Friday, March 23, 2012

The Big Game 3-22-12: Osseo 87 Hopkins 86 (3OT)

There was talk last night on TV that this might be one of the greatest games in tournament history and, yes, there is no precedent for a 3-time defending champion losing in 3 OT. That has definitely never happened before.

I'm talking of course about Osseo 87 Hopkins 86, a game which saw the lead change hands a total of 19 times but only once, finally, in that 3rd OT. From 77-all, Osseo scored the 1st 2 points on a jumper by reserve Cal Bloom, and the Orioles never trailed again. Bloom scored the next 5 Osseo points to maintain an 84-81 lead, and 3-of-4 FT made it 87-83 with 5 seconds remaining, and rendering moot a 3-pointer by Siyani Chambers at the buzzer.

Neither team had scored in the 1st OT, and then each team scored 13 in the 2nd. Hopkins never led in the 3OT but tied it up in the 2nd on a 3-point bank shot by Jacob Wright at :01. It was Wright's 3rd 3 of the 2nd OT, which wiped out a 73-64 Osseo lead after the Orioles scored the 1st 9 points of the 2nd OT.

Bloom scored the last 4 points of the 2nd OT and Osseo's 1st 7 of the 3rd, as the reserve became an unlikely hero for the Orioles. He finished with 17 points, 11 boards and 3 assists coming off the bench. He was the only reserve on either side to play more than 11 minutes or score more than 2 points. Hopkins' starters averaged an unlikely 44 minutes per man, while Osseo's 5 starters plus Bloom averaged 37.5 minutes apiece.

Hopkins had opened the game with an 18-8 lead but Osseo scored 10 straight points to tie it up at 18-all. Hopkins led 32-28 at the half, then appeared to have the game won with a 47-30 lead early in the 2nd half. Osseo only caught up at 57, and took its 1st lead since 22-20 at 59-57 at 2:35 of regulation on a Bridge Tusler 2. A Wright FT at :09 was needed to force the OT for Hopkins.

Osseo shot 49 percent, Hopkins 42, and Osseo dominated the boards 56-31, and scored 19 2nd chance points to 10 for the Royals. But the Orioles turned it over 25 times and Hopkins led on points off turnovers 24-17.

Player of the Game was Bloom for his OT heroics.

6-9 sophomore Ian Theisen led a balanced Osseo attack with 21 points and 13 rebounds, plus 3 blocks. DJ Hebert scored 16, Tusler 13 with 12 boards and 3 assists. Michael Brush added 10 points.

For Hopkins, it was of course Siyani Chambers leading the way with 31 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. Nick Jorgensen added 19 points and 10 boards. Demetrius Martin added 14 points and 3 steals, and Wright 13 points and 7 boards.

Greatest Ever?

Again there is no precedent for this game. The closest I can come up with is Hopkins' 90-82 semi-final win over Henry Sibley 2 years ago in a game that went to 2 OT. And any Hopkins OT game has to also be reminiscent of the 71-60 win over Eastview in the 2006 final in which Blake Hoffarber hit his famous "butt shot."

Just yesterday I posted my list of the greatest games ever in the 100 years of Minnesota high school tournament basketball. The Eastview-Hopkins game is #4 overall (#3 among the boys). #1 and #2 are also OT games. #1 is Wabasso 117 Red Lake 113 in a single OT in 1997. #2 is Edgerton over Richfield 63-60 in 1960 in a single OT.

Along with OTs and championship implications, the greatest games also tend to feature great players--#3 overall is Janet Karvonen and New York Mills vs. Albany's Kelly Skalicky in 1979. On my list you've also got Hoffarber, Bill Davis vs. Dean Veenhof, Lingenfelter vs. McHale. In tonight's big game you've got Siyani Chambers, whose career can now be fairly summarized, though he's got a 3rd place game vs. Eden Prairie remaining now on Saturday afternoon.

Chambers now has scored 124 points in 10 tournament games in 4 seasons, with 20 rebounds, 30 assists and 13 steals. He came off the bench for limited minutes in 2009, but has started at the point guard position for three years now with 7-1 won-lost record, 2 titles and an all-tournament award in 2011. He is a lock to earn a 2nd all-tournament award this year, as his 56 points so far leads all scorers in Class AAAA (and leads all scorers in AAAA or AAA, who have played 2 games. Class A and AA will play their 2nd games tonight.)

With 3 championship rings, 2 as a starter, and 2 all-tournament honors Chambers moved on to the list of elite tournament players. Off the top I would rate him as probably 1 of the top 15 point guards, maybe higher.

Ranking this game may also depend on the development of Theisen. Again, great games feature great players and Theisen has the chance to be 1 of the great posts of the 21st century so far. If that happens, and especially if Osseo wins a title (or, better yet, 2) he could end up being a top 15 all-time post.

Bottom line: Let's see 1) what happens tomorrow night. If Osseo does not win the title, then this game lacks championship impact. And 2) let's see how this game looks in a year or 2. But it clearly has the potential to end up as 1 of the top 5 to 10 boys games ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment