Friday, December 21, 2012

Boys Basketball: First-half fireworks lead Brainerd | | Brainerd, Minnesota

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chambers Named a Candidate for Bob Cousy Award

By Tim Williamson, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Harvard University:

"CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Siyani Chambers of the Harvard men’s basketball team has been selected as a candidate for the 2013 Bob Cousy Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., announced today.

The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men’s college basketball. Over 80 candidates have been nominated for the 2013 Bob Cousy Award.

This watch list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 around Jan. 1, final 10 near Feb. 1, and final five by approximately March 1. A premier Selection Committee has been appointed by the Hall of Fame to review the final five candidates in contention for the nation’s top collegiate point guard award. These Hall of Fame committees are made up of top college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. The winner of the 2013 Bob Cousy Award will be presented at the Hall of Fame’s Class Announcement on Championship Monday in Atlanta, Ga., as part of NCAA Final Four weekend.

Chambers, a native of Golden Valley, Minn., has been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice this season (Dec. 3 and Dec. 17). He ranks second on the Crimson with 12.6 points per contest and paces the Ivy League with 5.1 assists per game.

Chambers has been impressive from the foul line as a freshman and stands 13th in the nation in free throw shooting (.944) and has connected on 32 straight from the charity stripe since Nov. 13. Chambers is also knocking down 48.4 percent of his 3-point attempts (15-of-31) and is 15th in minutes per game (37.0). He has reached double figures in scoring six times and hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds in a 65-64 victory over Boston University Dec. 11.

“The Hall of Fame is proud to continue its mission with Mr. Cousy to celebrate and honor the top collegiate point guards in the country,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “This list represents a large range of college basketball’s top student athletes from across the country. We are excited to recognize these players for their continuous hard work and dedication.”

“The Bob Cousy Award promotes the values of leadership, determination, and teamwork, all skills needed on the basketball court and in life,” said Ken Kaufman, Chair of the Bob Cousy Award and former president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). “Mr. Cousy exemplified all of these traits, and inspired so many people on and off the court. We hope that this coveted award continues to honor his legacy.”

Previous winners of the Bob Cousy Award have included Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Dee Brown (Illinois), Acie Law (Texas A & M), DJ Augustin (Texas), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland), Kemba Walker (Connecticut) and last year’s recipient, Kendall Marshall (North Carolina). For more information on the 2013 Bob Cousy, log onto

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Birthplace of Basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate, men and women."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Hill-Murray traveled to Richfield for a girls' high school basketball game. Hill-Murray came into the game with a record of 2-3 while Richfield had a record of 2-1.

Both teams looked energetic in warm ups. The crowd was light on a Wednesday evening but that didn't stop the die hard fans.

Richfield started out in a zone defense. Hill-Murray also started out in a zone defense.

Richfield used a full court press as they looked for steals and were able to frustrate Hill-Murray.

Hill-Murray called a timeout with 16:17 left in the first half. The score was Richfield 4 and Hill-Murray 0.

Richfield was able to get a few steals in the full court press and turn them into points. Jessica January for Richfield was all over the floor. She was able to get her teammates involved in the offense and get her teammates the ball in spots where they were able to score baskets.

Hill-Murray had a very difficult time scoring. They were not able hit shots that they put up.

Richfield played a tough man-to-man defense. That gave Hill-Murray a bunch of fits offensively.

With 11:18 left in the first half,  Ellie Schwartz scored Hill Murray's first basket. That made the score Richfield 14 and Hill-Murray 2.

Richfield continued to swing the ball around the three-point line and they were also not afraid to shoot the three-point basket. Jessica January did a good job of shouting instructions to her teammates as she instructed them on where she wanted them to go and what play she wanted ran.

Richfield called a timeout with 7:10 left in the first half. The score was Richfield 22 and Hill-Murray 6.

Richfield called off the full court press after that time out. They picked up man-to-man at half court instead. Sierria Ford-Washington came up with some nice baskets off of steals.

Richfield was able to make good on the steals that they got in the first half. They were able to convert points off steals.

Even though Hill-Murray was not able to hit the shots that they put up in the first half. They didn't give up. They kept on shooting the ball and looking for shots that they though they were going to make.

