Once again, we’re talking Green Wednesday from Park Center and Hill-Murray, Blue Thursday with Eastview and Hopkins, and Black Friday from Roseville. Brett has more top performers from Rochester. First, my top 5 performers of the week are: Center—Brynne Rolland,…
Once again, we’re talking Green Wednesday from Park Center and Hill-Murray, Blue Thursday with Eastview and Hopkins, and Black Friday from Roseville. Brett has more top performers from Rochester. First, my top 5 performers of the week are:
Center—Brynne Rolland, Apple Valley, 6-2 junior
Rolland torched Centennial for 29 points, outscoring the Cougars twin posts all by herself. She seals really well, catches and converts inside. But, now she’s also stepping out and hitting 10 to 15-footers, especially from the baseline area, and she even hit a 3.
Power Forward—Dlayla Chakolis, Hopkins, 5-7, sophomore
Chakolis really does play the power forward for Hopkins, I am not making it up. She takes the ball to the rim on the bounce and she battles for rebounds like crazy, especially on the offensive end. She is stealthy like Ashley Bates and strong like Nia Hollie. If she were 6-feet tall she would be the best player in the state. She broke loose for 18 points and 8 boards against Eastview, with 2 put-backs in OT that broke the Lightning’s back.
Small Forward—Riley Wheatcraft, Prior Lake, 5-11, senior
Wheatcraft is one of the state’s top jump shooters whether from 2-point range or 3. She made 11-of-17 shots Thursday for 30 points including 4-of-9 3s. She added 3 assists and a pair of steals.
Point Guard—Allie Pickrain, Eastview, 5-9, senior
Hopkins is only the state’s top perimeter defensive team. They speed people up unmercifully, they force errors and then they get so many easy baskets…. And they gave Pickrain a hard time, no mistake about that. Mainly I’m talking 7 turnovers. But Pickrain fought through it for a game-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting with 5 steals, but only 2 assists.
At crunch time, down 50-46 with about a minute to go in regulation, it was Pickrain who drained a huge 3, then got a steal and layup on the ensuing in-bound to force the OT. She scored 5 more in OT but by then it was too little, too late.
Shooting Guard—Raena Suggs, Hopkins, 5-7, junior
Suggs made 2 or 3 of the games biggest and most athletic plays, and scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting with 5 boards. Her most incredible play put Hopkins up 48-42 at about 3:30. Eastview was executing a simple handoff on the weave when Suggs split the 2 Eastview players and knocked the ball loose. As it bounced toward the sideline, Suggs somehow saved it from going out bounds, then cut back to the middle of the court and then to the rim for an acrobatic layup. In other words, she made 3 impossible plays in one play. Even most elite players might not have made any one of them. She made all 3.
The Best of the Rest
Center—Camryn Hay, Wayzata, 6-1, Mobile and aggressive in the lane, a great rebounder and a pretty good passer.
Power Forward—Rachel Ranke, Eastview, 6-0. Didn’t have a Rachel Ranke day with 6 turnovers. Of course, no way the Lightning stays close to Hopkins without her and her 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
Small Forward—Kaylyn Kidd, Northfield, 5-10. Best recognized as a slasher and a scorer.
Point Guard—Lyndsey Robson, Apple Valley, 6-1. Great shooter but now she’s just as happy setting up Brynne Rolland and other teammates, which makes Apple Valley doubly dangerous.
Shooting Guard—Sidney Franks, Wayzata, 5-8. Scored just 7 but did a terrific job guarding Tori Nelson of Sibley despite giving up 5 inches in size.
6th Player—Brooke Glass, Prior Lake, 5-10, wing. Played like the veteran that she is.
Honorable Mention—Erin Saemrow, Mounds Vew, 6-0, combo guard. Scored 22 in the 1st round loss to Mahtomedi. She made just 7-of-20 FT in an otherwise winnable game. Mounds View ended up losing two more games to finish last at Hill-Murray while Mahtomedi went on to win two more to win the tournament. Go figure.
