After a two day delay here are the goods from Sunday’s games.
Overall numbers (looking specifically at pp100s) were down from seventh grade (2026) and up (2022) from two weeks ago. This could be due to the stress of the event (perceived importance), better understanding of the teams/players involved (better defenses/lessons learned from 2 weeks ago), different gym conditions even (air circulation, sight lines). Not one team made the coveted 100 pp100, the gold standard. The best numbers of the day came at 7th (2026) with North Tartan reaching 97.9—a mere 2.1 away from triple digits. The best non-winning team came in 8th (2025) with North Tartan hitting 85.2). Two teams made the 90s, four the 80s, two 70s. 70 is usually the dividing line in my mind for adequate teams. Keep in mind younger teams will struggle to hit that mark due to the learning curve, ball handling skills and shot selection choices. Taking the younger crowd out the pp100 in the top four ages average was a decent 80.2, but room for improvement is vastly available.
Everyone is scanning the horizon for the next Paige Bueckers. That may be a hard road to climb. Bueckers had a game understanding/spatial awareness/vision that others never can quite duplicate. Still the seeds are planted. We will see who can maintain and remain consistent through the ages. Here is a look at those types:
Individuals stepped up with three 31 Club performances in the strict sense. Prorated for time that number increases to eight—3 at the 14 minute half level, five at the 16 minute half level. Mara Braun had the highest 31 Club score with 36. She was helped in a great deal with a day’s high 29 points, just two away from the 31 Club score.
Other noteworthy individual performances include a pair of players in the very first game (4th/2029). Stella Perry was 13/16 at the free throw line—-something many older kids would aspire to. Ashlee Wilson came up with two 3s in the second half to help NT. Nora Ivey (MN Stars Hill 5/2028) had a day’s high 14 defensive stops, one of six players in double digit d stops. Three of those players, despite their efforts, ended up on the losing side of the equation. Three of those players got their numbers in the very first game (4/2029). In another head scratcher the best distributor on the day came from a losing team: Kennedy Sanders (Fury/2023) was the only player in double digit distributions at 10/15 or 67%. She also had 56 touches per turnover much better than the 15s to 20s of others.
GAME 1: 2029
WHEN THE GAME WAS WON: Crossfire had the lead at half 20-13. They scored on their first possession of the second half matching NT and led 22-15 after two free throws by Stella Perry. When they scored next they were down 32-22, a 17-0 run. Ashlee Wilson had 8 of those points including two 3s, one of which was a step back 3 after a steal. Crossfire did claw their way back into the game at the free throw line with a 14-6 finishing kick, but the early second half drought was too much to overcome.
|NORTH TARTAN 4||CROSSFIRE SOUTH KOLES|
|TOP SCORER||Ashlee Wilson 16||Stella Perry 17|
|31 CLUB||Ashlee Wilson 27||Stella Perry 32|
TRENCH PLAYER: Ashlee Wilson with 16 points, 84.2 pp100, and a 27 in the 31 Club
GAME 2: 2028
WHEN THE GAME WAS WON: NT led at half 16-12. Stars Hill went up 18-16 after scoring the first six points of the half. Hill went in front 23-18 after an &1 score by Briana Foster with 7:50 left. NT scored 10 unanswered points to pull in front 28-23. Ellie Panner delivered six of those points. Stars Hill fought back and tied the game at 33 with 56 seconds left on a shot in the lane by Danasia Anderson. With under 30 seconds left Piper Ohnstad scored a left handed layup. Beckett Greenway added a pair of free throws to close the scoring with 7 seconds left.
One key stat was NT’s ability to handle the intense MN Stars pressure D. They averaged 12.25 touches per turnover, almost the same 12.7 number as MN Stars Hill. I know they had an eight deficit, but they handled it much better than others.
Joanna Hedstrom is the NT coach. She won titles as a player not too long ago with NT.
|NORTH TARTAN 5 NIKE||MN STARS HILL 5|
|TOP SCORER||Arianna Peterson 12||Two with 8|
|31 CLUB||Two with 18||Noraa Ivey 25|
TRENCH PLAYER: Arianna Peterson with 12 points, 109.1 pp100, and an 18 score in the 31 Club.
This is where the 6th grade championship would have been, but they played in the back gym. Why it was hidden remains a mystery. It may be because of conflicts coaching more than one team. Sixth graders were robbed of an experience on the main stage.
GAME 3: 2026
WHEN THE GAME WAS WON: In one of the 14 minute half games there is usually a team that rises out of nowhere (a non 1 through 3 seed). #5 seed Inspired Athletics upset two teams on the way to the title game. That expended energy may have contributed to their slow start. It may have contributed to the day’s best 58.8% shooting by sister team NT. NT lead 13-1 after 10 minutes. At half that lead was 27-12.
NT 7’s numbers improved from 83.3 to 97.9
|NORTH TARTAN 7 NIKE||INSPIRED ATHLETICS NT 13|
|TOP SCORER||Mya Moore 13||Tatem Votava 7|
|31 CLUB||Mya Moore 23||Tatem Votava 14|
TRENCH PLAYER: Mya Moore with 13 points, 160 pp100 and a 23 score in the 31 club.
