Everything was coming up Roses this week—as in Roseville and Rosemount, both were late game options. I was also able to go to the northeast corner of the state and western segment to see some Polar and Central Lakes action. This was a week for politically incorrect names or changed names. Shakopee, Waconia, Burnsville all have changed from Indians, Chiefs and Braves to Sabers, Wildcats and Blaze. Brainerd shifted their Warrior logo from a native American figure to medieval knight-like. Are Eskomos and Irish on the endangered mascot list?
I also completed section 2AAAA. They join the Lake and Metro East Conference in charting all available teams.
MONDAY ESKO 52, PROCTOR 43
I made my journey up 35 to the icebox known as the igloo of Esko. It was -11 on my car temperature gage. That may account for the slow start and lower pp100 numbers for both teams. Esko’s winning number of 80 was the lowest of the week. There were four centurions the rest of the week.
There was some leftover residue from the previous week. If you remember the trend was for the home team to trail early and then comeback and win. This was replicated in this contest. Proctor jumped out to a 9-1 advantage after six minutes. Despite the miserable start Esko was able to get back in the game by half trailing 22-19, an 18-13 turnaround. A 3 by Alia Gabel gave Esko their first lead at 26-25. The lead see-sawed back and forth with Proctor’s last lead coming at 32-30 with 12 minutes remaining. Esko outscored their visitors 22-11 down the stretch. Jayden Karppinen connected on a pair of bombs to help create distance from the Rails.
Interestingly the Rails shooting declined from 37.5% from 3s to 36.7 from 2s to only 33% at the line. A key stat differential was the steal totals with the hosts prevailing 13-2. Esko also had one of the strongest touch per turnover count at 53.7. Proctor was way behind at 12.5.
WEDNESDAY ROSEVILLE 72, MOUNDS VIEW 55
This was not my first choice. I traveled down to Cottage Grove expecting to see the Wolfpack (used to be Indians keeping with the politically incorrect agenda) and the Irondale Knights but there was an illness outbreak postponement. Luckily the Suburban East was in session and option two was on the way home at Roseville. I guess I need to check my options after my practice is over. It would be miserable to drive over two hours and not get a game in. This marked the second consecutive Wednesday with Roseville. The Raiders utilized their press to force 31 turnovers, the most of the week. MV’s turnover per touch numbers indicated that with 12.45 touches, the lowest for the week. Usually it is Roseville leading the way at the 3 point line, but the Mustangs were better with eight made and a percentage of 40%. Every time it looked like MV would close the gap (15-6 to 15-13) Roseville would respond. They slammed the door shut the last part of the first half, reversing the scenario from the week before, with a 17-3 surge the last 7:40 of the half. Roseville was up at the break 32-17. MV had another run with a 14-5 start to the second half trailing 37-31. Three 3s will help that cause, two were by Maddie Hanson. Nine unanswered Raider points got the game momentum shifted back to the Black and Silver. Hanson led all scorers with 20. Roseville featured four players with double digit scoring.
THURSDAY SHAKOPEE 58, WACONIA 36
The host Sabers devoured the Wildcats in a key section 2AAAA match up Thursday night. The patience and balance of the hosts helped give them a leg up. Shakopee’s touch count favored longer possessions (7+) to shorter possessions (3-) 28/23. The Sabers held the highest touch count for the week with Willmar the next best at 22. Waconia’s numbers on the same issue were 11/30. Shakopee’s success rate at the longer touch was 35%. Waconia’s in the faster touch count was only 20%. The second half started with a 9-2 Shakopee run.
Shakopee joins Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Chanhassen in the 2AAAA century club. Chaska is not there (yet) because they were charted against Hopkins.
The Wildcats are undergoing growing pains since they are now up a division, the most mind-numbing section in the state, and have joined a bigger conference in the Metro West. How tough is 2AAAA? At 7-5 Waconia could be staring at a #8 seed. There is no other section in the state where that would ever happen.
FRIDAY ROSEMOUNT 65, BURNSVILLE 41
This was a second option. Due to the snow event, there were cancellations (first option). I did not feel the need to go to outer regions of the state with road conditions less than ideal (second option). That opened the window for Rosemount. Still, that was less than ideal with an added 18 minutes of drive time.
Rosemount had the 1988 AA second place finishers inducted into their hall of fame Friday night. With those legends in attendance, the 2022 team, fresh off their AAAA second place finish in April, played inspired basketball in the first half blitzing Burnsville 43-15 at the break. The Blaze got off to a 12-5 start in the second half. That is when Irish 3 point specialist Nicole O’Neil made it her personal mission to halt that slide with three 3s and a lay up in five possessions on a personal 11-2 answer, making it a safe Irish lead of 59-29. The hosts could never get to the running time-land, however. O’Neil finished with 25 points.
SATURDAY BRAINERD 56, WILLMAR 49
What do Minnetonka, Wayzata & Willmar have in common? Yes, they are all on Highway 12, but they also have wins over defending AAA champion Becker. The difference? Willmar did it at Becker 74-64. The Cardinals did not demonstrate the same offensive prowess Saturday afternoon at their home as the visiting Brainerd Warriors picked up a key Central Lakes victory. The Warriors are sitting on top of the conference without a loss so far. Brainerd, or team Tautges (they start three) broke open a close game at half (up 22-21) pushing their lead to 14 (41-27) on the strength of a 19-6 start to the half. The Warriors had to hold on tight down the stretch —the last 2:30— as Willmar sprang to life as time was slipping away. The Cardinals erased a 14 point deficit to only five with 24 seconds left. Kate Stadum converted four free throws to keep the margin safe for Brainerd. The Warriors were not worriers at the line going 10/11.
