It was the first of 2 shockers at St. Paul Washington. Trailing by 13 early in the 2nd half, the #3 seed St. Anthony Huskies suddenly got hot and got fearless and roared back to beat #s seed St. Paul…
It was the first of 2 shockers at St. Paul Washington. Trailing by 13 early in the 2nd half, the #3 seed St. Anthony Huskies suddenly got hot and got fearless and roared back to beat #s seed St. Paul Como Park 73-61. St. Anthony outscored Como 43-18 down the stretch on 17-of-30 (57 percent) shooting.
It took 10 minutes, but St. Anthony caught up at 53-all. Freshman guard Anica Thomas scored 4 times in the St. Anthony run, and 3 others scored twice each. Equally important, the Huskies had turned it over 3 times in the 1st 3 minutes of the 2nd half, but now turned it over just twice in 10 minutes. Como put St. Anthony back on their heels with an aggressive, pressure defense, but the Huskies picked themselves up off the deck and started beating the Como defense up the floor, scoring at least 4 transition baskets over those 10 minutes.
St. Anthony took the lead for good at 62-60 on the 2nd of 3 Nicole Zielsdorf 3s in just over 2 minutes. The 3rd made it 69-60 at 2:45 and that was all she wrote.
The Huskies shot 51 percent in the 2nd half and 45 percent for the game, while Como had a hard time putting the ball in the basket at 33 percent. And the Cougars made just 12-of-22 FT and Mikayla Van Nett made 7-of-9. The Huskies made 7-of-9.
St. Anthony was also outrebounded 24-19 in the 1st half. In the 2nd, they grbbed 26 rebounds to just 16 for Como.
Autumn Tucker hurt an ankle early in the game, and did not return until the start of the second period. Going at maybe ¾ speed, she managed 7 2nd half points, but she had just one assist on the night.
MVP—Nicole Zielsdorf’s 2nd half shooting (5-of-11 with 3 3s) was the difference.
Best Play—St. Anthony also handled Como’s full-court defense much better in the 2nd half. At about 6:15 the Huskies trailed 55-52 but were coming back. Zielsdorf rebounded a Como miss and got the ball to freshman point guard Sam Sibbett, who took the ball coast to coast, all the way to the rim on the dribble for 2 points that got them within one.
Best Offensive Performance—Zielsdorf. Almost all of her 21 points came from a distance. Great jump shooter.
Best Defensive Performance—For most of the game, Como’s half court trap gave St. Anthony a lot of trouble. I don’t know how many times they got trapped just over the timeline. I always that those long-armed Fury teammates, Abby Kain and Taylor Koenen, sets the best high school traps I’ve ever seen. Elaina Jones is on that level as a defensive trapper.
Best Under-the-Radar Performance—Zielsdorf was the MVP for St. Anthony and she’s a senior. So the under-the-radar performance is freshman point guard Sam Sibbett who handled Como’s defensive pressure nicely throughout the Huskies 43-18 run to close the game. Overall, she finished with 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting, with 5 boards, one assist, one steal and just one turnover as the primary ballhandler.
Best Underclassmen—There was a lot of young talent out there, but Elaina Jones is still in a class by herself. She finished with 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting with 15 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 turnover.
Best Player off the Bench—Neither team is deep. The 2 benches scored just 6 points between them. The best had to be the Huskies freshman Jessica Goldsmith who scored 4 points on 2-of-3 shooting in the 1st half.
Best Passer—St. Anthony senior post Abbey Koenig-Meehan didn’t look for her shot very much, but she had 4 assist passes kicking it out of the low block. 2 of them were to Zielsdorf for 3s including one that gave St. Anthony the lead at 59-58.
Best Catch and Shoot—Zielsdorf. Ordinarily it would be Mikayla Van Nett, the state’s #1 3-point shooter, but St. Anthony only allowed her to get off 3 shots from long range.