opening tip for a dunk, lays in a lob, hits a 3 and dunks a turnover for an 11-6 Mahtomedi lead.  The only field goals early for Mounds View coming on a hoop and 2 3s from junior Nick McMillian.  Mahtomedi 17-11 when Nate Albers ducks the shoulder and its a charge for his 2nd foul at 8:09.  Joe Rock runs for 2 layups and all of a sudden the margin is double digits.  Albers has to come back in.  Fox back door for 1-2 free throws and a layup.  Jacob Martin with his 2nd 3 off the Zephyrs bench and a Gus Farrell putback give Mahtomedi a 38-20 lead in the last minute.  Albers off a late inbound for 3 and steals a pass in the last 3 seconds for 2 more.  38-23 Mahtomedi at the half.

Mounds View takes that momentum to the 2nd half.  Missed call as Shayne Frost dribbles off a Mounds View foot but Mounds View gets it and Albers converts a 3 on the possession.  Lead down to 8.  Albers in the post for 2 free throws before a strange T from somewhere around the Mounds View bench.  No real explanation given.  Frost makes the technicals but the Zephyrs don't convert on the possession.  Albers, McMillan and Tyler Fairchild all knock down 3s and we're even at 50 with 9:20 left.  Martin with another 3 off a BLOB and Mahtomedi goes up 58-53 with 6:30 left.  Zeke Thompson with great bench minutes for Mounds View getting to the line.  He makes 3 of 4.  Fairchild floats one in and then Thompson with a great pass to Steven Skwarek for a layup with 2 minutes left.  60-59 Mounds View back in front.  Its their 1st lead since 5-4.  Thompson and Albers make 4-4 free throws.  Skwarek with a layup on the break and Albers puts back a miss on a turnover to seal it.  Mounds View comes from 18 down late in the 1st half to win 68-64.   Nate Albers with 16 of his 27 in the 2nd half to lead Mounds View.  He made 4 3s.  Nick McMillan adds 3 bombs and 15 points.  Parker Fox 22 and 9 to lead Mahtomedi. Jacob Martin 10 of his 13 points in the 1st half in a very productive night off the bench for the stretch 4.  Tyler Fairchild and Zeke Thompson give Mounds View a couple of bulldogs guarding the ball.

Weekly 360 Windmill - 2015 Holiday Tournament Edition

Its a holiday tournament preview edition of the Weekly 360 Windmill.  Last week a very short week but we'll take a quick look at the notable from there before diving into the Christmas tournmaments

Week 6 Review
  • Maranatha gets their first win against Edison.  
  • Impressive win for Heritage taking out Cristo Rey by 25.  For the Pumas, losing that big will loom large for the 4A coaches in seeding.
  • Quality Tuesday wins for Lakeville North, #4AAA Orono, #9AAA Henry over #6AA SPA at Hamline, #1AAAA Hopkins over #5AAAA Champlin Park, #8AAA Totino-Grace over Mahtomedi
  • Important 5AA win for SW Christian taking out Providence.  Jack Jenson back in the lineup to lead the Stars to victory.   He sat out the Stars loss to Breck due to injury.
  • #2AA St. Croix Lutheran with a much deserved holiday break after handling formerly ranked Waseca.  They end up 4-1 against 5 ranked teams in a brutal 3 week stretch.
  • Tartan looked like they were back on track but they go into Roosevelt and lose by 5 in overtime in another shocking result for the Titans.
  • Impressive win for Benilde-St. Margaret's handling #1AAA De La Salle on the island.  Granted Goanar Mar didn't play due to injury.  But this continues to show that foul trouble or losing Mar or Gabe Kalscheur really makes it hard for De La Salle to score. 
  • Brainerd is now 3-0 in section and 8-2 overall with a section win over St. Cloud Tech last week.  Their 2 losses are by 3 points including #7AAA Rocori in OT.
Holiday Tournament Items
  • I have a page dedicated to all of the local holiday tournaments and their schedules.  You can find that here.
  • St. Cloud is loaded on the holiday tournament schedule.   
    • The Granite City Classic is always loaded.  #8AAAA Wayzata vs #5AAAA Champlin Park and #2AAAA Apple Valley vs #3AAAA Maple Grove highlight day 1 at St. Cloud State on Tuesday.  Champlin Park vs #1A Minneapolis North and Wayzata vs Apple Valley highlight day 2 at St. Cloud Apollo.
    • Don't forget about the 3 day St. Cloud Cathedral tournament.  Watertown-Mayer with Trae Berhow vs #1AA Melrose highlights day 1 at 5:30 along with #4AA Braham. Always interesting there as they also use the shot clock.
  • Eden Prairie gets Chaska to open their tournament and then a possible matchup with #4AAAA Shakopee in the final.  They would meet again in Shakopee again on Saturday.
  • Armstrong could see Lakeville North in the final of the Lakeville North tourney on Wednesday.  Armstrong head coach Greg Miller and Lakeville North head coach John Oxton are old pals from the days when Miller was on Oxton's staff many years ago. 
  • Possible #10AAA Delano vs St. Louis Park final in the St. Louis Park tourney.  The orange and black matchup there would be a very good test for both teams.  But Delano has to get past Edina in the opener first.  2 wins over quality AAAA opponents would go a long way in 6AAA seeding for Delano.
  • Chisago Lakes has a quality opener with Lakeville South in the Tartan tourney.  Ethan Hickcox vs Jack Sorenson is a fun point guard matchup.  The winner projects to take on Tartan in championship game. 
  • Late game at Bethel in group 1 on Monday is 9-0 Mounds View vs 5-3 Mahtomedi.  Mounds View has had a soft schedule so far so this should be a very good test for the Mustangs.
  • Cristo Rey visits Brooklyn Center on Wednesday night in a critical rebound game for the Pumas after the Heritage loss. 
  • How about a possible Tuesday championship game in the Perham tournament between Perham and #2A Spring Grove.  Perham has a win over Battle Lake who was ranked #2 in class A at the time.
  • Its the 30th year of the Winona Warrior Club Classic at Winona State.  #3AA Caledonia takes on #3AAA Austin to end day 1.  Austin coach Kris Fadness taking on his old school that he led to state in the late 90s.
  • At the 28th annual Rochester Rotary Classic, a strong bracket of #6AAAA Rochester John Marshall vs Prior Lake and #5A Rushford-Peterson vs Woodbury.
  • The year ends strong with #5AA Minnehaha taking on #1AAAA Hopkins in the Augsburg tourney on New Year's Eve.
  • Brainerd with 2 more section 8AAAA matchups vs Buffalo and STMA this week to round out the calendar year.
  • Then the new year begins with a bang with the Timberwolves Shootout on January 2nd.  I'll have a full preview of that on New Year's Day.
  • Other high profile games on that 1st Saturday of the new year include #3AA Caledonia at Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau (WI) and #6AAA Waconia at previously ranked Waseca.

2015 Hutton Winter Classic Night 1

Its the inaugural Hutton Winter Classic and the return of holiday basketball to historic Joe Hutton Arena at Hamline.  This event is a new pre-Christmas event on the local schedule.  Definitely a nice opening year for it with 2 ranked teams.  They're looking to build this going forward in this interesting time slot on the schedule.  A can of Pepsi washes down a quality slice of Topper's sausage pizza.  Upper Iowa, Winona, RCTC and Lake Region just a few of those attending tonight.

Song of the Day
Bob Seger - Old Time Rock and Roll

Number of Teams I've Seen: 74 (26 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 224 ounces (1790 calories) + 4 liters (250 calories)
30 days (25 possible game days), 39 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 96 ounces (1200 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 80 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 8
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game 1: #10AAA Minneapolis Henry vs Breck
The start is very slow.  Then Breck center Justin Bergerson has to sit with his 2nd foul barely 4 minutes into the game.  Breck frosh David Roddy with 2 nice inside hoops and a free throw.  15-12 Breck at the 5:30 mark.  Savion Scott with 2 bombs, a putback and a runout  as Henry runs off 17 of 21 points.  They pushes Henry to a 31-21 lead at half.

5 in a row from Breck early in the half and the Henry lead is down to 8.  Then Julian Jackson off a BLOB for 2 and a layup off textbook zone offense.  Jordan Lynn hits a free throw and then a 3 and the lead is 15.  Lamar Wood blocks a shot, cradles it and falls out of bounds all in 1.  He'll score on the other end.  Turnover for a Scott layup and Julian Jackson in the post.  The Henry run is 16-5 over 6 minutes.  50-31 Patriots almost midway thru the 2nd half.   Northwestern football commit Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman with the emphatic dunk for Breck off the give and go.  Then a Henry turnover and Breck misses the layup.  A Breck 3 cuts it to 11 inside of 7 to play.  Henry runs away from there to win 71-46.  Julian Jackson leads Henry with 19, Savion Scott 18.  David Roddy 12 to lead Breck.  Henry is now 7-1.  Breck falls to 4-4.

Game 2: #6AA St. Paul Academy vs North St. Paul
New SPA coach Isaiah Walfred taking on his old school in this one.  Interesting to see SPA start with the DDM type action but then revert to some old Princeton stuff (e.g chin) that Walfred ran in his NSP days.  Josh Steckler sick for NSP so he seems limited action.  Its 6 all early and then a 23-0 run from SPA as the Polars can't buy a shot.  SPA making it a layup drill on the other end getting anything they want.  29-6 at the 5:55 mark after a Kent Hanson 3 ends the run.  But don't discount The Fighting Janquarts!  NSP uses their better athleticism to jump back into the game via a 16-2 run.  Adrian Wadlington runs for a 3 point play and drives for 2, sophs Bryce Phillips and Goodnews Kpegeol each with bombs.  Termaine Daniels finishes the run with a drive and a 3.  Dalante Peyton stops the run with a long 3 to beat the halftime buzzer.  34-22 SPA at the break.