In a very sloppy first half. The score at halftime was Richfield 28 and Hill-Murray 11.

As the second half got underway Richfield continued to look to the basket and get the ball into Januarys' hands. January looked very comfortable on the floor as she was able to weave her way in and out of traffic past her defenders.

Hill-Murray went to a full court man-to-man press defense as they looked to turn Richfield over. That didn't work however.

Hill-Murray looked to get the offense going midway through the second half. They were able to string some baskets together midway through the second half.

I thought that Richfield was a little quicker then Hill-Murray and Richfield was able to hit their shots from the start of the game. Hill-Murray struggled to get their offense rolling.

In a game that was very one sided Richfield was able to walk away with the 57-40 victory over Hill-Murray.

The leading scorer for Richfield was Jessica January with 26 points. The leading scorers for Hill-Murray was Kaitlin Langer with 12 points. 


Apple Valley High School was a buzz on Tuesday December 18, 2012 as the boys' basketball team took on Hopkins High School in a big non-conference game. The gym was packed before the game started. Both teams brought a ton of students as both student sections were full.

Hopkins came into the game with a record of 4-1. Apple Valley came into the game with a record of 2-1.

Both teams looked to push the ball down the down the floor at the start. They each wanted to set the tempo early in the contest.

Hopkins looked to get the ball into the hands of Kamali Jahir Chambers. Chambers did a good job of getting his team involved in the offense.

Both teams shot a lot of three-point shots. They were able to get them to drop. Hopkins Jamal Dale Davis was not afraid to shoot the ball. His teammates were able to get him the ball in spots inside the three-point line where he was able to hit a mid-range jumper.

Apple Valley looked to score baskets in transition. Apple Valleys Robert Jones and Hopkins' Kamali Chambers guarded each other closely throughout the first half.

Tyus Robert Jones seemed to roll his ankle with 13:46 left in the first half but he stayed in the game.

Hopkins Amir Coffey did a good job of running the Hopkins offense. He knew where his teammates were supposed to be and he directed his teammates on the floor.

Apple Valley called a timeout with 12:25 left in the first half. The score was Hopkins 15 and Apple Valley 7.

Apple Valley switched between man-to-man and zone defense. They were able to to confuse Hopkins.

Hopkins used mostly a man-to-man defense. They looked to force Apple Valley to hit long shots.

Hopkins was able to make some good fast break lay-ups.

Hopkins called a timeout with 8:28 left in the first half. The score was Hopkins 25 and Apple Valley 13.

Apple Valley's Dustin Fronk continued to keep hitting three-point shots and that kept his team in the game.

Hopkins continued to switch between zone and man-to-man defense. That as affective in the first half because it really slowed down the Apple Valley offense.

With Tyus Robert Jones out of the game because of a back spasms in the first half. The Apple Valley offense sputtered along. They had a tough time hitting shots that they put up.

At halftime the score was Hopkins 42 and Apple Valley 33.

Hopkins got the ball to start the second half. They continued to attack the basket and looked to create their shots.
Apple Valley continued to shoot the ball and they looked to chip into the lead midway through the second half.

Both teams went into a scoring slump in the second half. Neither team could hit shots for a period of time in the second half.

Apple Valley strung some baskets together midway through the second half.

Hopkins tried to play keep away as they swung the the ball around the three-point line as they looked to burn time off the clock.

Dustin Fronk kept his team in the game as he was able to come up and nail some three-point shots.

The game was close throughout the second half. The game was tied at 54 each with 5:18 left in regulation.

The score went back and forth late in the contest. Neither team gave up any easy baskets.

Apple Valley called a timeout with 2:06 left in regulation. The score was Apple Valley 59 and Hopkins 56.

I thought that both teams played very well. Apple Valley was able to play well with out their top player in Tyus Robert Jones. Dennis Austin and Dustin Fronk stepped up big for their teams.

In a fun fast paced game. Apple Valley came away with the 71-64 victory over Hopkins.

