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

AP All-State Boys Named

It's not the only all-state team, but it's sort of the official one, voted on by media throughout the state of Minnesota.

First Team--Joe Coleman (Player of the Year), Marvin Singleton, Jonah Travis, Seth Hinrichs, Shelby Moats

Second--Cole Olstad, Estan Tyler, Alex Richter, Jake White, Raijon Kelly

Comparing the AP team to the others (Pioneer Press, Mr. Basketball finalists, Strib all-metro) you could conclude that there's little agreement as to the top players in Minnesota this year, except for Coleman. Coleman is the only player to make the 1st all-state team in every case and, of course, he won Mr. Basketball.

• Singleton made 3 of 5 1st teams, but was only 3rd team all-metro
• Travis made 3 of 5, but was not a Mr. BB finalist
• Hinrichs made only the 1 1st team
• Shelby Moats made 3 out of 5, but missed on the Strib's all-metro team
• Estan Tyler made 3 of 5, but missed out on the AP and Mr. BB finalist
• Alex Richter made 2 1st teams
• Jake White made 3 of 5
• Cole Olstad made just 1 of 5
• Lucas Brown and Kyle Noreen were Mr. BB finalists but didn't make any other 1st teams

My personal all-state team is in my Boys Basketball Wrap. I only agree with the AP on Coleman and Singleton. Otherwise I had Olstad, Tyler, Richter and J. White ahead of Travis, Hinrichs and Moats. (I picked a top 6 with a 6th man on the 1st team.)

Some Questions

1. Hinrichs (1st team) and Olstad (2nd) represent a bias, that much I know. But is it an metro bias (only 2 greater MN players among the top 10, shouldn't there be more?)? Or is it a greater MN bias (2 greater MN players among the top 10, it's just because of a quota, it's not because they're deserving)?

I only saw any of them in the state tournament, which is sometimes a poor platform to really evaluate a players' overall contributions because, sometimes, you've got very very good defenses set up just to stop that player. But, hey, it's what everybody sets out to do in the fall, so I factor it in quite a bit. And Hinrichs, based on his play in the state tournament, made may 3rd team. Which is very good, by the way. But Kevin Kuefler made my 2nd team, and Michael Busack also made my 3rd. Cole Olstad, based on 2 previous tournaments, made my 1st team.

So overall I see bias toward the metro. There could/should/would be more players from outside the metro on the AP team. But, still, Hinrichs has the feel of a quota selection on the 1st team and Olstad on the 2nd.

2. On a consensus, Singleton, Travis, Moats, Tyler and White made 3 all-state "1st teams," 2nd best after Coleman's making all 5. I'm 100 percent behind Singleton and Tyler, and find White hard to argue against. But are Travis and Moats really better than, say, Alex Richter or Ross Travis? I dunno. Moats didn't show me that in the state tournament.

3. Raijon Kelly? Are you sure he's the best guard on his own team (as compared to junior Taylor Montero and Cortez Tillman)? Not in the state tournament, he wasn't.

4. Is the Pioneer Press biased in favor of St. Paul players? Well, yeah. Their choice of Maxie Rosembloom last year and Estan Tyler this year as player of the year says, yeah, along with their choice of Roosevelt Scott as 1st team all-state this year. Plus their choice of Raijon Kelly as 2nd team this year. Except, wait, the AP did the same thing. But they also picked exactly the same number of greater Minnesota players as 1st team all-state as the Strib did all-metro: Zero.

5. Overall, this has the feel of a pretty weak group. They're (the AP top 10) going to college at Minnesota, Northern Iowa, Lafayette, Harvard and Vanderbilt; plus Concordia (St. Paul), Missouri-Kansas City, dunno, Wichita State and dunno. (All the more reason to pick Ross Travis, who is going to Penn State; not to be confused with Jonah Travis, who is going to Harvard. And good for him, by the way, but Harvard isn't exactly a ringing endorsement. Likewise Hinrichs going to Lafayette. Jake Kreuser went to Lafayette last year and nobody said he was an all-state player. Is Hinrichs gonna beat the 7-footer out for minutes at Lafayette?)

Seems like a down year. Maybe that's because everybody is at Hopkins.

6. Gimme the following 5 guys--Tom Schalk, Ross Travis, Dylan Stewart, Siyani Chambers and Jordan Smith--none of whom made the AP 1st or 2nd team--and make Joe Coleman sit out, and I'm not sure these 5 guys don't knock off the 1st team. Joe Coleman is the obvious difference-maker there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joe Coleman is Mr. Basketball

EDIT: Joe Coleman was announced today as Mr. Basketball 2011. The Hopkins star had been regarded as a shoo-in for the award, and was.

ORIGINAL POST: 2 nominees out of 20 from Greater Minnesota--Seth Hinrichs of MCCRAY and Cole Olstad of Plainview-EM. Here's the complete list.

Marcus Alipate, Bloomington Jefferson
Lucas Brown, Roseville
Joe Coleman, Hopkins
Marquel Curtis, Robbinsdale Armstrong
Ben Figini, Chisago Lakes
Seth Hinrichs, MCCRAY
Raijon Kelly, Cretin
Zach Lofton, Columbia Heights
Shelby Moats, Waconia
Kyle Noreen, MN Transitions
Cole Olstad, Plainview-Elgin-Millville
Alex Richter, Lakeville South
Eric Robertson, Wayzata
Thomas Schalk, Apple Valley
Roosevelt Scott, St. Paul Johnson
Marvin Singleton, Hopkins
Jonah Travis, DeLaSalle
Ross Travis, Chaska
Estan Tyler, St. Paul Johnson
Jake White, Chaska

Would John Clark of Sebeka have been such a bad choice? Jayme Moten? Mark Blacklock of Winona?

And Jordan Smith of Orono, he's not from Greater Minnesota, but he seems like an oversight.

But mostly I just want to suggest that the bias against non-metro players seems to be pretty extreme.

