We have reached the apogee of the summer solstice. From now on the days get shorter. The peak came on Sunday. It is fitting that the best game of the Summer Jam tournament, perhaps of the entire club season in 2021, came on that day. It will be hard to top the drama, energy, and enthusiasm of the Lake Minnetonka 17-1 championship game between the heavy hitters of All Iowa Attack and North Tartan. I doubt if we will see that kind of attendance surrounding one court again this summer in this neighborhood. Those in attendance got their money’s worth with an extra session tacked on. They also witnessed high intensity basketball with high performance results. Both teams were above 90 in the pp100 battle.
For the day, the winner’s pp100 was 89.15, but that was dragged down by final game with the extremely low end 61.8 pp100. Taking out that championship level game the pp100 was 94.62. The losers also improved from Friday’s 66.27 to 71.88. Sunday’s games were much more competitive than Friday with the margins at 17.27 down from 32.21. Taking it a step further, and just focusing on the Level 1 games, the margins were even tighter at 10.55.
Individuals stepped up with outstanding performances (as indicated by the 31 Club). Three players cracked that exclusive club. Remember that high school games are 36 minutes, club is 32. Most high schools do not have the depth to rotate players, so the opportunity to put up numbers is greater on the high school side. The correct number of the 31 Club during club season should be 27.55. The 31 Clubbers on Sunday, if translated to HS norms, were over 37.
The day got off to a rousing start with a civil war game. In the past these games would not be played. In fact, there were some program v program games that were jettisoned on Sunday. Thank goodness NT had the courage to put their 8th grade v 7th grade to the test. It was the tightest game of the day. The 7th graders lost out by the narrowest of margins in the pp100 battle (0.2). They kept in the game thanks to expert long distance shooting with Lanelle Wright (6/8) and Mya Moore (5/5). 36 points of their 49 (73.5% of their total) came from deep. The 8th grade did a better job on the boards with a +11 and took advantage at the free throw line with 9+ points over the 7th grade. The deeper bench also helped the 8th grade (13-5). Two free throws with 2:03 left by Sophia Hawkinson provided the 8th grade with the winning margin. The 7th grade had four possessions in which to retake the lead after that.
We then transitioned to lower level titles for the next two games. These teams were more regional in nature from greater Minnesota. Starks Elite, the eventual winners of the Clear Lake title, are based in Northern MN; Give & Go from the Rochester area. At half time there was a struggle to score with the G&G up 19-18. Starks Elite shook off the cobwebs and erupted for 32 second half points helped by Jordan Zubich’s six 3s for the game. 21 offensive rebounds also helped SE’s cause. SE started the second half scoring on four of their first five possessions. In the Lake Vermillion title game the Comets were up 34-20 at half, four more points than they would need to win the game. 3s (21 points) and free throws (11 points) helped the Comets to the victory, a collective 32-10 advantage.
Then was the summer crescendo. Intensity with both benches involved; NT’s coach Coury exhorting his troops on defense. AIA’s Jensen patrolling the sidelines. NT got the early jump with two 3s to take a 6-0 lead. NT would beat AIA at the long distance game 8-7 for the day. But the hosts only attempted one measly free throw for the entire game. Oddly AIA had 11 attempts but only converted 36%. This was probably the only negative stat that both teams shared—the inability to convert at the line (or even get to the line). The tide turned quickly with AIA going on a 14-0 run forcing a NT time out at 9:49. Another basket gave the southern Nike neighbor a sweet 16 unanswered points. The Attack nailed four 3s in that run up with Jada Gyamfi getting the scoring started with a pair. The Attack led 27-18 at the break. A 3 by Cady Pauley gave AIA a 41-32 advantage. Then it was NT’s turn for a run. The hosts scored 11 straight points with Tessa Johnson providing match up headaches for AIA. She scored six of the 11 and gave NT the lead back at 43-41 with about three minutes remaining in regulation. Every time NT took the lead, AIA had a response. Halli Poock tied it at 43 on the next possession. Mara Braun, who led all scorers with 13 nailed a 3. Next AIA possession Taylor McCabe did the same. With 10.9 seconds left NT had the ball and called time, but the inbounds pass was stolen by Sahara Williams. She was fouled and failed to convert either free throw. A deep 3 at the buzzer failed to find the mark for NT. Pauley broke free on a drive on the attack’s second possession to give them the 51-49 lead. NT had a nightmare déjà vu moment with 11.9 seconds left, the ball and another inexplicable turn over. This time AIA converted one free throw for the final scoring. Then came a series of clock malfunctions that annoyed and marred the game. Several times the game was halted, stopping the flow on what had been an outstanding game. Eventually it was sorted out, but the desperate heave ho did not go and AIA had secured their third top level prize in Summer Jam history. Their other titles came in 2013 and 2019. AIA won six titles on the day, with NT taking four.
It was another AIA title in the 16 division. That Attack team had the best pp100 of the day and was the only team to cross over to the century mark at 105. It appeared that AIA was on the way to a clear victory up 38-28 at the break, but WI Flight ramped up their defensive intensity in the second half. A 10-0 run to start the half tied the game at 38. It forced AIA to call time at 12 minutes and it was a whole new ball game. AIA then seized back the momentum with a ramp up of their defensive intensity. The Attack’s Peyton McCabe delivered two 3s to push the lead back to 48-40 and AIA had weathered the storm. The Attack’s calling card is the 3 and they did the catch & shoot for 13 3s for the game. That was good for 36 points good for 63% of their points and a huge advantage over Flight 36-9. Eliminate that mark and Flight soars to the win 38-21.
Looking at the final game’s numbers you might think it was not compelling with the winning Fury just barely scraping by at 61 pp100. But this was compelling because the defensive intensity was at another level. That is what you would expect with rivals that have faced each other twice for top prizes this season. Both times NT won. But the hosts had Laura Arnold both times. Not on Sunday, however. Three on a match is hard. The Fury’s pp100s dropped in all three games. NT’s went from 75 to 84 and then plummeted to 47. Teams take away things the other side likes to do. It was only 12-9 at the break in favor of the Fury. It was 14-13 for the Fury when the on ball defense, which vastly improved from the first two contests, got the better of NT. Marisa Frost came up big on three straight possessions getting stops. Stop 2 was a steal, conversion and one. Stop 3 was a forced turnover which eventually led to a 3 from Olivia Olson and a 20-13 Fury margin. That sealed the deal. Exhaustion no doubt helped explain some of the lower numbers, but so did a better understanding the opponent—-their likes and dislikes.
GAME 1: LAKE HARRIET CHAMPIONSHIP (14-1)
|North Tartan 14U Nike||North Tartan 7th Nike|
|TOP SCORER||Mylea Monahan 11||Lanelle Wright 22|
|31 CLUB||Abbey Hoselton 19||Lanelle Wright 31|
TRENCH PLAYER: Usually this goes to a player on the championship team. Not today. Lanelle Wright (Hopkins 2026) with 22 points, 122.2 pp100 and right on the money with a 31 score in the 31 Club.
GAME 2: CLEAR LAKE CHAMPIONSHIP (16-3)
|Starks Elite||Give-N-Go MN|
|TOP SCORER||Jordan Zubich 20||Two with 8|
|31 CLUB||Jordan Zubich 34||Audrey Whitney 17|
TRENCH PLAYER: Jordan Zubich (Mountain Iron-Buhl 2024) 20 points, 181.8 pp100, and 34 in the 31 Club
GAME 3: LAKE VERMILLION CHAMPIONSHIP (17-3)
|MN Comets 11 Canesi||MN Heat Smetana|
|TOP SCORER||Lindsay Hartman 16||Alexis Ertz 14|
|31 CLUB||Lindsay Hartman 24||Alexis Ertz 20|
TRENCH PLAYER: Lindsay Hartman (Buffalo 2022) 16 points, 145.5 pp100 and a 24 in the 31 Club
GAME 4: LAKE MINNETONKA CHAMPIONSHIP (17-1)
|All IA Attack 11 EYBL||North Tartan 17U EYBL|
|TOP SCORER||Halli Poock 12||Mara Braun 13|
|31 CLUB||Halli Poock 19||Maura Braun 25|
TRENCH PLAYER: Cady Pauley (Milan, MO 2022) 10 points, 166.7 pp100 and an 11 in the 31 Club. More importantly the game winning shot in overtime.
GAME 5: LAKE SUPERIOR CHAMPIONSHIP (16-1)
|All IA Attack 10 EYBL||WI Flight Elite 10 UAA|
|TOP SCORER||Alli Tanke 25||Allie Ziebell 14|
|31 CLUB||Alli Tanke 32||Allie Ziebell 26|
TRENCH PLAYER: Alli Tanke (Johnston, IA 2024) with 25 points, 166.7 pp100, and a 32 in the 31 Club
GAME 6: ROUND LAKE CHAMPIONSHIP (15-1)
|MN Fury 2024 UAA||North Tartan 15U Nike|
|TOP SCORER||Katie Vasecka 12||Rainey Welson 11|
|31 CLUB||Olivia Olson 21||Rainey Welson 21|
TRENCH PLAYER: This was problematic. The numbers were not in the stratosphere. The emphasis was on defense. Not everything can be measured, but Marisa Frost (Centennial 2024) was indispensable with her on ball defense, setting the tone for the Fury victory. After NT closed to 14-13 Frost helped to create separation with three straight D stops in the second half including a steal-layup-&1 to push the lead back to 20-13.