The girls summer AAU season kicks off this weekend with the midwest, well, "kick off" at Bloomington Kennedy. There are 8 divisions and 8 teams in each. They are not specifically by age group.
Gold is the top division, and here everybody is 2013 oriented. You've got 4 quarter-finals at 7:30 Saturday night, 2 semis at 10:10 a.m. Sunday and the final is at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The top 2 teams are probably playing at 10:10, however, rather than 12:30, those being North Tartan Elite/Coury and All Iowa Attack Elite/Jensen. Kevin Anderson has Jensen rated #2 in the 2013 class and Tartan #3. (#1 Nebraska CSS Bison is not entered.) AIA's top team is awesome with Iowa State recruit and point guard Jadda Buckley; Iowa recruit Ally Disterhoff; Shaya Kellogg, Kionna's little sister; Madelin Robinson, KJ Veldman and 3-point specialist Mackenzie Freeman, MVP of last month's Iowa AAU championships. (KJA had Kellogg and Veldman on his weekly high five.)
North Tartan Coury features Savanna Trapp, Onye Osemenam, Tyseanna Johnson, T. T. Starks, Tesha Buck, Joanna Hedstrom, Grace Coughlin and Rebekah Dahlman, among others.
The other 10:10 semi may feature #5 Metro Stars Black and #6 MN Fury 2013 Elite. MSB features Bryanna Fernstrom, Tiffany Flaata, Nia Coffey, Natalie Ratliff, MC McGrory, Taylor Anderson, Leah Szabla and more. Fury has Erin O'Toole, Lauren Shifflett, Natalie Van Whye, Katie McDaniels. Larissa Lurken, Jacquie Poss and more.
The final should be #2 AIA Jensen vs. #5 Metro Stars Black with #3 Tartan settling for 3rd.
In Silver you've got mostly 2014s, and here AIA and Tartan should meet in the 11:20 a.m. final.
AIA Johnson is rated #4 in its class after getting to the Iowa AAU final vs. its sisters at AIA Jensen. The older girls won 66-43. Veldman, a Johnson last year, came off the bench to lead Jensen with 19 points. Freeman had 15, Disterhoff and Buckley 11, Kellogg 10. Buckley led with 9 boards and 9 defensive stops while Kellogg had 5 distributions.
For Johnson, Myah Mellman scored 13 points and Shareece Burrell 12; Haley Lorenzen and Burrell had 7 boards each; Lorenzen had 7 defensive stops; and Mellman and Burrell 5 distributions.
Tartan's 15s are defending state champs (as 14s) with Cayla McMorris, Claire Lundberg, Maddy Lee, Alexis Alexander, Tia Elbert, Nakesha Bell, Micaela Noga and others.
The quarter-finals are at 6:20 Saturday night and the semis at 9:20 Sunday a.m. One other semi-finalists could be MN Fury 2014 Blue (Storm) featuring Ellie Thompson, Kylie Brown, Katie Quandt and others. The other will be either Wisconsin Fury 17U or Metro Stars 15U. Metro Stars 15U (Reiter) feature Hannah Grim, Taylor Thunstedt, Chase Coley, McKenna Happke, Jordan Meyer and others. Wisconsin Fury 17U is a mix of 2013s and 2014s with a 2015 thrown in for good measure. I would have to believe their age differential would make them the favorite against Metro Stars 15s but not against AIA Johnson.
Here the championship round games are at 5:10 Saturday, 1:50 Sunday and 4:10 Sunday. You've got Iowa Extreme 15U and otherwise mostly 14Us, including Tartan14U, AIA Mauro, 2 MN Stars, a MN Fury and a Metro Stars.
Look for semi-finalists to be AIA Mauro vs. Tartan 14s, and Metro Stars 14U vs. MN Fury 2015 Blue. Mariah Criswell scored 18 of Mauro's 41 points in a final game loss in the Iowa AAU tournament. The Tartan 14s are coached by John Herbrechtsmeyer and feature Sam Trammel, Courtney Frederickson, Monica Burich, Hannah Schaub, Viria Livingstone, Kanani Ascuncion, Alexa Lee and others.
Metro Stars 14U, coached by Ellen Wiese, feature Maddie Guebert, Raven DuBois, Hana Metoxen, Ellie Vraa and others. Fury 2015 Blue, coached by Tim Peper, feature Alexis Greene and Jacky Volkert.
Platinum looks like a mix of 8th and 9th grade teams. Tartan's 13U and 14U Silver are both here, along with an AIA, a MN Stars and a Metro Stars, a Fury, and others. AIA and Tartan could meet in both the upper bracket semis and again in the finals. Platinum games are at 4 p.m. Saturday, then 1:50 and 4:10 Sunday.
Tartan 14U Silver, coached by Josh Steck, are led by 3 Eden Prairie Eagles and 2 North St. Paul Polars. The Eagles are Emma Boehm, Rachel Platt and Alyssa Splittgerber. The Polars are Claire McNamara and Ashley Wiederhold. Tartan 13U, coached by Jake Kuppe, features Evelyn Knox, Hopkins, and Hannah Hedstrom, Minnetonka.
Fury 2016 Blue, coached by Ruth Sinn, features Emma Sinn and Erika Schlosser of Eastview plus 3 girls from Lakeville South and 2 more each from Shakopee and Maple Grove.
Here we're back with 15s and 16s below the most elite level. North Tartan 15U Silver, for example, is coached by Ray Brodeur, features Mikayla Payne of Maranatha, Rachel Brodeur of Andover, Kailey and Kyla Adams of Kennedy, Sarah and Hannah Rowe of Chaska, Kayla Nickles of Braham, Katie Werth of Centennial, Olivia Baker of Minnetonka, and others.
Venturing way out on a limb, we'll suggest MN Stars Floyd as a finals opponent for Tartan. These Stars feature 2 girls each from Andover, Anoka and Chanhassan, plus 6-1 Maria Alipate of Jefferson.
Emerald games are at 4 p.m. Saturday, and 10:10 and 12:30 on Sunday.
Ruby games are at 6:20 p.m. Saturday, and 3 and 5:20 p.m. Sunday. Going way out on a limb, again, I'll pick Metro Stars 14U Green and MN Fury 2015 Gold as finalists. Coached by Lindsay Hugstad-Vaa, the Green features Ashley Borland, Mackenzie Murtha and Megan Stewart from Providence Academy.
Fury 2015 Gold features one 2016, Aeryauna Powell, a 5-10 post from Benilde-SM. Coach is Chris Satterlie.
Sapphire features 7th and 8th graders. As a wild guess, you could see Minnesota Stars-Metro Stars and Tartan-Fury in the semis. Metro Stars 13U, coached by Dave Stromme, has one of the more intriguing names among the younger girls, Catherine Retica of Hopkins. How, one wonders, is she related to John and Mario Retica? North Tartan 12U, coached by Jake Kuppe, features Danielle Schaub, and also features another interesting name, Temi Carda. How is she related to all-stater Mona Carda, Janesville 1983?
Sapphire games are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 10:10 and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
That leaves just the Pearl Division, where most of the usual suspects are involved (Stars, Stars, Suns, Fury, but no Tartan). And these again are youngsters, 7th grade, 2017, 12 & U. These games are at 5:10 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. and 5:20 on Sunday.
Minnesota Stars 7th Frericks features Jordan Lamberty of Park, while Fury 2017 Gold features 3 each from Minnetonka and Chaska. Metro Stars 12U, coached by Jamie Broback Waldo, features 3 Northfields, 2 Edinas and 2 Alexandrias, including Kendall Kohler.