The leading scorers for Hopkins were Jamal Davis with 17 points, Jacob Wright with 14 points and Kamali Chambers wit 12 points. Over all Hopkins shot 21-65 from the field that included going 8-35 from behind the three-point line. Hopkins was 14-17 from the free throw line. They brought down a total of 39 rebounds 22 of them on the defensive end.

The leading scorers for Apple Valley were Dustin Fronk with 27 points, Dennis Austin with 18 points, and Harry Somie with 15 points.

University of Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith was on hand watching the game.

I was joined by Aaron Edwards of Metro Youth Sports Media. Check out his thoughts of the Hopkins vs. Apple Valley boys' basketball game. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


By  Jason Gonzalez: Minneapolis Star Tribune:

"A sign on the locker room doors at Bloomington Jefferson jumped out at Tom Dasovich. Big, bold, underlined words, in all capital letters, some of them underlined for emphasis:

"Treat every conversation you have on TWITTER or FACEBOOK as if it were a NATIONALLY TELEVISED PRESS CONFERENCE."

The Minnetonka boys' basketball coach spotted the note during his team's recent visit and snapped a picture on his phone. Then he posted it on Twitter with the message "Players take note." Nearly half of his 173 followers retweeted or favorited the message.

Such warnings have become a staple of high school team meetings and huddles at practice, joining longstanding warnings about alcohol and drug use.

With teenagers communicating, venting and celebrating with the lightning speed of social media, coaches and athletic directors are scrambling to cope with and limit negative effects of controversial tweets, posts or photographs. Fears of defamation, suspensions, forfeitures and team chemistry issues have led some coaches and administrators to fight the use of Twitter and Facebook by their athletes.

Others, such as Dasovich, are embracing the reality that teenage athletes will find ways to keep their social status up to date.

He manages two Twitter accounts and encourages his players to use them to follow team news and events. He also monitors or trolls through his players' tweets, on the lookout for anything that could taint the Minnetonka name.

"I thought about getting one of those teachable moments out of it," Dasovich said of posting the locker room door message. "Helping kids navigate that world, I think, is important. [Proper use of social media] is a big issue with schools and teams."

Huddle talk: Be smart online

DeLaSalle football coach Sean McMenomy's phone erupted the afternoon former Gophers wide receiver and DeLaSalle alum A.J. Barker posted his denunciation of Gophers coach Jerry Kill and the football program on the Internet. Though he didn't coach Barker, McMenomy still felt the effects of something he classified as an example of how far such statements can reach.

Daily reminders are now a part of McMenomy's battle against ill-advised social media use. The post-practice and postgame speech message to "avoid parties, drugs, alcohol" now includes "be mindful of what you're putting on the Internet."

"With what happened in recent months and last year, you worry about it," McMenomy said.

This past season a Breck football player began a Facebook quarrel with someone at DeLaSalle that led to his suspension and required an in-person apology to the downtown Minneapolis school.

"We are always trying to keep ahead of the game," McMenomy said. "A kid can put whatever the heck they want out there. We gotta figure out what we can do to protect ourselves, and that's educate kids and stay on kids."

Curtailing chatter in Edina

Edina boys' hockey coach Curt Giles made Barker's rant required reading for his team and asked his players to steer clear of such potential social media distractions.

Junior defenseman Tyler Nanne said he took the message to heart. The avid Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat user said he has sacrificed a lot of his social media freedoms.

Nanne and senior defenseman Matt Nelson agreed it's tough to operate under such limiting guidelines, but the consequences of misuse are much worse if left in the hands of their 1,000-plus Twitter followers.

"It can destroy a team and a program," Nelson said. "The guidelines are to protect ourselves and the program as a whole."

Nelson, who has committed to play hockey at Princeton, already has received social media guidelines from his future college. Many major colleges have taken similar measures. The University of Michigan recently formalized social media practices for all athletes and required each to sign an agreement. Associate athletic director David Ablauf called it a "reactionary" response to a growing problem.

Edina girls' hockey players Casey McGarvey and Shelby Anderson said they've learned you can't take back an ill- advised message once you've hit send. And Lakeville North girls' volleyball player Alyssa Goehner considers her 1,062 followers a serious responsibility.

