2022 closed off with decent weather and that meant I was able to digest 17 contests. Some teams were doubled up, but more were new. AA had the biggest chunk of teams with 13. AAA was close behind with 11.
I have now seen 42 of the 64 AAAA teams. I am one off in 5AAAA, the next section closest to completion.
As for the teams Holdingford had the best pp100 with a 114.9 in their take down of previously undefeated Duluth Marshall. There were seven teams that made the century mark, and all won. The window went from 114.9 to 46.8. The “best” game of the week was Crosby-Ironton v Mt. Iron-Buhl if using the losing teams’ pp100 is the measuring stick. MIB had a 90.8. It also provided several storylines and epic duals all on a highwire ( Zubich & Oehrlein dancing with four fouls). There were three games decided by one possession. Each had their charm and kept your interest, but one game had a winning team pp100 of only 55.3, the lowest of the winners all week.
Some radom thoughts:
Injuries: They have raised their ugly head derailing seasons for several players. No one likes to see anyone go down. It changes strategy and plans on the fly. Becker was impacted at the end of the first half with an injury to Alexis Rose. This may change the equations in March.
Fans/crowds: I was at one game where the refs came over to the table and threatened to stop the game with 2:30 left due to a fan that was not being well behaved. Luckily the situation was resolved, and the players could decide the outcome fully. For the most part fan control has been not an issue. The commercial at the start of many games clearly defangs many of the obnoxious behaviors that were sometimes present in the past. But the crowds are tamer these days. This is was an isolated one person incident, not a stadium wide issue.
Situations: I think I could write a book about special situations and decisions made during the game. With three games decided by one possession, that would generate plenty of ink. Why were decisions made or not made? What was the rationale? This could include substitution patterns; the use of time outs; who steps up in “crunch” time; and other points of emphasis. You need to walk a mile in the decision makers shoes before making judgements. This is one reason I hold my pen.
Clocks: Of the four sites/events I charted this week only the Perham event made use of the shot clock. Several times this year I have been at games where the two non-conference teams have played with it. The game changes with strategy and tactics. Awareness on the court and on the bench will be tested. There will be a learning curve. The advantage for those making use of it now will be a year of experience under the belt. The free throw parade at the end of games may dissipate in the future.
Rule changes I would like to see: this is the fantasy portion of the blog. The first rule change I would add is the jump ball situation. On any jump the ball reverts to the defense. No more rewarding crappy offense. A new stat category would celebrate tough defense. There were twelve jump balls, and team A won those 8-4 for example. No ref would have to feel their keys or look to the table for guidance. It would be automatic. What about a defensive rebound where the player brings the ball down to their naval and is tied up. As soon as team B gets the d rebound, they are now on offense. Ball goes to team A. Easy.
Another thing I would like to see is 3v3 as a prelim game. Teams A & B would designate four players. The game would be 12 minutes or first to 21, whatever comes first. This could also lead to a 3v3 state tournament championship where a traditional 5v5 team doesn’t make it. This change would create buzz, create interest, and create a larger fan base and crowd. It could also give certain schools a chance to get to state. There is no guarantee the top teams would automatically go. But my guess is Hopkins would still be formidable.
There is only a smattering of games on Monday (smattering meaning five) and the week is a general purpose week. There are more events coming on Saturday, some at multiple sites. Southeast MN with Byron, Kasson and Hayfield will be the scene of one Breakdown events (or series of events). There is another Breakdown event at Duluth East featuring some teams in the Northeast part of the state. Fingers are crossed the weather will be nice.