But among these 20, here are the 5 should-be finalists.

Estan Tyler
Joe Coleman
Cole Olstad
Alex Richter
Jonah Travis

Gopher Women's Wish List 2012-2013

The 2012s

The Minnesota Gopher women under head coach Pam Borton appear to have 4 scholarships available at the end of the 2012 season, yet only 1 high school 2012 has yet verballed the Gophers. What gives? Well, nobody knows. But, with the verbal commitment of Alexis Foley to Illinois State yesterday, the pool of available 2012 Minnesotans continues to shrink. The following girls remain uncommitted. Their rating is mine. The heights are from gPrep but the heights of most of these girls is listed variously depending on the source.

#1. Jackie Johnson, 6-2 (might be a bit taller), listed as a F on Eden Prairie roster but has played the post all her life. She can hit the 3 but otherwise her ability to play away from the hoop is unknown. I mean, Chris Carr may know. Pam, talk to Chris! But surely she is mobile, runs the floor, plays hard.

#7. Shayne Mullaney, just 5-8, a combo G from Eden Prairie. Not rated this highly by most but, hey, have you seen her play? A very creative guard with excellent ball-handling skills. Oh, and a terrific shooter. She shot 58 percent this past year. Granted, she gets to the rim with her creativity but, what, you're going to hold that against her?

#8. Tessa Cichy, 5-10 (many say 6-0), a combo G from Hill-Murray. Her stock plummeted during the recent state tournament. A year ago she scored 34 points against DeLaSalle in the semis. This year she scored 2 with 10 turnovers against the same opponent in the state AAA final. Her shooting mechanics have always been a little bit wierd. But she is a lock-down perimeter defender who muscles and dominates girls with her 6-foot size. Very tough kid, and tough on herself as anyone knows who saw the state tournament debacle. I have her lower than most due to the persistent shooting issues.

#9. Mariah Adanane, DeLaSalle, 5-10, shooting G. A great instinctive scorer from anywhere on the court.

#11. AnneMarie Healy, Providence, 6-1, F. Ranks this high mostly due to her height and the weakness of the 2012s beyond those who have already verballed. Healy is skilled but not the quickest.

#12. Khadidja Shumpert, Benilde, 5-11, F. An inside player whose 5-11 size screams D3.

#13. Katybeth Biewen, Edina, 5-10, PG. Has great basketball skills and IQ, I love her game to death, but somewhat lacking in size and strength.

#15. Riley Nordgaard, Canby, 5-10, G.

#16. Gracia Hutson, Hopkins, 6-2, C. Athletic, scrappy.

#16. Natalie Larson, Cambridge, 6-0, F. My darkhorse. A finesse player but that doesn't mean she doesn't use her size.

The only conclusion one came make thinking about this stuff is that Pam Borton has some out-of-state recruits she's lookin' at. Are they better than Jackie Johnson?

The 2013s

Then there's the highly-regarded 2013s. Verbals are less than a year away for this group that was spoken of in hushed, awed tones when in the 9th grade. They're growin' up. The ratings, again, are mine and up to the minute.

#1. Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle, 5-11, F. Not a consensus #1, as you know. But a terrific scorer from anywhere and everywhere. Think Kiara Buford. Times 2.

#2. Nia Coffey, Hopkins, 6-0, G. A legit 6-foot perimeter. A world-class defender, who has trouble finishing with the ball. More upside than Tessa Cichy. Quicker and scores more different ways. And compared to other guards on this list, she's just as quicker or quicker and she's 6-0.

#3. Becca Dahlman, Braham, 5-9, G. A big-time scorer but, for the moment, mostly by busting into the lane. If you saw what Kate Adams did to her, well, I can't help but wonder if that's what her college career will look like. Needs to make better decisions with the ball and get her teammates involved.

#4. Savanna Trapp, Esko, 6-7 or 6-8, C.

#5. Emma Lange, Caledonia, 6-3, C. She's a C now but runs the floor. More mobile than Jackie Johnson.

#6. Jade Martin. Kennedy, 5-11, F.

#7. Mikaala Shackleford, Hopkins, 5-10, G/F. Great athlete, Hopkins' best stay-at-home defender.

#8. Onye Osemenam, Maranatha, 6-0, C. Outstanding defender, limited on offense.

#9. Jessica January, Richfield, 5-6, PG. Terrific, dynamic, and 5-6.

#10. Allina Starr, DeLaSalle, 5-9, PG. Strong and smart.

I have heard Pam Borton speak in praise of the 2013s. So I'm hoping for more verbals among Minnesotans this coming year than in the past year. I would go get T. Johnson, N.Coffey and S. Trapp if it were up to me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Boys HS Basketball Wrap

My All-State Team

C- Marvin Singleton, Hopkins
F- Jake White, Chaska
F- Alex Richter, Lakeville South
G- Estan Tyler, St. Paul Johnson
G- Joe Coleman, Hopkins
6th- Cole Olstad, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

2nd Team

C- Shelby Moats, Waconia
F- Jonah Travis, DeLaSalle
G- Kevin Kuefler, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa
G- Zach Lofton, Columbia Heights
G- Dylan Stewart, Eden Prairie
6th- Jordan Smith, Orono

3rd Team

C- Seth Hinrichs, MACCRAY
F- Joey Sonnenfeld, Osseo
F- Tom Schalk, Apple Valley
G- Siyani Chambers, Hopkins
G- Tyus Jones, Apple Valley
6th- Michael Busack, Redwood Valley

My All-State Tournament Team and Comments

C- Seth Hinrichs, MCCRAY 65 points, 36 rebounds
F- Marvin Singleton, Hopkins 5o points, 29 rebounds
F- Joe Coleman, Hopkins 71 points, 21 rebounds
G- Kevin Kuefler, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 69 points, 35 rebounds, 11 assists
G- Dylan Stewart, Eden Prairie 55 points, 23 rebounds
6th- Michael Busack, Redwood Valley 61 points, 51 rebounds, 8 assists

