The 2017s and younger play 14 minute halves. Here's what I saw among the 2017s and 2018s. North Tartan won them both. The 2017s edged MN Fury 2017 Blue 45-42 for the title, while the 2018s defeated 43 Hoops 44-35.
Tartan, led by guards Danielle Schaub, Deanna Winston Temi Carda and Ann Simonet, had a whole series of competitive games, beating MN Suns Kolden 58-45 in the quarter-finals, Thunderbirds 53-32 in the semis in a game that was closer than it sounds, and finally Fury 45-42 in the final.
Tartan also took 3rd place as Tartan West defeated Midtown Monarchs 47-38, lost to Fury 54-50 and defeated the Thunderbirds 50-47. I think all of this represents more competitive games than in many of the classes.
Players who stood out include:
1. As already mentioned, the Tartan guards. I said before relative to another age group, that maybe the Tartan system makes their guards look good, or maybe it's the Tartan guards making the coaches and their system look good. But across many age groups--and especially among the younger ones--Tartan looked more like a high school team, well-drilled and stressing ball movement and teamwork, where many of these teams look more like all-star teams, lacking in the cohesion that Tartan seems to achieve.
In this case, you've got 4 outstanding guards. Schaub and Winston are just 5-4ish but super-quick and use that to make life miserable for opposing ball-handlers. Schaub is more of an offensive threat right now, scoring 25 points in the 3 games I saw to Winston's 11. Schaub had 10 steals in the 3 games. Carda is a little bigger (5-6) and, whereas Schaub and Winston are quick enough to run away from contact, Carda is tough enough to absorb it and keep on going. Simonet is also 5-6, and led Tartan with 12 points in the semi and scored 19 points in the 3 games.
2. Gabi Haack, 5-8 guard from Elk River, led Tartan West Steuber to 2nd place in the Qualifier and 3rd in the tournament. She had 20 points, 4 boards and 3 steals vs. the Tartan regulars in the Qualifier final, and led all Qualifier scorers with 52 points.
3. Anissa Krauss, 5-10, guard, Tartan and Azaria Reed, 5-9, forward, Osseo, both play for the Thunderbirds. The T-Birds put the most physically gifted starting 5 out there of any team. Strong, quick. But teamwork was somewhat lacking. Krauss gets to the rim but I saw her shoot 4-for-19 in 1-and-three-quarters games. Reed overpowers people inside, though at 5-9 it remains to be seen whether she can do that at the next level.
4. Bailey Helgren, Metro Stars Black and Edina, is huge (6-foot-4) but mobile and athletic. I saw her finish in transition, I saw her shoot the 3. Sky's the limit.
5. There were a whole bunch of good posts, the best of whom did not play in the title game. Along with Helgren, there's Miranda Crenshaw of Midtown Monarchs, Danneka Voegeli of Winona and Tartan Silver, and Amara Karypis of the Thunderbirds.
6. The champions from Tartan played Mikayla Hayes (Park Center) and Erin Navrail (Albany) in the post. Compared to the posts mentioned above, these are thinner girls who may not be posts at the next level. Both are in fact listed as forwards on the Tartan roster but, trust me, they were in the post for Tartan. Navratil led Tartan in the Qualifier final with 14 points and added 5 boards. In the final final she scored just 2 points but had 7 boards. Hayes had 11 points and 14 boards in those 2 games plus 6 points in the semi-final.
7. Kirstin Klitzke, Metro Stars Black, and Claire Killian, Fury Dahled, both from Watertown-Mayer. Klitzke moved without the ball, found seams in the defense, received some nice passes (mostly from Bailey Helgren) and finished inside. Killian did it all in the final. Well, she scored just 4 points but added 8 boards and 3 assists.
8. Lexie Jones of MN 36ers was #4 in the Qualifier with 37 points, while Maizie Diehl of MN Stars Amundson and New Prague was #5 with 33 points.
9. Noelle Tomes of Tartan Silver and Lake Middle School in Woodbury is small even by Schaub-Winston standards and got bounced around a bunch vs. Midtown Monarchs. But she is quick and tough and led all scorers with 14 points.
