Boys\’ Basketball

Who will be state champs?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Let’s hear your predictions for the boys’ state basketball tournament. The top seeds are Minnetonka in 4A and Benilde-St. Margaret’s in 3A (2A and 1A don’t seed).

Can ‘Tonka and Benilde go all the way? Can the only unbeaten teams in the state — Bertha-Hewitt in 1A and Crosby-Ironton in 2A — win championships?

Who could pull off major upsets? 

State basketball pairings

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

The pairings have been announced for the 4A and 3A boys’ basketball tournaments. As expected, Minnetonka in 4A and Benilde-St. Margaret’s in 3A are the top seeds. Here’s the lineup:

4A, at Target Center
Bloomington Kennedy (19-8) vs. No. 1 Minnetonka (25-3) at 10 a.m.; Cambridge-Isanti (19-10) vs. No. 4 St. Cloud Tech (27-2) at noon; Rochester Mayo (24-4) vs. No. 2 Henry Sibley (24-5) at 2 p.m.; and Burnsville (20-9) vs. No. 3 Robbinsdale Cooper (23-6) at 4 p.m.

3A, Target Center and Mariucci Arena (yes, you read that right)
St. Paul Como Park (20-9) vs. No. 1 Benilde-St. Margaret’s, (26-3) at 6 p.m. at Target Center; Minneapolis Henry (19-10) vs. No. 4 St. Michael-Albertville (26-3) at 8 p.m. at Target Center; Little Falls (14-14) vs. No. 2 St. Thomas Academy (22-6) at 6 p.m. at Mariucci Arena; and Grand Rapids (13-17) vs. No. 3 Willmar (23-5) at 8 p.m. at Mariucci Arena.

Let’s predict the 4A & 3A seedings

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The seedings for the 4A and 3A boys’ state basketball tournaments will be done Thursday morning. Four teams will be seeded, with their opponents picked by blind draw. 

In 4A, the top two seeds are easy. No. 1 will be Minnetonka (25-3) and No. 2 will be Henry Sibley (24-5). The third seed could be any of three teams: St. Cloud Tech (27-2), Rochester Mayo (24-4) or Cooper (22-7).

Cooper, which handed Osseo its first loss in the Section 5 final, should be one of the seeded teams despite seven losses. And the other seed will depend on how the participating coaches view the competition faced by Tech and Mayo this season.

My pick would be Mayo as the third seed and Cooper as the fourth seed. The rest of the 4A teams are Bloomington Kennedy (19-8), Burnsville (20-9) and Cambridge-Isanti (19-10).

The 3A field will be seeded in the same manner. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (26-3) is probably destined to get the No. 1 seed, with St. Thomas Academy (22-6) coming in as the second seed.

I would put St. Michael-Albertville (26-3) in the No. 3 slot and Willmar (23-5) at No. 4. The other teams are St. Paul Como Park (20-9), Minneapolis Henry (19-10), Littls Falls (14-14) and Grand Rapids (13-16).

As soon as the pairings are announced, we’ll post them here.

4:35 2nd: BSM 2, Woodbury 0

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

So far in the second, the Red Knights have 16 shots; the Royals have zero.  Benilde has been attacking the Woodbury net in waves, and they eventually got the goal that they deserved. Jon Holmers drove to the net, put the puck on goal, and then managed to chop the rebound over the goaltender.

The 2-0 deficit seems to have woken up Woodbury – they’re finally getting some offensive pressure.

Unusual from start to finish

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

One game that deserved more attention than it got during the boys’ basketball state tournament was the St. Thomas Academy vs. Rocori semifinal in Class 3A.

It matched the No. 1 (STA) and No. 2 (Rocori) teams in the Associated Press state ratings, which Minnesota Basketball News provides.

Rocori has a special player. And it took only a few seconds to realize that. Justin Stommes, a 6-7 senior, was the Rocori player tried to tap the opening jump ball to another Spartan.

He got the tap, then ran by and took a handoff from the teammate he tipped the ball to.

See, Stommes is a point guard. Tall, skinny and with slippery moves to the basketball. He reminded me a little of Braham’s Isaiah Dahlman, now a freshman at Michigan State.

Stommes got his 19th — and final point when he made a free throw with 1:10 left to put Rocori ahead 48-44.

It was 50-46 with just 25 seconds left when J.B. Korte became a tournament legend.

He hit a three-pointer from the right wing, then stole the ball in the backcourt and made a layup to put the Cadets ahead 51-50.

Derek Casper of Rocori made one free throw with nine seconds left to tie the score before Korte got a pass on the left wing, and at the buzzer, made another three for the victory.

It was a taste of what was to come the next day. Three finals in the other classes were all nailbiters.

St. Thomas Academy, in its title game against Benilde-St. Margaret’s, had an easier time. The Cadets had already passed their big test.

Another Tubby fan

Jimmy Robinson, the longtime supervisor of tournament officials, met Tubby Smith years ago when he was at Tulsa.

“He’s a great hire” for the Gophers, Robinson said. “… I believe great players from across the country will want to play for the University of Minnesota.

“He’ll also provide something else… that’s diversity. I hope he brings his son to help do recruiting.”