As Mother Mature played havoc with the thermostat outside, it was a great day to be in the gym on Saturday. Thank goodness the taxpayers of Wayzata have seen fit to air condition their palatial high school (does anyone else…
As Mother Mature played havoc with the thermostat outside, it was a great day to be in the gym on Saturday. Thank goodness the taxpayers of Wayzata have seen fit to air condition their palatial high school (does anyone else think it looks like a mall?) or it would have been an altogether different day at the Suns Summer Xplosion. After pondering the meteoric rise of E1T1 2020 Premiere, I went off in search of something new. Here’s what I found.
Southern Minnesota girls make Nice
Kaelah & Jaelyn Simmons, Minnesota Nice 9 and Winona H.S. –Happy Hour arrived early Saturday. No, we didn’t stop for adult beverages before noon, but there was definitely a nice two-for-one special to be had. Their names are Kaelah and Jaelyn Simmons and the twin sisters have just completed their freshman year at Winona High School. Kaelah is the point guard and the more athletic of the two. She’s skilled and fast and plays with tremendous poise. Her first step is excellent, and she used it to blow by more than one defender. Jaelyn plays the other guard spot for Minnesota Nice 9 and is not quite as quick as her sister but, to be fair, she is coming off an ankle injury so there might be a little more there. The two work beautifully together. Let’s face it, Winona has been stacked in recent years and these two have been hiding out away from the spotlight. I’m guessing that’s about to change and the Winhawks will be enjoying Happy Hour once again.
Can we see some ID please?
Lexi Karge, Minnesota Nice 9 & Mankato East H.S. – Let’s start with a large disclaimer: Northstar Girls Hoops does not cover 7th graders. At least that’s what they told me when I was handed the keys to the keyboard. Except somewhere in the fine print there must be an asterisk because I know I have seen the names of talented junior high kids in these parts before. I just can’t in good conscience gloss over the fact that there is a 7th grader playing two years up for Minnesota Nice and getting varsity minutes at Mankato East. I don’t have the actual facts to go by here but let’s just say Lexi Karge is well north of 6 feet and an imposing presence on the floor. Obviously she has a lot to learn but this is a top-shelf post in the making. If you passed Lexi in the hallway, you might mistakenly ask her where she’s going to college in the fall. OK, I exaggerate but you get the idea. Her sister Shayla was very good and I suspect Lexi will be, as well.
Buried Treasure: Saturday’s most pleasant surprise
Megan Mettler, Minnesota Nice 11 & St. Clair H.S. – Mettler is a hard-nosed, 6-foot-1-inch forward who has no idea, a) how good she currently is, or b) how good she can really be. I’m not sure if the coaching staff at her previous school (Mankato Loyola) realized quite what they had, either. That’s understandable since they have been fixated for the past few years watching one of their own rack up 3,000+ points, but the small college coaches on hand Saturday were definitely impressed. Mettler is moving to St. Clair this fall where a good senior season will put her on a college roster a year from now. She’s big and strong and you will not find anyone who plays harder at both ends of the floor. Need a rebounder? Megan’s your girl. Her footwork is a little odd but she is not slow and she does all of the little things that coaches love. Nice to meet you Megan.
Good things do come in small packages
Imani Reid, Warriors White & Armstrong H.S. – They say good things come in small packages and Alexis Gray-Lawson’s Warriors White squad has a lot of them. Some are still in junior high so they are likely to become bigger packages down the road, but at 5-foot-5, Imani Reid may be done growing. Either way, the little guard delivers for Warriors White. Reid is a leader on the floor, a presence who plays with passion and a bit of an edge. She can shoot from distance, beat you one-on-one, or run you over. Or she can execute a stunning 360-degree spin move in the paint and drop a smooth two points for the highlight reel. It happened. After hanging her hat at Minneapolis North, the 2019 prospect will be back home at Armstrong come fall. Regardless of the outcome of that move, Ms. Reid will no doubt be fun to watch.