Kimari Suggs-Morgan hoop and harm, Jake Weber with the lefty 2 out of the post and a Jaquas Towns 3.  The 23 point lead is now down to 41-37 with 10 minutes left.  Tommy Dicke with 2 important 3s for SPA to push the lead to 8.  Daniels for 3 countered by Dalante Peyton's only hoop of the half (a 3).  Phillips for 3 to cut the lead to 7 but SPA spreads the floor and they win 57-48.  Termaine Daniels 17 to lead North St. Paul.  Emerson Egly playing inside this year scores 15.  Kent Hanson adds 13.  If NSP makes a shot early or guards anything, they win this one easily.  Their athletes really bothered SPA with pressure.  SPA improves to 8-2.  North St. Paul sees a 4 game winning streak snapped and they fall to 6-3.

Weekly 360 Windmill - Christmas Edition

Its the Weekly 360 Windmill where I take a look at the week ahead and a look back at the week that was.  Its a short holiday week, so this will be brief.  We'll have a full look at holiday tournaments next week.  Short week for me with only 1 local game as I return to The Old Kingdom for the week.  I may even give myself the gift of visiting my alma mater to see Wisconsin commit Kobe King play.

Week 5 Review
  • How about the strength of the NW Suburban.  They have 4 teams in the AAAA poll this week with Armstrong jumping into the 10 spot.  Totino-Grace jumped into the AAA poll this week as well.  Only 1 team in the west is under 500 and that's Irondale at 4-5.
  • Crazy Tuesday in the Minneapolis City with Washburn losing to Southwest and Henry knocked off by South.  Henry rebounded by knocking off Southwest on Friday to take 2nd place alone.
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's controlled the 1st half but then was outscored by 25 in the 2nd half at Cooper on Thursday.  Big night for both Newbern brothers to put Cooper over the top.  A loss at De La Salle on Wednesday would put them at an unexpected 5-5.
  • Sibley gets a rivalry win at St. Thomas Academy on Friday.  The Cadets have now lost 5 in a row with 3 of those against ranked teams and CDH comes in on Tuesday.
  • We knew Maranatha would be down but 0-6 is a major surprise.  They have a chance at win #1 on Monday vs Edison.
  • Hill-Murray beats South St. Paul on Friday to get their 1st win of the year after opening 0-6.
  • Minneapolis North suffers their 1st loss of the season over the weekend.  No shame in losing to an Auburn commit from the defending Georgia 6A runner up.  The Polars now enter a stretch where they'll play 7 ranked teams before the end of January.

Christmas Look Ahead
  • Holiday basketball is back at The Birthplace of Intercollegiate Basketball.  Monday and Tuesday sees the Hutton Winter Classic at Hamline.  Their tournament in past years was one of the must see tournaments.  Hopkins and Chaska had some real classics here in the early 2000s.  This year they bring in North St. Paul, Breck, #6AA St. Paul Academy and #10AAA Minneapolis Henry for 2 nights of games.
  • The other notable Monday game is #9A Heritage at Cristo Rey.  Big seeding game for Cristo Rey.  
  • Tuesday is Merry Christmas to all of us with a very good schedule.
    • #1AAAA Hopkins at #4AAAA Champlin Park is the game of the week.
    • Lakeville North at Eden Prairie in a battle of teams that many thought were in that next top tier of AAAA at the start of the year.  Don't think anyone would have expected both to not be in the poll at this point.
    • Duluth East at Cambridge-Isanti is a son returns home to play dad matchup with 7AAAA implications to boot.  I remember seeing Duluth East coach Rhett McDonald playing for his dad Mike at Cambridge-Isanti in the old Hamline tourney.  They upset a top ranked Hopkins team without Dan VanderVieren back then.  The loser of this one has to make Christmas dinner.
    • #7AAA Waseca visits #2AA St. Croix Lutheran to end a brutal 3 week stretch for the Crusaders.  Nick Dufault will have to have another big night if Waseca wants to pull out a win.
    • Previously ranked Mahtomedi at #9AAA Totino-Grace
    • Previously ranked Hermantown at #4AAA Orono
  • Wednesday is the big rivalry game between Benilde-St. Margaret's and #1AAA De La Salle on the island.  Could see this one again in the loaded 6AAA playoffs  6AAA right now has 4 ranked teams plus Delano and Benilde-St. Margaret's.

A Saturday Spectrum of Games

A rare Saturday during the season where there's no day long of event of games going on.  So its a chance to mosey around the metro for 3 (1 boys/girls doubleheader so we only get 2 boys games).  We get mascots from across the spectrum, bees, elks, lions and centaurs.  We also get good and bad on the meal spectrum.  Cozy crowd at 1 gym, good crowd in another cavernous gym.  Teams from a 1 man band to run up and down to slow it down and grind it out.  Many tunes from the 80s spectrum during the late games.  We'll pick this classic.

Song of the Day
Was (Not Was) - Walk the Dinosaur

Number of Teams I've Seen: 72 (25 courts, 3 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 244 ounces (2030 calories) + 4 liters (250 calories)
31 days (26 possible game days), 42 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay
  • Pepsi: 104 ounces (1300 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Coke 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 80 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 8
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game 1 - Brooklyn Center at Spectrum:
Its my first trip ever to The Hive.  Nestled away in Elk River's industrial park, its a cozy setup, but props for the lunch meal.  Pulled Pork combo with chips and drink for only $3.  An early candidate for best value of the year.  These teams could meet again in the 5AA East playoffs in February.  Spectrum starts out with a passive 1-3-1.  Both teams with sloppy early play.  Devonta Prince for 2 and takes a turnover for 2.  Landon Kirkwood with a BLOB 3 and dunks a lob.  27-15 Brooklyn Center at 8:50.  Spectrum switches to man and makes a run.  Frosh Cole Elrod for 3 on a kickout and Sting star forward Zach Knollenberg with 2 bombs.  Spectrum cuts the BC lead to 32-28.  Then its Kirkwood with 2 triples around another Knollenberg 3.  Kirkwood 4 free throws before Knollenberg beats the halftime buzzer with another 3.  47-36 BC at the break.  Spectrum hanging around thanks to 9 3s in the half.

A big 2nd half for 8th grade guard Lu'Cye (pronounced Lou-Kai, like Cobra Kai - FINISH HIM!) Patterson with 2 hoops and 2 free throws.  Kirkwood with a tough reverse finish of a lob and the lead is quickly 18.  Patterson 2 layups and its 62-43 with 12:50 left.  Knollenberg picks it up again after a quiet start to the half but the margin hovers around 20 the rest of the way.  Brooklyn Center 91-70.  Spectrum forward Zach Knollenberg 33 points with 7-18 3s on my sheet.  For a guy that big in class AA to not do any work in the post surprised me.  Played like a pure 3 man.  Landon Kirkwood with 21 of his 29 in the first half to lead the Centaurs.  8th grader Lu'Cye Patterson with 13 of his 18 in the 2nd half.  I like his feel for the game.  Brooklyn Center did a much better job of defending the 3 in the 2nd half.  Brooklyn Center is now 4-2 and hosts Cristo Rey and Jericho Sims on Dec 30.  Spectrum hosts Annandale on Monday before playing in the Mounds Park Academy Holiday tournament.

Game 2 - Elk River at Rogers:
This game is a district rivalry played for the gigantic River Battle trophy.  It also has 8AAAA implications with Rogers already losing to Brainerd and Elk River having to play Brainerd yet.  I take the girls game as a chance for dinner.  The pizza, not good but the meal deal included candy and a beverage as a consolation prize.  I should have had the Maynard's chili instead.    Rogers missing jumpers early and Elk River jumps out to a 7-0 lead.  That expands to 13-3 thanks to a pair of 3s from Matt Keller.  Rogers starts to attack the rim (something we mentioned here on Monday).  That keeps them within 9.  Allen Wilson a pair of late 3s for the Royals.  30-19 Elk River at the half.

Wilson with another bomb off the Rogers version of THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE.  Keller counters with another 3.  Wilson 2 drives that result in a hoop and 2 free throws.  Matt Carik for 3 and the Elk River lead is down to 37-33 with 10:47 left.  Zeke Delain 2 hoops countered by 2 more Wilson 3s.  Rogers can cut the 4 point lead further but a 3 goes in and out with 7 minutes left.  Keller for 3, Wilson scores and then its Delain on a backdoor set for 2 and then he hits a 3.  51-43 Elks with 3 minutes left.  Wilson hits 1 more 3 but its not enough.  Elk River wins 60-51.  Matt Keller with 5 3s and 28 points to lead Elk River. Zeke Delain with 9 critical points (of his 11) in the 2nd half.  Allen Wilson 6 3s and 27 points to lead Rogers.  He had 20 of those in the 2nd half.  Rogers is now 5-4 and play next in the Granite City Classic.  Based on the Brainerd loss, the St. Cloud Tech win and this game, I think you can almost lock them into the 4 seed with a likely home rematch with Tech in the 1st round.  Elk River improves to 7-1 and they'll play Minneapolis South on Dec 29th.  The lone loss is to Maple Grove but this is their best win to date.  Early drafts of the CzarPI had them behind Rogers and Brainerd coming into this one.

Play of the Day
I did want to mention that I love the flow on offense that Elk River has.  Double backscreen on the secondary break looking for a layup.  Then directly into their Kansas High/Low look for half court offense.  If you deny the wings in that, its an automatic counter to flash the bigs to the elbows and flare screen the PG away.  Nothing new here but the flow from A to B to C happening seamlessly is a joy to watch.