2nd Team

C- Shelby Moats, Waconia 36 points, 37 rebounds
F- Joey Sonnenfeld, Osseo 64 points
F- Jeremy Borg, Orono 42 points, 16 blocks
G- Jordan Smith, Orono 71 points
G- Taylor Montero, Cretin 51 points, 30 rebounds
6th- Zach Lofton, Columbia Heights 75 points--overall tournament scoring leader*

3rd Team

C- Simon Krych, St. Cloud Apollo 17 points, 14 boards, 2 blocks in 1 game
F- Alex Richter, Lakeville South 33 points, 5 boards, 2 blocks in 1 game
G- Terez VanPelt, Osseo 49 points, 13 assists
G- Jesse Kieper, Springfield 57 points
G- Alex Fink, Springfield 45 points, 12 assists
6th- Tyler Marz, Springfield 24 points

Bold italic = did not make all-tournament team
Italic = MVP within Class

* A press release announcing the AAA all-tournament team was distributed to the media on the Target Center floor about 15 minutes before the end of the championship game. Zach Lofton was listed among the all-tournament selections on this list. By the time the all-tournament awards were announced, however, Lofton had left the floor and returned to the Columbia Heights locker room. As he was not on the floor to receive his award, he was deleted from the all-tournament team. As of today, he is not an all-tournament honoree.

The coaches chose guard Cortez Tillman to represent Cretin. Tillman scored 43 points in 3 games. I prefer his teammate Taylor Montero who scored 51 points and snared 30 rebounds. Specifically he outscored Tillman 23-17 in Cretin's 1st round win over Duluth East.

The coaches also did not chose to honor Tyler Marz, and Marz' numbers by themselves would seem to justify such a decision. But Marz was Springfield's secret weapon and, after Jesse Kieper (who scored 25 points) the Tigers' best player in their championship game upset of unbeaten BBE.

The most inscrutable choices were guards Aden Casey and Tyler Simonson of Chisholm. Casey scored 28 points, Simonson 30. The Bluestreaks center Adam Vake, meanwhile, scored 44 points with 30 rebounds, and seemed the obvious choice for Chisholm.

I might have preferred Waconia guards Wylie Ferron and Alex Schmitt over teammate Ben Korteum, but that is getting close to hair-splitting.

In AAAA it is hard to argue with 4 Hopkins selections though I would have preferred Montero of Cretin to Stahl of Hopkins.

This is a very very rare year in that there were few 1st round losers who can make much of a claim to all-tournament honors. Typically, the best player on a 1st round loser is pretty clearly a better player (and therefore, more deserving of all-tournament honors) than the 3rd best player for the finalists. This year it is hard to find a poster child for that point. The best 1st round losers were:

Alex Richter, Lakeville South 33 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks
Vaughan Thada, Owatonna 24 points
Simon Krych, St. Cloud Apollo 17 points, 14 boards, 2 blocks
Estan Tyler, St. Paul Johnson 22 points, 6 assists
Gerald McCarver, Minnehaha 17 points, 6 boards, 2 steals

On second thought, Richter and Krych in particular should have been all-tournament choices.

Top 50

1. Hopkins 31-1
2. Eden Prairie 27-5
3. Osseo 29-3
4. Chaska 24-5
5. Orono 28-4
6. St. Paul Johnson 25-4
7. Owatonna 24-5
8. Cretin-DerhamHall 23-9
9. Lakeville South 21-9
10. Eastview 22-5

11. Waconia 23-8
12. Columbia Heights 25-7
13. DeLaSalle 25-4
14. Apple Valley 19-10
15. Benilde-St. Margaret's 23-5
16. Wayzata 21-8
17. Tartan 25-4
18. St. Cloud Apollo 25-5
19. Duluth East 22-7
20. New Prague 24-8

21. Roseville 22-6
22. Mpls. Washburn 21-6
23. Eagan 21-6
24. Maple Grove 18-11
25. Perham 31-1
26. Champlin Park 21-6
27. Springfield 26-3
28. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 32-1
29. Marshall 21-9
30. Winona 21-5

31. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 30-3
32. Plainview-Elgin-Millville 28-2
33. St. Louis Park 18-10
34. Hill-Murray 23-6
35. Grand Rapids 19-10
36. Bemidji 21-6
37. Buffalo 21-8
38. Rochester Lourdes 24-8
39. Redwood Valley 22-9
40. Irondale 19-9

41. MACCRAY 28-4
42. Upsala 25-4
43. Sebeka 26-3
44. St. Michael-Albertville 20-8
45. Robbinsdale Cooper 19-10
46. Maranatha 28-4
47. Robbinsdale Armstrong 18-10
48. White Bear Lake 17-9
49. Minnesota Transitions 23-7
50. Sebeka 26-3

Next Year


1. Hopkins
2. Cretin
3. Apple Valley
4. Eastview
5. Duluth East
6. Osseo
7. Tartan
8. Maple Grove
9. White Bear Lake
10. Blaine
11. Centennial
12. Spring Lake Park
13. Mpls. South
14. Rochester Century
15. Anoka


1. Benilde
2. Grand Rapids
3. DeLaSalle
4. Mpls. Patrick Henry
5. St. Paul Johnson
6. St. Thomas
7. Richfield
8. Zimmerman
9. Princeton
10. Holy Family


1. Perham
2. Redwood Valley
3. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
4. Pelican Rapids
5. Braham
6. Watertown-Mayer
7. Minnehaha
8. St. Cloud Cathedral
9. St. Peter
10. Howard Lake-WW
11. United South Central
12. Litchfield
13. Pierz
14. Trinity
15. Montevideo
16. Windom
17. Byron
18. Worthington
19. Plainview-EM
20. Lake City


