O&A DOZEN FROM THANKSGIVING CLASSIC; SEEDING THE STATE & MORE
After a two day delay, I am back.
After the virus infected year of 2021 (no 2020 tagged with it), I am back on the trail. Last year was an asterisk of a year: artificial, limiting, and with me on the outside looking in. There were no mega-events. They are back. The crowds were back. It seemed like old times. But there have been changes. The fifth annual Catholic Thanksgiving Tip Off was held at St. Thomas——Academy. In the past the University of St. Thomas was the host with a strong emphasis on the “Catholic” part of the field. But with UST moving to D1 status, the venue was no longer an option. Instead, it was off to Mendota Heights and the all-boys school. This was the first time I obviously charted a game in this building. The different thing about this facility was the court itself—–no volleyball lines marking the floor. We usually tell our players to bring the ball up on the volleyball lines, not the basketball sidelines. No frame of reference there. The other difference was the amount of non-Catholic schools in the mix. It seemed pretty top heavy with Metro East teams too with only a few missing the event. Other denominations were also present. For the record I charted six games each on Friday and Saturday—an even dozen. Plus the early bird game on Wednesday means I have seen more games already this year than all of permission denied 2021. It used to be if I had to check the roster for a player’s name, then I knew the team wasn’t that strong (I could go eight to nine deep at least for the top teams like Hopkins). That isn’t the case right now in November 2021. The roster was continually checked. Sure, I knew maybe the top three players from certain teams, but it got hazy & fuzzy after that.
OUT & ABOUT DOZEN
With twelve games in two days, plus the crunching of the numbers, and then writing the story, things get condensed and delayed. What follows is a one line summary of each contest
Metro East teams won three* of the four games they were in; Catholic schools won three of the four games they were in. State Tournament entrants from April were split two and two.
GAME 1: North St. Paul 44, St. Agnes 28. This game had the winner with the lowest pp100 of any of the dozen at 64.3. NSP has had a rough go lately winning only twice in the last two seasons, eight times the last four years—for an average of two per year. They are half way to that mark now.
GAME 2: Holy Family 66, Simley 31. Without Chomp Danso, the Spartans struggled. They were the only Metro East team to falter Friday. Three players were on “Fire” for the Fire with Nicole Bowlin notching 13 and a game high 31 club score of 35: a triple double of points, d stops (11) and distributions (11)—-the only player to do so either day.
GAME 3: Totino-Grace 67, Stewartville 53. A turnover differential of +12 helped the Eagles to victory. Hannah Herzig led the way with 9 steals leading to a game high 24 points for TG.
GAME 4: St. Croix Lutheran 77, Mountain Iron-Buhl 72. Jordan Zubich of the #1 ranked A Rangers left the contest at 13:42 left in the second half. The scrappy Rangers found a way to stay in the game and actually up 69-66 with 1:20 left in the game. A 3 by former Mahtomedi player Zoey Washington tied the game for SCL on the next possession. A turnover leading to a lay up on the next MIB possession sealed their fate.
GAME 5: Mahtomedi 60, Sauk Centre 57. The Zephyrs led at half 30-20. SC moved in front 43-39 in the second half, a 23-9 push. Mahtomedi went back in front to stay 50-49 on a put back by Savannah Stockness with 3:30 left. It soon grew to 58-49 with 2:15 left. Two minutes later they were clinging to a 58-57 lead after two 3s sandwiched around a pair of free throws all on the back of Cierra Korton. Korton’s game tying three attempt bounced out.
GAME 6: Hill-Murray 67, Grand Rapids 52. The combination of Ella Runyon’s Tasmanian devil whirlwind (34 points, 13 d stops) and outside sniping by Haley Wolgamot (18 points on 4/6 3s) plus the relentless cycle of substitutions forcing 25 turnovers put the Pioneers in the driver’s seat.
Church based schools won three of their five games. April state tournament entrants were a perfect four for four. Teams that won yesterday were split one and one. Teams that lost on Friday were two for three. Crusaders were 2-0 on the day. State VB champs were 2-0 on this day—the first two wins of the day.
GAME 1: Mayer Lutheran 79, Maranatha 57. The Crusaders ran over the Mustangs going 8/12 in lay ups while Maranatha was 2/7. Five ML players had nine or more points.
GAME 2: Sauk Centre 40, Winona Cotter 36. The Mainstreeters bounced back from Friday’s loss with a narrow win in a battle of two hall of fame coaches. This was also the lowest scoring game of the bunch. Morgan for Cotter had 35 points on her own Friday night. The Ramblers were only one better Saturday.
GAME 3: Grand Rapids 58, Mahtomedi 51. With four minutes left the Zephyrs led 49-48. The Thunderhawks finished with a 10-2 run down the stretch.
GAME 4: Roseville 71, Hutchinson 62. The Raiders led by over 20 in the second half. The Tigers clawed their way back, but the deficit was too much to overcome. Roseville shot 41% from 3s making 10.
GAME 5: St. Croix Lutheran 84, Stewartville 75 OT. The only extra session and the Crusaders were in another tight jam and found a way to win. The lead exchanged hands several times late in the second half. With about two minutes left in regulation #2 made a 3 from the top of the key to give the Tigers a 66-65 lead after trailing 65-60. Laura Hauge was fouled on a three and converted all three to put SCL up again. With 0.3 seconds left #21 delivered two free throws to send the game into overtime. The Crusaders scored on their first five possessions and dodged and upset bullet.
GAME 6: Holy Angels 83, Eastview 41. The only running time game of the dozen. The Stars were lighting it up from behind the arc led by Kassandra Caron with 41 points—–8/16 on 3s, or should I say 4 pointers. (she has range). As a team HA had 15 3s. HA had 42 at half—enough to win the game. HA had the best pp100 for a winning team with 123.9.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
17 players (two made it twice) from a dozen schools headlined the 31 Club for the week.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cassandra Caron of Holy Angels, 57 score in the 31 Club, 41 points, 8/16 on 3s, pp100 of 186.4.
Others of note include:
Ella Runyon, Hill-Murray 51
Hannah Herzig, Totino-Grace 47
Haylie Strum, Stewartville 44
Laura Hauge, St. Croix Lutheran 39 & 35
Jenna Gapinski-Vogt, Sauk Centre 36 & 37
SEEDING THE STATE
Here is the way I would seed the state today. NO NO NO—-this is NOT the top teams in the class. This is one team on top of each section and how I would sort things out. For example section 2AAAA will have a section semifinal that will be worthy of a state semifinal. That means a top 10 (or even 5) team will not be listed below. The pain of location, location, location and the demographic lines cutting up the sections. Oh well….
Rank: school (section)
- Hopkins (6)
- Chaska (2)
- Stillwater (4)
- Michael-Albertville (8)
- Maple Grove (5)
- Rosemount (3)
- Lakeville North (1)
- Blaine (7)
- Becker (5)
- Austin (1)
- Mankato East (2)
- Benilde-St. Margaret’s (6)
- Totino-Grace (4)
- DeLaSalle (3)
- Grand Rapids (7)
- Alexandria (8)
- Providence (5)
- Minnehaha (4)
- Goodhue (1)
- Fergus Falls (8)
- Sauk Centre (6)
- Pequot Lakes (7)
- New London-Spicer (3)
- Glencoe-Silver Lake (2)
- Mountain Iron-Buhl (7)
- Minneota (3)
- Cass Lake-Bena (8)
- Mayer Lutheran (2)
- Hancock (6)
- Hayfield (1)
- BBE (5)
- Heritage Christian (8)