Thursday, March 14, 2013

Girls State Tournament--Class A, Thursday, Williams

As always with the girls, my game reports (6 more games today) are over at

Williams Arena Class A Quarter-Finals Thursday All-Stars

C- Taylor Reiss, Minneota 21 points 11 boards 3 steals
F- Shelby Kaster, Win-E-Mac 23 points 16 rebounds
F- Megan Kolness, Ada 18 points 8 rebounds 4 assists
G- Jessie Mathews, BA 16 points 9 boards 6 assists 6 steals
G- Madison McKeever, Win-E-Mac 23 points 7 rebounds 6 steals

2nd Team

C- Hana Palmer, BA 22 points 6 boards
F- Kaelin Smieja, Upsala 23 (off the bench) including a tournament record-tying 7 3s
F- Payton Boerboom, Minneota 12 points
G- Molly Hennen, Minneota 7 points 8 assists 4 steals
G- Monica Vega, Ada 9 points 5 assists 5 steals

You'll notice that only one of the top 10 come from a losing team. What's with that? The best of the rest would include Aimee Pelzer of Upsala, Allie Knuti and Lissy McCulloch of MIB, Mikayla Payne off the bench for Maranatha, and I suppose it would be unkind to overlook Mankato Loyola so I suppose I'll take Aunikah Bastian who had a better day than the coach's daughter.

Coach of the Day—David Smart, Ada, is the smartest coach standing. His kids are always where they are supposed to be. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.


Looking ahead to tomorrow in Class A:

• Faribault BA will not dominate in the paint like they did against Upsala. Taylor Reiss will see to that. And Minneota can throw 2 or 3 pretty good perimeter players at Jessie Mathews. None of them is as complete a player as Mathews is, but Molly Hennen's steals and distributions, Emily Steinessen's ball-handling and Shelby Corbin's defense adds up to a pretty tough package for Mathews to handle almost all alone. BA's other perimeter players, Taryn Ashley and Megan Hoisington combined for 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting, with 4 boards, 4 steals, 7 assist and 4 turnovers. OK, the steals and assists are helpful. But BA might need more scoring from the 2 of them, in some combination, than they got today in order to prevail. Minneota by 5.

• Ada has already beaten Win-E-Mac and should have little trouble doing it again. The Class A field consists mostly of young teams with a lot of potential to beat themselves with turnovers and bad shot selection. Ada would not be one of those teams. The are not going to beat themselves. Madison McKeever is going to have to beat them. Well, and Shelby Kaster. And against a very very very very very small Ada team Kaster might be the secret weapon. But Ada is a machine and I don't think they'll let that happen. Ada by 15


It has been tough to tell the teams and their fans apart today. Twice the opposing teams were both red. In fct, Faribault BA and Upsala were both Cardinals. Before the opening tip-off, courtside announceer Dick Jonkowski observed that the Cardinals would win, and drew a chuckle from the crowd. Later it was Ada and Maranatha both wearing read. Now for he 4th game Mankato Loyola and Win-E-Mac will both be wearing blue. The crowd across the way from press row, behind the team benches, is probably the largest crowd I've seen for any of the 8 teams today, but I don't know if it's from Mankato or Winger, Erskine and Macintosh. (I think I got that right.)


Ada, with a starting 5 that averages 5-foot-6, facing Maranatha at an average of 5-foot-9-and-a-half, is leading by 10ish poonts halfway through the 2nd half. I say this just by way of asking whether you need any additional proof that Ada's David Smart is the Smartest coach around.


Same goes for the 3rd game where Maranatha Christian starts a 9th, a 10th, 2 11ths and a 12 grader. I guess that's more of a conventionally young team, but the bench so far also consists of an 8th and a 10th. Ada is also conventionally young, starting 4 11ths and a 12th with Miki Lee, a 10th, having a nice game off the bench. The 2 12th graders to have hit the floor illustrate one of the differences between the 2 teams. Maranatha's Onye Osemenam is 6-2, Ada's Monica Vega is 5-3. And she's not even the Cougars' smallest starter. That would be Shaina Stevenson at 5-1.


Youth was served in today's 2nd game. MIB’s starters are in the 8th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade and their top subs include another 8th grader. When Chelsea Mason fouled out, I thought, the poor kid only has 4 more years to play! Minneota, meanwhile, is what used to pass for a young team, starting 3 10ths and 2 11ths and their top subs include a 10th and 2 11ths.


I am at Williams Arena today for 4 Class A quarter-finals. First up, Jessie Mathews vs. Aimee Pelzer, aka Faribault Bethlehem Academy vs. Upsala. It's tight so far in the 1st half, Mathews using her quickness and Pelzer her outside shooting to lead their teams.

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