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Tip Off Classic preview: East court

By Ryan James, Breakdown Sports USA, 12/10/15, 10:15AM CST


Dec. 12: Seven top games begin at 10:30 a.m.



10:30 a.m. on East Court

Edina vs. Lakeville South

Edina dropped the game to Shakopee last week but for the most part this is a team that is taking care of business.  The Hornets have nice wins over North St. Paul and BSM plus they have back to back games with Minnetonka and Lakeville South this weekend that will really test them.  Walt McGrory, Anders Nelson, and Will Moreton have been a Three Amigo Scoring Trio so far averaging 50 points per contest between them.

Jack is now back and the South attack nearly took out a veteran Lakeville North bunch but the Panthers grabbed the game in the final moments.  Jack Sorenson’s debut was strong though with 32 points and now his squad is 2-2 with a weekend set against Apple Valley and Edina.  Cade Carlson, Blake Wacholz, and Shae Mitchell all took care of business when Sorenson was out averaging double digits.

Prediction: Sorenson and McGrory are talented junior guards that are both thankfully healthy now and we get to see that match-up Saturday morning at the Tip-Off.  Who wins?  I believe South has more up front and a bit more depth overall.  The Cougars win by five if the Apple Valley game doesn’t hurt them mentally.


12:00 p.m. on East Court

Eden Prairie vs. Osseo

Eden Prairie is 2-2 with one-point losses to Burnsville and Eastview.  Relax Eagles fans, the squad controlled a solid Minneapolis South team on Tuesday and then get Chanhassen and Osseo this weekend.  Both games will be tough, but both are winnable.  The Eagles have Brady Rudrud and Owen Chose handling the playmaking duties with Ryan Jacobus and Nick Geolat producing double figure numbers behind the leading pair.

With wins over Duluth East, Hermantown, Blaine, and Centennial, Osseo is undefeated at 4-0.  The wins aren’t the surprise as much as the margin of victory is.  Every win has been a blowout.  The Orioles are a balanced bunch with Demario Armstrong, Allan Anderson, Dontae Jones, and Zach Theisen all producing between 11 and 16 a night.  Theisen, a sophomore, is the leading scorer but Osseo is hitting people from every angle.

Prediction: Guards, guards, and more guards.  There are guards everywhere, but not much production in the middle from these teams.  If somebody gets something up front, they likely win.  EP is bigger and longer, and likely more hungry after a couple one point losses.  I say EP by six.


1:45 p.m. on East Court

Northfield vs. Minnehaha Academy

Have you seen how Northfield lost to Austin?  Hit up ESPN and see the 92 footer that went in at the buzzer.  That marks two straight losses for Northfield, which plays Century and Minnehaha Academy this weekend hoping to get back on the winning track.  Luke Harris and Hunter Koep are both putting up 14.4 a night for the Raiders and getting help from Chris Antoine and Alex Rasmussen.

The Redhawks are 2-1 with wins over Sibley and Washburn but a loss to rival St. Croix Lutheran.  They will have had a week off to get ready for this game.  Interesting fact about the Hawks, they don’t play a home against until January.  That’s okay because many want to get out and see Jalen Suggs, JaVonni Bickham, Benny Larry, and company. 

Prediction: The match-up of Harris and Bickham will be interesting around the basket but in the backcourt I don’t believe the Raiders have what’s needed to stop Suggs and company.  Northfield is good up front, but I say Minnehaha Academy by eight.


3:15 p.m. on East Court

Mt. Iron Buhl vs. St. Paul Academy

Mt. Iron-Buhl will come into the Tip-Off undefeated at 4-0 and the Rangers will have five days rest.  The Rangers are averaging 86 points per game and led by the massive numbers of Archie Winans who is getting help from Jaylon Holmes and senior undersized big Brody Tetrault.  The Rangers can get production from throughout their line-up and definitely have a point to prove at the Tip Off Classic.

SPA is looking pretty good after setting up an impressive schedule and going 5-1 through it so far.  The Spartans lost to St. Paul Central but beat Lourdes, STA, and now have games with St. Croix Lutheran and Mountain Iron-Buhl in a three day span.  Dalante Peyton and Kent Hanson are getting the expected 18 points a game each plus Emergon Egly and Angel Smaller are stepping up in support.