Only Jaida Reiman delivered results like the victory over the Bulldogs with 20 points Saturday. She was the only the third player all week to get to the coveted 31 Club. The other two double digit scorers in that Becker contest (30 points) combined for only six Saturday. With the hard close by Willmar, they had the best pp100 for the week of any losing team with 90.7. This was also the lowest possession count of the week at 54. The last three contests were sub 60. Willmar, despite the loss, is situated well in their new section 8AAA. Only six teams are left in the section with the exit of both St. Clouds combining into a AAAA team. Another Cardinal team is in the shadows—Alexandria, but Willmar has one victory over them already.
31 & PACE
In the seven games I charted this week only three players cracked the 31 Club. Two members joined in a constricted environment of sub 60 possessions (59 and 54); one had the luxury of 78 possessions. Kendall Barnes of Roseville was skating on thin ice with foul problems including a couple of charges. She delivered the best score at 36 for the week. Her value added was 21. This happens when pressure is applied. She had 12 d stops and was one shy of a real triple double with nine distributions. In my previous two chartings of the Raiders it was Drew Johnston a two time 31 Club member. The only issue was her pp100 was sub 100 at 93.8. The other two were 150 or better.
Rosemount’s Nicole O’Neil had the best pp100 at 156.2 and her team won like Barnes. Her value added was the lowest at seven. O’Neil was deadly on corner 3s. Her distribution numbers are never going to be that high considering she is a catch and shoot bomber. She was 4/5 on set up passes, but Ava Thompson is the main distributor (at least that night) with 18 set ups.
Willmar’s Jaida Reiman was the only one of the three that lost during the week. Her pp100 was a healthy 153.8 thanks to a 9/11 mark at the free throw line. She led her team with 7 d stops and had 4 distributions for an added value of 11.
UNBEATEN: SEVENTH HEAVEN
One fell over the week—LCWM lost Monday to St. Clair. That leaves only Roosevelt left unblemished in AA.
Potential stumbling blocks this week: Hancock is at Underwood on Monday. Mayer Lutheran is at BLHS on Friday.
Hopkins is facing a pair of nationally ranked teams next weekend besides section rival Wayzata. That could cause a mark on perfection.
AAAA (2): Hopkins; Minnetonka
AAA (0): none
AA (1): Minneapolis Roosevelt
A (4): Hancock; Hayfield; Mayer Lutheran; South Ridge
Only one class is in single digits, and low single digits at that, with five in AAA. Strangely enough the leaders in AA are not on top of their sections in seeding the state (see below)
AAAA: 11 Hopkins, Minnetonka
AAA: 5 Cloquet, Mankato East, St. Peter
AA: 10 Holy Family, Menahga
A: 15 Hayfield
As for my checklist—The top 10 are now all seen at AAAA; 9 at AAA; 6 at AA; only 2 at A.
In the QRF world the best improvement last week came in the upper divisions with now 100% finished in the top 10. Three teams remain in the top 25. The biggest fish out there is Austin at 13.
The road becomes a little bit harder now. The days of checking off two top 100 teams will be limited. I expect to cross off two each on Monday and Tuesday. After that it will probably be one off each day. Also, with the Mahtomedi schedule at full bore (last week they only had one game), it will limit viewing options. Add in potential snow events and virus cancellations and the chances of seeing 37 in 22 open slots is extremely remote. Maybe the top 75 doesn’t have the same cache but that might be the realistic goal in 2022. Strangely enough it is 22 teams left to reach that goal. “22 for 22.” Poetic?
1-10: 100% up 20
1-25: 88% up 16
1-50: 80% up 4
1-75: 70.67% up 6
1-100: 63% up 9
SEEDING THE STATE
Defying gravity or full of helium. That is the case with teams #1 (other than Hopkins) that lose. In the last week Becker, Minnehaha and Mountain Iron-Buhl all lost, the last two lost to teams outside of their class. Becker has taken one on the chin in AAA besides outside of that arena.
- Hopkins (6)
- Minnetonka (2)
- St. Michael-Albertville (8)
- Stillwater (4)
- Maple Grove (5)
- Rosemount (3)
- Rochester JM (1)
- Centennial (7)
- Becker (5)
- St. Paul Como Park (3)
- Austin (1)
- Holy Angels (6)
- Totino-Grace (4)
- Mankato East (2)
- Grand Rapids (7)
- Willmar (8)
- Minnehaha (4)
- Providence (5)
- Goodhue (1)
- New London-Spicer (3)
- Sauk Centre (6)
- Fergus Falls (8)
- Pequot Lakes (7)
- Glencoe-Silver Lake (2)
- Mountain Iron-Buhl (7)
- Mayer Lutheran (2)
- Hancock (6)
- Minneota (3)
- Hayfield (1)
- Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (5)
- Cass Lake-Bena (8)
- New Life (4)