"Sometimes kids send out things and they don't understand the end result, how far it reaches," said Giles, who requires his players to put all their phones in a box prior to games. "[Kids] are going to use it. You always see them on their phones, on Facebook, in Twitterland. We just have to make sure they understand how to use it."

Coach learning curve, too

Understanding the proper use of social media also can be a challenge for coaches and athletic directors. For some, it's overwhelming to even try.

While Bloomington Jefferson girls' basketball coach Andy Meinhardt is well-schooled on social media and took the initiative to post the warning sign on the school's locker room doors, boys' basketball coach Jeff Evens admits to knowing little about the social media world.

Former Southwest football John Biezuns embraced the new world by connecting with colleagues and players. In November, he suddenly resigned for personal reasons amid speculation of misusing social media. 

He recently said he could not speak on the matter, but acknowledged he has learned a lot from his social media use and called its integration with sports "probably not a good thing."

"Coaches need to be aware of anything social media and as a coach, you have to be careful what you say," Biezuns said. "Anything that gets written down, e-mailed or texted can come back to haunt you."

Bloomington Jefferson athletic director Brian Fell will implement a version of the University of Michigan's new social media guidelines for next year's Jaguars athletes.

Minnetonka boys' basketball captain Riley Dearring is convinced the Skippers' approach is best.

"We all try to look out for each other. If we feel there is something that should not be put out there, we let each other know," Dearring said. "I think it's a good way for players to connect with other players. It's a good way to get information out."


St. Croix Lutheran and Heritage Christian Academy squared off in a high school boys' basketball game. St. Croix Lutheran High School came into the game with a record of 3-1. Heritage Christian Academy had a record of 5-0 going into the game.

During the warmups both of these teams looked relaxed and ready to play.

St. Croix moved the ball around the three-point line as they were able to take time off the clock and slow down the pace of the game. St. Croix started the game in a zone defense. They didn't want Heritage to get any wide open looks at the basket.

St. Croix was able to get the ball into the hands of Cody Sticha. Sticha was all over the floor. His teammates did a good job of getting him the ball in spots were they knew he could hit his shots.

The score went back and forth throughout the first half. Heritage didn't get down on themselves when they were not able to hit a shot for a period of time in the first half. They just kept on shooting the ball.

St. Croix Lutheran called a timeout with 6:34 left in the first half. The score was St. Croix Lutheran 27 and Heritage 25.

Heritage did a good job of bringing the ball down the floor and making fast break baskets. They were also able to take the ball to the rack and make lay-ups.

The score went back and forth late in the first half. Neither team gave up any uncontested shots.

Heritage went on a run late in the first half. They were able to get the lead late in the half.

In a fast action packed first half the score at halftime was Heritage 40 and St. Croix Lutheran 37.

As the second half got underway both teams came out firing on all cylinders. St. Croix Lutheran continued to look to get the ball into the hands of Cody Sticha. If Sticha didn't think that he had a good shot he would pass the ball to his teammate for him to try to make a basket.

St. Croix started the second half in a zone defense. They didn't press in the zone but they started it at half court. Heritage did a good job of advancing the ball down the floor.

Brad Basco brought the ball down the floor for Heritage. He would shout out plays and tell his teammates were they should be on offense. Basco did a good job of getting everyone involved in the offense.

Heritage called a timeout with 13:11 left in regulation. The score was Heritage 48 and St. Croix Lutheran 46.

Heritage continued to push the ball down the floor as they were able to hit lay-ups in transition.

The score went back and forth throughout the second half. I thought that both teams were evenly matched and both played very well throughout the contest.

Heritage called a timeout with 9:45 left in regulation. The score was Heritage 50 and St. Croix 48.

The score went back and forth late in the contest. Neither team was going to let the other make easy baskets.

Christian Pieper made some nice jump shots for Heritage. He mostly hit his shots from within the three-point line.

Spencer Bland came to life late in the ball game. He was able to drain a few baskets to keep his team involved in the offense.

Both teams dove on the floor after loose balls and they each battled it out on the boards going after rebounds.

Zach Weld came up with some nice long three-point shots to keep his team in the game. Heritage was able to hang onto the lead late in the game. St. Croix Lutheran did try to make a comeback but they were unable to do that.

