The story of the Saturday's Sweet 16 match-ups? Big names scored Big points while the Big teams scored some Big wins. The rubber floors of the St. Benedict's Fieldhouse were good to some of the better players in Minnesota as Jordan Smith, Casey Schilling, and Tyler Vaughan were amongst those with bigs performances. The semi-finals this morning will be Hopkins vs. Apple Valley and Lakeville South vs. Eastview.
Tyus Jones (Apple Valley) - It's hard to truly summarize what Tyus does with words. His ability truly needs to be seen to fully appreciate. This may be an excited stretch but right now he honestly seems like the best passer Minnesota has seen in countless years. Jones made passes on the money yesterday from just about every angle one can think of and his efforts are incredibly efficient. Jones doesn't waste any motions, his passes are extremely accurate, and his ability is deadly from anywhere on the floor. The freshman-to-be has parts of his game to work on no question, he is only going to be a freshman, but the bounce passes he's throwing on the campus of St. Benedict's have been so precise that words don't do it justice. You have to get out and see this young man who easily had ten assists in his games against Ellsworth and Orono yesterday.
Thomas Schalk (Apple Valley) - Schalk displayed almost his full capabilities on the offensive end yesterday scoring with threes in the corner, catching on the break and finishing over defenders big and small, producing in the contested middle, and hitting from mid-range. The William & Mary commit scored with more of an ease than in the past as his game seems to have matured this summer. Because of his length, Schalk was a pest on the defensive end and his shooting was rarely bothered on the offensive side.
Tyler Vaughan (Braham) - Vaughan had an amazing opening day of shooting for the Bombers hitting with range that several Sweet 16 defenders didn't seem willing to step out to. Tyler produced five or six three-pointers in game one on his way to 32 points and then put up 48 points including seven three-pointers in the Bombers loss to Ellsworth. Many taking in the game were a little surprised at the massive point total and it's because Tyler's points came in such quick bunches. It was two threes in a minute or three triples in a two minute span. It was a jumper followed by a steal followed by a drive to the cup complete with free throws. It was a three followed up with a pick followed up with a free throw. Tyler's amazing feel for the game and scorching shooting hot hand were rivaled by his steady demeanor as he put on a Sweet 16 shooting display that viewers may never forget.
Casey Schilling (Ellsworth) - Yesterday may have been Casey's statewide introduction. Scoring 31 points against Orono and 46 points against Braham, the 6-foot-5 point forward shocked people with his point totals because most watching couldn't believe Casey had scored that much. Playing the point, Schilling regularly moved the ball to all Panther teammates constantly swinging so everybody on his team touched the ball. Schilling moves extremely well after the pass always looking to take advantage of late reacting defenders with hard cuts and quick post ups. Most of his field goals came off the dribble drive as Casey beat many to the right using his length to finish floaters into the defense. He also highlighted with a massive baseline jam on the right side plus knocked down a few treys. Schilling was also put on the free throw line countless times against Braham moving a point total that was destined for high 20s or low 30s and pushing it into the mid-40s as Casey just didn't miss. As a true leader he salted the game away forcing Braham to foul him and he stepped up to carry his team home.
Cole Olstad (Plainview/Elgin-Millville) - Remember this guy? Cole may have slipped the mind over the past couple months because he hasn't been on the AAU circuit but yesterday he made people take notice as the Bulldogs handily defeated Sebeka and then pushed Lakeville South to the final seconds. Most of the day Olstad could be seen hitting a triple from a court away but it was his late game second round performance that will make fans remember. With his team down a couple field goals Olstad spotted up to hit a three, and then possession by possession his will to win became apparent. On the next play he was swung the ball at the top of the key where he caught and beat a defender to the middle before assisting beautifully to a teammate for what turned out to be a three-point play. Next he crossed over a tired Alex Richter and went all the way to the rack for a score. Then he made free throws on the following possesion, and picked off an in-bounds pass to score seconds later. The Bulldogs didn't have the horses to slow down the South Cougars but Olstad definitely proved he can play with the best of them in state.
