MN STATE AAU CHAMPIONSHIP: GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
The physical development, especially in the 14 minute games, generally point to the champion. The long term athletic development of these players may hit snags—-either the coast on their accomplishments and don’t hone their craft relying on their superior physical prowess, or they grow bored and quit improving. That is why it is extremely difficult for a team/program to run the table in a certain age group for seven (and now with 4th grade eight) years. It is even rarer for an individual to be associated with that level of success each year. It takes a combination of overall health, and a continual quest for improving their skills: physical, psychological, technical, and tactical.
Yesterday again I saw teams throw the white flag. This leads directly to the psychological component. Character is revealed when things are not going well. One can not outperform their own self image. I saw teams eye roll, not engage teammates (and not help each other), in addition to not providing full effort when on defensive transition (i.e. 4 v 2).
Game understanding improves the longer one plays the game. Head turning to see what is available BEFORE one gets the ball (or when on defense) helps exploit and gives the player the advantage of knowing what is about to happen. This is a skill that isn’t taught often but needs to be emphasized. Reading the game separates the best from the rest.
The overreliance on the bounce is endemic to all teams at all ages.
Is a bench necessary? From the games yesterday the winner’s bench outscored their opponents in only four of the games, but curiously in all the 16 minute games. This may be because they had semifinals earlier in the day and having the extra juice from the sidelines can rest weary legs and conversely run down the gas tank for those that must remain on the floor. This leads to team selection, team management of minutes and the overarching value what teams are trying to accomplish. We circle back to development or outcome. The highest bench usage took place with North Tartan 5 Kuppe with 39.16. The lowest bench usage took place with Tayler Hill Elite 2024 with 12.27. The teams with higher bench usage won five times, and all three times in the 16 minute division.
ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GO!!!!!
It is all about starts. Of the eight championships yesterday the first team to 10 won the game seven of eight times. The exception came in sixth grade where NT 6 Monahan led 11-8. In the 16 minute games the leads combined with the Fury v NT rivalry was a whopping 30-10. It gets even more severe looking at the gaps later in the first half. Fury 2022 (9th) led 28-13; Fury 2021 (10th) led 23-7; and Fury 2020 (11th) led 30-18. Add it up and it is 81-38. That is an avalanche. Is this the result of being fresher/exhausted from semis? Or is it a result of not being mentally ready/exhausted from semis? All teams were on equal footing with timing. It wasn’t like one was physically well rested. Emotional energy matters. Some teams had nothing left in the tank.
What is up with all the Denver Nugget uniform knock offs? Since when is that the model to emulate?
4: 43 HOOPS 2027 45, NORTH TARTAN 4 KUENEMAN 27
This was the only contest that did not have a #1 v #1 seed game last week, therefore both teams were brand new to the chart system. 43H27 led at the break 21-14.
|43 HOOPS 2027||NORTH TARTAN 4 KUENEMAN|
|LEADING SCORER||Mya Wilson 18||Siera Nipstad 8|
5: TAYLER HILL ELITE 2026 39, NORTH TARTAN 5 KUPPE 19
This was a flip. But it was not the same teams with players added and subtracted in last week’s contest. There was a 29 point swing between the two teams. Last week’s trench player of the game Maddyn Greenway was at another event and was missed by NT5K. NT5K’s shooting percentage declined as did their pp100. THE26 had a better pp100 than last week’s NT5K by six. THE26 had enough points to win at halftime 21-11.
|TAYLER HILL ELITE 2026||NORTH TARTAN 5 KUPPE|
|LEADING SCORER||Lanelle Wright 13||Kate Amolette 6|
6: MN STARS 6 BOROWICZ 53, NORTH TARTAN 6 MONAHAN 48
Both teams performed better than last week with the difference coming to better decision making with both teams cutting their turnovers in half, and better shooting. MS6B had the edge in the shooting department from 2 range 40-33. This game was competitive throughout. MS6B pulled ahead 22-20 at the break scoring four unanswered points on their last two possessions of the half. With about four minutes left MS6B led 47-39. NT6M rallied to close the margin to 49-48 with 27 ticks left. Aaliyah Crump connected on two free throws to create a safer margin on the next Stars possession.
|MN STARS 6 BOROWICZ||NORTH TARTAN 6 MONAHAN|
|LEADING SCORER||Aaliyah Crump 15||Two with 8|
7: TAYLOR HILL ELITE 2024 34, NORTH TARTAN 7 OHNSTAD 30
This contest had the lowest pp100 for any champion. THE24 kept their consecutive title streak going with a three-peat. THE24 led by one at half (18-17). THE24 survived the fifth foul to Angel Hill with over three minutes left (30-27) to secure the title.