Battle of Titans in the Metro East

Off to Tartan for their home showdown with Mahtomedi in Metro East action.  These teams came in as 2 of the 4 undefeated teams in league play.  Both with only 1 loss overall.  Quality Tartan student section on hand.  Pepsi quenches the thirst of this one.  The winner to take an early inside track in conference play.

Song of the Day
Electric Slide

Number of Teams I've Seen: 68 (25 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 212 ounces (1640 calories) + 4 liters (250 calories)
30 days (25 possible game days), 39 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 84 ounces (1050 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 80 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 7
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game Time:
Noah Wahlen starts with 5 for Tartan countered with 5 from Shayne Frost.  Jordan Horn with a steal for 2 and a pick and roll triple and he pulls the trigger again from deep.  Elijah Johnson had the task of guarding Mahtomedi star Parker Fox.  He converts a turnover into points and scores inside.  Wahlen in transition with another bomb and that forces a 2nd Mahtomedi timeout.  The Tartan run is 20-4 in just about 7 minutes.  25-9 Tartan in control with defensive intensity.  Fox was hounded all night but he gets his offense going with a drive for 2 and an NBA 3.  Then a 2 handed smash off a turnover, get out of my way (I had a Tom Chambers flashback, though Jordan Horn didn't want to be Mark Jackson).  He adds 3 of 4 free throws to finish the half.  Tartan 33-21 at the half. 

Fox also very active on the offensive glass.  He puts back 2 misses and then a nice step thru up and under from the right elbow for 2 moreTartan lead down to 8 with 13:45 left.  The teams trade hoops before Mahtomedi goes to Fox and 4 bench guys.  Whalen hits a 3 and you wonder if the game might get out of hand.  But its Lincoln Rock for 3 and Joe Rock with a steal for 2 and a putback.  Starters come back just before 8 left and its 44-38 Tartan so the bench scenario doesn't hurt the Zephyrs.  Kingston Myles with a strong drive for a 3 point play to push the lead to 9 with 8 minutes left. 

A kick out finds Frost for 3 and then he runs the floor and takes the challenge at the rim for a 3 point play.  That cuts the Tartan lead to 47-44 with 6:22 left and the Titans need a timeout.  That means its time for Jordan Horn.  He comes out with a 3 point play.  Jarvis Thomas blocks fox and Horn makes a free throw.   Horn adds 2 more free throws with 4:17 left to keep the lead at 6.  Lucas Buller to the rack and then a Tartan turnover gives Mahtomedi a chance to get within 2.  But the Zepyhrs miss 2 chances.  Tartan misses 2 free throws and Mahtomedi misses with 2 minutes left.  Horn drives and finds Thomas who goes up for a nasty dunk and is fouled.  He makes 1 of 2.  Mahtomedi ball down 5 with 1:42 left and they turn it over.  Horn makes 3-4 free throws to stretch the lead.  Thomas with a nasty follow dunk in the last 12 seconds is icing on the cake.  Tartan wins 61-49.
Post Game
Parker Fox leads Mahtomedi with 19 points along with 11 rebounds on my sheet.  Very active on the offensive glass.  He has enough range where you have to go out and play him, but enough handle to get to the rim.  He's then athletic enough to put you on a poster.  Shayne Frost adds 17.  Tartan decided to hug Fox all night so Mahtomedi was able to get Frost loose in the lane via Fox setting ball screens and his defender not leaving him.  Lucas Buller held to only 2 points.  Mahtomedi now 5-2 overall and they fall to 3-1 in the Metro East.  They are at #9AAA Totino-Grace on Tuesday before playing in the 1st session of the Bethel Holiday Tournament.

Jordan Horn finishes with 19 points, 9 in the last 6 minutes.  Jarvis Thomas 8 points with the rim rattling follow late.  He also had 16 rebounds and 6 blocks on my sheet.  A major factor patrolling the paint.  Noah Whalen 13 points with 3 3s.  Elijah Johnson 11 points in addition to the good matchup guarding Fox.  He's 6'4" athletic with very quick feet on defense and respectable on offense.  Johnson is one of the toughest matchups Fox will go against all season and its a great head-head battle.  Both are great fits in the Tartan lineup.  Tartan is now 7-1 and they lead the Metro East at 4-0.  They are at Roosevelt on Tuesday before hosting their annual holiday tournament.

Battle of Lions with blowouts

Back to back small school nights with Columbia Heights hosting FAIR and Hope Academy taking on CHOF.  No concessions either night.  Since we had blowouts, this tune is particularly appropriate.

Song of the Day
Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal

Number of Teams I've Seen: 67 (23 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 120 ounces (1390 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 3 liters (0 calories) + 80 oz (0 calories.
27 days (22 possible game days), 38 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 72 ounces (900 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 80 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 7
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game 1 (Wednesday): FAIR at Columbia Heights
Only thing worth noting here is the late start for the 6 PM varsity only game.  Refs appear late but we do get in a game.  FAIR turns it over on the 1st 7 possessions.  11 turnovers in less than the 1st 5 minutes.  Right about 40 turnovers for the game.  Columbia Heights uses that to jump out to a 31-0 lead in less than 6 minutes.  67-14 Heights at half.  The entire 2nd half is running time, not just the last 9 minutes.  Heights wins 100-27.  Jarrett Baptiste with 19 easy points.  Center Rodney Jones with 24 on mostly dunks.  Listed at 6'5" and very bouncy, he's an intriguing JUCO kid.  Heights very young starting 3 sophs.  Wendell Matthews is a lanky body in the middle from that group.  Heights is now 5-2 and will host upstart St. Anthony tomorrow.  FAIR is 0-5 with the closest game 38 points.  Their next game is in the Trinity holiday tournament.

Game 2: CHOF at Hope Academy
A battle of Lions here.  Interesting that Hope with their Grinnell style started their 2nd unit.  CHOF counters with Kit Piepkorn scoring 7 in a row for 9-0 lead.  He finishes his part of opening run with a jumper and a free throw.  Nothing going in with all the 3s for Hope.  24-3 CHOF at the 11:15 mark.  Hope would score the next 9 ending with a banked NBA 3.  But their star guard Johnny Erickson would sit the last 8:47 of the half with 3 fouls.  Tim Rohlf with a 3 and then he scores the last 10 CHOF points of the half as it gets out of hand.  56-29 CHOF at the break, Piepkorn and Rohlf combine for 35 of those.  The 2nd half is just filler as the lead gets as large as 32 but we never get running time.  CHOF wins 104-72.  Kit Piepkorn with 18 of his 26 and Tim Rohlf with 17 of his 22 both in the 1st half.  3 other CHOF Lions add 12 each.  Nate Elifson 3 triples and 17 points to lead Hope.  Johnny Erickson only 8 due to the foul trouble.  Hope's defense gave up a truckload of easy layups both with their press and in the halfcourt.  CHOF's 1-2-2 did a fair job of getting to shooters and limiting easy looks.  CHOF is now 8-0 and won't play again until Jan 7th.  Hope falls to 4-2 overall.  They continue EMAC play at North Lakes tomorrow before the HLWW holiday tourney.  They the new year brings a very soft schedule that they have a chance to sweep.

Jenson shines brightly again

Its an all in one night with Christmas shopping, grocery shopping and a game all together.  That can mean only place.  Its off to The Mall to see MTS host SW Christian.  SW Christian coming in off an impressive win over #2A Central MN Christian (Stars win the Compass Trophy) on Friday.  Jack Jenson going for 40 in that one.  MTS on the other hand is depleted.  Star forward Isaiah Wade has moved. No Charles Gordon tonight either.  So a 6 man crew tonight for Wolves coach Bruce Weston.  Our tune is from the public address and good for the variety

Song of the Day
Kanye West - Amazing

Number of Teams I've Seen: 63 (21 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 120 ounces (1390 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 3 liters (0 calories) + 80 oz (0 calories.
27 days (22 possible game days), 35 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 72 ounces (900 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 80 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 7
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game Time:
Southwest Christian in their usual matchup zone.  Trey Sandness with a long 3 and its 11-7 SW Christian at the 14 minute mark.  MTS would go on a 16-4 run from there. Bryce Mills spinning for 2 free throws and a hoop during that run.  Add in a Isaiah Williams triple as well.  23-15 MTS at the 10 minute mark  SW Christian looks lifeless.  Jack Jenson with one of his many steals for a hoop, Sandness another bomb and Jenson to the rack.  But Williams drives for 2 more and the MTS lead is still 31-24 inside of 6 minutes left in the half.  Then its Zach Winters off the bench to spark the Stars.  2 kickouts to him for 2 triples.  There's another, then a set elevator play for a 4th.  Let's get one for the thumb just before half.  Jenson converts 2 hoops in the last 10 seconds.  43-37 SW Christian at half.  Its a 19-6 run in the final 5 minutes with 5 bombs from Winters.

Williams drives and then takes a steal for a dunk.  Mills hits a 3 and Caleb Rush buries his 2nd 3 of the night.  47 all with 14 minutes left.  Too much Jenson in the 2nd half though.  He hits a floater, takes a steal for 2 and off a scramble gets the pass out for a triple.  Then a triple off a BLOB.  61-51 Stars after a 14-4 run.  Williams with a hoop and another off a turnover.  Then 2 missed free throws with a chance to cut the lead to 4.  Jenson takes a breather and the Stars score the next 6.  He immediately scores after returning.  69-55 SW Christian with 7:30 left.  Winters buries another 3 for icing on the cake.  A couple late buckets by MTS tighten it up but the outcome isn't in doubt.  Southwest Christian wins 79-72

Post Game
Senior guard Isaiah Williams goes for 32 for Minnesota Transitions.  He attacked the rim all night.  Bryce Mills with 18.  Its a small MTS lineup now without Wade and no real shooters.  They still have plenty of soft games on the schedule though.  But there's enough meat left (at CHOF, Red Lake, Heritage etc) where that will hurt them.  MTS is now 3-2 overall.  They are at Bethany on Thursday before playing the Trinity holiday tournament.

