The high school season opens up the day after Thanksgiving, as usual, but now with not one tournament (the Pat Patterson at Hamline) but two (adding in the Tip-Off at St. Thomas, now in its second year). Double your pleasure.…
The high school season opens up the day after Thanksgiving, as usual, but now with not one tournament (the Pat Patterson at Hamline) but two (adding in the Tip-Off at St. Thomas, now in its second year). Double your pleasure. St. Thomas starts at 11 a.m., Hamline at 12 noon, so we’ll start with St. Thomas. Tomorrow we’ll bring you the Hamline matchups.
This is an all-Catholic affair. I am told that every school in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese is on board, except for one. I am sorry to say the holdout is my alma mater, Bethlehem Academy in Faribault. And, so, to get an even number of teams, they’ve added Iowa power West Des Moines Dowling, about whom we know nothing except that they’ll be playing Cretin-Derham Hall and Holy Angels.
Also in that pod with Cretin, Dowling and Holy Angels is Rochester Lourdes, and so the top games matching Minnesota teams would seem to be Cretin vs. Lourdes at 7:15 Friday night and Lourdes vs. Holy Angels at 9 on Saturday. These are your must-see games, along with DeLaSalle vs. Holy Family at 7:15 on Saturday.
Here are all of the matchups.
Friday November 24
11 a.m. Cristo Rey Jesuit vs. St. Agnes
Featuring St. Agnes dynamic guard duo of K’Lynn Lewis and Adiya Sandifer.
12:30 p.m. Winona Cotter vs. Visitation
2 Totino-Grace vs. DeLaSalle
De has just about everybody back from last year’s state tournament entry, except that it has added some additional talent via the transfer route. This could easily be your next Class AAA state champion.
3:45 Holy Family vs. Hill-Murray
The Fire is a particularly young and athletic bunch but the Pioneers have some experienced talent, too.
5:30 Providence vs. Benilde-St. Margaret’s
The Red Knights look to turn it around after a disappointing 2017.
7:15 Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Rochester Lourdes
Cretin started fast last year, but finished poorly. A new commitment to team basketball is needed. This will be Exhibit A. Meanwhile, Lourdes has some super high-end talent, especially for Class AA. The necessity of meeting Cretin and Holy Angels here will help to show just how high of expectations are appropriate for this group.
9 Holy Angels vs. West Des Moines Dowling
I have it on good authority that Destinee Oberg, Kaylee Van Der Werf, Riley Thalhuber, Megan Meyer and company will get a good test in this one. Who’s going to handle the ball for the Stars? Emma or Isabelle Henry, maybe? Or Frankie Vascallero? Or Alex Walker? Nice to have some options, of course. Better yet to have somebody take charge.
Saturday November 25
11 a.m. Visitation vs. Cristo Rey Jesuit
12:30 p.m. St. Agnes vs. Totino-Grace
2 Providence vs. Winona Cotter
3:45 West Des Moines Dowling vs. Cretin-Derham Hall
5:30 Hill-Murray vs. Benilde-St. Margaret’s
7:15 DeLaSalle vs. Holy Family
De finished last year strongly. Well, OK, they lost to Winona at state and somebody refused to shake hands with somebody. But, otherwise, they finished strongly, utilizing their quickness, their aggressiveness and their depth to make life very tough for opposing offenses. Meanwhile, the upside for Holy Family is very high and even now, in late November, De will be a good measuring stick.
9 Rochester Lourdes vs. Holy Angels
The Stars lose point guard Megan Thompson, and you shouldn’t underestimate the significance of this. She was such a strong leader. Who can fill that gap? Here’s you 2nd chance to glimpse the future for the Stars.
Individuals You Must See…
Center—Destinee Oberg, Holy Angels, coming back from injury; Anna Counts, Providence senior, trying to show that she belongs with the big girls
Power Forward—Kaylee Van Der Werf, Holy Angels, looking for a breakout sophomore season; ditto Nurjei Weems, DeLaSalle
Wings—Grace Conroy, Holy Family, looking for breakout junior season; Nora Francois, DeLaSalle, anticipating a big breakout year as a freshman
Point Guard—Aiana Whitfield, Benilde, needing an early turnaround after he Knights experienced a disappointing season a year ago; and, find out who Holy Angels’ new point guard is.
Shooting Guard—how good is Delaney Runyon, Hill-Murray junior? We know how good Rochester Lourdes wing Alyssa Ustby is—maybe the best (Minnesota) player in this tournament already as a sophomore.