The good folks of Iowa can certainly lay claim to Floyd of Rosedale, but they don't have Paige of Ridgedale. As any good girl's basketball fan in Minnesota will tell you, a prodigy in blue is much more valuable than…
The good folks of Iowa can certainly lay claim to Floyd of Rosedale, but they don't have Paige of Ridgedale. As any good girl's basketball fan in Minnesota will tell you, a prodigy in blue is much more valuable than old football trophy in rust. Iowa almost always ends up with the tarnished hog that is awarded for supremacy in the Minnesota-Iowa college football encounter. On Saturday, however, the prodigy named Paige did all the winning in the marquee game at the Breakdown Invitational in Minnetonka, as Paige Bueckers of Hopkins scored 27 points to lead the Royals to a 67-48 win over Iowa City West, the #1 team in the Hawkeye State.
Hopkins scored early and often, flying out of the gate to a 9-0 lead that soon became 17-2 and more. The Royals used their superior speed and athleticism to overwhelm the visitors, employing the trap and press as only they can. After a less-than-impressive defensive showing at last Saturday's Breakdown Tip Off, this was vintage Hopkins. It resulted, as it often does for Royals' opponents, in a slew of turnovers and poor decisions. It also produced fouls. Lots of fouls. The Iowa faithful may have been raining boos down on the men and women in stripes but their ire was ill-placed. This was about wheels, not whistles. “We just don't see teams that athletic and that fast,” Trojans coach B.J. Mayer admitted. “It was good for our girls to experience that.”
Bueckers was superb, scoring on long bombs, floaters, drives to the basket and, every so often, a straight-up jump shot. The Trojans did have a girl named Paige Beckner (no, I am not making this up!) but they didn't have anyone by any name who could stay with Paige Bueckers. But she wasn't the only Royal putting on a show. Transfer Kira Mosley from Eden Prairie had an outstanding game, knocking down key shots from distance for 10 points. Sophomore guard Jaide Pressley played big minutes, particularly in the second half, and did the job at both ends of the floor. Senior forward Angie Hammond scored on a couple of nice put-backs and was a force on the boards. In other words, it was a complete performance that kept the Royals' record unblemished.
Player of the game: Paige Bueckers, Hopkins
Hopkins – Paige Bueckers 27, Kira Mosley 10, Angie Hammond 8, Jaide Presley 7, Dlayla Chakolis 6, Kayhla Adams 5, Raena Suggs 2, Amaya Battle 2
Iowa City – Logan Cook 10, Audrey Koch 8, Emma Koch 7, Paige Beckner 7, Cailyn Morgan 5, Maytayia Tellis 4, Lauren Zacharias 4, Carrie Callahan 3
APPLE VALLEY 54 MINNETONKA 51
It was a Saturday night in early December, and the state tournament is months away. How important could a win possibly be? For the Eagles from Apple Valley, it was really important, and they came up with a solid performance, shook off an 0-3 start to the season, and finally cracked the goose egg. To beat the Minnetonka Skippers 54-51 on their home floor made it that much sweeter. Apple Valley rode the wings of 6'2″ senior Brynne Rolland, who scored 28 points to help new coach Bryan Doughty capture his first W.
The first half was mostly Minnetonka as the Skippers, sparked by a pair of Katey Brattland threes, built a nine-point lead by the break. In fact, Apple Valley did not get ahead until there were just two minutes left on the clock. That's when junior Megan Baer buried a long three to give the Eagles a 49-48 edge. The final two minutes were a flurry of free throws and time outs and down-and-dirty defense as Apple Valley scratched and clawed its way to a 5-point lead, before Minnetonka's Megan Walker nailed a three with 5.6 seconds left to cut the margin to two. An intentional foul put Apple Valley's freshman point guard Chyna Young at the line, where she made one of two. That left a last-gasp opportunity for Walker to jack up a desperation shot from mid-court that nearly sent the game to overtime. Whew!
Walker was a warrior for Minnetonka, doing everything possible to will her team to victory. Apple Valley hassled the Lehigh commit all night long, playing hard-nosed, physical defense and being up in her kitchen at every opportunity. It's a strategy you'll see used again by 'Tonka opponents, but it won't always lead to a victory. On this night, it was just enough to hold the Lehigh commit to 20 points and let Apple Valley sneak out of the gym with a win.
Player of the game: Brynne Rolland, Apple Valley
Apple Valley – Brynne Rolland 28, Mykel Parham 8, Magan Baer 7, Molly Moynihan 5, Chyna Young 4, Kalena Myers 2
Minnetonka – Megan Walker 20, Kayla Mershon 12, Blake Greer 10, Katey Brattland 6, Zoe Hardwick 2, Katie Leisen 1