1. Maranatha
2. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa
4. Lakeview Christian
5. Ellsworth
6. Rushford-Peterson
7. Southwest MN Christian
8. Ada-Borup
9. Lester Prairie
10. St. Agnes

All-State 2012

C-F- Thomas Sjoberg, St. Thomas
F- Isaiah Zierden, Benilde
F- Joey King, Eastview
G- Siyani Chambers, Hopkins
G- Tyus Jones, Apple Valley, soph.
6th- Johnny Woodard, Duluth East

2nd Team

C-F- Zach Stahl, Hopkins
C-F- Ryan Dahl, Holy Family
G- Casey Schilling, Ellsworth
G- Tyler Vaughan, Braham
G- Michael Busack, Redwood Valley
6th- Austin Pohlen, Grand Rapids

3rd Team

F- Riley Dearring, DeLaSalle, jr.
F- Marcus Marshall, St. Paul Johnson
G- Anders Broman, Lakeview Christian, soph.
G- Carnel Shepard, Mpls. South
G- Cortez Tillman, Cretin
6th- Alex Fink, Springfield

Girls Basketball Wrap-Up

All-State (My All-State Team)

Rachel Banham, Lakeville North, Sr., G
Jackie Johnson, Eden Prairie, Jr., C
Michelle Young, Woodbury, Sr., G
Rebekah Dahlman, Braham, Soph., G
Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle, Soph., F
6th: Brianna Williams, Hopkins, Sr., G

2nd Team

Bethany Doolittle, Hill-Murray, Sr., C
Apiew Ojulu, Lakeville North, Sr., C
Alexis Foley, White Bear Lake, Jr., G
Marissa Janning, Watertown-Mayer, Jr., G
Tessa Cichy, Hill-Murray, Jr., G
6th: Kali Peschel, Sauk Centre, Jr., F

3rd Team

Shayne Mullaney, Eden Prairie, Jr., G
Kahla Becken, Centennial, Sr., G
Whitney Tinjum, Chisago Lakes, Jr., F
Katie Winge, Minnetonka, Sr., F
Kayla Timmerman, Wayzata, Jr., C
6th: Katybeth Biewen, Edina, Jr., G

All-Tournament Team

Best of the Best

Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle 19 ppg, 12 reb/game, soph
Jackie Johnson, Eden Prairie 13 ppg, 12 reb/game, junior
Brianna Williams, Hopkins 12 ppg
Rebekah Dahlman, Braham 28 ppg, soph
Rachel Banham, Lakeville North 18 ppg
6th: Beth Doolittle, Hill-Murray 17 ppg, 4 blocks/game

2nd Team

Mariah Adanane, DeLaSalle 16 ppg, junior
Apiew Ojulu, Lakeville North 11 ppg, 11 reb/game
Ashlyn Muhl, Minneota 33 points, 23 rebounds
Nia Coffey, Hopkins 13 ppg, 8 reb/game, soph
Sydney Coffey, Hopkins 11 ppg, junior
6th: Sarina Baker, Minnehaha 17 ppg, 9 reb/game

3rd Team

Onye Osemenam, Maranatha 9 ppg, 9 reb/game, soph
Kendra Schmidgall, Hancock 15 ppg, 8 reb/game, 3 block/game
Kali Peschel, Sauk Centre 18 ppg, 5 assists/game, junior
AnneMarie Healy, Providence 14 ppg, 6 reb/game, 4 assists/game, junior
Shayne Mullaney, Eden Prairie 11 ppg, junior
6th: Kate Adams, Minnehaha 12 ppg

Top 50

1. Hopkins 30-2, AAAA champion
2. Eden Prairie 25-5, AAAA runner-up
3. Lakeville North 29-3, AAAA 3rd
4. DeLaSalle, 27-4 AAA champion
5. Hill-Murray, 30-1 AAA runner-up
6. White Bear Lake 27-5
7. Braham 31-2, AA champion
8. Minnetonka 21-7
9. Maple Grove 24-6
10. Osseo 25-4

11. Benilde-St. Margaret's 26-6, AAA 3rd
12. Eastview 22-7
13. Mpls. South 26-2
14. Edina 18-10
15. Buffalo 25-4
16. Centennial 21-7
17. St. Michael-Albertville 23-5
18. Sauk Centre 31-2, AA 3rd
19. Farmington 23-4
20. Providence 26-6

21. Alexandria 25-5
22. Wayzata 14-13
23. Bloomington Jefferson 20-8
24. Minnehaha 23-7, AA runner-up
25. Marshall 20-7
26. Richfield 23-5
27. Woodbury 20-8
28. Caledonia 26-4
29. Barnum 26-4
30. Mounds View 21-6

31. Bloomington Kennedy 17-11
32. Shakopee 21-6
33. Orono 22-7
34. Roseville 18-10
35. Pequot Lakes 28-2
36. Rochester Lourdes 26-3
37. Goodhue 27-5
38. Red Wing 18-10
39. Jackson County Central 26-3
40. St. Peter 24-5

41. Hutchinson 22-4
42. Maranatha Christian 23-9, A champion
43. Rochester Mayo 21-7
44. Prior Lake 15-12
45. Fergus Falls 23-4
46. Sartell-St. Stephen 21-5
47. Minneota 25-2
48. North St. Paul 18-9
49. New London-Spicer 25-3
50. Chanhassan 17-9

Next Year

All-State 2012

Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle, jr.
Rebekah Dahlman, Braham, jr.
Jackie Johnson, Eden Prairie
Shayne Mullaney, Eden Prairie
Tessa Cichy, Hill Murray
Jessica January, Richfield, jr.

Kali Peschel, Sauk Centre
Katybeth Biewen, Edina
Marissa Janning, Watertown-Mayer
Alexis Foley, White Bear Lake
Phyllis Webb, Osseo, jr.
Whitney Tinjum, Chisago Lakes

Kayla Timmerman, Wayzata
Nia Coffey, Hopkins, jr.
Sydney Coffey, Hopkins
Kenisha Bell, Bloomington Kennedy, soph.
Mariah Adanane, DeLaSalle
Mikaala Shackleford, Hopkins, jr.