|TAYLER HILL ELITE 2024||NORTH TARTAN 7 OHNSTAD|
|LEADING SCORER||Angel Hill 16||Olivia Olson 7|
8 MN FURY 2023 UAA 50, MN STARS 8 HERSCH 38
This started the four straight championship run by the Fury (the first time the top four titles have been claimed by one program). The Fury improved on their two point percentage from 26.7 to 47. That helped boost their pp100 from 78.2 to 94.3. Molly Lenz nailed two straight 3s from different sides of the floor early in the second half (26-17) to create separation.
|MN FURY 2023 UAA||MN STARS 8 HERSCH|
|LEADING SCORER||Molly Lenz 18||Abby Shubert 14|
9: MN FURY 2022 UAA 62, NORTH TARTAN 9 ELITE 50
This was a flip. Consistency on offense helped the Fury. They had 60 points last week, 62 this week. Their pp100 inched upward from 88.2 to 93.9 against the same opponent. Clearly the 58% shooting from 2s helped. The defensive efforts cutting back NT9E from 95.7 to 76.9 made a big difference. Fury got off to a strong start and then poured gasoline on the fire pushing out to a 28-13 lead with six minutes left in the first half. It is hard to play out of a hole. Fury led 34-23 at the break.
|MN FURY 2022 UAA||NORTH TARTAN 9 ELITE|
|LEADING SCORER||Two with 13||Taylor Woodson 19|
10: MN FURY 2021 UAA 56, NORTH TARTAN 16U EYBL 52
Last week MN Fury 2021 was on the outside looking in after they stumbled out of the gates last Friday night. Part of the issues was their line up was not fully staffed. Not a problem Sunday with the third straight Fury win. The bench was instrumental in the win with a 10-2 advantage. NT16EYBL won the starter contest. Shooting, as it usually is, was the determining factor. NT16EYBL shot 47 percent in the win over sister team NT16Elite. Today that number plummeted to below freezing (31%). Fury started off furiously with a 23-7 advantage. Alexis Pratt, the day’s highest scorer, ignited the spark with an opening 3 from the right side. Again, it is hard playing out of a hole, especially when expectations to begin the game are different. NT roared back to close the deficit to 27-21 at the break, but the damage was already evident. Still NT kept chipping away all the way down to 31-30. Pratt scored on a steal lay up for breathing space and then added a triple for some more cushion (36-30).
|MN FURY 2021 UAA||NORTH TARTAN 16U EYBL|
|LEADING SCORER||Alexis Pratt 20||Maya Nnaji 15|
11: MN FURY 2020 UAA 58, NORTH TARTAN 17U EYBL 44
This was more of the same from last week, with almost the same margin. The difference was NT17EYBL had the addition of 6-4 Lauren Ware this week. Shooting percentages ruled. Fury owned both 2s and 3s. There was a severe drop in the number of free throws attempted with the Fury going all the way from 32 to 2, a steep decline of 30. They didn’t need to cash in from the charity stripe. They cashed in on transition with 4/6 in lay ups compared to 0/2 for NT. Overall on drives to the rim NT was 1/7. On the blocks NT was 8/21; Fury had a robust 6/8 from the same locations. NT rallied with back to back 3s from Jensen and Jayda Johnston to cut the margin to 37-32 with 9:45 left. Jensen scored on an &1 to make it 39-34, but Fury responded with the next five points. That was as close as NT would get.
|MN FURY 2020 UAA||NORTH TARTAN 17U EYBL|
|LEADING SCORER||Lauren Frost 13||Lauren Jensen 16|
4: Mya Wilson of 43 Hoops 2027 with 18 points, 163.6 pp100 and a 30 in the 31 Club
5: Lanelle Wright of Tayler Hill Elite 2026 with 13 points, 100 pp100 and a 20 in the 31 Club
6: Aaliyah Crump of MN Stars 6 Borowicz with 15 points, 115.4 pp100 and a 21 in the 31 Club
7: Angel Hill of Tayler Hill Elite 2024 with 16 points, 84.2 pp100 and a 24 in the 31 Club
8: Molly Lenz of MN Fury 2023 UAA with 18 points, 105.9 pp100 and a 32 in the 31 Club
9: Ellie Buzzelle of MN Fury 2022 UAA with 13 points, 144.4 pp100 and a 23 in the 31 Club
10: Alexis Pratt of MN Fury 2021 UAA with 20 points, 95.2 pp100 and a 30 in the 31 Club
11: Ysariea Chevre of MN Fury 2020 UAA with 10 points, 166.7 pp100 and a 22 in the 31 Club
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Alexis Pratt for her spark and inspiration for Fury 2021. A day’s high 20 points and just missed the 31 Club by 1.
Two players made the 31 Club: Lenz & Woodson
Woodson is the only player in both weeks to make the 31 Club twice.