Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Big Game March 2011

Up Next

The T-Wolves play out the string and prepare for another draft lottery. The Lynx draft all-world Maya Moore and then squander her talent and the other 7 all-stars on the roster for a .500 season. Maybe that makes the play-offs this time, maybe not. And the common denominator? Wolves. Lynx. Mediocrity (Lynx) and worse, much worse (T-Wolves). The common denominator? Up there is the executive suite. A man whose life could not be any better if the Wolves and Lynx were winners. Where's the motivation?

The Big Game

Wednesday, 3/30--Chicago Bulls 108 Minnesota Timberwolves 91.

Sunday, 3/27--Boston Celtics 85 Minnesota Timberwolves 82. Fans cheered both teams. The Wolves were without Kevin Love, the Celtics without Rajon Rondo. The Wolves played just bad enough to lose. Player of the Day: Michael Beasley was in the building with 23 points.

Saturday, 3/26--Boys state Class A final: Springfield Tigers 70 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars 58 in a big upset as BBE lost for the 1st time after 32 straight wins. Player of the Day: Jesse Kieper, Springfield, 25 points. Coach of the Day: Ken Novak, Jr., Hopkins is only the 3rd team ever to 3-peat in the top class.

Friday, 3/25--Boys AA state semis: I guess you have to go with the 4 OT game, right? Rochester Lourdes 48 Redwood Valley 42 (4 OT) in the 1st AA semi-final. 3 games went a total of 7 OT yesterday. Kevin Kuefler, BBE 29 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals. Dave Montbriand, BBE.

Thursday, 3/24--Boys AA state semi-finals: Columbia Heights 56 New Prague 50 and Orono 50 Waconia 48. A Jordan Smith (22 points, 6 rebounds total) bucket at 0:23 was the winner for Orono. Zach Lofton scored 31 to lead the Hylanders. Seth Hinrichs, MCCRAY 21 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks as MCCRAY defeated Maranatha 61-52 to advance to the Class A semi-finals. Willie Braziel, Columbia Heights, as the Hylanders make the finals in their 1st tournament since 1930.

4 game reports on the Class A quarter-finals follow below

Wednesday, 3/23--You'll have to forgive me my 2 big games today: Minnesota State-Mankato 95 Alabama-Huntsville 91 (OT) in NCAA D2 Elite Eight. The Mavs now play in tonight's semi-final with 2 more wins to go to a national title. Mankato led 51-49 after a fast-paced 1st half. Huntsville led by as many as 6 in the 2nd half, but a Jefferson Mason FT tied it up at 84, forcing OT. In OT, a Steven Kirschbaum 3 gave Mankato the lead at 92-89, it's largest since 54-50 and one that it would not relinquish. Still, a Huntsville 3 at 0:04 would have taken the lead or, more likely, won the game for Hunstville, but it would not go down.

Wednesday, 3/23--The second game of the day saw a huge upset at the boys state tournament, as unseeded New Prague shocked #1-rated, #1-seeded and defending state champion St. Paul Johnson 83-77. All was going according to plan as Johnson led 40-32 at the half and 66-59 at the 5 minute mark. But the Trojans scored on a remarkable 14-of-16 possessions to the final horn. And New Prague gave Johnson some of its own medicine, going from 66-65 down to 72-66 up after 3 steals--2 by Joe Hatch and 1 by Cale Girten. New Prague made 11-of-15 FT from there.

Player of the Day: Marcus Hill, Mankato State men 26 points and 6 assists. Coach of the Day:
Tim Dittberner, New Prague boys

Six courtside reports on state tournament games--2 AAAA, 2 AAA and 2AA--are posted below.

Sunday, 3/20--To the best of my knowledge, there was only 1 game involving a Minnesota basketball team on Sunday, and so I cannot avoid mentioning it. Sacramento at Minnesota Timberwolves. But, my goodness, is this a new low? The Sacramento Kings come into Target Center with 16 wins and 51 losses, and even the Wolves have more wins with 17. But no more. The Kings pull away from an 85-75 3rd quarter lead to win 127-95! Ouch. Player of the Day and Coach of the Day are hereby declared vacant. Kevin Love, for the record, left with a groin injury and finished with no points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists in 14 minutes.