Alex Richter (Lakeville South) - Fresh off the plane from Los Angeles with legs that had played in countless tournament games over the past week, Richter joined his team for the Sweet 16 and contributed like he always does. Richter could not be stopped by the length of St. Cloud Apollo or the defenders of PEM as he attacked the lane (with or without the ball) over and over again for point production plus hit some eye-opening mid-range shots with consistency. The most admirable part may have been the effort he gave as you could tell that all the games in the past week, week and a half has left him tired. However, Richter showed up and put forth 100 percent effort pushing his team to the Sweet 16 Final Four while gaining even more admiration for those in the local basketball community. If toughness badges were awarded in basketball Richter earned one for each game yesterday.
Joey King (Eastview) - Going against the physical Myles Barnes in the post King was giving up a lot of brute strength and early in the game against BSM Barnes had the advantage pushing King out from the post. But in the second half King turned up the offensive productive from the perimeter knocking down three triples and from there things opened up around the basket. King dropped the hammer on a two-handed slam, he worked for better position, and went to the foul line for several free throws finishing with a hard earned 20 points.
Jordan Smith (Orono) - Smith usually gives people nightmares with his pull-up but Ellsworth will be seeing him raining threes in their sleep for the next week. With Orono's basketball weapons increasing in number defenders can't always play Smith chest to chest everywhere on the floor. And as a result Smith knocked down eight triples on his way to 32 points in the opening round contest.
Blake Maslonkowski (Apollo) - "The Maz" saw his Apollo Eagles fall to Lakeville South but it wasn't due to a lack of Blake's effort. The 6-foot-5 power forward used brute force to score inside against the Cougars and he showcased a two dribble attack game going at the heart of the South defense while going by bigger defenders for scores. Blake showed an added dimension using the dribbles off the face-up attack and college coaches surly took note.
Oshari Arnett (Eastview) - The defensive effort from the Eastview team against Benilde-St. Margaret's was exceptional. The Red Knights had to get almost all of their scoring production from their frontcourt of Myles Barnes and Evan Battle because the Lightning backcourt had the BSM guards and wings on lockdown. Arnett and company held outstanding combo guard Isaiah Zierden to seven points (after Isaiah had just hit five threes and scored 30 plus in round one) and the rest of the Knight guards and wings to even less. Arnett was a catalyst with his intensity on both ends. It was completely a team effort so it's hard to single out one guy but Arnett also had some scoring production that helped Eastview get the big quarterfinal win.
The rubber floors didn't work out to good for some of the bigs. Marvin Singleton barely played yesterday due to what looked like an ankle injury as he was seriously hobbled most of the day. Sebeka standout John Clark also looked to be seriously injured and Lakeville South's Spencer Pankonin missed the end of his team's second game because of a visit to the trainer...Hopkins guard Joe Coleman missed his team's second game to be at a wedding. Without he or Marvin the Royals still came out as winners versus Windom, so maybe he wasn't needed. Waconia surly needed Shelby Moats to have a chance against Hopkins who ended up beating the Wildcats by 50 plus. Word is Moats has been staggered with some back issues after a long couple weeks on the road...Anthony Bias will help Braham this year on the wing when he becomes eligible in February. He will be a good complimentary scorer to Vaughan and Ben Thiry...You had to be impressed with how well Jordan Crockett used his length to score for Apple Valley in their first game against Braham. As a junior he didn't play a ton but if he can contribute like he did against the Bombers than Apple Valley will have another weapon to use...Colleges watching included pairs from St. Cloud State and Jamestown as well as others from Mary, Northern State, Michigan Tech, Hamline, UW-Eau Claire, and Concordia-Moorhead. Ryan Sharp of Sebeka may have made a few take notice showing off three-point range as well as point skills...Jon Christiansen of Lakeville South scored seven late points to help push his team into the semi-finals. That point production was the final touch on an active, produtive day for the Cougar 6-foot-5 forward...
Hopkins 105 Waconia 53
Windom 50 BBE 44
Apple Valley 91 Braham 77
Orono 87 Ellsworth 64
Eastview 49 Minnesota Transitions 44
Benilde-St. Margaret's 86 Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 55
Planview/Elgin-Millville 95 Sebeka 71
Lakeville South 64 St. Cloud Apollo 56
Hopkins 65 Windom 52
Apple Valley 85 Orono 74
Eastview beats Benilde-St. Margaret's
Lakeville South 78 Plainview/Elgin-Millville 74