Three days late. I apologize for the delay. Research, stat conversion, and life got in the way.
The 2022 state tournament is in the books with North Tartan taking the most prizes with five including the final big three. There was a little for everyone in the championship field. NT was 5-3 in title games on the day—-including a double dip in 2028/6. MN Fury and MN Stars were each 1-1 on the day, but the Fury was shut out in the 16 minute divisions for the first time since 2012. MN Stars took the final 14 minute division (2026/8) and lost the first 16 minute division (2025/9). The Metro Stars were shut out in their attempt at a title going 0-2 at the beginning of the day and end. The next layer of clubs each had one entry in title games—MN Suns falling in the 2024 division (it was the first Suns appearance in a final since 2010) and 43 Hoops with their fourth straight title at the 2027 division.
2030/4: MN FURY 2030 BLUE 45, METRO STARS 2030 23
In the Fury’s only win of the day, they did it with convincing fashion having enough in the bank at half (26) to win. Point guard Kali Jo Schultz of the Fury led the way with 16 points and 25 score in the 31 Club.
2029/5: NORTH TARTAN 11 NIKE 29, MN FURY 2029 BLUE 28
The narrowest margin of the day goes to the NT 11 Nike squad as they picked up back to back titles in the 2029/5 division. They had a new opponent with the Fury from last week. The difference in the game? Two free throws by Lamairah Wright with 16.2 seconds left. That was a response to the Fury’s five point rally to pull ahead 28-27. It started with a 3 by Alysen Purcell and Isabelle Austin with a shot on the left block. Chloe Reedy off the bench led NT with 13 points.
2028/6: NORTH TARTAN 12 NIKE 56, INSPIRED ATHLETICS NT BLACK 42
The Fargo/Moorhead based NT team had a huge 14-2 lead with 8:28 left in the first half, but fouls got in the way, then shots did not fall like they did before. By half that margin shrank to 28-23. NT took the lead at 33-32. In the last 19 NT Nike possessions they had a pp100 of 126.3. Lauren Robison led Nike with 17 points, a pp100 of 154 and a 31 Club score of 24.
2027/7: 43 HOOPS ELITE 46, NORTH TARTAN 13 NIKE 43
This was the only age division winner that did not take the court in last weekend’s seeding 1v1 game. 43 Hoops Elite won their fourth straight title by a narrow three point margin. With under two minutes left in the game Ava Cupito hit a 3 from up top to put 43HE up for good 44-43. Later she added two insurance free throws with 30 seconds left for the final margin. Cupito and Mya Wilson shared high scoring honors for 43HE with 11.
2026/8: MN STARS HILLS 50, NORTH TARTAN 14 NIKE 33
MN Stars Hill led 9-2 when NT took their first time out. The rest of the half was almost even with the Stars holding a 29-20 half time lead. But should this team be called MN Stars? MN/ND Stars would be appropriate. Two of their leading scorers are from Minot, ND, seven hours 48 minutes and 510 miles away from the Kennedy Activity Center. NoDakers Center Alliyah Bell had 13 points and guard Maggie Fricke had 12 points. At any rate all five Stars starters were over the century mark in the pp100 race.
To be clear the Stars are not the only ones with non-Minnesotans on their rosters—NT has several players from ND, SD and WI on their older championship rosters. Borders really don’t matter.
2025/9: NORTH TARTAN 15 NIKE 71, MN STARS BOROWICZ 55
This happened to be the highest scoring offensive explosion out there. NT continued its hot hand from behind the arc like they did Saturday going 12/22 or 54% on Sunday. They converted seven more 3s than the Stars with five players delivering 3s. Leading the way was Maddyn Greenway going 5/6 on the day from that distance on her way to 23 points. Kendall McGee of the Stars led all scorers with 26 points including a couple of “4 point” distance shots. Both players made the 31 Club with identical 34 scores. Greenway had a better pp100 164.3 to 136.8 but was also squeaky clean with the ball with 57 touches per turnover compared to McGee’s 13.4.
NT led 29-23 at the break and scored a whopping 42 points after the break—-a 150 pp100 clip in the second half.
