Heritage-Watertown Mayer Player Comments
Watertown-Mayer remains our #2AA team after its 66-60 shocker over Class AAA Alexandria at Alexandria. Apparently the folks who put out the official poll haven’t heard that 4 Royals players were sick during the loss to Orono the previous week,…
Watertown-Mayer remains our #2AA team after its 66-60 shocker over Class AAA Alexandria at Alexandria. Apparently the folks who put out the official poll haven’t heard that 4 Royals players were sick during the loss to Orono the previous week, and have them rated #5. That’s too low.
And Heritage is a good Class A team, now rated #6A, but probably faces an insurmountable mountain to climb in the Maranatha Mustangs who have won Section 4A 8 times straight now. Heritage is not quite there. In fact, as a basketball team, they are a very good volleyball team. Both literally and figuratively. Figuratively in the sense that they are tall and athletic, and jump like crazy, but don’t really crave the physical stuff and don’t have quite the basketball instincts that, well, Watertown-Mayer has got. Literally because their 6-1, 6-0, 5-11 front line are all volleyball players who helped Heritage get to the state volleyball tournament. In this day and age, you’re probably not going to be great at your 2nd best sport.
That’s not meant as a criticism. Heritage plays hard and they’re going to win lots of games. But, it’s still true that you’re probably not going to be great at your 2nd best sport.
And so it was that, just keeping things simple and talking 3-on-3 here, the Royals Claire Killian, Kirstin Klitzke and Monika Czinano were just a whole lot better than the Eagles Annika Simonson, Maddy Torve and Jordyn Allen.
In fairness, let me add that sophomore point guard Taylie Scott is the Eagles best player and, according to her mom, “she’s a basketball player.” Next year she will be the best or 2nd best player on these 2 teams. Czinano, a junior, is the other.
All of that aside, here are the top players from Tuesday night’s game.
Claire Killian, 5-9, senior, wing, Watertown-Mayer
As of this Monday (day after tomorrow), Killian will be our #19 ranked 2017, up from #31. I’ve always had a problem ranking Killian and teammate Kirstin Klitzke because I’ve always had a hard time decided which I liked better. Certainly, today, it’s Killian. She’s bigger and stronger, shoots the 3 better and is going D1 versus Klitzke at D2. Against Heritage, she shot out the lights with 6-of-8 3s. While Klitzke is both faster and quicker, it always seemed to be Killian who was downcourt in the transition.
Kirstin Klitzke, 5-7, senior, point guard, Watertown-Mayer
Klitzke’s the smaller one, the point guard. Some nights she’s the one who is hot from 3-point range or wherever. Some nights it’s Killian. As freshmen and sophomores, Klitzke outscored Killian about 18-17 ppg. As juniors and seniors it has been Killian, 19-15. The difference now seems to revolve around the 3-pointer which Killian has perfected. But as I said, Klitzke is quicker and faster, though Killian is certainly just as good of a ball-handler and passer. So, like I say, Killian is going D1, Klitzke is going to Mankato State where she and Maddy Olson could become one of the smallest backcourts in the western hemisphere.
Monika Czinano, 6-2, junior, post, Watertown-Mayer
Czinano is not as big as a lot of blue chip posts. She gets her shot more with her mobility. She gets to her spot in transition and in the half-court. I don’t think I saw her shoot anything beyond 8 feet but that just means she’s playing to her strengths and the ball is much more likely to actually go down the hole. She uses her size and strength a little more off the boards, but either way has really good hands. If she can touch the ball, she’s going to catch the ball.
Taylie Scott, 5-7, sophomore, point guard, Heritage
It's hard to believe Taylie is still just a sophomore. She’s been the point guard with Ken Thiesen’s Crossfire team forever, and has helped them to be consistently competitive in their age group. She is also a very competitive small school player—not an Alaina Jarnot yet but now probably the best point guard in Section 4A. She is aggressive with decent handles, gets to the rim and finishes, and plays good ball defense. Mostly she dishes effectively to the tune of 9 assists per game right now, one of the best in the state. She needs to upgrade the 3-point shot.
Annika Simonson, 5-11, junior, wing, Heritage
Oops, my mistake, if you thought I said that Simonson was a volleyball player—she is not. And, so, she is the best of the Eagles taller players scoring 19 ppg versus 12 for senior Maddy Torve and 8 for freshman Jordyn Allen. She had a pretty average night out against Watertown, scoring 18 on 7-of-17 shooting with 7 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, a block and 3 turnovers. She plays on the perimeter, she is long and lean, is plenty mobile for her size and age, with decent handles for a 5-11 junior wing. She hit 3-of-7 3s, which is also a pretty average night for her, while she hit 5 deuces, more from mid-range than in tight.
Maddy Torve, 6-0, senior, post, Heritage
Torve is the stronger, more aggressive, inside player among the Eagles bigs. The first half dozen possessions, they came down and fed Torve inside and she aggressively attacked the rim, making 2-of-3 shots. After that she got a lot less touches in the lane. The defense adjusted but Heritage also seemed to lose its resolve to get inside a little bit. She went 2-of-5 over the final 15 minutes of the 1st half and just 1-of-4 in the 2nd. She had 4 boards, no assists and no steals so overall she’s not as active as Simonson.
Jordyn Allen, 6-1, sophomore, forward, Heritage
Allen is long and lean, for sure, and I mean lean, not ready for the rigors of inside varsity basketball. She scored just 2 on 1-of-6 shooting. Now, this was a below average outing. She’s averaging 8 ppg on 55 percent shooting with a high of 14 points. She had just 3 rebounds. The good news is 5 assists and 2 blocks, so I don’t mean to suggest she’s passive except maybe about taking the ball inside on offense.
Libby Heilman, 5-9, freshman, shooting guard, Watertown-Mayer
Heilman is the next gen at Watertown, an active, athletic, instinctive basketball player who is, however, a freshman and pretty raw in terms of shot selection, spacing the floor and all of that. But when she was in the game, it didn’t matter if Killian or Klitzke or who was in the game, her job was to look for her shot. I mean that in a good way. She takes responsibility for your offense being able to score. She went 0-for-4 Tuesday night, but she will be fine and will score 15-18 ppg someday.