Prediction: The Rangers will have all the motivation a team can have as this is a huge game for them looking to prove something.  SPA is a Class AA team compared to Class A for the Rangers but the northern team is just as deep. Are Holmes and Winans on the level of Hanson and Peyton?  Time to find out.  We say the calmer nerves of SPA leads to a nine point win.


4:45 p.m. on East Court

Kasson-Mantorville vs. Benilde-St. Margaret’s

The Komets will have six games under their belt when they play at 'Tonka Saturday.   They play Cannon Falls the night before and are 3-2 on the season with losses to Austin and Lake City but wins over Goodhue and others.  Senior Braxton Raymond is putting up 22 points a contest and getting help from fellow senior Cole Kremers and up and coming junior Brendan Knoll. 

BSM had a rough start losing to Minneapolis South in the opener by a point but the Red Knights bounced back to beat Rosemount and Waconia plus battled Edina to a one score game earning a 3-2 mark.  Tonight the Red Knights play a huge section game with Orono and then their four double figure scoring balance (Eli Cave, Sam Baker, Derek Drees, and Matt Lilienthal) will move over to Tonka for the Tip-Off.

Prediction: I say BSM wins by a dozen.  The Red Knights have more talent, size, and depth at this point and it’s a game they are going to need to win to keep pace in the very difficult Section 6AAA (six of the ten ranked Class AAA teams are from 6AAA). 


6:30 p.m. on East Court

Centennial vs. Chaska

The Cougars are playing without Tyler Peterson and Alex Facon who are their two best players.  The result has been a lot of ugly losses including a 38-point loss to Irondale.  They will head into this game with Chaska winless.  Josh McGreal and Theodore Johnson are solid players but the loss of their best players seems to have taken a strong mental toll.

The Chaska Hawks were expected to be solid but nobody really knew how good they could be.  Right now they are 4-2 with strong wins over Eastview and Lakeville North but losses to Tonka and Apple Valley.  They are expected to take care of business Thursday against New Prague and then do the same versus Centennial.  Myles Hanson has stepped into the “main man” role with 19.2 points per game and is getting quality help from lead guard Andrew Kallman, Jameson Meyer, and skilled undersized big Luke Roskam who are all scoring in double digits.

Prediction: Chaska wins by 28.  We all want to see Centennial turn things around after being dealt two tough blows and with McGreal, Johnson, and Elliott Lyden they should get back on track.  But Chaska is expected to control this.


8:00 p.m. on East Court

Shakopee vs. Rochester JM

We asked all off-season who was going to step up with the three Sabers returning starters (Steffon Mitchell, Booker Coplin, and Taylor Triplett).  The answer has been sophomore Jake Kutina and senior Drew Hanbury.  They are teaming well with Mitchell’s 26.5 points per game and the all around role of Coplin who is handling the point guard spot, creating for others, hitting threes, rebounding, and defending top opponents.  Mitchell has been outstanding as Shakopee has recorded wins over Woodbury, Edina, and others.

Rochester JM.  So many people want to see what Michael Hurt, Matthew Hurt, the support, and hopefully Dedoch Chan can do (hopefully Dedoch is eligible by then as some admins in the Rochester school districts questioned his obvious move from Albert Lea to Rochester).   Matthew Hurt leads the Rockets in scoring while Michael leads in everything else as he’s already recorded three triple doubles (Michael is averaging 12.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per).  Rockets have got strong contributions from Ray Adams, Isaiah Walden, and D’Angelo Tines in addition to the Hurt brothers.  JM has a big game with undefeated Austin on Friday (road game) and then plays Shakopee. 

Prediction: This is the second or third most anticipated game of the event (depending on who you are and what you are coming to see) as the 22-game Big Nine league schedule only provides a few chances to see JM — and the Rockets of course have Gophers committed Michael Hurt going against Steffon Mitchell, two Mr. Basketball favorites.  Who wins?  Both have more balance than people expected.  It is going to be very close I think.   I say John Marshall by two scores.

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