The Champlin Park versus Cretin-Derham Hall game has been built up for eleven months. It’s a match-up that the Breakdown knew would be between top teams and the excitement level of the teams and players would bring a great crowd for a fantastic show. Played in front of a packed house it didn’t fail to disappoint.
Everybody seemed to play a part. Rebel sophomore Theo John had the initial highlight with a transition block and then he raced the other way for a two hand throw down in traffic. Sam Neumann hot into the act picking up a charge that put John on the bench in foul trouble plus Neumann scored twice early. McKinley Wright showed why so many high major programs have come to see him as he scored five first half field goals.
The first half battle though was JT Gibson and Joe Rosga. Gibson scored an early 11 creating opportunity all over the floor with threes and transition attacks. His pocket pick of Donnell Gresham was memorable as was his several zipping assists. Rosga caught fire quick leading to 17 first half points highlighted by balanced and off balanced jumpers that included three triples. The Rebels had more players involved so they had a 32-28 advantage at the break.
Out of the break the Rebels put together an alley-oop for state high jump championship Jeremy Johnson to get his first basket. He responded with a big time highlight that motivated him to score a three moments later. You would think the Rebels would go on a run but CDH instead found a groove as Neumann hit a pair of threes, Jordan Ammons scored twice and Frank Delaney scored twice. The Raider role players (and Neumann too) stepped up huge building a 15-5 run out of the break for a 43-37 lead.
JT Gibson turned the game for Champlin Park with several memorable plays. He had a couple full court finishes off of Raider turnovers that got things going plus JT was defending Rosga and held him scoreless for the first 14 minutes of the second half. In fact. Gibson blocked one Rosga shot clear out of his hands swatting the shot hard and sending it the other way for his own lay-up. The next possession Gibson put down a pull-up fall-a-away that was a thing of beauty.
Add those scores, and ten quick points from Jeremy Johnson (two threes, two lob scores), and the Rebels went up 59-53 taking the lead back. In this seesaw battle leads were only kept temporarily. CDH made their run off as Neumann had another three point possession bringing the Raiders within two points (61-59) with two minutes to go.
Donnell “Red” Gresham dealt with foul trouble the entire game. When he jumped a passing lane for a key score it looked like things were turning around for Red but two possessions later he fouled out on a reach call. CDH was without their ball handler but they didn’t stop Sam Neumann from hitting an NBA trey on a great set play from Coach Jerry Kline that cleared Sam to hit.
Back the other way Jeremy Johnson hopped and took a step with nobody on him and it was correctly whistled a travel. CDH took the ball, found Rosga, Joe attacked and I believe I was Wright that took a charge but it wasn’t whistled and the loose ball off the rim went out of bounds for the Rebels. Wright made two foul shots and then Rosga missed a late shot back the other way. The ball went out of bounds with 0.2 seconds left and the Rebels were up 65-62. Delaney missed a desperation attempt and Champlin Park grabbed a huge win.
Score by half: Cretin-Derham Hall 28-34--62, Champlin Park 32-33--65
Cretin-Derham Hall: Joe Rosga 20, Chris Perry 2, Donnell Gresham 4, Jordan Ammons 8, Sam Neumann 19, Frank Delaney 9
Champlin Park: Marty Hill 9, Theo John 4, Jeremy Johnson 10, Nick Hayes 2, Aaron Kloeppner 2, JT Gibson 21, McKinley Wright 17
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