Jack Jenson with another outstanding night for SW Christian.  He finishes with 31 points and a handful of rebounds, assists and steals.  Story of the night is Zach Winters coming off the bench with 6 3s.  That included 5 in the last 5 minutes of the 1st half to spark the 19-6 run.  Most of that on kickouts from drivers like Jenson.  They don't have much size and that shows on the rebounding side which is a weakness.  They may not be that athletic but they do have length in that zone.  The Stars are now 6-0.  They have a couple of important 5AA East games before the holiday as they host Breck on Friday and Providence next Tuesday.  Those games will go a long way in seeding.

Play of the Day
Now I could draw up SW Christian's variation of THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE.  But you know I can't do that.  So I wanted to mention the interesting press look that they have.  Coach Kit Avery will deploy a full court press with a man on the ball out of bounds.  OK fine we've all done that, so what.  What makes it interesting is that he plays that man on the ball inside the inbounder and directly facing the sideline.  Not a new concept to try to force the ball to the short side of the floor but playing it to that extreme is something I haven't seen before.  Its a very interesting idea.

A royal trip on 94

With apologies to the EMAC, I venture outside The Kingdom for a section 8AAAA matchup between Rogers and St. Cloud Tech.  Tech might be on the road but we still get an appearance from the famous Tech Super Fan.  Always quality from the Super Fan.  No food on tonight's menu as I get in an excess of potato skins and mozzarella sticks at my company Christmas party.  Of course, I won't stay long enough to miss a game.  I do manage to get in a bottle of Aquafina.  Quality tunes on the PA but the announcer had the nerve to talk over today's classic.

Song of the Day
The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian

Number of Teams I've Seen: 61 (20 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 120 ounces (1390 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 3 liters (0 calories) + 80 oz (0 calories.
26 days (21 possible game days), 35 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 72 ounces (900 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 80 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 7
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game Time:
Rogers looks like they'll run away early.  Will Alexander with a pair of 3s and Allen Wilson adds another bomb.  Add in a Steffan Musoke hoops and the Royals are out to a 14-4 lead at the 13:12 mark.  Tech would rally with a 16-6 spurt of their own.  BIG Jack Mussman with a pair of inside hoops. Fellow big man Trevor Koenig would put back a miss and add another hoop to tie the game at 20 late in the half.  Mitch Spilles with a hoop and a steal for 2 more.  That helps Rogers a 26-22 halftime lead.

Tech's matchup zone really slowing the pace and they stick with it in the 2nd half.  Tech scores 9 of the 1st 12 of the 2nd half with a Koenig hoop, 2 free throws on an offensive board and layup.  Brevyn Spann-Ford sat the last 7 minutes of the 1st half with 2 fouls.  His hoop ends that opening run and Tech leads 31-29 with 14:45 to play.  Both teams, especially Rogers vs the zone hosting jumper after jumper to no success.  Allen Wilson with a couple of drives to attack the zone (middle was very open all night) that lead to 2 assists. Then a turnover leads to a Wilson pass to Alexander for 2 free throws on the break.  That ends a 10-2 Rogers run.  41-35 Royals with 7 minutes left.  Spann-Ford with a free throw and then a couple extra passes find him for a wide open 3.  Wilson attacks again for 2 free throws.  A turnover leads to an Alexander attack for 2 more.  Wilson back to the rack for a 3 point play with 2:11 left to push the lead to 7.  Alexander puts Spann-Ford in the popcorn machine faking a 3 with 1:20 left and drives for a 3 point play.  Rogers goes on to win 52-43.

Post Game
Junior forwards Jack Mussman (6'5 and wide) and Trevor Koenig (6'10 and long) go for 12 each.  Brevyn Spann-Ford adds 11.  Tech with only 3 seniors on the roster and none saw playing time.  The rotation was 5 juniors and 4 sophomores.  The matchup zone was effective in slowing the pace against a Rogers team that is better getting up and down.  The middle of the zone was a freeway though.  Tech is now 4-4 overall.  They resume Central Lakes play with games at Fergus Falls and Brainerd before Christmas.

Will Alexander leads Rogers with 11 of his 17 in the 2nd half.  Mitch Spilles with 12.  He was the guy seeing a ton of touches in the middle of the zone.  Allen Wilson with 8 points playing the PG spot.  His attacking the zone off the bounce in the 2nd half was critical.  When Rogers attacked the zone, they were very effective.  When they settled for jump shots, that was very ineffective and kept Tech in the game.  Rogers was 15-20 at the line and only gave up 8-12 FTs.  Rogers is now 4-3 overall.  They host Bemidji on Friday.  Then I'll be back on Saturday for the girls/boys district rivalry doubleheader vs Elk River on Saturday.  The game also has 8AAAA section implications as they would like to be the 2 seed behind Maple Grove.  Brainerd has already beaten Rogers and goes to Elk River later in the season.  They will have a say in that race too.

Weekly 360 Windmill - Dec 14 2015

2 major event weekends are in the books with outstanding games.  Let's fire up the Windmill for a look at the last full week of games prior to the holidays and a look back at the week that was.

Week 4 Review
  • For those who missed my review of the main gym games at the Tip-Off Classic, read that here.  My predictions ended up 10-5.
  • After back to back losses to 2 tough opponents, a great week for Minnetonka winning at Chaska and Edina and then knocking off CDH to finish the Tip-Off Classic.  Amar Miller 21 PPG in those 3 wins.
  • SW Christian with 2 nice MCAA-South wins and then the big win over #2A Central MN Christian on Friday. Jack Jenson with a ridiculous line of 43 points, 12 boards and 6 assists in that Friday win.
  • De La Salle back to back losses to very good teams over the weekend. They haven't lost 3 in a row since 2007.  Apologies to St. Agnes on Tuesday.  While there's no real reason to be concerned for the Islanders we did learn 2 things.  1) They struggle to defend quality bigs (which won't be a problem in AAA)  2) They've had their stars in foul trouble too much.
  • We knew Osseo would bounce back from a down year last season but maybe not like this.  They blasted Blaine and Park Center in NW Suburban play this week.  Then a quality win over Eden Prairie in the Tip-Off Classic.  Osseo is looking at 10-0 going into post-holiday showdowns at Armstrong and at Champlin Park.
  • Speaking of Eden Prairie, they did rebound with wins over Minneapolis South and Chanhassen.  Ryan Jacobus out of the lineup doesn't help as the next month of games is very tough.
  • How fitting was it for Lakeville South to play Lakeville North in the 1st game after the tragedy there.  By all accounts a great atmosphere with great emotion there as South gave North all they wanted in a 1 point loss.  0-3 for the Cougars this week with 2 of the losses by a total of 3 points.  They also played Apple Valley fairly tough before losing by 20.
  • Play of the year nominee on Tuesday when Oman Oman hit a full court buzzer beater for Austin to beat Northfield.  Full court heave off a missed free throw, incredible.
  • St. Croix Lutheran (despite my complaints about their lineup) continues to win vs a murderer's row schedule.  Quality wins at SPA and vs Braham in the Tip-Off Classic.  No shame in a tight loss at Minneapolis North.  This week of rest is well-earned.
  • Minneapolis Roosevelt now 1-4 after a home loss to Minneapolis Southwest on Thursday.  We knew losing their guards would be a big factor, but this isn't what we expected.  At Hopkins and Mpls North this week before hosting Tartan before Christmas doesn't help.
  • A down year for Concordia Academy as they are now 0-6 and the closest game of the last 4 has been 26 points.
  • Cristo Rey now 5-0 after beating Legacy on Friday.  This will be 1 of only 3 chances for quality wins against a very weak schedule.  Heritage at home and at Brooklyn Center before the new year are the other 2.
Week 5 Look Ahead
  • Metro games on Tuesday that catch my eye
    • Previously ranked Delano at #4AAA Fridley in an early 6:30 start.  Quality matchup in AAA there.
    • #7AAA Orono at Minnetonka with plenty of guard play on display.  Expect Minnetonka to replace Edina in this week's AAAA poll.
    • Eden Prairie at New Prague.  How will the small Eden Prairie lineup deal with Hanson and Walford.
  • Non-Metro games stick out on Tuesday with these
    • #2AAA Red Wing at #5AAA Austin in a Big 9 showdown.
    • Chisago Lakes at St. Francis is important in the east half of  Mississippi 8.
    • Rockford (5-0) at Watertown-Mayer (5-1).  Not only is this a quality matchup in 5AA West but it opens new conference play for them in the Wright County west division after being in the Minnesota River.
  • Thursday metro games of note.
    • Being its Christmas season, we get the all Holy match up when Holy Family visits Holy Angels.  O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. 
    • I'll be at a very interesting game in section 4A as 6-0 CHOF visits 4-1 Hope Academy.  CHOF beat Mounds Park Academy by 17 who beat Hope by 12.  This is a big game for Hope in terms of having a quality win for seeding purposes come section time as the EMAC champion usually gets no respect.
    • Benilde-St. Margaret's at Cooper in the Metro West.  Cooper has beaten up the soft part of their schedule but they did play Armstrong to a 7 point game in their rivalry battle.  This will be a good test of where the Hawks really stand in addition to their home game with East Ridge on Tuesday.
  • Friday is surprisingly quiet.
    • Biggest game of the night is Mahtomedi at Tartan.  These are the clear top 2 in the Metro East and both should come in with just 1 loss each.  Winner takes early control of the conference race.
    • Eastview at Apple Valley in the Apple Valley rivalry game.  Eastview with a nice 5-1 start with the only loss by 2 to Chaska.
    • Bloomington Jefferson at Chaska in the Metro West opener for both teams with a week to prepare.  These 2 figure to battle for the top spots. 
    • CDH at East Ridge in the Suburban East.  More to figure out where East Ridge is.
    • Non-Conference matchup between Minnehaha at St. Louis Park.  The Orioles got their wings clipped vs Armstrong this week but have started strong.  A good test for a young Minnehaha squad.
  •  Saturday games
    • Pebblebrook (GA) and Auburn commit Jared Harper (a top 100 kid nationally) will take on #1A Minneapolis North in the 2nd weekend of the Johnson winter showcase.  Pebblebrook was last year's state runner up in Georgia.
    • Brooklyn Center at Spectrum in a 5AA East game.  Spectrum's Zach Knollenberg is having a big season inside.  Brooklyn Center likely too athletic in this one.
    • Elk River at Rogers in a school district rivalry game.  Its a boys girls doubleheader with a late afternoon start.

