State Game Blog: Johnson grabs 1st title

First Half
Grand Rapids starts of with a 6-2 lead. Big man Brian Akre has pounced on several early boards plus scored inside. All three of the GR buckets have occurred in the paint and each time the Hawks have produced the effort to get back on defense quickly. You can tell that getting back has been drilled into their brains by coach Dan Elhard…Johnson kicked off the game with a weave motion on offense and it's been jumper after jumper for the Governors, most of them coming up short…Mary commit Michael Johnson hit a bomb from Fred Hoiberg range and he extended the GR lead to 11-5…Estan Tyler has already hit two threes and that has to make the Northern Iowa coaching staff in attendance want the young man even more. The UNI Panthers offered Estan early and have been recruiting him hard as coach Ben Jacobsen and assistant Ben Johnson are in attendance…
Johnson's Roosevelt Scott has spent many long hours in the gym working to improve his shooting stroke and in this year's playoffs it's showing. Scott hit two long jumpers already including a three to tie the game at 13…Demtri Conwell is face guarding GR leading scorer Erik Stark…Apparently Johnson doesn't have much to say in the huddle because every TV time-out they are back on the floor ready to go before the Edgerton commercial is through. Did you know that Edgerton won the state title in 1960? I just heard that somewhere….
Somehow Estan Tyler jumped to get a board over the top of GR's Austin Pohlen and that other player was called for a foul when Estan was behind him. I guess the player cupped his arms back to strong? Whatever the case Estan is taking over. He's scored twice with putbacks and hit on a transition pull-up jumper just inside the top of the key. He's scored five times now and four of them were three point productions (the second put back included a free throw on that bad foul call)…We are really starting to get some inconsistent calls as GR has had two go against them that were pretty weak and it gave Johnson four points…Simply an incredible move by Michael Johnson who went the length of the floor clearing Johnson defenders with a hesitation dribble and then flying through the air by Governors defenders to make a lay-in with English on it. An incredible play showcasing his athletic ability…GR gets a call back as the refs go jumpball when a Johnson player was clearly fouled. Then the next possession Pohlen shoves Conwell with no call and Conwell's buzzer beater is off. Bad calls even out… 32-26 at the half, Johnson up and that's with hitting two more triples, winning the rebounding battle by five, and having three less turnovers…
Second Half
Stark scores back to back jumpers and we have a 32-31 games. These aren't easy buckets either, Stark had to clear the Johnson defenders with some step back shots that having nothing to do with simple…Stark with another score as he just shook a defender with a fake left while backing him down and then turned the other way to hit a 17-footer fading. Kid is scorching out of the break…After Stark scored a fourth bucket Marcus Marshall hit a three for Johnson and that's his first FG. If there's anybody GR can't have heat up it's Marshall. Also, GR made a slight comeback and it's occurred with Johnson playing some strong defense, Stark just made big shots. Can GR continue to get offense this way? Will Johnson keep playing D like this? The second question is almost a 100 percent yes…Marshall hits a three and then Estan hits a three and Johnson's up 47-39. Three quick threes rebounding from the four Stark scores…
Michael Johnson has hit two more deep threes and he's shooting these with his feet fluttering like his name was "Luigi" in Super Mario Bros 2. Maybe that's the source of his power getting the shots to the rim as they have been contested and long but good…47-45 SPJ…Stark hits another pull-up giving GR the lead back. That's 11 points for Stark in ten minutes…When pressing Johnson does a great job of getting their hands up for deflections. Scott just deflected a pass that would have been a sure lay-up and instead of GR grabbing the lead Donte Warlick scores three points and it's a 52-48 lead for SPJ…
Johnson has taken to the spread-stall with four minutes left and this is where they may be the most difficult to deal with. With so much quickness and handling skill at basically all five spots this offense can be a nightmare to defend…Max Rosenbloom, some day you should put together a film of your box-outs and send it out as an instructional example of how to do it. People wonder how a 6-foot-3 dude can grab double figure boards? Because Max works his tail of and knows how to sit down and work opponents back…One minute, 19 seconds left and its 56-51 SPJ…Free throws are closing the gap. Johnson is missing them and GR dropped two more, three point game…Another front end one and one miss from the Govs and Stark weaves through everybody to get a lay-in. One point game at 56-55 with Govs up. Free throws are killing SPJ right now…Estan gets one of two and its 57-55 SPJ…
Estan with a steal but a lay-up miss but Roosevelt Scott with a huge board and he makes two free tosses for a four point lead and with a GR airball comes an Estan rebound and a Johnson state title….This is great, the GR crowd is cheering as loud as the Johnson crowd despite the loss just seconds before. They are proud of their kids for sure…This is the first state title for Johnson in hoops history…
Estan scored a game high 20 points on 6 of 10 shooting including four triples. He also grabbed seven rebounds with four assists. Roosevelt Scott scored a dozen on seven shots attempts plus grabbed six rebounds with three blocks. For GR, Stark made 7 of 13 shots for 15 points with six rebounds and Michael Johnson totaled 13 points on 4 of 11 shooting including three triples. Grand Rapids has 17 turnovers that resulted in 23 Johnson points.
All-Tournament team for Class AAA is:
Jalen Jaspers, DeLaSalle
Jonah Travis, DeLaSalle
Alec Brown, Winona
Mark Blacklock, Winona
Eric Stark, Grand Rapids
Michael Johnson, Grand Rapids
Kevin Rabbers, Grand Rapids
Estan Tyler, St. Paul Johnson
Maxie Roosenbloom, St. Paul Johnson
Roosevelt Scott, St. Paul Johnson