St. Croix Lutheran called a timeout with 1:43 left in regulation. The score was Heritage 66 and St. Croix Lutheran 63.

The game came down to the wire. Heritage came away with the 67-63 victory over St. Croix Lutheran.

The leading scorers for Heritage were Spenser Bland and Zach Weld both with 16 points each.

The leading scorer for St. Croix Lutheran was Cody Sticha with 18 points. Aage Rovney hit a few three-point shots and ended with 12 points.

I was joined by the Twin Cities Hoops Czar. Check out his thoughts of the St. Croix Lutheran and Heritage Christian Academy boys' basketball game. I was also joined by Doug Erlien from KMSP FOX CH9. Check out his web cast of the event on

Friday, December 14, 2012


The Cadets of St. Thomas Academy High School went up against the Stars of Holy Angels in a boys' non-conference basketball game. St. Thomas came into the game with a record of 0-2 while Holy Angels had a record of 3-2.

Holy Angels started out the game in a man-to-man defense. They wanted to make it hard for St. Thomas to make shots.

Holy Angels started to work the ball around the three point line as they looked for their shots.

St. Thomas called a timeout with 15:12 left in the score was Holy Angels 7 and St. Thomas 0.

St. Thomas got hot midway through the first half. They were able to cut the deficit to 4 at 10-14 with 9:12 left in the first half.

Holy Angels kept on attacking the basket. They didn’t want to give up any easy shots.

St. Thomas called a timeout with 7:18 left in the first half the score was Holy Angles 16 and St. Thomas 12.

St. Thomas kept on attacking the basket late in the first half.

In a very slow style of play in the first half. Holy Angels had a lead of 27-25 at halftime.

As the second half got underway both teams came out fired up. St. Thomas looked focused on the task at hand.

Jalen Patterson for St. Thomas was all over the floor. He was able to get to the basket and find his shot. His teammates did a good job of getting him the ball.

Nick Griffin for St. Thomas came up with some nice shots and was able to keep his teammates involved in the offense. His teammates did a good job of getting him the ball where he was able to get his shots to fall. Griffin was able to make his fair share of lay-ups and jump shots.

Holy Angels called a timeout with 16:18 left in regulation. The score was Holy Angels 31 and St. Thomas 27.

Jordan Dembley was all over the floor for Holy Angels. He was able to get his teammates involved in the offense.

Holy Angels stayed in a zone defense for most of the second half.

St. Thomas was able to cut the deficit and get with in a point with 11:15 left in the contest. 35-34.

The score went back and forth midway through the second half.

St. Thomas called a timeout with 10:15 left in the game. The score was Holy Angels 40 and St. Thomas 37.

The game went back and forth for a period of time late in the contest. Neither team gave up easy baskets throughout the game.

The St. Thomas players didn't give up. They didn't quit. They were down for most of the game they fought hard and battled through out the game .

St. Thomas's Jalen Patterson tied the game at 30 with 1.3 seconds left in regulation.

At the end of regulation the score was tied at 51.

As the over time period got underway Both teams looked for their shots as they looked to take time off the clock.

At the end of the end of the first over time the score was tied at 53.

Jalen Patterson found the basket for St. Thomas early in the second over time period. The score went back and forth as both teams looked for shots that they could make.

At the end of the end of the second over time the score was tied at 56.

As the triple overtime period started St. Thomas looked to control the tempo. Both teams were able to score early on lay-ups.

Holy Angels called a timeout with 20.8 seconds left in triple overtime. The score was tied at 62.

Charlie Koontz for Holy Angels came up with the game winning shot late in the triple over time. Holy Angels came away with the 64-62 victory over St. Thomas Academy.

The leading scores for St. Thomas Academy were Nick Griffin with 19, Jalen Patterson with 16, Mitch Newburg 8 and John Henry Neuberger 6.

The leading scorers for Holy Angels were Charlie Koontz with 16, Delshon Stickland with 15, Jordan Dembley 14 and Danny Sullivan with 8 points.

I thought that both teams played well. The game was close throughout. Neither team gave up and it came down to the triple overtime. Both of these teams will get better as the season goes on.

