A MILL CITY TRIO
It is already July, and the first D1 viewing window is open. Minnesota’s contribution to the tournament scene is the co-sponsored Fury/Flight Mill City Invitational. Today I was able to chart a few teams I have not had the opportunity to check off my lists with a trio of early round games. Only one of the teams in the mix was not from the Gopher State—-ECI of North Dakota.
I opted for court 3 instead of the prime time court. The tighter games were off the feature court on this day with Southern MN Fury 2023 scoring a last second basket to beat MN Rise 2024. It was only their second lead of the game, the last time coming with 14:13 left to go in the first half.
Some trends that continue from May & June: 3s are de rigueur. In the opener the first seven possessions (and first eight shots) ended on a 3 attempt (four of which were successful). Things markedly cooled off after that with 25% the rest of the way. The made 3s in the games were 14-8-15. Second half rallies ruled, one which turned the tables. In game one MBA Cordes was left for dead at half time down 38-24. A renewed focus on defense, including playing the full length of the floor brought MBA right back into the game with Metro Stars calling time after three straight turnovers to start the half and MBA racking up seven unanswered points. They did narrow the gap to four (50-46) but that was as close as it was going to get. The inside point production of the Counts sisters delivered 36 points. Besides the deep 3, the Metro Stars converted four &1s on in the paint 3s. They shined inside with going 15/26 to only 4/10 for MBA. Metro Stars earlier this season were charted at 58. Today they zoomed out to 98.5, a +40 improvement.
The middle game, which held the most drama, also had the lowest pp100 with the winning Southern MN Fury squad topping out at 71. This may be a factor in the younger players. Also, both squads are non-metro based. It was only 18-13 at half in favor of the Rise. With an 8-0 second half start it looked like the South Central based squad would coast (26-13). The SM Fury chipped away at that lead via the free throw line. They made more free throws (15) than Rise attempted (14). Fury went to the line every 12.2 touches, Rise every 25.4. With 2:09 left and the Rise nursing a five point lead (42-37), the decision was to pull the ball and take easy shots. Three straight turnovers ruined that plan and momentum had shifted to the SMF. In the last minute free throws loomed large. SMF converted 4/4, Rise 2/3, but the miss came at six seconds left and a 44-43 lead. Haylie Strum grabbed the miss and got the time out. She passed it in, bolted in the clear to receive the return pass and put up the game winner on the right side 15 feet out just as the horn sounded. Strum had the best 31 club score of the day with 34. She also led the day in scoring with 23 points, more than half of SMF’s final total.
The final contest I viewed had another Fury winner, this time over a team from North Dakota. Two straight 3s put Fury in front 6-2. ECI scored the last seven points of the first half to tie the game at 29. Piper Harris gave the ND team a 33-30 lead after a 3. Caron immediately responded with a 3 to tie it. ECI harbored comeback hopes after an &1 with 1:50 left cut the score to 53-47, but they missed the bonus. Fury closed with 8 straight free throws to put the game on ice. This was another case of improvement over the first charting . The Fury in their Summer Jam charting were a paltry 58 pp100 just like Metro Stars. Today was a robust 90.8.
Two of the six teams cracked the 90 pp100 mark. Both losing teams in those cases were north of 80.
GAME 1/ 17U GREEN POOL B
|Metro Stars 2022 Voigt||MBA 11 Cordes|
|TOP SCORER||Grace Counts 21||Kate Cordes 20|
|31 CLUB||Maria Counts 31||Kate Cordes 37|
TRENCH PLAYER: Maria Counts (Providence 2022) 15 points, 214.3 pp100, 29 in 31 Club.
GAME 2/ SILVER POOL B
|SO MN FURY 2023||MN RISE 2024 HULKE|
|TOP SCORER||Haylie Strum 23||Macy Birkholz 12|
|31 CLUB||Haylie Strum 34||Rachel Kottke 22|
TRENCH PLAYER: Haylie Strum (Stewartville 2023) 23 points, 104.5 pp100, 34 in the 31 Club.
GAME 3/ PLATINUM POOL B
|MN FURY 2022 PREMIER||ECI GOLD 17U|
|TOP SCORER||Kyla Overskei 18||Piper Harris 13|
|31 CLUB||Kyla Overskei 24||Piper Harris 25|
TRENCH PLAYER: Kyla Overskei (Maple Grove, 2022) 18 points, 138.5 pp100, 24 in the 31 Club