Friday, December 30, 2011

Chanhassan, Minnetonka and Las Vegas Durango win in Best Buy consolation play

Chanhassan hammered Henry Sibley 66-43 for 3rd place, Minnetonka rallied past Duluth East 80-73 for 5th, and Las Vegas Durango beat Mpls. Patrick Henry 79-71 for 7th place in the 3rd annual Best Buy boys basketball holiday tournament.

Chanhassan 66 Henry Sibley 43

The roller coaster ride continues for Henry Sibley. Up and down all year, the Warriors knocked off former coach Tom Dasovich and his Minnetonka Skippers 65-63 in the 1st round here Wednesday, then got buried by St. Paul Johnson and, now, Chanhassan. This is the same Chanhassan team that defeated Sibley in the 1st game of the year, but just by 7. Here the margin was 7 before I'd finished my pre-game hot dug.

Sibley led 4-3 when Chanhassan began to heat up, scoring on 6-of-8 possessions, the last 2 on Sibley turnovers that the Storm converted into home run baskets. Suddenly it was 18-7. Chanhassan scored on 4-of-its-next 5 possessions and Sibley on just 2-of-6, and now it was 28-13. And that was before another 10-0 Chanhassan run.  So you get the idea. the half-time score was 42-17.

Mainly, Sibley couldn't seem to get its defense set up. I couldn't tell sometimes if they were in a man or a zone. Rotations didn't happen. 3-point shooters were left wide open. No wonder the Storm shot 52 percent for the half.

The 2nd half was better, Sibley actually out-scoring Chanhassan 26-24 and, early in the half, scoring on 5-of-6 possessions. But unable to get a stop on defense, the Warriors still trailed 52-31. The scoring pace declined precipitously later on, however, as the Storm managed just 1 bucket inside of 5 minutes.

Chanhassan put up a well-balanced effort, meaning that 4 players scored in double figures (Joey Stark 14, Cole Otto 11, Kevin Jensen 11 and Steve Gitzen 10) and also meaning that they scored inside and out, in transition and in the half court. Jensen, 6-5 and mobile, was especially impressive for the Storm, though it's true that he missed his 2 big moments, an alley-oop and a dunk attempt within about 1:30 early in the 2nd half.

Minnetonka 80 Duluth East 73

It was the Taylor Stafford show as Duluth East took a 43-38 half-time lead over the Skippers. Stafford finished the half with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.

With their marching orders for the 2nd half crystal clear--if you wanna win, stop Stafford--'Tonka did, well, just enough of that. Stafford didn't score until the 11:40 mark, by which time the Skippers had a 51-47 lead. Stafford's 3 2 minutes later tied it up at 55, and he did score 15 in the 2nd half for a total of 35 but, most of the damage was done after 'Tonka had taken the lead.

Not that it was a safe lead by any means. The Greyhounds tied it up again at 65 but Tommy McDermott hit a 3, Riley Dearring a 2 off the offensive glass, and Andrew Turnblad a 2 to make it 72-67, and East never got off a shot that might have tied it up after that.

'Tonka shot 46 percent for the night, East 42, and Tonka won the battle on the boards with 15 offensive rebounds to just 6 for the Greyhounds. The Skippers made 21-of-26 FT, East 13-of-14. Riley Dearring and Latrell Love dominated inside with 19 points each, shooting 15-of-20 between them.

Las Vegas Durango 79 Mpls. Patrick Henry 71

It was 2-against-2, almost. Henry's 6-6 senior post Tim Gill and 6-2 junior guard Darius Hill combined for 56 points, out-scoring Vegas' 6-7 Joe Tuss and 6-0 Tyler Watts by 10 points. But Durango's supporting cast was better.

Gill was especially impressive, though his teammate Hill out-scored him 32-24. Gill is a big strong kid who looks and plays bigger than 6-6, and despite those skinny little ankles. He was dominant down low, especially on the offensive glass. His 24 points came on 9-of-19 shooting plus 5-of-8 throws, with 21 rebounds (10 offense and 11 defense) and 7 2nd chance points. Hill scored 32 on 12-of-23 shooting including 8-of-10 from the line but 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. He added 11 boards, 8 on the offensive end with 12 2nd chance points.

Vegas countered with the mobile Tuss who, despite his size, is fundamentally a perimeter player who has an offer from Air Force. He was the best player on the floor and finished with 25 points. Watts, described as a "crafty left-hander," and scored 21. Apparently, Durango's best player, Tre'Vonn Wells, is out of action.

Durango shot 14-of-24 (58 percent) in the 1st half to take a 41-33 lead. Henry shot just 11-of-44 (44!? Yes, 44 shots, many of them coming after 17 offensive boards.) The Patriots turned it around in the 2nd half, shooting 48 percent, but Durango better than matched that at 56 percent. Henry was within 5 at 44-39 when Durango scored 10 straight to lead 54-39. Henry battled back to within 5 again at 60-55 but turned it over their next 2 possessions. They were down 10 again at 65-55 by the time they scored again. But again they got within 5 at 71-66 but had 3 more turnovers before their next score, which didn't come until they trailed 74-66 inside of 1 minute.

In the end, Henry's 23 offensive rebounds were not enough to overcome Durango's hot shooting.

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