I was joined by the Twin Cities Hoops Czar. Check out his thoughts of the Holy Angels vs St. Thomas Academy game. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gophers Take Three WCHA Points From Tigers, Tie 4-4 in Overtime

By Brian Deutsch:
"COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The No. 4/5 Minnesota men’s hockey took three of four conference points this weekend from Colorado College after skating to a 4-4 overtime tie with the Tigers on Saturday night. Seth Ambroz tallied a goal and an assist while both Travis Boyd and Nate Schmidt notched two assists each in the tie.

Minnesota (11-3-3 overall, 6-3-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) dominated the first period with three goals in the opening stanza. Colorado Springs native Tom Serratore opened the night with his second goal of the weekend just 4:39 into the game before Erik Haula deflected in a shot from Kyle Rau 34 seconds later at 5:13 for a power-play goal to make it a two-goal game. Minnesota would end the night 1-for-6 while on the advantage. Ambroz added his fourth goal of the year at 14:32 of the first. Schmidt would assist on the final two goals of the period – giving the junior a helper in six-straight games.

After Rylan Schwartz put the Tigers (8-8-2, 5-4-1) on the board at 8:30 of the second period, Mike Reilly would reclaim a three-goal lead for the Gophers with his second goal of the year at 15:41 with Boyd’s second assist of the night.

However, the lead would not last as the Tigers swung momentum in their favor with a pair of quick goals early in the third from Alex Krushelnyski before Schwartz found the net for the second time on Saturday with 24 seconds left in regulation for the equalizer with the Colorado College net empty.

Neither team would break the tie in overtime as the game would end in a 4-4 tie.

Adam Wilcox made 23 saves in net for Minnesota to move to 10-2-3 in his rookie season while Josh Thorimbert made 25 saves to move to 4-4-1 on the year. The Minnesota penalty kill went 3-for-4 on the night while the Gophers’ held the shot advantage at 29-27.

Minnesota returns to action later this month with the Mariucci Classic on Dec. 29-30. This year’s tournament opens with defending national champion Boston College taking on Alabama in Huntsville on Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. The Gophers will follow against Air Force at 7 p.m. Air Force and UAH face off at 4 p.m. on Dec. 30 followed by a rematch of last year’s Frozen Four semifinal between Boston College and Minnesota at 7 p.m."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Area Boys Hockey: Greenway rallies, nips Northern Lakes | | Brainerd, Minnesota

COLERAINE — The Northern Lakes Lightning let a 5-1 lead slip away as Greenway scored five unanswered goals to pin a 6-5 loss on the Lightning in a non-conference game Thursday.

Northern Lakes built a 3-0 lead after the first period on two goals from Ben Moe and one from Gaven Bickford.

Aspen Florey and Kyle Narveson scored in the second period for the Lightning.

Bazil Zuehlke’s goal at 3:40 of the third period finished the comeback for the Green Wave.

Greenway 0 4 2 — 6

Northern Lakes 3 2 0 — 5

First period: NL-Ben Moe 2:52; NL-Gavin Bickford 4:33; NL-Moe 10:49

Second period: G-Bazil Zuehlke 8:56; NL-Aspen Florey 9:56; NL-Kyle Narveson 10:48; G-Zuehlke 13:14; G-Alex Trounbly (Zuehlke) 13:14; G- Zach Childs 16:55

Third period: G-Jayden Gangl 1:49, Zuehlke 3:40.

Shots on goal: NL , G

Goalies: NL-Oliver Erholtz; G-Sam LaDoux, Mike LaDoux

Overall: NL 1-3. Next: Northern Lakes at Kittson Central 3 p.m. Saturday.

Wadena-Deer Creek , Litchfield/D-C

WADENA — The Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato Dragons edged the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines 4-3 in a non-conference game Thursday.

Overall: WDC 1-3. Next: Wadena-Deer Creek at Willmar 1 p.m. Saturday

Boys Basketball: Blong, Brainerd battle to win over Bison | | Brainerd, Minnesota

 By Jeremy Millsop Sports Writer:

"For Jacob Blong, Thursday night almost made up for all last year.