10. Monarchs guards Unique Longs (Cooper) and Audrey Gadison (Benilde) play like veterans. In fact, I believe Gadison is a 2018 and playing up at this level.
The top 4 seeds all advanced to the semis where Tartan beat Fury 32-26 and 43 Hoops beat NC Heat 49-40. In the final Tartan beat 43 Hoops 44-35. Once again it was Tartan's guards--and specifically, its point guards Maesyn Thiesen, Sam Haiby and Erika Hicks--leading the way and making Tartan look like a very well-oiled machine. I say that recognizing that the 3 scored just 16 points in the 2 games, and that Tartan had 17 turnovers in the final vs. just 10 for 43 Hoops.
But in the semi Tartan got 21 offensive rebounds to just 5 for Fury, while in the 2nd game Tartan out-shot 43 Hoops 38 percent to 29 percent. Tartan's motion was better, and good things happen when you keep moving, with or without the ball.
Tartan defeated 43 Hoops in the Qualifier final as well, 44-38.
1. Chrissy Carr, 43 Hoops, big forward, led all scorers in the final with 14 points. Once her team fell behind she started to put the ball on the floor and go to the rim, and nobody could stop her. She is coach Chris Carr's daughter.
2. Tartan's guards Thiesen, Haiby and Hicks. Didn't score much on Sunday, but Haiby was the #4 scorer in the Qualifier.
3. Kayla Mershon, 6-1, and Sydney Stapleton, 5-8, Tartan forwards. #3 and #2 scorers both in the qualifier and in the final. Mershon at 6-1 has everybody oohing and aahing and why not, but right now Stapleton is the slightly larger scoring threat. Stapleton scored 12 in the final including a pair of 3s, while Mershon had 8 plus 5 boards and 2 blocks.
4. Alexis Mathews of Centennial and N.M. Aftershock DuBois led all scorers in the qualifier with 23.
5. Zoe Hardwick, 43 Hoops and Eden Prairie, post. Scored 8 points with 11 boards in the Qualifier final, and was tied for #4 scorer in the Qualifier overall. Was held to just 1 point in the final final but with 7 boards.
7. Katey Brattland, guard; Megan Walstad, forward; Mariah Alipate, power forward-center; all 43 Hoops. Alipate scored 8 points with 6 boards in the Qualifier final; Brattland was the #6 scorer (tied) in the Qualifier overall; and Brattland and Walstad were next after Carr with 6 points each in the final final.
8. Fury's Elizabeth Edinger, Kali Jo Grimm and Lynnea Helman, all forwards. Were among the top 20 Qualifier scorers, and pushed the eventual champions from Tartan all the way in the semi.
9. Madi Kerzman, Tartan and Becker, 6-1, post. Another big Tartan body and a presence inside.
10. Sophia Findell, Bailey Becker, Sidney Zieske and Whitney Dold, next best scorers in the Qualifier with 18 points apiece.
2019 and 2020
I do not rate the 2019s and 2020s and did not see any of their games.
2017 and 2018 All-Stars
Here I am restricting myself to girls I saw play over the weekend.
C- Bailey Helgren, Metro Stars 2017 Black and Edina
PF- Chrissy Carr, 43 Hoops 2018 and Eden Prairie
SF- Sydney Stapleton, Tartan 2018 and Centennial
PG- Danielle Schaub, Tartan 2017 and Park Center
SG- Temi Carda, Tartan 2017 and Lakeville North
C- Miranda Crenshaw, Midtown Monarchs and Eastview
PF- Kayla Mershon, Tartan 2018 and Minnetonka
SF- Megan Walstad, 43 Hoops 2018 and Apple Valley (?)
PG- Gabi Haack, Tartan 2017 West and Elk River
SG- Anissa Krausse, Thunderbirds 2017 and Tartan
C- Danneka Voegeli, Fury 2017 Gold and Winona
PF- Azaria Reed, Thunderbirds 2018 and Osseo
SF- Kali Jo Grimm, Fury 2018 and Norwood-Young America
PG- Unique Longs, Midtown Monarchs and Cooper
SG- Karen Klitzke, Fury 2017 and Watertown-Mayer