GBB Out & About: Minneapolis Henry vs Avail Academy


For the first time in the pandemic plague era I got out to a game. The first out & about since the state tournament in March and it did not involve ranked teams. It did involve schools I have coached. In both cases volleyball. I was at Henry for 16 years and this past year moved over to Avail. So I knew players on both ends of the court. And the first O&A also was a game that went down to the wire with the Patriots edging out the Valor 51-49. I would probably venture to say that most of the players on both teams are unfamiliar to the ravenous fans of MN girls hoops. That didn’t alter the fact that the game went down to the last possession.

Henry thrashed Edison on their opener Thursday in running time. It appeared the Patriots were on the way to that result with an 8-2 and Avail having a hard time with 6-1 post Risaj Jones swatting away every attempt early inside. The Valor learned not to challenge her directly after six blocked shots. The mid range game near the free throw line provided relief and a 13-2 run put the hosts in front 15-10. The momentum pendulum swung back to Henry with an 18-4 run thanks in part to seven straight scores including four three point plays in a seven possession scoring spree. Lemylia Murphy had 11 of those points. Avail had another run to close the deficit to 32-29 at the half.

The lead swings were narrower in the second half. Avail scored the first six points to lead 35-32. The Patriots bounced back to lead 43-38. Katelyn Olstad, an 8th grader off the bench helped Avail get back in it with six points on put backs and a baseline shot. The score was knotted at 48 when Avail point guard Sophie Schmidt picked up her fifth foul with 3:51 left in the game. Without her leadership and control Avail fell victim to eight turnovers in their last twelve possessions. Despite that limitation Avail led 49-48 with 1:26 left. A free throw by Murphy tied it with 1:17 left. At this point I should point out the free throw shooting by both teams was below freezing: Henry at a frosty 25%, Avail at a chilly 30.8%. After an Avail missed free throw, Lanise Hunter converted on the fast break layup with 45 seconds left with what proved to be the game winner.

Henry had two players in the 31 Club: point guard Lemylia Murphy and post Risaj Jones.

Points 51 49
Total Rebounds/off 42/16 59/27
Turnovers 19 27
2FGA/% 41/43.9 63/33.3
3FGA/% 27/14.8 9/11.1
FTA/% 12/25.0 13/30.8
PP100 64.6 62.0
Leading Scorer Lemylia Murphy 19 Elizabeth Olstad 13

TRENCH PLAYER: Risaj Jones, 14 points, 21 d stops (including 6 blocks), 2 distributions. Strong, quick and a difference maker inside.

As for the volleyball connections: Lanise Hunter played for me at Henry. We wanted Jones, but she wasn’t able to continue after one week. Both are sophs.

The Avail VB players included four starters including Elizabeth Olstad and Sophie Schmidt. The other starters were Iseli Centeno and Madelyn Anderson. Two others were off the bench, both sisters of starters—Katelyn Olstad and Lily Anderson. Avail won the EMAC VB title for the first time in school history this season.

As for more out & abouts….with the restrictions and limitations imposed with the disease there will be much fewer outings this year. Besides the change of VB jobs from Henry to Avail I also switched in the basketball field as well. I am no longer at Stillwater, but I am in the same neighborhood—-five miles west at Mahtomedi. There I am helping assist a former player, now the head coach of the Zephyrs—-Erica Zizzo . Back in the day she was Erica Haugen at Osseo class of 1997.

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