The Brainerd Warriors’ senior center suffered through injury and sickness to miss most of his junior season. If Thursday is any indication, Blong will have a successful senior campaign.

Blong led the Warriors with 18 points, five coming in the overtime frame, to help the Warriors to a 62-56 season-opening victory over Section 8-4A opponent Buffalo at Brainerd High School. Blong scored the first three points of the extra frame to give Brainerd the momentum.

“I just stepped up I guess,” said Blong. “We knew they were a big team — bigger than us probably. We knew that we weren’t going to dribble that much so we held out on them and stopped their penetration and won the game.”

After Blong’s eruption, Marcus Comstock and Jack Sauer scored eight consecutive points to put the game out of reach. Comstock spent most of the game getting pushed to the floor, but still managed 13 points. Sauer tallied 14 points and Ian Haug scored 13 for the Warriors.

“Marcus has a banged up knee and Jacob’s shin is bothering him so we’ll ice them down and really take it easy in practice Friday, but those two were warriors tonight,” said Brainerd head coach Scott Stanfield.

“We had to defensive rebound and I think we did a really good of that late and into the overtime. They only got one look. We boarded it and then they had to foul us and you know what, that probably was the game. Rebounding was a key.”

A Haug 3-pointer at 2:37 was key during regulation as it tied the game 47-47. He then tied it again with 1:48 left with a free throw to send the game into overtime. Brainerd held a 26-20 halftime lead, but shot just 50 percent from the line and was forced into nine turnovers. That helped Buffalo tie the score with 10:57 in the second half. The Bison then built a 45-42 lead and maintained it until Haug’s 3.

“They’re a really well-coached team and I love playing against Buffalo,” said Stanfield. “This is a good measuring stick this early. We were a little revved up to begin with and I don’t know if we ever really settled down, but that was the style of game it was.

“It’s just fun coaching against them. I think (Buffalo head coach Nick Guida) is one of the best coaches in the state. He’s proven that over the years.”

The Warriors went to the free throw line 17 times in the first half and made 11. Blong scored 10 of his points in the opening frame and Sauer tallied eight for Brainerd’s six-point halftime edge.

“It was great for the team, it was fun getting out there finally again, but we all played really hard out there and we ended up winning it at the end,” said Blong. “They’re a really good team and we knew it was going to be a challenge the whole time. Beating these guys is going to be a great momentum builder going forward.”

Brainerd’s defense held Buffalo to 31-percent shooting in the opening frame and the Bison reached the free throw line just twice. Brainerd’s defense was the key, said Stanfield. It held Buffalo, which had already played two games, to 34 percent shooting from the field and 4-of-19 from 3-point.

“Shooting is not going to be there every night and when it isn’t you have to find something else that you can get a win on and tonight it was our rebounding and defensive effort,” Stanfield said. “It was just fantastic. Our kids hustled and never gave up.

“When we got into overtime I felt really comfortable that we were going to take it.”

Buffalo 20 28 8 — 56

Brainerd 26 22 14 — 62

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Basketball tournaments formats, locations modified for 2014 and beyond

Basketball tournaments formats, locations modified for 2014 and beyond

Beginning in 2014 and for three years, the boys’ basketball tournament will be played one week before the girls’ basketball tournament, and the girls will play a Tuesday through Saturday schedule. During those same years the boys will play a familiar Wednesday through Saturday schedule.
In addition to the flip-flop of weeks, the use of Mariucci Arena for both tournaments will come into play. In 2017 and 2018 the formats will revert to the traditional schedule of playing the girls’ tournament first and then the boys’ tournament.
The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors approved the modifications to the tournaments at its meeting today. The modifications became necessary when Target Center entered into an agreement to host a new collegiate hockey conference tournament during the traditional week of the boys’ basketball tournament. Target Center has served as the primary host for the boys’ tournaments since 2003 and for the girls’ tournament since 2004.
Beginning in 2014, Target Center will host the Division I National Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament through 2018. The dates of that tournament fall in either the second or third full week of March.
An additional complicating factor involved the availability of Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota which has served as host of 10 quarterfinal games on Wednesday and Thursday for both tournaments since the semifinals and championship games have been played at Target Center. University officials have elected to reserve some dates at Williams Arena in future years to potentially host early-round games in either the NCAA or NIT tournaments for its women’s and men’s basketball teams.

