An opening night Spartan rallying cry

A quality start to the 2018-19 season as I take in a 6AAA battle between Minneapolis Roosevelt and Orono.  Its the 1st game for new Roosevelt head coach Mike Walker.  He comes out in style too with the bowtie on.  Bowties never get old.  Only fitting for a star night in the city that we get The  Rev on duty for the game as well.  Kevin Britt joins him.  Solid hot dog at the concession stand to go with the metric edit of Sprite (500 ml).  Concession stand was talking about how they should have had Walking Tacos.  I could have stayed for the discussion all night.  Quality PA music all night with Ah Ha and Nu Shooz representing the 1 hit wonders.  But I'll go old school random for tonight's tune.

Song of the Day: Gimme Some Lovin - Spencer Davis Group

Number of Teams I've Seen: 2 (1 game, 1 day, 1 building, 0 online)

Beverage Ticker: 16.9 ounces (200 Calories)
  • Sprite: 16.9 ounces (200 calories) 
Food Ticker:
  • Hot Dogs:1
Game Time:
High profile guys for each lineup start the game on the bench.  That's Blake O'Connor for Orono and Deszi Sims for Roosevelt.  Both would enter early and O'Connor started the 2nd half.  Scoring at a premium as Orono isn't on the board until 2 O'Connor FTs at the 11:27 mark to trail 6-2.  Orono not able to hit a thing.  Then its a Sims steal for a 3 point play.  O'Connor and Eli Sustacek have 2 fouls each for Orono.  Roosevelt with the 14-2 lead before the 2nd foul on Sims at the 6:51 which sits him down.  Finally the 11th guy for Orono, Tyler Nyquist hits a jumper at about the 4:30 mark for Orono's 1st FG.  Roosevelt counters with a triple and Kalid Ahmed converts a turnover for a 21-4 Teddies lead.  Orono would finally get their footing with an O'Connor 3 and a putback in a 7-0 run in the last 3:35 of the 1st half.  21-11 Roosevelt at the break in an ugly half.  Orono with only 3 field goals.

Orono continues the momentum out of the locker room with the 1st 7 points of the 2nd half.  Nick Prentice with a great tip pass out of the post that leads to a 3 and then a layup of his own.  The Orono run is 14-0 as Roosevelt goes 8 minutes, 4 on each side of halftime, without a point.  Orono from 17 down to within 3.  Ahmed breaks the ice with a triple and TJ Williams converts a turnover to push the Roosevelt lead back to 26-18.  Orono timeout with 12:49 left and coach Wohler not pleased with his team not taking care of the ball.

Orono once again slowly grinds their way back as Roosevelt just can't find any offense.  O'Connor scores on a drive and then Mitchell Hirchberg makes both ends of the bonus and then is fouled with 6:40 left and goes to the line with a chance to tie but only makes 1.  So Roosevelt with an 8 minute drought and then 2 buckets in 15 seconds to break it.  But now another 8 minute drought.  It looks bad as coming the other way Sims charges for his 4th foul with 6:16 left and Roosevelt clinging to the 1 point lead.

Coach Walker rolls the dice and leaves him in.  On a turnover, he spins, big contact and somehow the ball goes in.  Its The Rev on the whistle so what do we have?  Theatric deal AAAAAANND....Its a block but its on the floor so no basket.  The front end is no good but Roosevelt gets one of their many offense boards and it leads to a Sims triple.  MoKiller timeout Roosevelt up 30-26 with 5:53 left.

Luke Barnes with great hustle to track down a long offensive board and he'll make 1 of 2 to push the lead back to 5.  O'Connor counters with 2 freebies.  Sims converts a turnover to keep the lead at 5 inside of 3 minutes.  Forward Simon Rice with the open 3 that gets the high and soft members bounce to go in with 2:11 left to cut the Roosevelt lead to 2.  Timeout Orono with 2:11 left trailing 33-31.  They'll come out of the timeout in a 2-3 zone but coach Walker immediately pulls his guys back and Orono has to quickly go man.  Prentice with great hustle to track down a loose ball and he's fouled going the other way.  He has a chance to tie it with 1:31 left but for the 2nd time only 1 of 2 are good and the Spartans still can't get back to even.  Roosevelt turns it over.  Rice has a great look at a 3 that misses.  O'Connor grabs that and can't finish the putback with a minute left.  But Roosevelt turns it over again with 33.3 left.  Timeout Orono down by 1 to get organized.

Orono draws up a set that has Hirschberg building a mansion under the rim he's so open.  He gets the ball late but is able to convert a tough finish with 20 seconds left.  That gives Orono their first and only lead of the night.  Roosevelt takes time with 13.5 left and they'll go right wing iso for their star Sims.  His drive banks too hard and a great look at a putback is no good.  Ball out of bounds to Orono with 2.7 left.  Roosevelt gets one last chance as Sustacek misses 2 free throws.  Roosevelt uses a timeout to get the ball to half court and then draws up a final look with 1.5 left.  Its Sims off 1 driible from the bottom of the center circle and its just off to the left.  Orono wins an entertaining if not pretty affair 34-33.

Post Game
For Roosevelt, they fall to 0-1 and have the back to back at Humboldt.  Then they visit Columbia Heights on Monday before playing New London-Spicer in the boys tipoff.  That's all before a big home tilt in conference play on Dec 11th vs Henry.  Deszi Sims and Kalid Ahmed lead the way with 9 points each for the Teddies.  But definitely a quiet night by Sims standards.  Their quickness definitely bothered Orono.  I also liked the 5 out they ran with Luke Barnes being the top guy setting curl screens and popping.  But that's a different way of getting Sims the ball vs the euro ball screen stuff they'll run.

Orono starts 1-0 despite an ice cold night of shooting.  Many quality looks that not only didn't go in but many that even missed quite badly.  That's unlike many of the Barry Wohler teams I've seen.  But they found a way to steal one on the road which will help them long term.  This win will loom large in 3 months at the section meeting where head to head is a big deal when you have 5 leagues all at the table.  Orono goes on the road to Monticello and Hopkins before a big section tilt at home with Henry next Thursday.  Tough games at St. Paul Central and hosting Marshall follow that.

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