Friday at the Adidas Super 64 was like halftime. Some teams played a game while several others had byes. It was Las Vegas saying "let's see how much more money we can suck out of these kids". Bracket play started for some Minnesota teams while others will hit things hot and heavy today.
On Thursday the Minnesota Comets got another look at the Compton Magic. In May Josh Hanson and crew lost to the Magic 17s at the Jayhawk Invitational. Now they had their opportunity to play the Magic 16s who while younger still have a ton of talent including four star Oregon State commit Jahii Carson, Damien Cain, and 2012 standout Gabe York.
In this pool play game that decided who would go to the Championship bracket the Comets started strong. Michael Johnson was the only Comet guard who could match the speed of the Compton kids and early he played up to his ability. Johnson got past Carson to complete a runner in the lane and back the other way he jumped over a 6-foot-4 wing to grab a board. Johnson then pushed the other way into the lane and kicked out to a transitioning Alex Hanks for a three and an early lead.
Taylor Filipek continued his mastery of the offensive glass in Vegas with two more putbacks. Also, Jordan Riewer got his shot going with a triple on the right wing and then he hit Hanks breaking down the floor for a lay-in over the 6-foot-7 Cain.
This game was a tale of completely two different halves of basketball. In the first 16 minutes the Comets had outstanding ball movement that allowed them to build a 30-25 advantage. Riewer was opened for another triple, the ball was swung to Hanks for a penetrating score, Filipek made that runner he loves so well after he flashed middle to catch, and the bigs (Ben Bucholz and Dan Kornbaum) connected on a high low.
Then came the second half and things changed completely. Carson and his band of guards completely harassed the Comet backcourt into numerous turnovers and bad shots. And once the Magic turned the game into their frantic fast pace style the Comets had no chance. Carson took control of the game with the basketball scoring off of penetration and kicking out to York whose shooting hand was on fire. Also, outside of Filipek's offensive boards the Comets were lambasted on the glass. The size and athletic ability of Cain, 6-foot-6 Wesley Saunders, 6-foot-6 Marcus Bradley, and a non-listed player who went by the name of Ronnie allowed them to dominate the paint.
After being blanked in the first half Bucholz found his deep stroke once again scoring with two three-pointers and a move inside. After turning the ball over for much of the second half the Comets had finally found some offensive rhythm. Problem was the team defense continued to be a step behind as Gabe York torched the Minnesota kids getting off good looks all over the place.
In the end the Comets lost out 68-58. Saunders finished with 12 points, Dominique Dunning scored 11, Carson put up 15 points, and York scored 24. In a losing effort Riewer scored 12, Johnson and Bucholz each scored ten, and Filipek and Hanks each had 11 points. Kornbaum had the final four.
While the Comets lost this game there was a silver lining. Fact is the Championship bracket contains a ton of talent from around the nation and considering how the Comets were struggling on the glass and with their team defense a trip through the Gold bracket wasn't that bad of a thing. They certainly have the opportunity to play more games and in their first round match-up against Colorado Select White the Comets dominated 87-48. Today at one the Comets play their second round match-up against a team from Delaware called the PAL of DE.
**An update on other MN teams at the Super 64 will come later today. I ran out of time at the airport to continue this story.