1. Hopkins
2. Osseo
3. Eden Prairie
4. Bloomington Kennedy
5. White Bear Lake
6. St. Paul Central
7. Wayzata
8. Edina
9. Anoka
10. Cambridge


1. DeLaSalle
2. Benilde
3. Hill-Murray
4. Richfield
5. Alexandria
6. Park Center
7. Sartell-St. Stephen
8. Chisago Lakes
9. Fergus Falls
10. Red Wing


1. Braham
2. Providence
3. New Richland-HEG
4. Jackson
5. Caledonia
6. Sauk Centre
7. New London-Spicer
8. Watertown-Mayer
9. Pine River-Backus
10. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial
11. Perham
12. Pequot Lakes
13. Holy Family
14. Chatfield
15. Yellow Medicine East


1. Maranatha
2. Goodhue
3. Hancock
4. Nicollet
5. Barnum
6. Sebeka
7. Nicollet
8. Spring Grove
9. Fulda
10. Parkers Prairie
11. Canby
12. Ada
13. Upsala
14. Cook County
15. Northern Freeze
16. Sleepy Eye

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hopkins and the Three-Peats (and Better)

The three-peat is sort of the holy grail of sports. Anybody can win twice (yeah, right). But, three. That's something special. And, four, well, just not realistic. (Tell that to Southwest Christian and Mpls. Henry.) But, anyway, here are the three-peats and better in the MSHSL basketball tournaments.

1966-67-68-Edina boys, single class
1966 Edina (26-0) 82 Duluth East 75 (OT)
1967 Edina (27-0) 72 Moorhead 55
1968 Edina (26-1) 70 Moorhead 45
MVP Bob Zender, class of 1968, 2X all-tournament
Coach Duane Baglien

1977-78-79 New York Mills girls, Class A out of 2 classes
1977 NY Mills (25-1) 40 Mayer Lutheran 39
1978 NY MIlls (25-1) 64 Redwood Falls 55
1979 NY Mills (25-1) 61 Albany 52
MVP Janet Karvonen, class of 1980, there were no official girls all-tournament teams in those days, but Karvonen clearly would have been a 4X all-tournament recipient, including 1980 when NY Mills was upset by Austin Pacelli in a semi-final and finished 3rd. Contrary to what one hears now and again, they did not 4-peat
Coach Kathy Lervold, 1977; Peggy Zimmerman, 1978, 1979

1995-96-97 Mpls. North boys, twice in the Sweet Sixteen format, once in Class AAAA out of 4 classes
1995 North (30-0) 54 Staples-Motley 52
1996 North (26-1) 80 Fertile-Beltrami 47
1997 North (25-3) 61 Stillwater 53
MVP Khalid El-Amin, class of 1997, 3X all-tournament
Coach Robin Ingram

1999-2000-01-02 Southwest MN Christian boys, Class A out of 4 classes
1999 SWC (24-1) 63 Hillcrest Lutheran 50
2000 SWC (28-1) 72 Win-E-Mac 61
2001 SWC (25-4) 65 Christ's Household of Faith 55
2002 SWC (27-2) 66 Ortonville 56, 1st 4-peat ever
MVP Robbie Holleman, class of 2000, 2X all-tournament
Coach Cal Hoekstra, 1999-2000; Dan Broekhuis, 2000-2001

2000-01-02-03 Mpls. Patrick Henry boys, Class AAA out of 4 classes
2000 Henry (28-1) 59 St. Thomas 45
2001 Henry (28-2) 74 St. Thomas 61
2002 Henry (30-3) 51 Red Wing 44
2003 Henry (26-6) 69 Sauk Rapids-Rice 55, 2nd 4-peat
MVP Lawrence McKenzie, class of 2003, 2X all-tournament
Coach Larry McKenzie

2003-04-05 Mpls. North girls, Class AAA out of 4 classes
2003 North (28-2) 57 Duluth East 32
2004 North (22-8) 56 Willmar 39
2005 North (24-6) 71 Holy Angels 45
MVP Mia Johnson, class of 2005, only 5X all-tournament ever, boys or girls
Coach Faith Johnson Patterson

2009-10-11 Hopkins boys, Class AAAA out of 4 classes, 3rd team ever to 3-peat at the highest level of competition
2009 Hopkins (31-0) 69 Osseo 59
2010 Hopkins (30-2) 76 St. Cloud Tech 56
2011 Hopkins (31-1) 64 Eden Prairie 52
MVP Joe Coleman, class of 2011, 2X all-tournament
Coach Ken Novak, Jr.

The greatest dynasty would have to be one that won at the highest level, which would mean Edina, Mpls. North or Hopkins. Edina went 79-1, North 81-4, Hopkins 92-3. Edina won 3 state titles by an average of 14 points, North by 14.3 points, and Hopkins by 14 points. Lotta help that is. Edina went into OT twice in 1966. North needed 2 3s in the last 7 seconds to avoid defeat in 1996. Hopkins went 2OT vs. Henry Sibley in 2010. You make the call.

The greatest coaching achievement would be Duane Baglien's, in my judgement.

My 3-peat all-stars are:

C- Bob Zender, Edina, who passed away this past year at the age of 60
F- Janet Karvonen, New York Mills
F- Kurt Shellhas, Edina
G- Khalid El-Amin, North
G- Larry McKenzie, Henry
6th- Joe Coleman, Hopkins

We have seen an incredible concentration of talent in the "open enrollment" era, and the MSHSL's so-called "transfer rule" has quite obviously done nothing to enhance competition at the very top. So next year the Hopkins boys will try to become the 1st club ever to 4-peat at the highest level of competition. Meawhile the Hopkins girls are already favored to make it a re-peat next year, and with bunches of 8th, 9th and 10th graders on this year's state championship roster, it may not be too early to make them the favorite for 2013 and for another 3-peat already, too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

One year ago, 3 Thursday night semi-finals in the MN High School Basketball Tournament went into OT for a total of 6 OT periods. Who could have imagined that yesterday's Friday night finals would do one better: 3 OT games for a total of 7 OT periods!