2015 Breakdown Tip-Off Classic Observations

Its the top event of the season, the  Breakdown Tip-Off Classic.  As usual, I'm perched in the main gym for the day.  3 beverages for 36 ounces and 450 calories is the liquid menu.  Add in a slice of sausage pizza to keep the waistline happy.  A classic day at the event with the 2 top teams in the state going at it.  I skip the late game since I've already seen CDH and Minnetonka.  We get a special appearance by the Minnetonka Fire Marshal to keep the overflow crowd at bay.  So squeeze together folks and get cozy (you can even think about getting a phone number if that applies, just repeating what was said at the game).  We can't have anyone in the doorways or in the aisles.  But you can get up and dance to our song of the day courtesy of the public address during the Fire Marshal's appearance.

Song of the Day
Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash

Number of Teams I've Seen: 59 (19 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 120 ounces (1390 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 3 liters (0 calories) + 60 oz (0 calories.
24 days (20 possible game days), 34 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay
  • Pepsi: 72 ounces (900 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 36 ounces (450 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 60 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 7
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game 1: #5A Browerville/Eagle Valley vs Waseca
The matchup of Waseca's Nick Dufault and Browerville's Bryce Irsfeld did not disappoint.  This one was really a story of 2 halves.  The first half was all Dufault.  He knocks down 6 triples and goes off for 24 points.  That includes a fadeaway 3 just before the halftime horn.  38-17 Waseca rolling at the break.  Browerville adjusts holds him to only 1 field goal in the 2nd half.  That was a runout for a layup with 9:10 left and Waseca still has the 21 point lead.  But Irsfeld leads a huge Browerville rally with 14 points after that.  They would grab and offensive board of a free throw with 1:30 left but turn it over with a chance to tie.  Waseca misses a front end and another free throw and there's 1 last chance.  Irsfeld misses 1 3 and he ends up getting it back but his 3 at the buzzer is front iron no good.  Waseca hangs on 69-66.  Nick Dufault finishes with 36 points (24 1st half, 10 2nd half free throws).  Bryce Irsfeld finishes with 32 points.  He scored 22 of those after halftime to lead the rally.

Game 2: #2AA St. Croix Lutheran vs #3AA Braham
Size and strength for St. Croix Lutheran vs speed and shooting for Braham.  St. Croix Lutheran opens with a 3 point play and a Aage Rovney 3.  The rest of the half is all Braham with a fast pace.  Rovney has to sit the last 7:54 with 3 fouls.  Chris Olson goes for 3 of the 6 bombs for Bombers and 18 points in the half.  42-33 Braham at half and considering how bad St Croix Lutheran looked, its a miracle they're that close.   Only Trenton Krueger's 12 points with a late 3 and tip in keep them within shouting distance.  The 2nd half is all St. Croix Lutheran.  Ade Murkey with a drive and hammer dunk plus a finishing 3 as the Crusaders go on a 28-4 run to start the 2nd half.  Everything going in for the Crusaders and nothing for Braham.  Braham's 2nd field goal doesn't come until almost 10 minutes into the 2nd half.  St. Croix Lutheran wins 86-75.  Chris Olson 25 and 11 for Braham.  Ade Murkey 23 and 16, Trenton Krueger 20 and 21 for St. Croix Lutheran.  Key adjustment midway thru the 1st half for the Crusaders moving Trenton Krueger from the wing to the post where he belongs and bringing in Jamaris Johnson to fill the permeter spot.  This solved the major tactical problem that I wrote about the Minnehaha game (Krueger starting the game on the wing).  Clearly they've been stubborn about their lineup with this early game problem recurring, but this should be a step in a new direction.

Game 3: #1A Minneapolis North vs #4AAA Fridley
Fridley would hang around for most of the 1st half.  But way too much talent for North.  North goes on a 15-4 run in the last 3 minutes of the half.  That was in thanks to some of the 20 turnovers Fridley committed in the half.  The 2nd half is run and gun and dunks as North takes off to a 96-57 win.  Tessy Pal with 11 points and 15 boards on my sheet for Fridley.  Great balance from North with Tyler Johnson scoring 21, Patrick Dembley and Isaac Johnson both adding 20.  Dembley adds another dimension to the Polars with his ability to get to the lane and create for others.  Also interesting to see Isaac Johnson start at the 5 spot.  Odell Wilson saw token first half minutes and never played again. He was a major inside presence for them last year.

Game 4: Tartan vs Linn-Mar
Great battle here between Tartan's Jordan Horn and Iowa commit Jordan Bohannon.  Bohannon would miss his last 6 shots of the first half.  Horn missed 4 of his first 5 shots on the day.  But the 2nd half would see both raise their level of play.  Bohannon with 3 FTs on a Horn foul, a tough 2 and converting a turnover into 2 more.  That would cut a Tartan lead down to 1.  Then Horn counters with a layup and 2 triples to push the lead back to 7.  Bohannon off the BLOB for 3 and bonus free throws and Linn-Mar won't go away.  Horn closes the deal with 2 drives and a coast to coast 3 point play in the last 1:20.  Tartan wins 72-64.  Jordan Horn with 24 of his 29 points in the 2nd half.  Jordan Bohannon finishes with 26 points and 6 rebounds on my sheet.

Game 5: #1AAAA Apple Valley vs #2AAAA Hopkins
Overflow crowd for this one.  A delay to start the 2nd half to make sure aisles were clear and a later delay in the 2nd half for the Fire Marshal to clear the doorways.  Great atmosphere for this heavyweight contest.  Amir Coffey starts the game taking a loose ball for a dunk.  Then its Gary Trent going right at Coffey early.  Jordan Bolton runs for a layup, lob to Cam Kirksey for a dunk and a Trent steal for 2 more.  Another Kirksey hoop after a Hopkins timeout and the Apple Valley lead is 12.  A Hopkins turnover and Tre Jones is out on the break.  Ish El-Amin goes to challenge and Jones posterizes him with the dunk.  WOW!  Rest of the half is all Hopkins.  El-Amin with a pair of 3s, then Simon Wright adds another bomb.  Trent with an ill-advised foul on Coffey with 1.3 left.  Coffey makes all 3 FTs for a 45-40 Hopkins lead.  19-4 Hopkins run in last 5 minutes.

Coffey backdoor, Wright for 3, Vinnie Shahid for 3 in a 10-1 run to start the half.  29-5 Hopkins in the last 9 minutes across halftime.  55-41 Royals lead.  Trent drives for 1 hoop but then Coffey draws the charge on him on the break.  11:31 left Apple Valley down 10 and its Trent's 4th foul.  But he doesn't sit long.  He nails a 3 at the 10 minute mark, Brock Bertram inside for 2 and after Trent backcuts a Kirksey screen, Kirksey pops and hits the jumper.  Hopkins lead is down to 4 inside of 9 left.  Hopkins misses a breakaway dunk, Bertram scores and Trent hits a long 3 and we're tied at 70 with 4 minutes left.  Game on! 

2 on 1 and Jones with a charge as Trent ran to the 3 point line.  El-Amin and Coffey score around another Eagles turnover.  Tre Jones guarding Coffey with Trent having 4 fouls.  Hard foul on the break leads to 2 Wright free throws.  3 point game when Coffey converts a 3 point play just inside 2 minutes left.  AV falls asleep on a free throw and Coffey dunks.  Hopkins wins 89-81 to take over the #1 spot.  Gary Trent 27 points (12-27 FG), Tre Jones 13/9/3, Brock Bertram 21 and 11.  Bertram became Apple Valley's all-time leading rebounder during the game.  Amir Coffey with a quiet first half but finishes with 22 and 10.  5 Royals in double figures.  Vinnie Shahid 16 and Ish El-Amin 16 off the bench.

Game 6: #3AAAA Maple Grove vs #7AAAA Wayzata
Johnny Beeninga 2 fouls in the 1st 2 minutes.  Wayzata can't make a shot and this was never a game.  Wayzata with only 5 field goals in the first half.  They trailed by 24 at half.  2nd half is even but that's not relevant.  Maple Grove wins big 70-47.  Tywhon Pickford and Taron Pickford outstanding with 25 and 13 points respectively.  Brad Davison adds 15.  Jack Sowada 3 3s on his way to 15 points.  Johnny Beeninga only 2 free throws on the day.  Nice strategy to have Taron Pickford faceguard him some.  Very impressed with Maple Grove.  They ran lots of weave action which was very effective for their more athletic guards.  That is in major contrast to the Davison pick and roll or power triangle motion to pound the ball inside that they ran last year.