From one to 22 in a week. Not only did 22 players crossover the 31 threshold, but four also made it to the 41 Club. On top of that, two continued on and leaped ahead of that mark to the 51 Club. In fact, two players tied for high marks for the week with 56. Addy Pilarski of Holdingford reached the summit on Thursday in the Huskers stunner over Duluth Marshall. Pilarski piled on the points with a new Holdingford game record of 39. Crosby-Ironton’s Tori Oehrlein joined her the next day with the Rangers win over the Rangers of Mountain Iron-Buhl. If a tie had to be broken, Pilarski would win the week’s honor based on her pp100 mark of 150, bettering Oehrlein’s 109. Oehrlein was locked in an epic dual with MIB’s Jordan Zubich who finished with a 48 score. Both Zubich and Oehrlein were dancing with four fouls a majority of the second half (in Zubich’s case the entire 18 minutes). The best pp100 of all the 22 belonged to Albany’s Kaylan Gerads with a 160 in the Huskies win over Pine City in a 6AA tussle. 16 players made the coveted century mark or better on their entry into the 31 Club. Holdingford, Mountain Iron-Buhl, Perham and Proctor each had two entries for the week. 31 Clubbers were 14-8 on the week. Centurians were 12-2 on the winners side, 4-4 when losing. We closed out 22 with 22. Will next week bring in or ring in 23? Probably not. Not enough games.
We are at a “Sweet 16” for unbeatens after six weeks. True to form the field was winnowed after the holiday tournament season. What do you expect when unbeaten teams are involved in the tournament battles? We are down to a single, solitary unblemished one in AAA. Jordan is the last team standing. Will they be unblemished come March. No. Looking at the smaller classes, five of the AA teams are in two sections: three teams live in section 2AA, two in 3AA. Maybe these teams are unbeaten thanks to the weather preventing some match ups. In A We have Killer Bs (3 teams) and/or hyphens (3 teams). Defending A champ Hancock was nicked at Fergus Falls. Section 8A is home to three of the unblemished.
Which team is the next to fall? Luverne has a tough back to back with Marshall on Friday and Montevideo on Saturday. BLHS has to travel to Hayfield on Saturday.
AAAA 3: Hopkins, Rosemount, St. Michael-Albertville
AAA 1: Jordan
AA 5: Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, Luverne, New London-Spicer, Southwest Christian Chaska, St. Clair
A 7: Braham, Breckenridge, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, Fosston, Goodridge-Grygla, Kellher-Northome, Mayer Lutheran
The Royals keep rolling. Hopkins has a 22 game win streak going. St. Michael-Albertville has the longest 2022-23 streak at nine. The other three classes are at eight. But Hopkins owns the state championship against the Knights last loss coming in the finals of AAAA in March. It is interesting to note that SWC and ML are both private schools located in Carver county about 17 miles apart.
AAAA: 22 Hopkins (14 ’22 + 8 ’23)
AAA: 8 Grand Rapids
AA: 8 Southwest Christian Chaska
A: 8 Mayer Lutheran
SEARCH FOR 100
With 17 games charted in four days involving 23 new teams (22 from MN) the numbers got a boost. We won’t see that many teams crossed off in the coming weeks. There are 41 teams left on the 100 list. With eight regular season weeks left, with a potential six games a week, that puts us at about 48 windows available. Doable, but the churn at the bottom is real. Just when you think you are in striking distance the goalposts move. The biggest fish left to fry in the QRF? #8 Lakeville South
I have added 125 and 150 markers now. I stop at the 50% mark, so 150 is at 44.7% hence the stop.
SEEDING THE STATE
Scrambled eggs this week in AAA & AA with two new entrants each. A has a movement with the same eight. AAAA is frozen at the same level as last week.
- Hopkins (6)
- Michael-Albertville (8)
- Chaska (2)
- Rosemount (3)
- East Ridge (4)
- Maple Grove (5)
- Lakeville South (1)
- Anoka (7)
- Becker (5)
- Benilde-St. Margaret’s (6)
- Jordan (2)
- Grand Rapids (7)
- Detroit Lakes (8)
- Austin (1)
- Mahtomedi (4)
- Visitation (3)
- Providence (5)
- Minnehaha (4)
- Albany (6)
- New London-Spicer (3)
- Goodhue (1)
- Perham (8)
- Pequot Lakes (7)
- Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (2)
- Mayer Lutheran (2)
- Mountain Iron-Buhl (7)
- Hancock (6)
- Hayfield (1)
- Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (5)
- Fosston (8)
- Minneota (3)
- New Life (4)