• The 1st afternoon semi went normally enough as Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (BBE) routed Maynard-Clara City-Raymond (MACCRAY) 86-69. What is all the more remarkable is that BBE trailed 19-8 early on, then turned the tables on MACCRAY 33-10 the rest of the 1st half. Kevin Kuefler scored 29 for BBE, Seth Hinrichs 23 for MACCRAY.

• The 2nd semi went into OT when Alex Fink of Springfield hit 2 FT at 0:03 to tie Chisholm at 41-all. The Tigers took a 56-53 lead at 1:40 of OT on a Cody Milbrath jumper. Chisholm missed a 3 on its next possession, and then the procession to the FT line started. Springfield made 10-of-13 FT in the OT to win 63-55. Fink led all scorers and rebounders with 21 and 12.

• Then the Class AA semi-finalists took the floor, and things started to get exciting. Rochester Lourdes and Redwood Valley had already played 3 OT and the score remained tied at 41-41. Alex Kapraun of Lourdes made a 3-pointer at 1:42 of the 4th OT and Redwood never caught up. The final was 48-42 as Kapraun scored 20 for the winners. The shooting percentages were 33 percent for Redwood and 31 percent for Lourdes.

• Finally, Perham and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown played 2 OT to determine a winner. Perham's only leads on the night had been at 11-10, when Nick Tobkin hit a FG and later a FT for a 39-36 Perham lead in the 2nd OT. WEM never caught up. WEM had led 15-11 at the half, as both teams shot in the 20 percent range. WEM never trailed in the 2nd half and led 32-26 with 2:37 left to play, when Mike Wiskau hit a layup, Tobkin a "J" and Mike Schumacher a layup at 0:56 to tie it up. WEM missed on a game-winning attempt at 0:01. Conrad Masburg of WEM led all scorers with 17.

In case you're wondering, 4 OT is NOT a tournament record. The record remains 5 OT played by Blaine and Moorhead in the 1987 Class AA semi-final. There was no scoring in the 3rd or 4th OT, but Blaine broke it open with 10 points in the 5th OT for a 62-56 final.

Today's Finals/Forecasts

Class A--BBE 32-0 vs. Springfield 25-3. BBE looks like a buzz-saw. I think they would win in Class AA and be competitive up to AAA. BBE 77 Springfield 62, MVP Kevin Kuefler

Class AA--Rochester Lourdes 24-7 vs. Perham 30-1. Lourdes played 4 OT yesterday but Perham played later on into the night. Will fatigue be a factor? Perham 56 Lourdes 45, no OT. MVP Jordan Cresap

Class AAA--Columbia Heights 25-6 vs. Orono 27-4. 2 good stories. Heights in its 1st tourney in 80 years, Orono the cardiac kids with 2 comeback buzzer-beating wins. Orono 66 Columbia Heights 65. MVP Jordan Smith

Class AAAA--Hopkins 30-1 vs. Eden Prairie 27-4. Hopkins looking to become only the 3rd boys team to 3-peat at the highest level, the others being Edina and Mpls. North. Pretty good company. Hopkins 79 Eden Prairie 62. MVP Joe Coleman

Friday, March 25, 2011

Class A 1st Round All-Stars

C- Seth Hinrichs, 6-7, Sr, MACCRAY 21 points, 15 boards, 2 blocks
F- Cody Milbrath, 6-5, Sr, Springfield 20 pints, 9 boards, 4 blocks
F- Brady Koehler, 6-5, Sr, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 16 points, 12 boards
G- Kevin Kuefler, 6-4, Sr, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 22 points, 2 blocks
G- Ashton Erie, 6-4, Sr, Goodhue 23 points, 9 boards, 7 steals, 2 blocks
6th- Adam Vake, 6-3, Sr, C, Chisholm 19 points, 12 boards

2nd Team

C- Connor Goodwin, 6-6, Jr, BBE 13 points, 12 boards, 4 steals
F- Garrett Carlin, 6-5, Sr, Fosston 13 points, 7 boards, 5 steals
F- Brady Boike, 6-4, Jr, MCCRAY 19 points
G- Jesse Kieper, 5-9, Sr, Springfield 19 points, 3 steals
G- Darian Pittman, 5-11, Jr, Maranatha 19 points, 4 assists, 3 steals
6th- Jacob Voss, 6-4, Jr, Upsala 15 points, 9 boards, 11 steals

Springfield Tigers 63 Upsala Cardinals 53

Springfield Tigers 63 Upsala Cardinals 53

Going into the final Class A quarter-final, Springfield and Upsala looked like similar teams, and evenly matched. Scoring in the mid-70s on average, check. Shooting percentage in the mid-40s, check. 3 losses on the year, check. Starting lineups averaging in the 6-2 to 6-3 range, check.

And so the score was tied and the lead changed hands 15 times, and both scored more than half of their points in the paint.

But they turned out to be very different teams on the court. For one thing, Springfield had secret weapon Tyler Marz starting the game on the bench, but clearly Marz would play an important role in the outcome of the game. Marz is a 6-8, 285 pound post--a football star who will play that sport at Wisconsin--who was hurt throughout most of the basketball season. This was just his 8th game back from a knee injury. But eventually he came off the bench to play 20 minutes, and score 8 points with 4 boards, 2 steals, an assist and 1 block.

