A pair of teams ranked in the top ten with Holy Angels being number ten in the Breakdown ranking while Benilde-St. Margaret's is number one……These teams are in the same section and with DeLaSalle and Washburn performing well below expectations they seem to the be the favorites to make the section title game. Right behind them would be Orono who Holy Angels has already beaten this year…….Great guard match-up of Stoddard Barnhill facing Jordan Taylor. I would expect, pending on fouls, that these two will see a lot of one another……
Holy Angles junior Sahr Ngekia has scored twice slashing to the cup and then point guard Stoddard Barnhill killed somebody off the bounce with a sweet move and a 6-4 lead…..Benilde St. Margaret's going with a four guard line-up and Armond Battle fighting as the center. Thus far 6-foot-9 Stars center James Pfitzinger has not touched the ball in five minutes with Armond on him. James did just have a huge swat of a Jordan Taylor shot though…..So Stars take a 6-4 lead and their students chant "This one's over". More of a comic thing yes but right after that chant Battle hits a three and Taylor drives twice through traffic for field goals. Armond makes two free throws now and the Stars are down 13-6. They have not scored since that chant and Red Knights are on a 9-0 run…..Great looking pull-up from Barnhill to stop the BSM run. And with BSM playing small, 6-foot-1 Jordan Taylor is guarding the 6-foot-4 Ngekia and that's not working to well as Sahr just scored on Taylor with a post up and has three buckets already. Jordan is a good defender, he was earlier on Barnhill and has been the only one to stop Stoddard's drive thus far.…..Taylor drives for a smooth runner and his team is up 15-10…..The match-up on the other end is Taylor being guarded by Barnhill and Jordan has beat him four times already off the bounce for scores at the rim. Stoddard is one of Minnesota's better guards but the Wisconsin commit is too much. Now Taylor beats Barnhill off the bounce to the bucket for the fifth time…..Officials have really let the kids play and are doing are doing a great job with this game…..Crowd is excellent. BSM kids are fun and creative. The "Richard Simmons" chant was hilarious, I loved the Jeopardy theme song when their team was on D, and then they reminded Ngekia of his free throw shooting every time he was at the foul line, "0 for three","0 for four"!.....When Pfitzinger has been in the game he's dominated the boards up to this point…..Battle is looking to put the ball on the floor and go by Star defenders after he hit his initial three. Having a little trouble finishing but he then just tips back his own miss. He's also led three breaks up the floor. Armond has hit all four of his free throws and that is where you really see how nice his shooting stroke has become…..Stars role players did a nice job as Joe St. Mane and Tyler Bredow scored some important points late. Then Barnhill raced coast to coast for a lay-up at the buzzer and a 29-27 lead for Holy Angles. Benilde needs to get more from their role guys if they are to win this game…..
Big three from Alex Miller as the Red Knights were behind seven points and now 38-34…..Stars are running a real nice halfcourt offense and scoring buckets with backcuts and great ball movement. And when Barnhill is not being guarded by Taylor he is just blowing by other BSM defenders. Barnhill's scored a couple times in the second half already and created another shot for a teammate. Barnhill just has to quick of a handle and nice crisp moves. Created a foul call with a spin move then got to the free throw line the next possession for two with a nice up-fake…..BSM ties the game as they pick up the pressure full court. Battle gets steal, penetrates, and is fouled while making shot then makes free throw. After that score a deflection goes to Darren Glover who sends ball ahead to Taylor for lay-in and tie at 42. Good time out for Stars. They set up a play for big James who hasn't been involved in the second half. He backs down defender and scores with nice touch from eight feet…..BSM goes on run as Battle drives and scores, Barnhill puts up an airball which Taylor turns into a penetrate and kick for a Crawford three on the other end and a tie game at 47….Great pass from Barnhill to big James. Outstanding job breaking down the defense from Barnhill as he creates…Taylor now stepping up. First he scores inside, next time down he hits a big three and then following a Stars bucket he penetrates to open up Matt Thomas for a three…..Great game with seven minutes to go. Barnhill's game has been impressive as he is able to penetrate constantly. Did have a bad turnover against pressure that helped the BSM run and I think that airball was the first shot outside of ten feet he's taken all game. But Barnhill is steady with the ball and I can see MIAC schools fighting for him all year. Does a D-2 take a shot at him with a scholarship?....Barnhill steps to line to make a pair of free throws giving his team the lead but ball is worked around to Battle who goes strong baseline for a big move and a tie score at 60…..Taylor does whatever it takes. He's given up nine inches to guard Pfitzinger once, he just made a huge offensive rebound in traffic over bigger players, and then calmly he made two free throws for a two-point lead…..BSM put Battle on Ngekia and the junior from Holy Angles has really not had room to do much since in the second half…..Taylor uses a double screen at free throw line to drive through everybody and set up a lay-up for Miller. Alex misses but then Taylor gets another offensive board to put his team up 65-60. Barnhill races the other way to score using great body control going around defense and then the acrobatic finish…..Tyler Bredow has been the guy guarding Taylor. Bredow, a 5-foot-10 junior, just stole the ball from BSM as they were stuck in the corner. He made lay-up and maybe was fouled but no call. Great game by two ranked teams and it's going down to the wire. One minute left, 65-64…..Thomas misses two free throws for Knights. Crucial misses as Holy Angles now has the ball with a shot at the upset on the road, 19 secs left…..Battle deflects a pass with ten seconds left and his reaction claiming that the ball hit Holy Angels got his team the call. Great play by Battle and if it was off Stars or not, his reaction was what the refs went off of because neither had a clue who hit the ball out. Looked like Holy Angles tried to run a set but the curl was well defended and then the ball was thrown away when no shot was there…..Taylor misses one of two free throws, big James gets rebound and outlets ball to Barnhill whose rushed three was missed long. Bredow had a shot at buzzer but missed as well. BSM wins 66-64…..Taylor scores 28 and Battle puts up 21 points while Barnhill had 20 for Stars and Pfitzinger scored 12 points…..
Stars gave Benilde-St. Margaret's a run for their money. Just the other day at the Target Center the Red Knight role players were huge as BSM really handled Madison Memorial. But tonight the team relied almost exclusively on Jordan and Armond. They are number one and its well deserved as their only loss comes from the Hopkins game. But come playoff time the Red Knights are going to need more then 17 points from the rest of the team……Jordan Taylor stepped up again and his will to win is amazing. He will literally do anything needed so that his team can win a game…..Holy Angles losses have now come from St. Paul Central, BSM, Armstrong, and a team from New Orleans. Ranked number ten coming into the week this is a team that definitely can challenge for section and they proved tonight they can play with Benilde…..