In Friday’s 1st 3 games at St. Olaf, one team took an early lead. After that, there was a fork in the road, and each game took a different path. Prior Lake led Providence 17-9 at 12 minutes, and seemed…
In Friday’s 1st 3 games at St. Olaf, one team took an early lead. After that, there was a fork in the road, and each game took a different path.
Prior Lake led Providence 17-9 at 12 minutes, and seemed ready to put the Lions away. They never did, but held on to win 65-61.
Hastings led Eagan 15-8 at about 9:30 and seemed ready to put the Wildcats away. They did, leading 36-22 at the half and winning 66-43.
Farmington led Grand Rapids 17-13 at 6:45 and the Thunderhawks Hannah DeMars had 3 fouls and Maddie Miska 2. But not only did Farmington not put Grand Rapids away, but the Hawks put on a clinic the rest of the way, dominating every phase of the game to win 56-47.
Grand Rapids 56 Farmington 47
Down 17-13 with 2 starters on the bench with fouls, Grand Rapids closed the 1st half on a 16-4 run as Heaven Hamling, Miska and DeMars each scored twice. Meanwhile, Farmington turned it over 6 times, leading to 3 of the Hawks buckets.
In the 2nd half, Farmington was never really out of it, but never really made a run either. Grand Rapids just ran some clock, kept the Tigers from ever gathering any momentum and got great looks at the basket.
Make no mistake, as good as Grand Rapids was last year, they are a different team this year. Yes, they’re still point guard Heaven Hamling’s team, but the Hawks are improved everywhere else on the floor. Junior wing Hannah DeMars was a threat last year, to be sure, but she is now one of the state’s most athletic wings. Meara Beighley returns in the post. She’s not that big, she doesn’t dominate, but she plays hard and outscored the much bigger Kaitlin Winston 7-3.
At the other forward spot, Maggie Miska was not much of a threat last year. Now, she is among the most improved players over the past year that I’ve seen. She saved the Hawks’ bacon in the 1st half when Hamling was struggling and Farmington had some momentu. She scored 3 much-needed buckets early and kept her team in the game. Finally senior guard Liberty Blaine has had an eye-opening season so far, providing a much-needed 3rd ballhandler and scoring 9 points in the 2nd half alone yesterday.
They are still Heaven Hamling’s team but the go a full 5-on-5 now, and that was good enough against a very good Class AAAA opponent.
But, the play of the game belonged to Farmington freshman Paige Kindseth who closed out a Grand Rapids 3-pointer at the top of the key, loudly swatted the ball upcourt, ran it down and scored 2 at the other end.
Prior Lake 67 Providence 61
Prior Lake is still McKenna Hofschild’s team and, unlike Grand Rapids, they’re a work-in-progress everywhere else. Hofschild scored 29 points (below her average) yesterday. What saved the Lakers’ bacon yesterday was sophomore guard Haidyn Pitcsh’s 16. She penetrated and shot a nice pull-up jumper and she shot the 3. The only other player to score more than 4 points was another young guard, freshman Kate Trachsel, with 9.
Providence countered with a highly polished and effective inside game with senior post Anna Counts scoring 22 and junior forward Maggie Murphy adding 11. 5-5 Hailey Hohenecker has emerged as the Lions’ chief ballhandler and she also scored 11.
Providence is of course a AA team with a lot more long-term potential (meaning 2018 potential) than the Lakers. Providence could make some noise in the post-season if they can tighten up their ballhandling. Prior Lake has the advantage of being in a weak Section 2AAAA and could surprise if somebody steps up inside. Senior Madi Garcia and freshman Emily Kulstad combined for just 4 points in the Prior Lake post.
Hastings 66 Eagan 43
Eagan continues to rebuild, and so does Hastings. But the Raiders at least can build around 2 tent-poles. 6-0 senior Krystal Carlson is just a sneaky productive player. You almost don’t notice her. But yesterday, for example, she scored an unofficial 19 points on 7-of-12 FG with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, a block and only 1 turnover. (These are very unofficial. I have not seen the official stats posted yet on this one.)
Meanwhile, Mallory Brake is the flashier one. The 6-foot sophomore score an unofficial 22 points on 10-of-17 FG with 11 boards. She is long and lean and could easily be a 1 or 2 at the next level. But both she and Carlson are not afraid to mix it up inside.
Eagan, meanwhile, lacks the size to matchup with players like Carlson and Brake. The future, it seems, belongs to 2 guards who did not start—Taylor Grebin and Hannah Lamkin. I don’t know what their numbers were but Eagan trailed 15-8 when Lamkin scored off the offensive glass and then Grebin nailed a 3, and the Wildcats soon (and momentarily) were back in it at 17-15. But, they were outscored 49-28 the rest of the way.