But second, Springfield pounded the ball into the paint with the pass, especially the high-low pass among Marz, 6-5 Cody Milbrath and 6-3 Ryan Beyer. As a result, the Tigers assisted on 15 of 22 buckets. The Cardinals, in contrast, liked to carry the ball into the lane on the dribble drive, especially guards Brandon Welinski, Brent Herzog and Christian Pedarek, and forward Jacob Voss. But the dribble drive was stymied successfully by the Tigers' defense as the 4 dribble drivers shot a collective 14-for-43 and recorded 8 assists vs. 13 turnovers.

Upsala never really adjusted to their lack of success in penetrating the lane off the dribble. They shot 8 3s in the 2nd half, but they mostly came late and out of desperation more than design.

Upsala led as late as 27-26, when a pair of Alex Fink layups put Springfield up 30-27 at the half. Herzog hit a 3 to open the 2nd half for Upsala, tying it at 30-all, but the Cardinals never made another 3. Marz and Milbrath countered for the Tigers, and Upsala never again led. A Jesse Kieper 3 made it 38-32 and Upsala never got within 4.

I said before that Marz was the Tigers' secret weapon but, hey, how secret is your average 6-8, 285 pound guy? The fact is that Kieper was Springfield's secret weapon. Both teams mostly tried to get the ball into the lane, and did. Kieper was the only consistent outside shooter for either team, hitting 5-of-11 shots including 3-of-6 from behind the arc. He finished with 17 points and 3 steals.

Otherwise Cody Milbrath (20 points, 9 boards, 4 blocks), Alex Fink (12 points, 5 boards, 5 assists) and Marz scored the bulk of their points inside. For Upsala, Jacob Voss scored 15 with 9 boards and an amazing 11 steals. Ethan Schultz scored 12 points, and energetic freshman guard Christian Pekarek also scored 12. But while the Tigers' defense adjusted to the Cardinals' dribble drive tactics, Upsala never adjusted to the Tigers' defensive schemes.

Trench Player: Milbrath

Chisholm Bluestreaks 51 Fosston Greyhounds 39

Chisholm Bluestreaks 51 Fosston Greyhounds 39

Chisholm knocked off Fosston in the 3rd Class A quarter-final game of the day 51-39. It was just a 12 point margin, but this qualifies nevertheless as the day’s only one-sided game.

The Bluestreaks were able to pull away from the Greyhounds only slowly, taking their 1st lead at 4-2 and then taking the lead for good at 6-4. Chisholm 1st pushed the lead into double digits at 21-11 at 6:14 and the lead hovered around 10 points most of the rest of the way. It never felt as if the Bluestreaks were in any danger--there was never a momentum shift in Fosston's favor--because the Greyhounds were able to shoot only 25 percent from the field.

Fosston made one run at the Bluestreaks midway through the 2nd half when Garrett Carlin hit a 3 and then a 2 sandwiched around 2 FT by Taylor Carlson, getting the Greyhounds within 37-33. But Chisholm countered with a 6 point run of its own, and Fosston never again got within 9. Only Carlin scored in double figures for Fosston with 13 points, and he added 7 boards, 5 steals and 2 blocked shots.

Chisholm used its athleticism to control the tempo and to get better looks at the basket. They scored 24 points in the paint to just 10 for Fosston, and they also scored 15 points off of turnovers to just 4 for the Greyhounds.

Like Fosston, Chisholm had only 1 player score in double figures, Adam Vake with 19. Vake added 12 rebounds. His supporting cast much outplayed Carlin’s. Tyler Simonson controlled the ball with 7 points and 7 assists, while Siota Latu was a force inside with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

Trench Player: Vake

MCCRAY Wolverines 61 Maranatha Christian Mustangs 52

MCCRAY Wolverines 61 Maranatha Christian Mustangs 52

The MCCRAY Wolverines, representing the south central Minnesota towns of Maynard, Clara City and Raymond, pulled away from Maranatha Christian Academy in the 2nd half to win their 1st round Class A match-up 61-52.

MCCRAY features 6-7 senior post Seth Hinrichs, who will be playing college ball at Lafayette, while Maranatha countered with a line-up consisting of 5 players all of whom score in double figures on average. And Hinrichs started out strong with 13 1st half points, 7 boards and 2 blocks.

Yet it was Maranatha that had 8 offensive boards and a 9-7 edge in 2nd chance points iin the 1st half. Darian Pittman had 13 1st half points for Maranatha and Isaiah Hanson 10. But only SaVaughn Jordan also scored (7 points). No other Mustang scored in the 1st half. And, guard Jamey Hammond went out with a hyperextended knee and, while he returned, he was not effective after that leg injury.

Each team led 6 times in the 1st half, and there was 1 tie at 6-6. The half-time score was 25-22 MCCRAY, representing the Wolverines' largest lead of the half.

Maranatha scored the 1st 5 points of the 2nd half to take a 27-25 lead, but MCCRAY responded immediately and the game was tied up at 27, 33 and 35 before MCCRAY put the decisive run on the Mustangs. Hinrichs scored on a layup and then a short jumper + 1, and Taylor Thissen followed with a layup on a pass from Riley Aeikens. Suddenly it was 42-35. 2 minutes later Hinrichs scored on a dunk, and another 2 minutes later Brady Boike scored on a pair of layups, both assisted by Aeikens, and it was 51-41 at 4:27. Maranatha never again led after 27-25.

Maranatha whittled the MCCRAY lead down to 5 points at 54-49 at 1:51 on a layup by Darian Pittman, who scored 13 2nd half points. But the Wolverines made 7-of-10 FT inside of 2 minutes to win 61-52.

Both teams scored most of their points in the paint, but MCCRAY got better looks, so they shot 48 percent to the Mustangs' 38 percent. MCCRAY punched the ball into the paint with the pass, and so they assisted on 15 of 22 buckets. Maranatha got into the lane with the dribble drive, and assisted on 7 of 22 buckets. And since the FG were even at 22, MCCRAY obviously made more FT 17-7.

Hinrichs and Boike each shot 9-for-16 for 21 and 19 points respectively, and Hinrichs added a game-high 15 boards. Pittman led Maranatha with 19, Hanson 16 and Jordan 13.

