Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gopher women hold old-timers game of sorts

A lot has changed since the last time Rachel Banham squared off against Morgan Van Riper-Rose. Jackie Johnson and Shayne Mullaney were on Van Riper-Rose's side, for one thing. Now they're hangin' with Banham. And, not at all coincidentally, Van Riper-Rose's team won last time. It was Eden Prairie 49 Lakeville North 32 in the state Class AAAA semi-final, as Mullaney scored 14 points, and Banham, Johnson and Van Riper-Rose ( can I just say Rose from now on, please?) each scored 10.

Rose and friends may have gotten the last laugh, but Banham laughed best. EP went on to lose the 2011 final to Hopkins 67-45, while Lakeville North had blitzed everybody en route to a state title and an undefeated 32-0 season the year before.

But all of that is ancient history now--at least, to the participants. To me, it seems like yesterday. Be that as it may, Banham got another laugh, er, laugher (get it?) tonight, beating Rose's new team, Denver U., in a game that must have felt like all those Lakeville North blowouts from 2010, 74-51. Banham scored 21 points, Mullaney 9 and Johnson 1, while Rose had a tough night for Denver, hitting 3-of-13 shots, 0-for-5 in the 1st half, for 7 points.

Banham out-scored Rose 15-0 in the 1st half and Minnesota led 41-27. For the game, Banham had those 21 points plus 7 rebounds, 7 assists, zero turnovers and 4 steals. Even better, the Gophers inside game showed up as Riche scored 19 and Kellogg 9 and the 2 combined for 13 boards. Kayla Hirt added 9 points, 4 boards, 2 assists and a steal. Minnesota scored 42 points in the paint, the Pioneers 12.

Another one for the old times was averted when Brianna Tisch failed to make the trip with Denver for tonight's game. She's still listed on the Pioneers' season roster, but has not yet played this year. I don't know if she's hurt or what. But, Tisch and her Chaska teammates lost to Lakeville North in that 2010 tournament, 76-46 in the semis, after beating Eden Prairie in the section semis, 72-57.

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