The Best of Saturday
As reported previously, I saw 3 games on Saturday: Duluth Marshall at Mounds Park, Simley at East Ridge, and Marshall at Hill-Murray. Here are some of the best individual performances that I saw. Center—Hannah Meier, Marshall, 6-0, senior Meier is…
As reported previously, I saw 3 games on Saturday: Duluth Marshall at Mounds Park, Simley at East Ridge, and Marshall at Hill-Murray. Here are some of the best individual performances that I saw.
Center—Hannah Meier, Marshall, 6-0, senior
Meier is a smart, poised veteran with effective post movea. She single-handedly kept Marshall in the game in the 1st half, when things were not going their way. Plus, she’s a solid rebounder and a good defender. She finished 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting with 7 boards and a blocked shot. She’s the only senior on the Marshall roster and a totally indispensible contributor.
Power Forward—T. T. Danso, Simley, 5-10, sophomore
Danso remains a work in progress on offense but she is an aggressive defender and rebounder who does the job against players much bigger than herself. East Ridge started 3 6-footers but Danso was by far the most effective player in the lane.
Point Guard—Grace Kirk, Duluth Marshall, 5-7, sophomore
W.H. Nelson asked me what I thought of Grace Kirk and I said, She’s solid, then amended that to say, Her game is solid. She is in other words a fundamentally solid point guard with all the various skills you’d want. My point about differentiating her game from herself, however, had to do with her size and her pace. She’s going to learn to play at a much faster pace this summer and she’s going to learn about a more physical style of play. But the fundamentals are there.
Here’s another better informed opinion from coach Adam Johnson: “Grace is a dynamic point guard. She played every minute last night until the final minutes. She played fine today, she made great decisions, her 3-point shooting is improving, she attacks the basket hard, she can pass rather than try to score every time so she’s a well-rounded player. We really like where she’s at as a sophomore. She’s got a bright future.”
Combo Guard—Lenei Estrada, Marshall, 5-6, sophomore
Estrada and running mate Kaia Sueker were on their heels the 1st half against a really aggressive Hill-Murray defense, but bounced back in the 2nd half, picking up the pace, spreading the floor, becoming harder to defend. Estrada scored 8 2nd half points on 2-of-2 FT, with 2 boards, 2 assists and a steal—again, all of that in the 2nd half. Once Marshall came back to win it, Estrada was our choice for MVP.
Shooting Guard—Delaney Runyon, 5-9, junior
Runyon scored 23 including 4-of-6 3s including 6 points on 2-of-4 3s in OT. She was the #2 option to guard Marshall’s Jordyn Hillgemann and helped keep her scoreless through the first 35 minutes of the game.
Center—Grace Prokosch, Hill-Murray, 5-10, junior
Prokosch made 4-of-7 FG but missed a bunny late and shot 1-of-3 from the line. I’m sure it wasn’t her best game. But she’s a solid inside scoring threat and passes well out of the post. Marshall did a great job of keeping her off the boards.
Power Forward—Paige Andries, Marshall, 5-10, sophomore
Andries is a little bit raw but got the job done with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 9 boards. Plays hard, makes the hustle plays.
Small Forward—Jordyn Hillgemann, Marshall, 5-9, freshman
A great volleyball player as well as basketball player, but her father assures me that she is primarily a basketball player. Her game is taking it to the rim but Hill-Murray’s Madisen Rogers took that away. She didn’t score her 1st points until 0:35 of the 2nd half, but then she broke loose for 11 points in the final 8:35 including the 2 OT.
She reminds of a little smaller Kallie Theisen. Again, she gets to the rim with the ball and banks it home regardless of the angle. She has a great spot up shooting stroke, too, making a 3 and 6-of-6 throws down the stretch.
Point Guard—Kaia Sueker, Marshall, 5-3, junior
As we said of her running mate Lenei Estrada, Hill-Murray’s aggressive D had Sueker on her heels the 1st half but she came out with renewed confidence and purpose and had a great 2nd half, scoring 10 in the 2nd half and OT. She did have 8 turnovers.
Shooting Guard—Abby Goodno, Mounds Park, 5-8, senior
A very polished offensive player who scores from deep and also inside, where she makes up for her lack of size by being able to go either way with either hand, taking whatever the defense gives her. A big-time scoring threat.
Center—Kate Kleinschmidt, Duluth Marshall, 6-2, senior
A big, strong post who minds her Ps and Qs and doesn’t try to do things that she can’t. Mainly she hit the boards and defended the lane.
Wing—Gianna Kneepkens, Duluth Marshall, 5-7, freshman
Scored 16, just 2 points below her average, but needed 16 shots to do it. Made 2-of-9 3s and 3-of-7 2s after playing a late game the previous night, then coming back at noon Saturday. She is small but very active with good handles and an attacking mentality. Here again is what coach Johnson had to say: “Gianna’s great, she’s averaging about 18 a game, same as Grace. She didn’t shoot it great today but the quick turnaround and a lot of minutes last night had something to do with it. But she’s a lights out shooter, and is adding some versatility to her game, driving to the basket and creating for others.”
Wing—Gionna Carr, Hill-Murray, 5-9, freshman
Gionna is long and athletic, a real playmaker, especially on the defensive end, where she gets a hand on a lot of balls, including some outright strips and steals. At her best in transition with good handles and the ability to push the pace even in traffic. Lots of upside.
Point Guard—Vanessa Wren, Hill-Murray, 5-3, junior
Shooting Guard—Madisen Rogers, Hill-Murray, 5-6, senior
If Hill-Murray had beaten Marshall, Rogers was going to be the MVP. She face-guarded Marshall’s Jordyn Hilgemann (19 ppg), totally shutting her out until there was less than 1 minute left in the game. Plus she ran the floor hard, accelerating the pace from time to time, and scoring 8 points with 3 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals. A great all-around effort.
Wren was also a defensive dervish in the 1st half, ball-hawking to the extent that Marshall had extreme difficulty getting into their offensive patterns, if at all.
Center—Kate Burns, East Ridge, 6-0, sophomore
Listed at 6-0 but looks more like 6-2 or 6-3. Her team has a heck of a time getting the ball into the post but I saw Burns make at least one very nice offensive move to the rim. Scored 7 points.
Forward—Lilli Mackley, Hill-Murray, 5-10, freshman
Forward—Bella Hartzell, Hill-Murray, 5-9, freshman
OK, both are listed as guards and they’re mobile enough but both—and especially Mackley—are among the 3 tallest players who hit the floor for Hill-Murray. Each scored just 3 points but both are long and athletic, mobile with decent handles and both average 6-7 points. Mackley scored 20 the previous night. Being just freshmen at this point, both are going to be very, very good.
Forward—Kaija Kunze-Hoeg, Mounds Park, 5-9, 8th grade
Mounds Park’s 2nd best player, Kunze-Hoeg is pretty raw but active. She scored 12 and was a factor under the boards.
Point Guard—Ella Stegeman, East Ridge, 5-6, sophomore
Like most of her teammates, Stegeman has a tendency to be a little careless on the pass but she’s quick and mobile with good handles on the dribble, and she can hit the 3. Lots of upside with better decision-making.
Shooting Guard—Sydney Runsewe, Simley, 5-5, 8th grade
Shooting Guard—I’Tianna Salaam, Simley, 5-4, 8th grade
Both were part of coach Mark Stensgard 2nd platoon that entered the game en masse on a couple of occasions. Both a quick and aggressive and especially effective pressuring the ball on the defensive end. Salaam had a great sequence with a 3 and a steal then a 2 off the dribble drive 1:15 later.