The Board accepted the favored staff recommendation of switching the order of the two basketball tournaments for three years (2014-16) and then reverting to the traditional girls first-boys second format for the following two years (2017-18). The decision also allows eight teams from four classes to come to Minneapolis for the tournaments, the option preferred by both the Board and coaches associations over playing quarterfinal games at various Minnesota sites and then bringing only four teams in each class to Minneapolis for semifinals and championships.
From 2014 through 2016, the proposal accepted by the Board will allow the boys to utilize both Williams Arena and Target Center Wednesday through Saturday. The following week, when the new collegiate hockey tournament will be played at Target Center, the girls will primarily utilize Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota. Target Center will be utilized for some quarterfinal games on Tuesday of that week.
For 2017 and 2018, the girls’ tournament will be played first, using the same venues and schedule during the week that Target Center hosts the hockey tournament. The boys’ tournament will be played Wednesday through Saturday the following week.
Contractual arrangements with the venues must still be worked out, and staff will need to complete the details of which classes will play when and where.

This solution is not ideal, but it is the least complicated to implement and meets the preference of the Board and the basketball coaches associations to maintain an eight-team Twin Cities tournament for all classes,” explained Associate Director Kevin Merkle who oversees boys’ basketball.

We worked diligently with officials at both Target Center and the university to secure dates, then developed and shared various scenarios with a core group of coaches, region secretaries and athletic directors,” added Associate Director Lisa Lissimore who oversees girls’ basketball.

League staff spent weeks working on this issue and presented the Board with two options,” said executive Director Dave Stead. “The other option was to combine genders and play the tournaments over that same two-week period, but that would have still necessitated the requirement of using Tuesdays and Mariucci Arena.”

Sunday, December 2, 2012


By Kevin Britton, Assistant Director of Athletic Public Relations:

" Mike DiNunno’s lay-up with 2.3 seconds left completed a comeback from 10 points down with 6:38 left in the game as Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team beat Western Carolina 72-70 on Saturday at McBrayer Arena.
The last-second win keeps the Colonels undefeated at 7-0.  EKU is off to its best start in 66 years.  The 1946-47 squad began the season with 11 straight wins.

A tip-in by James Sinclair put the Catamounts (3-5) in front 62-52 with only six and a half minutes left in the game.  Eastern closed the gap to four on four occasions but couldn’t get any closer until Corey Walden’s lay-up made it 68-66 with 2:06 left to play.  Over the next minute, Western Carolina took advantage of three offensive rebounds to put up three shots, including two three-pointers, in an attempt to build on its lead. 

After the final offensive board, Walden knocked the ball loose, Jeff Johnson picked it up near the free throw line and launched a pass down court to a streaking Glenn Cosey for the game tying lay-up with 1:15 showing on the clock.  The Catamounts had held the lead since the 11:49 mark of the first half.

Cosey’s jumper with 27 ticks remaining put the home squad in front by two.  Trey Sumler answered on the other end with a jumper to tie with 16 seconds to go.  DiNunno drove the length of the court and laid in the game winner.  Western did not get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

Cosey led EKU with 15 points.  DiNunno finished with 14 points and seven assists.  Walden had 11 points and six rebounds.

Tawaski King led all players with 18 points for Western Carolina.  Sinclair finished with 10 points and eight boards.

Eastern shot 50 percent or better for the fifth time in seven games this season.  The Colonels knocked down 28-of-52 for a season-best 54 percent.  After making 6-of-11 attempts from three-point range in the first half, WCU made just 1-of-13 in the second.  The Catamounts shot 29 percent from deep.

The Colonels were out-rebounded by 10, but out-scored Western 42-26 in the paint.  As it has all season, EKU took advantage of the other team’s turnovers.  WCU committed only three more than Eastern, but were out-scored by seven points off turnovers.

After playing seven straight games at home to start the season, the Colonels will be on the road for the first time Tuesday at North Carolina Central University in Durham.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m."