BECKER 97, ST. CLOUD 29
Three points….That was all that separated the #1AAA Becker Bulldogs from the century mark. It is ironic considering the hosts were the Blazin’ Bulldogs from downtown. For the night Becker delivered 19 3s at a blistering pace of 57.57%. The starters were 19/30 or 63.33%. Only the Boston Celtics of the 18 NBA teams in action Monday night made more at 20, but they were nowhere close in the percentage game 57% at 42%. Ironically Becker was better behind the arc than inside the arc (57.6% to 54.5%).
Leading the Bulldog surge was Danielle Nuest who ripped it up with 39 points, with 9/13 behind the arc. Early in the second half she was 9/11. Joining her in superior sharp shooting was Adeline Kent who had all her 21 points in the first half. She was 5/8 for the day. All five starters connected deep. Nuest, as could be expected, was TRENCH PLAYER of the game with a pp100 205.3. For the second time this season there was an addition to the 51 Club when Nuest had 56. With all the baskets falling she was 8/10 in set up passes. She had 9 d stops as part of the ferocious Becker defense.
At half the die was cast with Becker up 62-20. Indeed, Becker had enough in the tank to claim victory at the 9 minute mark of the first half up 32-6. That came during a personal 11 points outburst from Nuest during four straight possessions. Becker would penetrate and then kick out to wide open snipers. Becker blew the game wide open with four consecutive 3s turning a 10-4 lead into the beginnings of a romp (22-4). If it was not raining 3s it was downpour of layups with a 15/20 conversion rate. Running time was a foregone conclusion. The Bulldogs were tenacious at all phases of defense. Their full court pressure was pulled off when they were up 27-6.
For the game Becker had a pp100 of 138.6, the best this year. The starters were at 150. St. Cloud was at 42.6, the fifth lowest total of the year.
Another irony was that St. Cloud, now a combined program with Apollo and Tech merging, is known as the Crush. It was the visitor that was crushed in this case. The state of health of basketball, when two large schools are required to merge, is a sad tale. In the spring reshuffling of sections both Apollo and Tech were earmarked for section 8AAA. Since the combination they were forced to migrate to section 8AAAA leaving their previous section with only six teams (Sartell and Bemidji were bumped up in the spring). That makes nine teams in 8AAAA. But the holes in the schedules left by Tech and Apollo forced conference teams to scramble to fill those gaps. Could this be the beginning of more large scale schools opting for a combo approach? I hope not. Working the grass roots with stable coaching programs would go a long way to prevent such forced pairings. That will require patience. Lots of it.
The Crush have a lot of Tech behind them with the coach and more players (according to sources). Apollo has a few players sprinkled in. The combined team had three wins prior to the contest including a big win over Central Lakes rival Alexandria 62-59 last Friday. The Crush is now 3-3. Becker entered the contest with a 2-2 mark.