It is May and the first time I have been out on the club circuit in 2022. And right on cue the weather gets better.
The Minnesota State qualifier is taking place this weekend at Bloomington Kennedy. This is the unique dance that is a preview of things to come—-perhaps. The field is divided into pools based on the previous years finish. There have been changes to rosters and improvements in skills not to mention physical growth. Still it is the eternal measuring stick. What is different in 22 is that the “real” state tournament will be next week. There will not be any true rest and reset. This is due to the change in the recruiting calendar. Now there is a new D1 window late in May, where the traditional two week lay over would occur. That necessitates the rushed calendar.
As it was, I charted four early games on the feature court (or what should be the feature court)—-court 7. That is where all the 1s v 1s will take place tomorrow with the exception of the youngest contingent. The first two games today were 2023s, the oldest division—current juniors. Next came two games with the 2024s—current sophs. Three of the four contests were centered on the A & B pools, conceptually the 1 through 8 seeds next week. I charted two teams I expect will be playing in the final game at 4:10—-MN Fury UAA and NT 17 EYBL. They both won. They both met the gold standard with pp100s over 100.
The nature of club ball is to load up the roster with players that can contribute. Therefore the playing time is somewhat constricted compared to the high school year where a player may have to play the entire contest if the team is to have a prayer. That means in club ball the court time is cut in half for most players compared to winter. That means the 31 Club becomes even more exclusive. It also should be pointed out that club ball does not enjoy 18 minute halves—they get 16 if they are older, 14 younger.
Here are the games
MN Fury 2023 UAA over MN Fury 2023 Premier 47-41. Clubs hate when they must play each other. There is no opt out option in the state qualifier unlike the home grown tournaments. Right off the bat the Fury was forced to face each other. This was the “best” game of the day in the pp100 measure. Premier did hold a momentary 27-25 on the third possession of the second half after #11 canned a 3 up top. That lasted until the next possession when Savannah McGowan converted her version of a three point play old school with an &1 off an offensive rebound. There was a 36 all tie with about 10 minutes left. Seven empty trips derailed Premier’s upset plans. UAA finished with an 11-5 advantage.
North Tartan 17 EYBL over MN Stars Hersch 11th 67-40.
PM North 16 Showcase over MN Stars Lamberty 10th 50-41. This was the only game of the day not in the A/B pool. Technically this was pool D. PM is Playmakers. This club has Duluth area ties and extends its reach into Wisconsin and the Arrowhead.
MN Suns 2024 Blue Star over MN Stars Bjorgaard 50-32.
Only two players were remotely close to this level: Tessa Johnson (St. Michael-Albertville) North Tartan 17 EYBL with a 30. Johnson scored 17 points and had a 121.4 pp100. Tori Oehrlein (Crosby-Ironton) of MN Suns 2024 Blue Star. Oehrlein, it should be noted, is playing up two age levels–she is a 2026. She racked up 29. Oehrlein scored 15 points and checked in with 115.4 pp100. There were 24 players with pp100s who scored 100 or better in that measure.
I am pleased to announce most of the teams today did not flounder but looked comparatively sharp for early May. Usually, the peak pp100 doesn’t happen until June and July, so a good sign of things to come. For today we had two teams over 100, both MN Fury 2023 UAA (102.1) and North Tartan 17 EYBL (116.3). The best non-winning score came with MN Fury 2023 Premier at 85.7. Only two teams failed to cross over the 70 mark.
If there was a portal in high school, how many would climb on board?