Saturday, May 18, 2013

Girls AAU: 3 2017 Quarter-Finals

Size matters. Just ask the 3 losers on Kennedy 7 in Friday night play in the 2017 AAU Girls Championship.

#7 Midtown Monarchs 13U 43 #10 North Tartan 13U Silver 30

It was closer than the final score. In fact, Tartan led 21-20 at 7:30 of the 2nd half when Miranda Crenshaw, a 6-0 post from Eastview took over. With the score tied at 20, she had pulled down offensive rebounds on successive possessions, sandwiched around a defensive board. She got fouled both times but missed 4 FT.

But now she converted a layup in transition on a feed from Audrey Gadison (Benilde-St. Margaret’s) to give the Monarchs the lead for good. A minute later she pulled down the defensive board, got fouled and drained 2 throws, then added another layup from Gadison, this time out of the half-court set. Suddenly it was 28-21 and Tartan would never get closer than 6.

In fact, after trailing 21-20, the Monarchs would scored on 9-of-11 possessions and 11-of-14. After Crenshaw’s 7 points during that stretch, 3 other Monarchs contributed to the run. Crenshaw led both teams with 16 points. She made 5-of-12 FG and 6-of-11 FT, and also led both teams with 10 boards, 5 on each end.

But it was inside defense that was the real difference. Crenshaw was just 1 of 5 6-footers who forced Tartan into 10-of-41 shooting. Only Helen McCauley (Forest Lake) added much offensive punch among the other 6-footers with 7 points. Kaylee Porisch (Coon Rapids), Brittany Bongartz (Anoka) and Shaelie Olson (Wayzata) only scored 2 points among them, but along with McCauley and Crenshaw completely shut down Tartan’s inside game.

Danneka Voegeli of Winona was Tartan’s only effective player inside. The 6-1 post scored 10 points with 7 boards. But when she was on the bench, which was quite a lot, Tartan was giving away 4 and 5 inches and 20-30 pounds inside. Voegeli’s Winona teammate Eden Nibbelink is also a 6-footer but she’s a perimeter player and scored just 2 points and no FG on the night.

That left the Tartan offense to Noelle Tomes, a quick and impressive but tiny (5-3) guard from Lake Middle School in Woodbury (I believe she’s headed to East Ridge). She scored 14 points on 4-of-10 FG and 5-of-6 FT, but got bounced around a good bit. Running mate Lauren Johnson, also of Lake Middle School, got bounced right out of the game in the 1st half, and that didn’t help either.

The primary victim of the Monarch’s inside defensive intimidation was Erin Baxter, an athletic 5-8 wing from Falcon Ridge Middle School in Apple Valley. She showed some great moves and got to the rim, but shot 0-for-7.

But while the game was closer than the final score, well, in another sense it wasn’t. The Monarchs converted 13-of-31 FT. So there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Trench Player: As tough as Crenshaw was, I haven’t even mentioned 5-5 Cooper guard Unique Longs, who gets the honors. All she did was direct traffic and make it all happen. She barely out-played Tomes in a great guard battle. In fact, Tomes outscored her 14-11, but Longs added 5 assists and Tomes none.

#5 Minnesota Thunderbirds 13U 47 #12 Fury 2017 Gold 25

The Midtown Monarchs wore out North Tartan Silver in the 1st game on Kennedy 7 Friday night. In the 2nd game, Fury 23017 Gold were worn out halfway through the 1st half. The Minnesota Thunderbirds were too big, too strong, too aggressive, too experienced, too everything.

Yet, Fury hung tough trailing 14-10 at about 6:30 after a 3 by Sarah Wittman (Burnsville). But after starting out 4-of-13 from the field, Fury missed their last 16 shots of the 1st half. Meanwhile the T-Birds scored on their next 3 possessions to lead 21-10 at 4:31. In fact, 8 of the T-Birds last 12 points of the 1st half came off the offensive glass, 5 of them by Azaria Reed (Osseo). It was 26-11 at the half.

It was more of the same in the 2nd half, as it was all Fury could do to keep the score somewhere in the neighborhood of doubled—28-14, 32-16. And after a Carley Benson (Chanhassan) bucket around the 7 minute mark, it was a respectable 34-20. But Porte (presumably the younger sister of Osseo's Ayo Porte) scored 3 buckets in 2 minutes down the stretch, and the final was 47-25.

(I never did find a T-Birds roster so I don't have any other info about Porte and I don't know who a couple of the T-Birds are. Sorry.)

Overmatched for quickness and strength, Fury couldn’t get open looks and finished shooting 8-of-50, and got blocked at least 8 times. Only Wittman and Caitlyn Peterson (Lakeville North) scored more than 1 bucket.

Meanwhile, the T-Birds had a track meet including a very successful high jump under the basket. They grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and coverted 7 of them into 14 points, many of those during that killer run late in the 1st half. Fury managed 7 offensive boards but could convert them into just 1 point, and that was their final point of the night.

The T-Birds were also stronger with the ball, scoring 16 points on 18 Fury turnovers, while giving up just 4 points on turnovers.

Reed led the T-Birds with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Porte added 13 points but needed 17 shots to do it. Anissa Krause (Tartan) had 8 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks, but shot just 2-of-12.

Trench Player: Reed was overpowering.

#4 Metro Stars 13U Black vs. #13 Metro Stars 13U White

Remember when you were kids, and you’d choose up sides. You’d pick somebody, then I’d pick somebody, then you, then me. Well, it doesn’t work like that anymore. Metro Stars Black coach Jamie Waldo got to pick 10 kids and then, after that, Metro Stars White coach Arriel McDonald got to pick 10. Who do you think is going to win that match-up?

Well, they haven’t posted the score yet but you’ll have to trust me that Black won this ball game. It was 27-14 Black at the half, and I didn’t stick around for the 2nd half.

Black was not just a well-oiled machine but, wow, look at some of the parts—6-4 Bailey Helgren and 6-2 Annika Jank of Edina, along with 6-footers Sophia Hughes of Benilde and Mattie Rice of Orono. White’s tallest player is 5-11 Emily Cooley of Princeton. So leading 11-6, it was of course 5-7 Kirstin Klitzke of Watertown-Mayer who scored twice inside on feeds from Helgren at the top of the key.

5-6 Macy Hattlestad of Alexandria followed with a pair of throws and a 3 assisted by, you guessed it, Helgren, then Helgren scored 2 in transition after a defensive board and assist by Klitzke. This was right after Jank scored 2 in transition from Klitzke.

Kennedy 7 All-Stars

C-Bailey Helgren, Metro Stars Black (Edina)
F- Porte, Thunderbirds
F- Azaria Reed, Thunderbirds (Osseo)
G- Kirstin Klitzke, Metro Stars Black (Watertown-Mayer)
G- Anissa Krausse, Thunderbirds (Tartan)

2nd Team

C- Miranda Crenshaw, Midtown Monarchs (Eastview)
C/F- Danneka Voegeli, Tartan Silver (Winona)
F- Annika Jank, Metro Stars Black (Edina)
G- Unique Longs, Midtown Monarchs (Cooper)
G- Noelle Tomes, Tartan Silver (Lake Middle School)

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