Game 7: #1AAA De La Salle vs #4AAAA Champlin Park
We do get the McKinley Wright guarding Gabe Kalscheur matchup that I was hoping for.  But this game was all about fouls and lots of them.  52 fouls for the game.  Kalscheur goes 11-13 from the line, Theo John 10-10 all in the 1st half.  That helps Kalscheur put up 23 in the half.  That foul trouble adds up in the 2nd half as Goanar Mar picks up his 4th with 12:45 left.  De La Salle has a 6 point lead at that point.  Brian Smith for 3 from Wright, Theo John 2 free throws and a Wright putback all part of 15-4 run starting with Mar's 4th.  He comes back in with 9:14 left as the Rebels go from down 7 to up 4.  4 seconds later Kalscheur has his 4th foul.  Wright going to another level as he goes end to end in a flash for 2.  Then a nasty crossover for a jumper to push the lead to 7.  Mar for 3 to cut the lead to 2 but John counters with a 3 point play with 5:46 left.  Then Wright gets over the set play flare for Kalscheur, tips the pass away and then drives for 2 on the other end.  What a sequence..  Wright knocks down a 3, another nasty pull up and an assist for a layup to close it out.  Kalscheur fouls out with 3:11 left to limit the DLS offensive options late.  Champlin Park wins 75-68.  Gabe Kalscheur with 23 of his 28 in the first half living at the line.  Theo John with 22 including 13-13 FTs.  De La Salle really struggled to battle him inside (see also the 30 they gave up to a D1 center in Johnson showcase).  McKinley Wright finishes with 26, 19 in the 2nd half.  Soph Christian Dickson with a nice game of 14 points off the De La Salle bench.

2015 Johnson Winter Showcase Day 1

To St. Paul Johnson for the 1st night out of 4 showcase nights over the next 2 weekends.  A great doubleheader quality teams from Texas and Wisconsin making an appearance.  A standard though pricey walking taco is quality food.  Plus a can of Pepsi to wash it down.  Not the big crowd you would have liked to see for this one and a fairly spare Johnson crowd for the late game.

Song of the Day
Dire Straits - Money for Nothing

Number of Teams I've Seen: 50 (18 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 84 ounces (940 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 3 liters (0 calories) + 60 oz (0 calories.
23 days (19 possible game days), 27 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 48 ounces (600 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 24 ounces (300 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 60 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 6
Walking Taco Ticker: 4

Game 1: #8 Atascocita (TX) vs #1AAA De La Salle
That #8 ranking is the Eagles national ranking this week in the USA Today human poll (the computer has them 2nd).  Story of this one was Eagles center Fabian White.  He scores 14 in the first half.  Goanar Mar spent the last 8:31 of the 1st half on the bench with 2 fouls.  DLS up 16-14 just after that.  Purdue commit Carsen Edwards was cold for the 1st 3 quarters of the game, but 2 hoops and a dunk plus nice post spin from White put the Eagles back on top.  De La Salle rallies late in the half to close the gap to 30-28 at the break.

White in the post for 2, a tip dunk and he runs the floor for another dunk to start the half and adds another inside hoop.  Kalscheur and then Mar with 2 3s and DLS is up 42-41 with 11:20 to play.  White inside for 2 more and Kalscheur has to sit with his 4th foul at the 10:29 mark.  White then with the nice assist out of the post for a layup.  Mar carrying the Islander offense with 4 straight free throws and DLS hanging on 46-45.  Edwards started the night 3-16 from the floor on my sheet (made 1st so 2 of 15 stretch and both were bunnies).  Then he heats up with 2 quick 3s and he adds an assist.  That forces Kalscheur to come back in with 6:58 left down 6.  White gets a long rest with 3 fouls.  He returns at the 6:04 mark and immediately puts back a miss.  Then Edwards finds him for a dunk, Edwards spins for 2 and White scores in the post as DLS has no answer for him.  Its a 16-2 run over 4:30.  61-48 Atascocita leads with 3:55 left.  Its elementary from there.  Atascocita wins 67-54. 

Center Fabian White (Houston offer and Tubby Smith interest per Rivals) has been huge this year and tonight was no exception.  His monster night is 30 points and double digit boards.  Carsen Edwards finishes with 19 after the ice cold start, but still only 7-21 from the floor on my sheet.  But made 4 of last 5 and 3 assists all in the last 9 minutes.  Clutch.  Florida International commit Greg Shead surprisingly quiet with 1 free throw.  They improve to 15-0 

Game 2: #3 D1 Milwaukee King at St. Paul Johnson
King featuring 2017 Michigan commit Jordan Poole at a guard spot.  He smoothly knocks down a pair of triples and finds Virshon Cotton for a pair of 3s.  King jumps out 24-9 midway through the 1st half.  Now this is the least talented Johnson squad I've seen in a while.  But they play tough and cut the lead down to 7 at the 6:21 mark thanks to a pair of free throws.  Cotton adds 2 free throws and 2 layups in the last 45 seconds of the half to blow the lead out to 46-29.

But Johnson won't go away just like in past years.  Savion Benton all over the offensive glass and pounding people in the lane.  Poole gets a super long rest in the 2nd half and sits thru the Johnson rally.  I had him for 3 fouls during that time but it played out like he had 4.  King spreads the floor in the last 5-6 minutes but plays more passive.  The lead gets all the way down to 5 with 6:23 left.  Poole returns and in the spread floor makes an easy assist for him.  King closes it out to win 73-65.  Virshon Cotton with 21 points to lead King.  Jordan Poole 12 points in a quiet night for him.  Savion Benton 11, Carlin Clarke 12 for Johnson.

Patriots scrap to a city win

Its an early season battle in the Minneapolis City as #3AAA Henry visits Washburn.  Both teams undefeated in league play at the 1/6th mark.  Very vocal Henry crowd on hand.  The always loud city gyms just amplify that.  Fine food week continues with the other location that has the finest hot dog in the metro.  So I can't pass on that.  More water and the meal deal nets me free Chili Cheese Fritos.  For our daily tune, we have Washburn Millers and Henry head coach Jeremy Miller.  So with that mind, let's keep a Miller theme.

Song of the Day
Steve Miller Band - The Joker

Number of Teams I've Seen: 47 (17 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 72 ounces (790 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 3 liters (0 calories) + 60 oz (0 calories.
20 days (17 possible game days), 24 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 36 ounces (450 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 24 ounces (300 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 3 Liters + 60 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 4
Pizza Ticker: 6
Walking Taco Ticker: 3

Game Time:
First 4 points of the game to Washburn.  Then a 10-2 run for Henry with Julian Jackson scoring 6 of those.  Washburn sloppy as they then commit 3 straight turnovers.  Lamar Wood with a tip dunk and that brings the Henry bench to life.  Add in a triple and its 15-10 Henry at 11:09 to force a Washburn timeout.  Washburn banks in a jumper and Demetrius Edwards-Brown counters at the 10:10 mark.  Then the Henry offense goes away.  Part of that due to Jackson sitting with 2 fouls.  Cortez Adams hits a 3 and 7 footer Charlie Irmiger scores in the post as the Henry lead goes from 7 to 1.  Henry goes zone to deal with the foul trouble when Jackson returns at the 6:15 mark.  The pace slows to a crawl and Jackson's tip at the buzzer sends Henry to the locker room with a 23-20 lead.

Henry's offense still stalled coming out of the half.  Irmiger starts a run with a post hoop 4 minutes into the half.  Then a pair of buckets around 2 missed Henry FTs put Washburn up.  Then Cortez Adams runs for a layup, a turnover for 2 Irmiger free throws and a flat BLOB for an easy Isaac Lotz triple.  35-29 Washburn with 8:45 left.  Its a 15-6 run for the Millers to start the half.  Henry with only 10 points in the last 18 minutes (last half of the 1st half, and first half of the 2nd half). 

Henry plays thru it.  Jordan Lynn for 3 and a steal for 2.  Edwards-Brown drives and his shot rolls in as Henry retakes the lead.  They keep going from there.  Julian Jackson ends the run by rebounding 2 missed Henry free throws and converting 1 and making a free throw for the other.  Lynn finishes the 19-2 run with a pair of free throws.  That run takes just over 4 minutes.  The Henry lead is 11 with 3:26 left.  The rest of the game is lots of fouls and free throws.  Henry wins 57-46.

Post Game
Washburn falls to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the Minneapolis City. Charlie Irmiger leads the Millers with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks on my sheet.  Cortez Adams adds 13.  They get no scoring the bench.  Many of Irmiger's catches at 10 feet or more from the hoop but he was able to work from there to the paint.  He also knocked down a couple jumpers.  But he did have some issues with finishing.  That will improve with more strength.   They could definitely run far more stuff for him. The Millers schedule softens up with only 3 more games before the Winona State holiday tournament.  They are at Richfield on Saturday.  Then Southwest and Rosemount at home next week.

#3AAA Henry puts 4 guys in double figures.  Julian Jackson with 14 but 4-10 FTs.  Demetrius Edwards-Brown with 13, Jordan Lynn 11, Lamar Wood with 10.  I was surprised how long the offense went dormant for.  Edwards-Brown was a factor getting to the rim.  Jackson's 2 late offensive rebounds on free throws were killers.  The Patriots finish their 4 game stretch away from home to start the season at 4-0.  They now go home for 3 including Cloquet on Saturday.  Then 2 in the Hamline Tourney and 2 in the Mike Miller Classic.