Saturday, 3/19--St. Thomas men win D3 national championship, in fact they demolish Wooster 78-54. The Tommies fell behind 11-2, then went on a devastating 34-5 run. The half-time score was 43-26. Wooster got within 10 at 46-36 but then the Tommies closed out the game on a 32-18 run. They finish at 30-3. Sydney Coffey, Hopkins girls, scored 15 2nd half points on deadly 4-of-5 shooting including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, after a 1-for-10 1st half. Her big half coming at tournament's end, she was not among 4 Royals to make the all-tournament team. Steve Fritz, St. Thomas men, wins #594 and #1 in 31 years as Tommies coach.

Friday, 3/18--St. Thomas men 59 Middlebury 57. The Tommies move on to the national championship game in D3. Trailing 50-43 with 7 minutes remaining, the Tommies closed out the game on a 16-7 run as Teddy Archer scored 6 and Brett Ervin 4 of those 16 final points. Tyler Nicolai led with 15 for the night. Zach Lofton, Columbia Heights boys, didn't have a particularly big night scoring but his 25 points led the Hylanders to a 61-57 upset of DeLaSalle and their 1st state tournament appearance since 1930. Kevin Christenson, Nicollet girls, who hammered Mountain Iron-Buhl 53-22 to move on to the Class A final with an 18-8 record

Thursday, 3/17--Eden Prairie girls 49 Lakeville North 32. Shocking. The Eagles held the Panthers to 29 percent shooting and, more to the point, Rachel Banham to 4-for-15, 0-for-5 3, and roared back from a 20-11 deficit late in the 1st half. Shayne Mullaney led all scorers with 14 and added 7 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals. Cyndi Raymond, Nicollet assistant coach, still playing while her former team St. Peter is gone home.

Wednesday, 3/16--White Bear Lake girls 43 Maple Grove 40. Seeded and favored Maple Grove went down in the 1st round for the 2nd straight year, shooting 7 percent (2-for-27) in the 2nd half. Rachel Banham, Lakeville North, 27 points with 4 steals in a 64-40 1st round win over Anoka. Jeremy Post, White Bear Lake, got his rematch with Lakeville North.

Tuesday, 3/15--Mankato State men 81
Ft. Lewis 63 in D2 Central Region final
at Mankato. The Mavs advance to the Elite Eight. Jefferson Mason, Mankato State 26 points and 17 rebounds. Matt Marganthaler, Mankato State.

Monday, 3/14--Cass Lake-Bena boys 47 Red Lake 46 in section 8A boys basketball. Jake Ellis, Cass Lake-Bena, scored the game-winner with 2.9 seconds left and finished with 16 points. Brian Polesky, Sleepy Eye boys, who upset #1 seed Cedar Mountain-Comfrey 54-49 in section 2A, the only upset in last night's boys sectional play.

Sunday, 3/13--Mankato State 69 Metro State 65. Jefferson Mason, Mankato State 25 pts 9 rebounds. Matt Marganthaler, Mankato State. One win away from the Elite Eight.

Saturday, 3/12--Anoka-Ramsey CC women 60 Rosbury CC 55 to win its 7th NJCAA national championship in the past 15 years, and finish 33-1 for the year.
Marcus Hill, Mankato State, scored 27 points with 6 assists as Mankato State got the Winona State monkey off its back 96-81 in
NCAA D2 Central Regional play in Mankato
. Matt Marganthaler, Mankato State men

Friday, 3/11--St. Thomas men knock off defending D3 champion Wisconsin-Stevens Point 66-64, on the Pointers' own home court no less, as Tyler Nicolai scores a 15-footer with time expirin
g. Alex Beckman scores 30 for Eastview, but Lakeville North's defending state AAAA champions return to the tournament 46-42.
James Fassett, Anoka girls who defeat
the Cambridge-Isanti girls 77-66 in the 7AAAA final. The Tornadoes were 2-24 for their regular season. Now they enter the state tournament at 6-24.