2024/10: NORTH TARTAN 16 EYBL 59, MN SUNS 2024 BLUE STAR 38
Maddy Greenway is playing up one age level. The Suns Tori Oehrlein, also from the 2026 class, is playing up two. She was not allowed to score at will against NT and ended up with only four points on the day. The player that was stratospheric was NT’s Laura Hauge who knocked down 4/5 3s on her way to a day’s best 233.3 pp100. NT had control early and led 34-20 at the break.
2023/11: NORTH TARTAN 17 EYBL 58, METRO STARS 2023 PRYOR 56
The final game of the day was, in my opinion, the most dramatic of the day. Any time the game winds down to the last minute, the last possessions, it grabs your attention and does not let go. This was the case in the NT/Metro Stars game. Add in the subplots of Hopkins v Hopkins; former NT coach against old program, and all the layers of past title games going back to 2016 and you have an instant classic. It did not disappoint. Both teams could look back on the game with positives, and of course regrets. The biggest regrets for Metro Stars would be the lack of conversion of their free throws, especially in the first half. For the day Metro Stars was 54% (12/22). You think 10 points would not have been beneficial? Twice in the first half they missed the front end—instead make those 12 points. Also, twice they were zero for two. I had 2/10 at the line. Another telling stat at the free throw line—-NT was ¾ on &1s including the insurance game winner by Tessa Johnson with 3 seconds left; Metro Stars did not have an opportunity. NT had an 11 point lead (49-38) with seven minutes remaining. Metro Stars, to their credit, fought back and took the lead with 1:38 left—-on a pair of free throws (surprise) by Liv McGill. Tessa Johnson on the next NT possession scored and was fouled, but missed the &1, the only time that happened for NT on the day. McGill made her second free throw with 56 seconds left for the final Metro Stars lead at 56-55. NT had two cracks at scoring on their next possession. Metro Stars grabbed the second miss but fumbled the ball away under the NT basket with Taylor Woodson forcing the turnover. 7.9 seconds remained and a time out was taken by NT. Johnson took the shot, missed, but snagged the rebound. She scored and was fouled with 3 ticks left, this time converting the &1. Metro Stars took a time out, which advanced the ball to midcourt. Boyle passed the ball in and got the return pass. Her shot from deep, close to midcourt was off, but drew iron. NT had prevailed by the hair of their chinny chin chin.
FACTS & FIGURES
Six #1s won the title on Sunday. The only non #1 to win was 43 Hoops in the 2027/7 division.
Six #3s made it to the championships. One won it—-43 Hoops Elite in the 2027 division.
There was only one rematch from the week before—–that came in the 2025 division with the same result.
One #9 seed made it to the championships—-that in the all North Tartan 2028/6 final. Inspired Athletics NT based in the Fargo/Moorhead area bumped off #1 MN Stars Zabel in the quarters.
Tradition wins—winning is habit forming, especially at the younger age levels. North Tartan 2029 has won both years they have been around. North Tartan 2028 has won three straight. 43 Hoops 2027 has four straight crowns. MN Stars Hill is back on the winning track after taking titles in 2018, 19, 20. MN Stars Borowicz saw their three year title run come to an end with North Tartan winning again. NT first won in that division fifth grade. The 2024 and 2023 divisions, won by NT teams, have two straight titles. In the earlier incantations at the soph level Tayler Hill Elite wore the crown three straight times. MN Fury won three titles in a row before the 2023 NT group put a stop to that the last two seasons. Neither was around Sunday afternoon.
Earlier in the day the pp100s were lighter—experience and skill matter. As the day got longer, and the players got older, the century mark was crossed a couple of times. The only winning team not to get past 70 in the day was the NT 11/2029 team checking in with a 45.3. Starting with the sixth grade division the winners were never lower than 88.5, a healthy number. The best pp100 for the day came at the 2025/9 division with North Tartan 15 Nike roaring at 122.4. NT 16 EYBL was the only other centurion with a 107.5. The non-winners at the later stages also had robust numbers. The best losing number came with MN Stars Borowicz with a 94.8, that was better than five champions on the day. Two others made it to the 80s, one the 70s. As you can imagine the lowest came in the diaper dandy division with a 34.3. Again, youngsters just learning the game, have not developed the skills or game awareness of older kids, plus they were rubbing the sleep out of their eyes.
