SUMMER KICK OFF: 5 GAMES
After a few weeks off to finish up my term, I was back on the circuit today. With multiple events going on in the metro today my focus was at Kennedy and the Summer Kick off hosted by the MN Stars. To sum up the story arc of the 2019 Club season would be: Furious. My last foray out & about was the MN State AAU championships. On that day in mid-May the Fury closed with a sweep of the four highest age divisions. They did the same trick in a fashion today. The “in a fashion” phraseology is because the 2020 and 2021 UAA teams were due to meet in the title game in the highest division (divisions named after the pro teams—the Lynx got top billing). As is typical practice when two teams from the same club meet in a final game the result is no contest. Those top two Fury teams left the venue without a loss. They were joined by the 2022 and 2023 Fury teams taking first place in the Sparks & Mystics Divisions. But they didn’t stop there. The 2024s won the Sun division making it five for five. The first non-Fury team to win first place came with the Liberty division where the MN/WI Force won a two game play off with the other two pool winners. The Fury representation at that level came via the Southern Fury.
Not all club family games ended with a withdrawal. The MN Stars faced one of their own in the first two games of the day, but they had to play because on the other side the possibility they would face a different club program. In the Stars scenario it was the victory of younger teams over older teams.
MN STARS 9 BJORGAARD 46, MN STARS 10 ZABEL 37
With 10 minutes left these two teams were tied at 26 each. 9 Bjorgaard scored 20 points down the stretch to secure the win. Better shooting inside by almost double underlined the win. The inability to convert lay ups caught up with 10 Zabel. They finished 2/10 while 9 Bjorgaard was 5/7.
|MN STARS 9 BJORGAARD||MN STARS 10 ZABEL|
|Leading scorer||Hope Kanenwisher 9||Delaney Jossart 8|
MN STARS 9 NILSEN 42, MN STARS 10 DESART 41
9 Nilsen overcame a six point deficit with 39.5 seconds left to stun 10 Desart. The younger team was staring at a double digit deficit with 11 minutes left (33-23). Desart had the ball with 2:39 left and milked the clock. Kelley Brennan rewarded that patience with a pair of free throws with 43.3 left making the score 41-35. Ava Berg of 9 Nilsen scored on a lay up with about 30 seconds left. After a turnover on the inbounds play Jenna Cuddigan nailed a 3 from the left side cutting the margin to one with 20.2 ticks remaining. The ensuing 10 Desart possession ended up at the free throw line, but the front end conversion did not happen. The ball was knocked out with 9 Nilsen getting possession with 7.9 seconds left. There was a quick foul on the inbounds with 9 Nilsen still having to go the length of the floor. Ella Campbell broke free after a screen for a Jocelyn Plonski touchdown pass over the top of the 10 Desart defense and capped the comeback with a lay up on the right side at the buzzer leaving a stunned crowd on one side and delirious fans on the other.
|MN STARS 9 NILSEN||MN STARS 10 DESART|
|Leading scorer||Ally Schultz 11||Isabella Lenz 15|
MN FURY 2020 UAA 47, MN STARS 10 HERSCH 32
This was the only older team to beat the younger squad today. Both these teams have won state titles, with the 10 Hersch accomplishing that feat last year. Experience, depth, size and balance helped the Fury to this semifinal win. One of the sub-plots in this game featured two Farmington players on each side of the court. Molly Mogensen (Fury) and Paige Kinsdeth (Stars) are Tiger teammates. There was a block by Mogensen on a Kindseth break at one point. This game was competitive at half with Fury holding a four point (22-18) lead. Droughts doomed 10 Hersch in the second half. Also the Fury doubled up the Stars with 26 free throw attempts to 13.
|MN FURY 2020 UAA||MN STARS 10 HERSCH|
|Leading scorer||Mackenzie Kramer 11||Paige Kindseth 9|
MN FURY 2023 UAA 57, MN STARS 9 BJORGAARD 48
Another case of the youngsters beating the oldsters. The odd fact is 9 Bjorgaard had a better pp100 in this game than in the semifinal win over 10 Zabel and still lost by 9. The lack of a 3 point connection could help explain the loss. The Fury was 18 points better behind the arc. Fury led by 7 at the break 33-26. The lead was 50-40 with 7 minutes left.
|MN FURY 2023 UAA||MN STARS 9 BJORGAARD|
|Leading scorer||Ashley Schuelke 10||Ava Stier 14|
MN FURY 2022 UAA 73, MN STARS 9 NILSEN 35
A match between two 2022 teams was more than double in favor of the Fury. The typical Fury prescription of balance, length and speed prevented any thoughts of another comeback by 9 Nilsen. The Stars played their starters 20 more minutes (combined time). Just looking at the starters the Fury would have won 135 to 53 (pp100 style). The Fury used their bench the same amount over the Stars, and their depth showed 92 to 37 (again pp100 style). Any time the Fury wanted a shot near the basket, they got it. They had 46 attempts compared to 22 for the Stars. Part of that equation was being quicker to the ball than the hosts. 18 offensive boards came out to 46% of all rebound chances for the Fury. The Stars had a offensive rebound rate of 25%.
Something occurred in this game that doesn’t happen too often at any level: everyone scored.
|MN FURY 2022 UAA||MN STARS 9 NILSEN|
|Leading scorer||Lilly Meister 14||Dorothy Stotts 8|
G1: Hope Kanenwisher, MN Stars 9 Bjorgaard (& Elk River) 9 points, 150 pp100 and a 20 in the 31 Club
G2: Ally Schultz, MN Stars 9 Nilsen (& Lakeville South) with 11 points, 157.1 pp100 and a 15 score in the 31 Club
G3: Mackenzie Kramer, MN Fury 2020 UAA (& St. Michael-Albertville) with 11 points, 122.2 pp100 and a 19 score in the 31 Club
G4: Brynn Beffert, MN Fury 2023 UAA (& Hutchinson) with 9 points, 150 pp100 and a 20 in the 31 Club
G5: Katie Hurt, MN Fury 2022 UAA (& Rochester JM) with 13 points, 144.4 pp100 and a day’s best 25 in the 31 Club
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Hurt