football

State Title Blog: Benilde-SM vs St. Thomas

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FIRST HALF
Mike Sjoberg is coaching in his 6th state tournament this year and this is the Academy's 9th appearance overall. They are playing for their 3rd state title in school history. Benilde-St. Margaret's is playing in their second straight state tournament and it's their second appearance in school history…
Big dunk as Jordan Taylor goes baseline and with the help dropping Stuart Neville cut to the basket, caught, and rocked the rim with two hands. Then Matt Thomas hit back to back three-point attempts and the Red Knights built a 12-6 lead…Thus far the Cadets have gone exclusively to Alex Schneider and he has produced all their points including a fading jumper…
Coming into the game the supporting cast was knowingly going to have a huge role and whichever team gets more production throughout from that supporting cast was going to be the winner. Thus far it looks like BSM is getting that help as Thomas and Neville have stepped up and now Spencer Bata hits a three for the Knights and its 17-6. The Knights are breaking down the Cadet defense from all angles right now and it starts with Taylor….
Bad call there may have a big impact. Schneider looked to have taken a charge on a Taylor back cut but the ref saw differently and not only awarded Jordan with the basket but also a free throw. The call may have been close but I thought Schneider had the spot. It looked so much like a charge that the BSM fans didn't really react because they even thought it was a charge. And now Schneider gets his second foul already and things are going down hill fast for St. Thomas…
Jordan Taylor is just too strong for Fritz Waldvogel and he has scored twice on Fritz now going at the basket. Plus Jordan has caught twice on the block and hit cutters for baskets giving them great looks…Schneider scores again with the fade away jumper. His combination of strength and a touch makes him a great match-up problem. He can bump people back when making his move and that clear constantly allows Alex to get good looks…Matt Thomas has now penetrated on the Academy defense and dished to the BSM bigs. Excellent passes from Matt showing another dimension to his game…32-16 BSM…
Michael Fitzgerald goes to the free throw line and the BSM crowd showcases two more of their hilarious chants including this slow, goofy spin and some arm shaking with what sounds like a Samoan chant…Half ends with Benilde-St. Margaret's up two touchdowns 35-21. At this point Alex Schneider has 14 of the 21 Cadet points. He did a great job of avoiding his third foul playing about nine minutes with two…
SECOND HALF
Two three-pointers to start the half for the Cadets and this is an eight-point game. One came from Fitzgerald and the other was sunk from Jake Szymanski. After getting little scoring production from anybody but Alex the Cadets get two big threes from the wing, 35-27…A three from big Stuart stops the momentum that the Cadets had created and does Neville ever add some more dimensions to this team coming back from injury, 38-27…Schneider has scored on three of the last four Cadet possessions and this is a five point game. The Knights just don't have any beef to stop him down low…Right now in the last couple minutes St. Thomas's five are just going harder then the five on the floor for BSM. A loose ball and its one Knight on the floor and a handful of Cadets…
Armond Battle has about seven inches on Szymanski guarding him and the Knights just cleared for him on the block to take advantage for a bucket. They go back to Armond on the block and he has another clear look at a fading jumper so he knocks it down for a 44-33 score…The Cadets go back to Schneider for two more buckets on the block but then Battle goes back to work on his guy and these teams are taking advantage of mismatches…Huge three from Cadet Mike Ratelle and this is a six point game at 46-40…
It looked like BSM would gain some momentum with a Taylor bucket going strong past Fritz but on the next possession Jordan was whistled for a bogus offensive foul and then St. Thomas got a tough shot from Fitzgerald scoring in transition while being hacked. Very nice looking bucket there from Mike Fitzgerald showing some toughness to finish while being hammered and the BSM lead is down to 48-42…Schneider is coming across the lane and sitting down in position way to easy. He isn't having to go through any bumps, bodies or any contact as he is just sitting down where he wants…
Coming down the stretch and this is going to be all about free throws. The refs really started blowing the whistle early in this half and to be consistent down the stretch they will blow just about any contact…Taylor steps up to sink two big free tosses with a minute-thirty to go and its 54-45…Waldvogel misses a three and he has one bucket today...Now Fritz has two buckets as he hit a three and it's a six point game at 54-48…Cadets get four free throw attempts and they make two. Then on the fourth shot, it missed but Schneider gets the tip in and with 30 second to go its 55-52…
Jordan Taylor has been clutch in games like this all his life so we shall see how clutch he is today. He's off to a nice start in these final 30 seconds as he calmly makes two free throws with 22 seconds to go…Jordan now with a steal taking the ball from Fritz.. Now Jordan makes one of two free throws but then defends Fritz well enough to force an airball and that will be the game. Final score is 58-52 and the Red Knights can hang their first state title banner in boys basketball…
POSTGAME
Class AAA all-tournament team is Matt Thomas, Armond Battle, and Jordan Taylor from BSM, Alex Schneider, Fritz Waldvogel, and Michael Fitzgerald of St. Thomas, Jordan Smith and Casey Sussenguth of Willmar, and Jordan Hughes and Jerry Sweezy of Patrick Henry.
Jordan Taylor finished with 20 points, ten rebounds, and six assists while playing 35 of the 36 game minutes. He made six of 16 shot attempts, eight of 11 free throws, and recorded two steals.
Armond Battle made four of ten shots and six of seven free throws for 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks.
Alex Schneider made nine of 27 shots and nine of ten free throws to score 27 of the Cadets 52 points. Alex also had 12 rebounds.
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