Trench Player: Seth Hinrichs 21 points 15 boards 2 blocks

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars 70 Goodhue Wildcats 54

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars 70 Goodhue Wildcats 54

The BBE Jaguars swarmed the offensive boards all day long. 38 rebounds were taken off of BBE misses, and BBE got 22 of them to 16 defensive rebounds for Goodhue. 2nd chance points were 22-7 BBE. That accounts for 15 of BBE’s final margin of 16 points in the 1st Class A quarter-final game.

The Jaguars came into the game as the only unbeaten team left in the state of Minnesota at 30-0, and rated #1 in Class A. And they showed why that was, taking early leads of 13-5 and 23-11. In the early going, Belgrade picked Goodhue’s 2-3 zone apart with some deft inside passing. 7 of BBE’s 11 1st half buckets were layups.

But Goodhue shifted to a 1-3-1 zone half way through the 1st half and sealed off those passing lanes. BBE responded by pounding the offensive boards. Their jump shots weren’t falling, but there were 13 offensive boards and 11 2nd chance points in the 1st half alone. Overall the rebounding was 28-10 BBE. 6-4 Kevin Kuefler and 6-5 Brady Koehler had 8 points each at halftime.

The half-time score was 31-22 and when Brady Koehler scored the 1st 2 buckets of the 2nd half, it looked like it might be all over. But no. Ashton Erie scored 6 straight points for Goodhue, the third a lay-up off a steal and suddenly it was 40-37.

But Goodhue got no closer as Kevin Kuefler matched Erie’s 6-point run and now it was 46-37, then 50-39 at 5:15 and 56-44 at 3:59. The final was 70-54 as Goodhue began to hurry its shots and gamble on defense, none of which helped the Wildcats get back into the game but in fact had the opposite effect.

Kuefller finished with 22, Brady Koehler with 17, Brian Goodwin 14 and Connor Goodwin 13 points, and Koehler and Connor Goodwin with 12 boards each. Brian Goodwin added 3 assists and 3 steals, brother Connor 2 assists and 4 steals.

Ashton, the leading all-time scorer for the Wildcats, was most of the story for Goodhue with 23 points and 9 boards.

Trench Player: Kevin Kuefler

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Boys Tournament All-Stars

From the 6 games I saw--Hopkins, Cretin, Orono, Waconia, Perham and Waterville were the winners--here are the top stars

C- Simon Krych, St. Cloud Apollo, 6-9, sr., 17 pts, 14 reb
F- Marvin Singleton, Hopkins, 6-5, sr., 23 pts, 16 reb
F- Joe Coleman, Hopkins, 6-4, F, 20 pts, 2 blocks, 3 steals
G- Taylor Montero, Cretin, 6-4, jr, G, 20 pts
G- Jordan Smith, Orono, 6-2, sr., G, 29 pts, 4 steals
6th- Jordan Bruhn, Perham, 6-2, jr., G, 6 pts, 6 reb., 7 assists

2nd Team

C- Shelby Moats, Waconia, 6-9, sr., 12 points, 13 rebounds
F- Jeremy Borg, Orono, 6-6, sr., 12 points, 8 reb., 6 blocks
F- Tate Harmon, Waterville, 6-1, Jr., 23 pts., 16 rebounds, 2 blocks
G- Vaughn Thada, Owatonna, 6-5, sr., 24 points
G- Jordan Cresap, 5-11, jr., 19 points
6th- Cortez Tillman, Cretin, 5-11, j.r, G, 17 points, 3 assists

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers 61 Zimmerman Thunder 58

Waterville-Elysian Morristown Buccaneers 61 Zimmerman Thunder 58

Zimmerman had the Thunder, but it was Waterville-Elysian-Morristown that stormed back from a 35-23 deficit early in the 2nd half to win 61-58.

Waterville shot a respectable 47 percent in the 1st half, yet Zimmerman's very active man defense created havoc in the form of 16 Buccaneers' turnovers. Waterville continually challenged the paint on the dribble drive, and Zimmerman consistently got their hands on the ball. So WEM got off only 19 FG attempts to 27 for the Thunder. And Zimmerman made 52 percent of its shots in the 1st half.

A late 3 by Brandon Giese sent the Thunder into the locker room with all of the momentum and a 33-23 lead.

Waterville turned it around, emphatically so, in the 2nd half. Point guard Grant Pope had had a tough time in the 1st half with 3 points and 4 assists, but 5 turnovers. He was able to give vastly better direction to the WEM offense in the 2nd half, scoring 6 points with 3 more assists, 3 steals and just 2 turnovers. Waterville was suddenly getting much better looks at the basket and shooting in rhythm, where in the 1st half their shots had seemed hurried. So now the Buccaneers shooting percentage soared to 62 percent (13-of-21) and the turnovers dropped from 16 to 6.

WEM scored on 10-of-its-1st-15 possessions of the 2nd half to tie it up at 44-all. A Jordan Gregor lay-up at 10:05 gave them a 46-44 lead, their 1st since 9-8. WEM would led by as many as 4, but Zimmerman took back the lead at 52-51, 54-53 and 58-56. But the Buccaneers scored the last 5 points on 2 FT by Tate Harmon, a Pope jumper and a FT by Conrad Masberg.

Zimmerman missed 3 3s inside of 12 seconds, as Harmon got a piece of the 3rd at the buzzer.

The Thunder played 2 platoons, making mass 5-man substitutions from time to time. The 1st platoon scored 33 points, led by Blake Ehley's 17, while the 2nd 5 scored 25 points, led by Jake Wilson's 12. It looked at times as if WEM was tiring against the fresh legs of the Thunder but in the late going that proved not to be the case.

Harmon finished with 23 points, Masburg 16, and Pope with 9 p0ints and those 7 vital assists.

Trench Player: Harmon