2015 Breakdown Boys Tip-Off Classic Preview

Breakdown Tip-Off Classic - Saturday
Saturday's Breakdown Tip-Off Classic is the top event of the season and as always it is loaded.

Ranking the games 1-15
  1. #1AAAA Apple Valley vs #2AAAA Hopkins
  2. #3AAAA Maple Grove vs #7AAAA Wayzata 
  3. #5AAAA Rochester John Marshall vs #6AAAA Shakopee
  4. #2AA St. Croix Lutheran vs #3AA Braham
  5. #1AAA De La Salle vs #4AAAA Champlin Park 
  6. #1A Minneapolis North vs #4AAA Fridley
  7. Tartan vs Linn-Mar (IA)
  8. #6AAA Northfield vs #5AA Minnehaha Academy 
  9. #9AAAA Osseo vs Eden Prairie
  10. #10AAAA Edina vs Lakeville South
  11. #8AAAA Cretin-Derham Hall vs Minnetonka
  12. #9AAA Benilde-St. Margaret's vs Kasson-Mantorville
  13. #9A Mountain Iron-Buhl vs #6AA St. Paul Academy
  14. Waseca vs #5A Browerville/Eagle Valley
  15. Centennial vs Chaska
The top 4 games are all heavyweight matchups with big implications in their class.  The Shakopee/JM game gets the nod over the big time AA game because of the only local appearance of the Hurt brothers.  I love how Wayzata matches up with Maple Grove.  I'm hoping Champlin Park does a cross match to have McKinley Wright guard Gabe Kalscheur in the De La Salle game.  I think that could have a major impact on the De La Salle offense.  North vs Fridley has athletes all over the place, might not be pretty basketball but it should fast and fun.  Tartan game is a chance to see Jordan Horn against Iowa commit Jordan Bohannon and Western Michigan commit Jared Printy

2 ranked teams and a quality match of versatile bigs puts that Northfield game in the middle of the list.  Just into his 3rd season, coach Andy Berkvam had Northfield up to #2 in the polls.  That was before heartbreak hotel losing on a full court buzzer beater to #5AAA Austin this week.  Eden Prairie vs Osseo is a battle of teams going in opposite directions with Osseo going up.  Edina vs Lakeville South is a quality matchup of perimeter players.  CDH has plenty of athletes and length to guard the Minnetonka perimeter trio but how does Tonka deal with Daniel Oturu inside.  Centennial without South Dakota commit Tyler Peterson (knee) and no Alex Facon puts their matchup last.  Chaska to a solid 4-2 start so far and I think they roll in this one.

Individual Matchups

Main Gym (in order of game)
  • Nick Dufault (Waseca) vs Bryce Irsfeld (Browerville/Eagle Valley)
  • Chris Olson (Braham) vs Aage Rovney (St. Croix Lutheran) 
  • Tirik Reeves/Tyree Caruthers/Shyheem Murray/Tessy Pal (Fridley) vs Tyler Johnson/Jamil Jackson/Issac Johnson/Odell Wilson (Minneapolis North)
  • Jordan Horn/Kingston Myles (Tartan) vs Jordan Bohannon/Jared Printy (Linn-Mar)
  • Tre Jones/Gary Trent (Apple Valley) vs Vinnie Shahid/Amir Coffey (Hopkins)
  • Brad Davison/Reed Nikko (Maple Grove) vs Johnny Beeninga/Austin Slater (Wayzata)
  • Goanar Mar/Samm Jones (De La Salle) vs Theo John/McKinley Wright (Champlin Park)
  • Jordan Ammons (Cretin-Derham Hall) vs Amar Miller (Minnetonka)
East Gym (in order of game)
  • Walt McGrory/Will Moreton vs Jack Sorenson/Shae Mitchell (Lakeville South)
  • Allan Anderson/Damario Armstrong/Mar Mar Hughes/Zach Theisen (Osseo) vs Ryan Jacobus/Owen Chose/Brady Rudrud/Kyler Kluge (Eden Prairie)
  • Luke Harris (Northfield) vs JaVonni Bickham (Minnehaha)
  • Jaylon Holmes/Archie Winans (Mt Iron-Buhl) vs Dalante Peyton/Kent Hanson (St. Paul Academy)
  • Braxton Raymond (Kasson-Mantorville) vs Sam Baker (Benilde-St. Margaret's)
  • Steffon Mitchell (Shakopee) vs Michael Hurt (Rochester John Marshall)
Others players of note that I didn't mention above
  • Ade Murkey, Trenton Krueger (UMD commit) - St. Croix Lutheran
  • Brock Bertram (Buffalo commit), Cameron Kirksey - Apple Valley
  • Tywhon Pickford - Maple Grove
  • Ryan Lindberg - Wayzata 
  • Joevon Walker, Jarvis Thomas - Tartan
  • Simon Wright - Hopkins
  • Gabe Kalscheur - De La Salle
  • Daniel Oturu - Cretin-Derham Hall
  • Seth Coatta (NDSU commit) - Minnetonka
  • Carter Coughlin (Minnesota football commit) - Eden Prairie
  • Jalen Suggs - Minnehaha
  • Myles Hanson - Chaska
  • Matthew Hurt - Rochester John Marshall
Czar's Picks

Main Gym
  • Waseca over Browerville/Eagle Valley
  • St. Croix Lutheran over Braham
  • North over Fridley
  • Linn-Mar over Tartan
  • Hopkins over Apple Valley
  • Wayzata over Maple Grove
  • Champlin Park over De La Salle
  • Cretin-Derham Hall over Minnetonka
East Gym
  • Edina over Lakeville South
  • Osseo over Eden Prairie
  • Minnehaha over Northfield
  • St. Paul Academy over Mountain Iron-Buhl
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's over Kasson-Mantorville
  • Chaska over Centennial
  • Rochester John Marshall over Shakopee

CDH survives a scare

Its an early season showdown in the Suburban East as Woodbury visits Cretin-Derham Hall.  Woodbury on a 4 game winning streak.  With lots back from last year (unlike most of the east Metro), I wanted to see if the Royals could compete with a conference favorite.  The always top rated all-beef hot dog is a must have.  Plus another bottle of generic water. 

Song of the Day
The Police - Don't Stand So Close to Me

Number of Teams I've Seen: 45 (15 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 72 ounces (790 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 2.5 liters (0 calories) + 60 oz (0 calories.
20 days (17 possible game days), 24 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay
  • Pepsi: 36 ounces (450 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 24 ounces (300 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 2.5 Liters + 60 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 3
Pizza Ticker: 6
Walking Taco Ticker: 3

Game Time:
CDH looks to turn this in a rout right away.  Daniel Oturu gets it started with an inside hoop.  Chris Perry finishes the 10-0 run with a 3 point play.  Woodbury has nobody to guard these 2 and it looks like blowout city.  Then Woodbury gets their shooting going.  Jace Klinkner for 3, a skip to soph Michael Jones for 3 and Jeremiah Coddon with a bomb and Woodbury has the lead.  Then Ike Thilgen bombs away not once but twice.  Add in a pair of free throws off an offensive board and its 21-15 Woodbury at the 7:29 mark.  The run is 21-5 in just over 7 minutes.  Woodbury showed some effective 2-3 zone during that time.  But we never saw the zone again.  Jordan Ammons brings CDH back with a 3 and a 3 point play.  CDH takes time and goes 1-3-1 for the last 6:48 of the half.  Woodbury doesn't have an answer for it.  Meanwhile Oturu scores inside and then dunks a putback as the Raiders regain the lead.  Oturu adds a late post hoop.  CDH takes a 31-26 lead to the break as they finish the half on a 16-5 run.  That was mostly thanks to the 1-3-1.  Only Woodbury points in that run were off bonus free throws and offensive rebounds.

CDH stays 1-3-1 to start the 2nd half.  Ammons with a steal for a hoop, Perry with a high low post bucket from Oturu and a nice slice cut by CDH for a layup.  The total CDH run is 23-7 over 10 minutes spanning halftime.  CDH nicely attacking the rim and Perry just bullies his defender for a 3 point play at the 12:28 mark.  45-34 CDH as they take a timeout with 12:28 left.  CDH gets out of the zone in a bit of a surprise  After an Oturu post dunk, Jake West makes 2 free throws and Thilgen hits a 3.  Bad shot from CDH and West converts a 3 point play.  CDH takes a timeout and goes back to the 1-3-1 with 9 minutes left.  But a skip pass finds Thilgen for another bomb.   Game on folks as the CDH lead is down to 52-50 with 8:30 to play.

Oturu dunks again and Perry drives again.  But another Woodbury offensive board leads to a Coddon 3.  Then Coddon with bonus free throws as Perry picks up his 4th foul with 7:25 left.  56-55 CDH hanging on.  6 in row from CDH with Oturu ending it but West has another 3 point play as CDH is back to man.  Then its that man Thilgen from deep again.  63-61 CDH with 4:15 to go and Woodbury isn't going away.  That last 3 was after Oturu got mugged trying to grab a defensive board and no call.  Perry back in with 3:25 left.  Coddon scored off the glass just before that and after a stop he makes 2 free throws to tie it at 65 with 2:45 left.  Would have loved to see Woodbury go back to the 2-3 zone here but maybe you give up the last shot that way.  After a CDH hoop, Woodbury has the ball all over the place in a total scramble.  They miss 2 chances inside before Collin Flanagan cleans up the mess with 1:16 left.  67 all.