Thursday, 3/10--Northwestern men 75
Minnesota Gophers 65, 1st round,
Big Ten tournament. Wow, what team has fallen so far so fast? #9 in the Big Ten, now a loser twice in a row to #8. Hell, we were rated almost that high nationally. I thought losing Devoe Joseph and Al Nolen would render them a .500 team, not a 1 win-11-12 loss team. But instead today's game simply repeated a pattern of ineptitude that puts them nowhere near .500 since Nolen went down. Leading 44-42 with about 13 minutes to go, the Gophers suddenly went totally limp on both ends of the court. They scored only 1 point in their next 5 possessions while Northwestern scored 13--13!--points in those same 5 straight possessions. 13!

Wednesday, 3/9--Girls Section 6AAAA final at Osseo: #1AAAA Hopkins 72 #10AAAA
Minnetonka 51. Player of the Day: Charlotte Overbye, Mountain Iron-Buhl girls, scored 40 points as MIB defeated Cook County 66-57 in Section 7A. Coach of the Day: Brian Cosgriff, Hopkins girls

Tuesday, 3/8--#2AA Sauk Centre girls 53 #4AA New London-Spicer 47 in Section 6AA. Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle, 27 points, 13 boards, 5 blocks as her team defeated St. Anythony 62-58. Jodi Holleman, Hancock girls, defeated #6A Parkers Prairie 40-37.

Monday, 3/7--#3S seed Blue Earth girls 39 #1S New Richland HEG 34 in girls section 2AA. Natalie Larson, Cambridge girls, scored 19 points as the #3 seed beat #2 Blaine 55-47 in section 7AAAA. Kevin Christenson, Nicollet girls, #2N beat #1N Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart 52-50 in section 2A.

Sunday, 3/6--Winona State kept up its string of upset wins going. The #4 women defeated #3 Concordia (St. Paul) at Concordia 73-65, and the #5 men beat #6 St. Cloud State 58-41. This was the day after both had beaten the #1 seeds in the semi-finals. Michelle McDonald, Winona State women 29 points and 9 boards. Scott Ballard, Winona State women.

Saturday, 3/5--#5AAA Mpls. Washburn boys 85 #1AAA St. Paul Johnson 80 in the Twin City Game. This one throws the possible seeding for Class AAA into disarray. Johnson remains the favorite in Section 4AAA, while Washburn is no better than co-favorite with Benilde in 6AAA. But it will be hard, now, not to seed Benilde or Washburn #1. Maurika Hickman, Concordia (St. Paul ) women. Hickman scored 30 points to defeat the Northern State. Reggie Perkins, Mpls. Washburn boys

Friday, 3/4--
St. Thomas men 70
Northwestern (Roseville) 60 at NCAA D3 regional at St. Thomas. NW acquitted itself very admirably, considering this was the 1st year the a UMAC champion got an automatic NCAA tournament bid. St. Thomas never led until 45-43 at around 11:00. NW still led 55-54 late but the Tommies closed it out on a 16-5 run. (The Concordia women were ousted 59-56 by Simpson College, btw.) Brian Lecheler, Northwestern 16 points and 5 assists. Jamie Wright, Mora boys, who defeated Braham 50-46 in the final regular season game for both.

Thursday, 3/3--#9 seed Anoka girls 62 at #1 seed Duluth East 49 in section 7AAAA. Whitney Olson, Cambridge-Isanti girls, scored 25 points as her #3 seeded team edged #6 St. Francis 51-49, also in section 7AAAA. James Fassett, Anoka girls

Wednesday, 3/2--#2 seed girls section 2AAAA Bloomington Jefferson 48 #7 Shakopee 44. Now, how in the hell does Shakopee (21-6) get the bottom seed in a section that includes Edina (17-9, #3), Kennedy (17-10, #4), Prior Lake (15-12, #5) and Chanhassan (17-9, #6)? (Jefferson was 20-7.) Cronyism, that is how. Ben Fischer, Winona State men, scored 28 points to lead the Warriors over Concordia (at Concordia) in the 1st round of the NSIC playoffs 76-62 in the absence of team scoring leader Anthony Tucker, who will not play in the conference tournament (at least). Stephanie Tolkinen, Park-Cottage Grove girls, the only upset winner in girls sectional play, the #5 seed in section 2AAAA beating #4 Eagan 71-63.

