You’ll be pleased to know I’m not the only total basketball junkie who made my way to the Friday night Section 2AA sub-section finals at Prior Lake. There, sitting halfway up the bleachers on the 50 yard line were the…
You’ll be pleased to know I’m not the only total basketball junkie who made my way to the Friday night Section 2AA sub-section finals at Prior Lake. There, sitting halfway up the bleachers on the 50 yard line were the parents of a prominent Class AAAA player, watching just for fun. “As if we don’t get enough of our own games,” she said. He added that last year, “People said you missed a heck of a game last night,” at these same sub-section semifinals. They didn’t want to miss out 2 years running.
I was there last year, but I had to look it up. #1 seed Norwood Young America needed OT to avoid what would have been a huge upset at the hands of #4 seed Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 68-64. Well, this is a new year with a new script, and there was nothing quite so dramatic. But, Norwood Young America again emerged victorious on sub-section semi Friday and GFW again tasted defeat. But not against one another.
Norwood Young America, again the #1 seed in the sub-section, trounced #5 seed Jordan 54-22 in running time in the opener, while GFW again put up a good fight but lost. This time it was Glencoe-Silver Lake that did the honors 63-48 in a game that was closer than that.
For NYA, the easy win bodes well. Last year’s poor performance at this level was preparatory for an upset loss to New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in the section final. This year the Raiders appear vastly better prepared to do what is expected, which is to represent section 2AA in the state tournament. But, first, they will have to get by the Monahans of GSL—senior McKenna, freshman Miah and coach Jeff Monahan.
NYA 54 Jordan 22
It’s hard now to remember that Jordan started out 4-0 and 9-3 before finishing 3-12. In those 1st 12 games they averaged 67 ppg. Since then, they’ve scored 48. Early on, they made something like 15 3s in routing a good Worthington team 94-61. Friday night, they made 3-of-19 against the long arms of NYA, and just 6-of-23 2s.
NYA started slowly, too, making 10-of-28 shots in the 1st half. But, in the 2nd, they made a ridiculous 11-of-15 to push it into running time at 51-16 at the 8 minute mark. After that they returned to the stratosphere but still made 12-of-20 for the half and 22-of-48 for the game.
The fact is the Jordan is small, giving up an average of 3 inches per position to NYA, but neither are they real quick nor do they handle and pass the ball very well. NYA is itself not a particularly quick team, but they play on instinct, which means they know where they want to go and so they just go, which makes you a little quicker than if you have to think about it for a second before heading off to try and make a play.
NYA got nice balanced scoring led by Kali Grimm with 11 on 5-of-10 shooting, and she added 5 assists. Abby Mackenthun added 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. All in all, the Raiders assisted on 16 of 22 buckets, so they were moving the ball very crisply and getting open looks. Thus, the 46 percent shooting. Thus, running time.
Glencoe-Silver Lake 63 Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 48
Glencoe led here 8-2 but GFW fought back to take a 9-8 lead. They trailed just 15-14 but fell back 26-21 at the half. Then GSL scored the 1st 8 points of the 2nd half to lead 34-21 but GFW again fought back within 34-31. That’s when McKenna Monahan took over, scoring on a catch-and-shoot 3 from the left wing, a 2 on a dribble drive down the lane, a 2 off the offensive glass, a 2 in transition and another 3 from the left wing. That was her last bucket of the night, giving her 23 points, which put her over the 3,000 mark for her career.
Little sister Miah also scored 6 points down the stretch, giving the Monahans 18 of Glencoe’s 24 points at crunch time. They’re very creative, they play the game on a different plane from most people, certainly most people in Class AA. They especially drive the baseline, and they make plays from the inside out more than most people.
But, while they seemed to get better looks than GFW, they only shot a little bit better. The Monahans made 15-of-40 shots, or 37.5 percent. Their teammates made 7-of-23, or 30 percent, while GFW made 20-of-59, or 32 percent. On 3s, the Monahans made 4-of-13 (31 percent). Their teammates made 2-of-5 (40 percent), and GFW made 7-of-24 (29 percent). Meanwhile, they assisted on just 5 of 22 buckets (you’ll recall that NYA assisted on 16 of 22), so mostly they create shots for themselves, not for one another.
But, again, at crunch time, they scored 18 of 24 Glencoe points on 7-of-14 shooting, with 4 assists on those 7 baskets. So, they found another gear when they needed to. In addition to McKenna’s 23 points, Miah had 16 and Olivia Lemke 13 for the winners. Miah Busse scored 16 and Emily Heimkes 12 for GFW.