It is summer, the final weekend of hoop action. And since it is summer it is appropriate that we all head to the Lake—the Lake Conference that is. All four semifinalists of this year’s Sweet 16 reside in the “Great” Lake. Maybe the better term for this event is the “fine fifteen” since one team, due to injuries, cancelled their appearance. Every spring the call goes out to what is hoped to be the top four teams in each class. Some teams have had enough this summer and have put action on hold until November’s start of the high school season (or September/October with riveting fall league action).
Even the teams in attendance were not at full strength with summer vacations due, or recovery, or other camps/events in the mix. Tessa Johnson of STMA was there, but did not play, same with Nunu Agara of Hopkins. The Sweet 16 gives a glimpse of what would/could happen if all the schools played in one class. The Lake was the class of the classes and the teacher is in session. Today’s action wasn’t all slam dunk Lake. Minnetonka had to survive a tied start to the fourth quarter before pulling away from pesky Stewartville. Eden Prairie topped defending AA champ Providence thanks to a dozen 3s. But they were in a hole early in the second quarter (nine minute quarters). Providence scored on seven of their first eight possessions, including a 10-5 burst. But the long ball kept the Eagles in the vicinity. By half EP was up 39-30 and they kept adding to that lead in the second half.
Action started bright and early (I mean soggy and early) with an 8:30 am tip off. In the three games I charted only one team cracked, or reached, the coveted century mark in the pp100 game—and that happened right away in the first game with Mahtomedi. The AAAA runner-ups in 2022 were right at 100 (starters 120). EP in their win over Providence was the next closest at 89.9. As for players, the exclusive 31 Club only allowed three entries. Two players whose teams fell short made the list. Maddyn Greenway of Providence topped the trio with a 39 on 20 points, 10 d stops and just missing out on triple double with nine d stops. Birthday girl Molly Linz of EP had a 36 on 20 points (4/5 on 3s), nine d stops and seven distributions. She had a best 133.3 pp100 in the trio. The final entrant was Sonja Pothoff of Mahtomedi with 37 with a day’s high 24 points thanks going 5/6 on 3s. Pothoff was one of two starters that were in the house for the Zephs.
Tomorrow the semis start at 9:50 with the title game to start approximately 12:30. We know it will be a Lake team.
St. Michael-Albertville 81, Mahtomedi 54
Minnetonka 62, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart 39
Stewartville 80, New Ulm 60
Hopkins 81, Mayer Lutheran 45
Jordan 51, Pequot Lakes 47
Eden Prairie 67, DeLaSalle 40
Providence 64, Grand Meadow 25
New Ulm 70, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart 69
Pequot Lakes 70, Mayer Lutheran 36
DeLaSalle 61, Grand Meadow 57
St. Michael-Albertville 67, Underwood 35
Minnetonka 63, Stewartville 56
Hopkins 58, Jordan 42
Eden Prairie 72, Providence 60