Tuesday, 3/1--#6AA Perham boys 65 #1A Sebeka 60. Sebeka takes its first loss of the year. Both teams are now 23-1. Jonah Travis, DeLaSalle boys, scored 28 points in 89-45 shellacking of Mpls. Patrick Henry. Zach Goring, Apple Valley boys, who beat Jefferson 77-55.

Players of the Month

Tyler Nicolai, St. Thomas men
Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle girls
Jefferson Mason, Minnesota State-Mankato men
Ben Fischer, Winona State men
Marcus Hill, Minnesota State-Mankato

Kevin Kuefler, Belgrade-BE boys
Michelle McDonald, Winona State women
Maurika Hickman, Concordia (St. Paul) women
Zach Lofton, Columbia Heights boys
Jordan Smith, Orono boys

Charlotte Overbye, Mountain Iron-Buhl girls
Brian Lecheler, Northwestern (Roseville) men
Sydney Coffey, Hopkins girls
Shayne Mullaney, Eden Prairie girls
Rachel Banham, Lakeville North girls
Seth Hinrichs, MACCRAY boys

Jonah Travis, DeLaSalle boys
Natalie Larson, Cambridge girls

Team of the Month

St. Thomas men
Hopkins girls
Minnesota State-Mankato men
Anoka-Ramsey CC women
DeLaSalle girls

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa boys
St. Paul Johnson boys
Eden Prairie girls
Perham boys
Columbia Heights boys

Northwestern (Roseville) men
Winona State men
Winona State women
Anoka girls
Concordia (St. Paul) women

Lakeville North girls
Orono boys
New Prague boys

Coach of the Month

Steve Fritz, St.Thomas men
Mike Marganthaler, Mankato State men
Faith Patterson, DeLaSalle girls
Brian Cosgriff, Hopkins girls
James Fassett, Anoka girls

Chris Carr, Eden Prairie girls
Scott Ballard, Winona State women
Kevin Christenson and Cyndi Raymond, Nicollet girls
Jodi Holleman, Hancock girls
Mike Leaf, Winona State men

Dave Montbriand, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa boys
Tim Grosz, Northwestern (Roseville) men
Reggie Perkins, Mpls. Washburn
Paul Fessler, Concordia (St. Paul) women
Jeremy Post, White Bear Lake girls

Willie Braziel, Columbia Heights boys
Barry Wohler, Orono boys


St. Thomas men 78 Wooster 54, NCAA D3 championship game
New Prague boys 83 St. Paul Johnson 77, MN AAA quarter-final
Minnesota State-Mankato men 95 Alabama-Huntsville 91 (OT), NCAA D2 quarter-final
Rochester Lourdes boys 48 Redwood Valley 42 (4 OT), MN AA semi-final
Mpls. Washburn boys 85 St. Paul Johnson 80, Twin City Game

Anoka Ramsey CC women 60 Roxbury 55, NJCAA Div 3 national title game
St. Thomas men 59 Middlebury 57, NCAA D3 semi-final
Hopkins girls 72 Minnetonka 51 in Section 6AAAA, avenging 1 of 2 regular season defeats
St. Thomas men 66 Wisconsin-Stevens Point 64, NCAA D3 regional game
Eden Prairie girls 49 Lakeville North 32, Class AAAA semi

Orono boys 50 Waconia 48 (2 OT)
St. Thomas men 70 Northwestern (Roseville) 60, D3 post-season 1st round
Minnesota State-Mankato 81 Ft. Lewis 63, NCAA D2 regional final
Columbia Heights boys 61 DeLaSalle 57 in Section 3AAA final
Sauk Centre girls 53 New London-Spicer 47 in section 6AA semi-final

Winona State men, #5 seed, defeat Concordia (St. Paul) #4 on the Bears home court
Hancock girls 40 Parkers Prairie 37, 1st round of playoff competition
Anoka girls 62 Duluth East 49, #9 over #1 in section 7AAAA
DeLaSalle Islanders girls 62 St. Anthony Village Huskies 58, tied up inside of 2 minutes

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