Then its Oturu inside and while there was lots of ball, I thought he really got hit down below and no call.  1 minute left and Woodbury has it.  But in the spread, CDH gets fortunate reach around tip for a turnover.  They take their last timeout with 14.6 left and the ball in the front court.  Out of the timeout, they'll hold until 10.  Another chance where the 2-3 zone might have been a thought.  Then its Perry with a far too easy catch on the right elbow.  He goes strong but his shot is too hard off the board but its Oturu up and over the top to tip it with about 4 seconds left.  The clock runs out on Woodbury from there.  Cretin-Derham Hall wins 69-67

Post Game
Woodbury falls to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Suburban East.  Jeremiah Coddon with 15 of his 19 in the 2nd half to lead the Royals.  He had 3 of his 4 3s in the 2nd half.  Ike Thilgen with 5 bombs off the bench for 15 points.  Woodbury has some nice young pieces for their dribble drive look with Jake West, Jeremiah Coddon and Michael Jones all coming back next year.  Once they got behind after their initial lead they never got back to the 2-3 zone.  I think that's something that we may see more of in the next meeting.  CDH only made the 1 3 all night.  Woodbury has a non-conference game at Kennedy on Saturday.  Then they have a trip to Forest Lake and White Bear Lake at home in Suburban East play next week.

Daniel Oturu with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks on my sheet to lead Cretin-Derham Hall.  That included a pair of impressive 2nd half blocks where he absolutely smothered the shot in the shooters hand.  Still a large upside for him.  His early blocks kept Woodbury from attack the rim for the better part of the game.  Jordan Ammons with 17 and Chris Perry with 12.  Perry was in foul trouble but really attacked the rim hard.  CDH going very young with 5 sophomores and 2 juniors in the rotation.  They're still super athletic even with Jalan Ousley-Brown no longer on the roster.  The lack of rebounding in man and zone defense plus the lack of energy with their athletes in the 1-3-1 has to really disturb coach Jerry Kline.  With their athletes, they could play a really nasty 1-3-1.  But they didn't press or trap which shocked me.  For a roster that doesn't shoot it that well and is that athletic, I'd take a really hard look at it.  Outside of Oturu in the post, finding consistent scoring could be an issue for them if you keep them out of the paint.  Cretin-Derham Hall improves to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Suburban East.  They host Roseville on Thursday and then play at Minnetonka in the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic late game against the hosts.

The battle of Nordeast

To St. Anthony to see the Huskies take on their neighbor from the northeast side Minneapolis Edison.  Nice representation from students on both sides.  Pizza always a good option but crust slightly burnt so that gets a downgrade.  More water on the drinking menu tonight.  Plenty of high school guys scouting St. Anthony tonight.

Song of the Day
Bobby Vinton - Blue Velvet

Number of Teams I've Seen: 43 (14 courts, 2 new, 1 TV game)

Beverage Ticker: 72 ounces (790 calories) + 1 liter (250 calories) + 2.5 liters (0 calories) + 40 oz (0 calories.
19 days (16 possible game days), 23 games, 2 scrimmages added on, includes 1 TV replay

  • Pepsi: 36 ounces (450 Calories) + 500 ml (210 Calories)
  • Dr Pepper: 24 ounces (300 Calories)
  • Sprite: 12 ounces (140 Calories)
  • Water: 2.5 Liters + 40 ounces (0 Calories)
  • Gatorade: 500 ml (40 Calories)
Hot Dog Ticker: 2
Pizza Ticker: 6
Walking Taco Ticker: 3

Game Time:
Edison comes out 2-3 zone and this one starts very slowly.  We're tied at 5 over 4 minutes in.  6-0 Edison run finished with a coast to coast layup and we're tied at 13 at the 8:32 mark.  Then forward Rhys Langums starts to produce off the St. Anthony bench.  He's active inside for 3 free throws.  Jimmy Zeller with a putback and 3 point play for St. Anthony.  They lead 21-17 at a 5:06 Huskies timeout.  Langums living at the charity stripe with 3 more free throws.  Then he drives for 2 and a post move for a 3 point play.  He finishes it off with a nice high low feed to Nick Peterson for a layup.  Edison makes a couple of late 3s.  So despite all 5 Edison starters having at least 2 fouls, they are still hanging around down 35-25 at the break

St. Anthony wasn't happy at halftime and they blew the game open in the 2nd half.  Nick Knutson with a layup.  Peterson with a driving layup and a 3 point play. Zeller and Kevin Omodt also add layups.  St. Anthony pulling away 48-30.  After Edison banks in a prayer, Langums spins in the post and throws down a 1 handed dunk to awaken the crowd.   Then Langums trails the break and gets the feed for a layup. He'll add 2 mean drives and hammer dunks plus an assist for an Omodt layup.  Blowout city in the 2nd half.  St. Anthony wins 85-45.

Post Game
The roster for Edison not 100% accurate so not exactly sure on names for them.  The Tommies do end up with at least 1 and maybe 2 players in double figures.  They didn't go to the bench for a long time in the 1st half despite a ton of foul trouble.  The Tommies fall to 0-5 with the closest loss being 20 points.  The others by 32, 37, 40 and 77.  They move on to the middle of a 7 game road trip at Hope Academy on Friday.

Rhys Langums leads St. Anthony with 24 points and 3 impressive 2nd half dunks.  He's still pretty raw but showed a couple nice flashes attacking the rim with gusto.  Nick Peterson adds 15 points.  Blowout city for the Huskies once they came out for the 2nd half.  St. Anthony is now 6-0 against a pretty soft non-conference schedule.  The rest of that is no different as they have Coon Rapids on Friday.  Then Oglivie, at Humboldt, at South St. Paul, PACT and FAIR along with a Trinity team that hasn't been as good as expected.  Those are all very winnable games.  Add in the bottom teams in the Tri-Metro and you're looking at going from 6 wins last year to very likely 15 or more.

Weekly 360 Windmill - Dec 7 2015

Its the Weekly 360 Windmill.  Time to look back on the week that was and look ahead to the 2nd complete week of games in the 2015-16 season.

Week 3 Review
  • St. Paul Central with a couple of very nice wins over #7AA SPA and #9AAA Orono.  They did that without their 2nd best guy Jack Beckman.  Did not see that coming after I saw Delano beat them soundly before Thanksgiving.  
  • Condolences to Johnson coach Vern Simmons on the loss of his wife due to cancer.  Johnson lost to Woodbury and Milwaukee Washington and had their non-conference game vs CDH postponed last week.
  • Chaska with a major statement going into Lakeville North and knocking off the Panthers 71-68 on Thursday.
  • What is going on with Eden Prairie?  Buzzer beater loss to Burnsville a week ago and then a late loss to Eastview, both of those at home.  Very surprising for a team that many thought was top 5 caliber.  Normally you'd say get EP early because of football, but remember this was the 1st time in forever that they didn't have a football game in November.  
  • Tartan with a shocking 70-68 loss to Richfield last Friday.  I would not want to be South St. Paul on Tuesday.  
  • Mounds View 4-0 against a soft schedule.  They started league play with a win on Friday.
  • Forest Lake with a win vs Stillwater on Friday that surprised me.   
  • Heritage's 70-54 home win over Maranatha broke a 49 game regular season MCAA game winning for the Mustangs.  Last Maranatha regular season league loss was 68-67 to West Lutheran on Jan 10, 2012.  The last time that they had lost a true road game in any MCAA play?  December 19, 2008 at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity.
Week 4 Look Ahead
  • Speaking of Forest Lake and Mounds View, they'll meet at Forest Lake on Friday.  Teams fighting to figure out who belongs where in the Suburban East standings.
  • St. Croix Lutheran continues their insane stretch of games with a trip to #1A North on Tuesday, at #7AA St. Paul Academy on Thursday and vs #3AA Braham in the 2nd game in the main gym at the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic.
  • #2A Central Minnesota Christian is in town for the weekend.  They'll take on 2 of the best in the MCAA.  Friday night they are at SW Christian and Saturday afternoon at previously ranked Heritage.
  • Tuesday conference games that catch my eye
    • SW Christian at Trinity for an early advantage in the MCAA South
    • Blaine at Osseo in a NW Suburban cross-division matchup
    • Woodbury at Cretin-Derham Hall.  Woodbury has won 4 in row including their last 2 over section opponents that I picked them to finish behind.  Sleeper gamer here as Woodbury has a lot coming back from last year.
  • Thursday has a big 6AAA showdown with Benilde-St. Margaret's visiting #9AAA Orono.  BSM picked up an important section win over Waconia on Saturday.  Another win over a top level section opponent would be huge.
  • Thursday conference games that catch my eye
    • #3AAA Henry is at Washburn with both teams at 2-0 in league play.  They are trying to keep pace with North in the Minneapolis City.
    • Osseo at Park Center.  This rivalry game is a different kind of test for this Osseo team looking to jump back to their elite ways.
  • Friday's very early opening night in the Lake Conference kicks off with a bang as #2AAAA Hopkins visits #8AAAA Wayzata.  Vinnie Shahid guarding Johnny Beeninga and how does Wayzata guard Amir Coffey are 2 things to look for.
  • I'll be at Johnson for their 1st showcase of the month.  In the early game at 6:45 PM, Atascoctia (TX) and Purdue commit Carsen Edwards (#134 nationally per Rivals.com) take on #1AAA De La Salle.  That is followed by Milwaukee King and Michigan commit Jordan Poole vs #10 AAA Johnson in the late game. King is ranked #3 preseason in Wisconsin's largest class and they are off to a 3-0 start with Poole putting up over 23 a night.  Poole is the 2nd ranked junior in Wisconsin and #104 nationally per Rivals.com.
  • Saturday is the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic.  Loaded as always.  I'll post my preview Wednesday night.