Center—Annika Hoff, Northfield, 6-4, junior. Hoff played big on both ends of the court with excellent mobility and great hands. She made some tough catches and some great passes, and scored 15 points while grabbing 15 rebounds.
Forward—Krystal Carlson, Hastings, 6-0, likes to catch and shoot facing the basket from 2 and 3 point range.
Forward– Emma Grothaus, Mahtomedi, 6-3, puts it on the floor and goes to the rim.
Point Guard—Megan Walker, Minnetonka, 5-10. Skilled in all phases of the game but this time it was her 5-of-10 3s that buried Rogers.
Shooting Guard—Sidney Blandin, Farmington, 5-10. The Tigers are much improved—small, but quick, aggressive. Blandin is the bomber and bombed the nets for 25 of her team’s 51 points.
6th Player—Andrea Abrams, Eastview, 5-10, power forward. Played some effective minutes in a challenging setting, scoring 4 points with 2 boards.
Honorable Mention—Kayla Mershon, Minnetonka, 6-3, power forward. Continues to make progress toward her considerable promise. This time 14 points with 8 boards and 3 blocks.
Center—Destinee Oberg, Holy Angels, 6-3. Didn’t have a Destinee Oberg type of night but still has the great hands and feet and the great size. As one prominent coach said, however, her motor isn’t always running on all cylinders.
Power Forward—Kallie Thiesen, Wayzata, 6-0. Strong and active, she just devastates people around the rim, especially on the O-boards. This time out she scored 15 against an opponent with decent size.
Small Forward—Abigail Groeneweg, Forest Lake, 5-10. Actually started in the post and outplayed Oberg. She is a volleyball player and as coach Jen Morgan said, “She jumps out of the gym.” Very athletic, mentally tough as you can imagine guarding Oberg all night giving up 5 inches and a lot of strength. Never backed down. The only question about the future here is the allure of volleyball vs. that of basketball.
Point Guard—Mimi Schrader, Wayzata, 5-8. Played a little better Wednesday than McKenna Hofschild did Thursday. Hofschild had 13 points and 7 assists. Schrader scored 15 with 4 steals against a tougher opponent.
Shooting Guard—Taylor McAulay, Centennial, 5-9. Scored 17 against Apple Valley from both outside and in, in the half court and in transition. More than that, she has always been a solid defender with a nice, long reach.
6th Player—Abby Leach, Forest Lake, 6-0, wing. Led all scorers in the upset of Holy Angels with 16 points, mostly from long range.
Freshmen and Younger
Center—Lindsey Becher, Mounds View, 6-2, freshman. Long and lean, mobile, hard worker. Scored 9 vs. Mahtomedi.
Power Forward—T.T.Danso, Simley, 5-10, freshman. Hung in there against a more experienced Prior Lake team for 9 points and 15 boards.
Point Guard—Paige Bueckers, Hopkins, 5-9, freshman. Just back from an ankle injury, Bueckers looked about 50 percent. The ankle seemed OK but the conditioning wasn’t there. Even so, she made several Paige Bueckers types of plays and finished with 13 points but on 2-of-9 shooting and with 5 steals.
Wing—Mallory Brake, Hastings, 5-10, freshman. Smooth, athletic, not flashy, not particularly physical, but that didn’t prevent her from grabbing 14 rebounds, including 6 on the offensive end, which resulted directly in 5 points. She scored 23 points on 6-of-16 FG, just 0-for-1 on the 3-ball, but 11-of-13 from the line. She also threw 7 assist passes with 3 steals and 3 blocked shots. Does it all.
Wing—Amaya Battle, Hopkins, 7th grade. Played just a few minutes vs. Eastview and hit a big 3. What 3-pointer in that game was not big?
6th Player and Honorable Mention—Ravyn Miles and Sydney Stensgard, Simley, freshman guards. Made just 6-of-22 shots between them, but Stensgard added 8 boards, Miles 4 assists. They are going to be a force over the next 3.5 years.