GAME 4: 2025
WHEN THE GAME WAS WON: This is obvious. It was Kendall McGee’s 3 at the buzzer. With 9 seconds left in overtime and the score knotted at 52 MN Stars called time. McGee stood at midcourt and pounded the ball. Facing the clock, she moved into position off the right side of the free throw circle and delivered the knockout punch. McGee was essential down the stretch.
Earlier the Stars led 33-29 at the break. That mushroomed to 38-29 about 12 minutes left. With 6:54 left the Stars were still in the driver’s seat up 45-35. With 1:05 left NT tied it at 50 after a pair of free throws by Addison Mack. A big 3 by #21 prior to that left NT down 49-48. Both teams traded empty possessions to start the two minute overtime. Ella Keenan struck first for MN Stars on the left side block. Tori Schlagel did the same for NT on the right block.
This was easily the best game of the day with respect to combined pp100s and margin and drama.
NT 14u’s numbers dropped from 108.2 to 85.2. They were the #1 seed after their victory two weeks ago.
|MN STARS BOROWICZ 8||NORTH TARTAN 14U NIKE|
|TOP SCORER||Kendall McGee 20||Addison Mack 17|
|31 CLUB||Kendall McGee 32||Addison Mack 28|
TRENCH PLAYER: Kendall McGee (Breck) with the game winner, 20 points, 95.2 pp100 and a 32 score in the 31 Club.
GAME 5: 2024
WHEN THE GAME WAS WON: this could easily be called the battle of the odd front defenses. NT was 1/2/2, Fury 1/3/1. Every move by Fury’s Olivia Olson was tracked closely. Others were swarmed on sidelines forcing errant passes. This was a close game at 24-20 NT at the break. NT led 27-25 with about 12 minutes left. Welson, with a killer hesitation, left her defender in the dust and scored a lay up making the score 38-30 with 7:30 left. In the last two minutes NT was 6/6 at the free throw line on three straight possessions not allowing a whiff of hope to overcome the margin.
This was a two directional game. NT 15u’s numbers up 75.9 to 84.1; Fury’s down from 69.6 to 63.5
|NORTH TARTAN 15U NIKE||MN FURY 2024 UAA|
|TOP SCORER||Rainey Welson 19||Olivia Olson 17|
|31 CLUB||Rainey Welson 29||Olivia Olson 30|
TRENCH PLAYER: Rainey Welson (Hortonville, WI) with 19 points, 29 score in the 31 Club.
GAME 6: 2023
WHEN THE GAME WAS WON: After a 3 by Fury’s Aby Shubert made it 23-20 with 3:37 left NT called time. They scored the next four points to close the half up 27-20. The margin never dipped below that in the second half. The difference seemed to come from the NT bench. They outscored the Fury 24-15 and more importantly were efficient doing so with a 124 pp100 to 78.9.
NT 16’s numbers dropped from 104.8 to 93.2.
|NORTH TARTAN 16U EYBL||MN FURY 2023 UAA|
|TOP SCORER||Kennedy Klick 14||Aby Shubert 12|
|31 CLUB||Reese Ross 18||Kennedy Sanders 20|
TRENCH PLAYER: Kennedy Klick (Maple Grove) with 14 points, 175 pp100 and a 15 score in the 31 Club.
GAME 7: 2022
WHEN THE GAME WAS WON: the final game is the capstone of many club careers in the state prior to the hectic July window. For the second straight viewing Mara Braun showcased shy she is Gopher bound with 29 points on an assortment of shots. The NT rivalry with Metro Stars was not renewed thanks to the Fury’s upset of the former NT roster of players now working for Metro Stars. Fury did hold a 19-16 lead after a 3 by Miller with nine minutes left in the first half. A 3 by Braun with 7:40 left gave NT a 20-19 lead and the Nike program remained in front 29-27 at the break. Fury had one more lead exchange after a 3 by Nebraska bound Cailin Hake 30-29. NT scored on four of five possessions to built their lead to 46-38. It was a Gopher tag team scoring splurge with Braun racking up six, and fellow Minnesota recruit Nia Holloway getting the other two. They were not the only future Maroon & Gold players on the floor. Fury’s Mallory Heyer is headed to the U as well.
The bench again proved important in NT’s win. Even though outscored 10-8, it was pp100 (100-52.6) and other metrics like touches per turnover (15-12.25) that highlighted depth and quality.
This was the record breaking sixth state title in the weekend that saw North Tartan return to the peak of the club world in Minnesota after an absence of two years.
NT 17’s numbers dropped from 101.9 two weeks ago to 85.2.
|NORTH TARTAN 17U EYBL||MN FURY 2022 UAA|
|TOP SCORER||Mara Braun 29||Callin Hake 11|
|31 CLUB||Mara Braun 36||Mallory Heyer 17|
TRENCH PLAYER: Mara Braun (Wayzata) with 29 points, 138.1 pp100 and a 36 score in the 31 club.