The 31 Club is a stringent unforgiving marker. In the 2025/9 title game two made the mark. Kendall McGee for MN Stars Borowicz (& Benilde-St. Margaret’s) scored 26 points, with 136.8 pp100 helped by the fact that she was 8/11 from the 2 range. Despite all those points her other value added was 8 (3 distributions / 5 d stops) for a total of 34. She is the one that bounces the ball the most on her team and has the second most touches, but only set up her teammates six times. That is the fourth best on her squad. Maddyn Greenway of North Tartan 15 Nike (& Providence) had 23 points, three less than McGee but had the exact same 31 Club score with 34 meaning a value added of 11. In other markers she was higher—pp100 a 164.3, touches per point 2.48 to 2.58. Greenway had four distributions but was the leading set up player on her team with 9. Furthermore, as measuring point guard skills, the touches per turnover overwhelming went to Greenway 57 touches to 13.5.
On a non-31 Club note, but significant nevertheless, Laura Hauge of North Tartan 16 EYBL had a pp100 of 233.3 pp100 with 14 points on 4/5 3 shooting. Her 31 Club score was 20 meaning a value added of six.
In the final game the Liv McGill of Metro Stars Pryor (& Hopkins) made the mark right on the nose. Her value added was a sweet 16—8 each on d stops and distributions. It was the best value added of the day. She scored 15 points for a 93.8 pp100.
Last week Tessa Johnson of NT 17 EYBL (& STMA) made the 31 Club twice in a show of consistency. This week she missed with a 28. But coming up clutch down the stretch and hitting the game winning shot off a put back plus getting fouled and completing the &1 is reward enough.
CRYSTAL BALL HS STYLE
Another week, another set of teams that should be positioned well for March 2023. Well….it doesn’t change that much. Still the “Great” Lake showed their depth. This time Hopkins ruled the roost with six players across the top three age divisions playing for titles. Four of them were involved with Metro Stars Pryor. Directly under that peak came a trio of threes from the Lake—-Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and St. Michael-Albertville. Lakeville North also cracked the three club. Schools with a pair included Maple Grove, Eastview, Prior Lake and Stillwater. The Ponies were shut out last week. Not one school from the smaller classes (AAA, AA, or A) and two or more. 14 schools in the smaller school divisions had one member.
THE PAST IS PROLOGUE/ WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The championship game in the 2023/5th grade division —way back in 2016—had three players familiar with the situation. But only one was a winner then, and now: Kennedy Klick. The 5th grade champions that year was Metro Stars. Also on that team was Sunaja Agara (AKA NuNu) and Alivia McGill. Agara and McGill have been state champions as has Ashley Schuelke of Chaska. Schuelke also played with the Metro Stars in 5th grade. She was the main force in that action with a pp100 of 83.3 and 26 score in the 31 Club. McGill had a much better pp100 of 166.7. Another name that may be familiar from the 5th grade Metro Stars version include Jhane Green of Minneapolis Southwest. Their opponents in that contest in 2016 was the MN Suns led by Taryn Hamling of Grand Rapids. She led that squad with 78.6 points and an 18 in the 31 Club. Current high school starters on that team include Vivica Bretton and Emily Bowron from Rochester Lourdes, Brylee Iverson of Triton, Chloe Jarnot of Maranatha, and Nicole Lillard of Champlin Park. Does success early translate into success later? Obviously, players mature physically at different rates. But with McGill, Klick, Agara and Schuelke there is no question they have had staying power. Those players get more coaching, at higher levels of competition and builds a virtuous cycle. Winning breeds winning.
Not everyone on those rosters stayed with basketball. Some were sampling and migrated strongly to soccer for example later in their high school athletic careers. I counted five from the Stars that vanished from the basketball rosters, three from the Metro Stars.
IT WAS A GOOD DAY TO BE:
A Wilson: two sets of Wilson sisters won state titles. Mya (2027: 43 Hoops) and Ashlee (2029: NT 11 Nike) and Sahara (2028: NT 12 Nike) and Trinity (2024: NT 16 EYBL).
The Wright sisters picked up three—a double dip at the 2029 level with Lamariah and Lariah (NT 11 Nike) and Lanelle (2025: NT 15 Nike)