A person can only be at one game but last night there was three contests that this writer wanted to see so off to Mendota Heights he sped with reporting ears in both Bloomington and Owatonna. Henry Sibley defeated Tartan 78-74 beating the Titans for the 10th straight time, Marcus Alipate won a point guard match-up against Tyus Jones, and the Huskies tried to stall Alec Brown and Winona but came up short.
7:30 Tip-offs at all three locations plus a report that Wisconsin assistant coach Greg Gard has made his way to the Jefferson versus Apple Valley game to see point guards Marcus Alipate, a junior, and Tyus Jones, an 8th grader.
At Sibley in the stands sat Kevin Schlagel (although one said it may be mistaken identity) the head coach at St. Cloud State and also there was Concordia-St. Paul assistant Chad Welk. Both schools are recruiting Sibley's Jordan Jackson pretty strongly so there attendance would make sense.
In Winona the Mr. Basketball committee's presence was strong to watch Alec Brown.
7:53 Owatonna is playing a tight zone freezing Alec Brown as three guys are constantly surrounding the Winona seven footer. And on offense the Huskies were taking a long time with the ball showing a ton of patience.
7:55 Henry Sibley up 24-19 on Tartan as Mike Rostampour gets in quick foul trouble. With Mike out Sibley guards Jordan Jackson and Dante Grant are filling in the scoring with basket attacks. For the Titans its clear that junior Drew Preiner is on his way to a big game as he's hitting pull-up jumpers and tough bucket attacks. Also for Tartan Darrion Strong scored around the cup a couple times and junior big Ryan Burns totaled six points on three straight possessions.
8:02 Winona up at the half 19-15 and there was zone, zone, zone. Brown was all bottled up and not touching the ball as much as the Winhawks had wanted him to as of yet.
8:03 A great game is going on over at Jefferson where Apple Valley went into the half with a 33-32 lead.
8:05 Teams come out of the locker room and shortly after the second half Thomas Schalk of Apple Valley scores the 1,000th point of his career. Schalk is a junior forward.
8:10 After a sluggish start Jake Kreuser takes over the middle scoring with strong post moves, grabbing rebounds, and blocking shots. His interior moves were the most impressive as Jake did a great job of catching and faking one way to get the defender off balance before dropping step the other direction while using a power move to bump off the opposition. Problem for Sibley became a weak third foul called on Jake and he had to sit. The score was then 41 to 33 with a minute to go in the half.
8:12 A flash of points goes up on the board and Sibley takes a 43 to 37 lead into the break.
8:15 Winona pulls ahead 30-19 with fewer than 11 minutes remaining.
8:21 Apple Valley up one with seven minutes left.
8:40 Vaughan Thada hits a three-pointer with three minutes and 30 seconds to go that put Owatonna up 33-32. In the following minutes after some time-outs Winona junior forward Mark Blacklock gives the Winhawks the lead back with a pair of field goals. Owatonna's Mitch Hawkins gets a tip-in to get his team within a point at 36-35 with 20 seconds to go.
8:42 8th ranked Apple Valley (16-4) falls to Jefferson who is 4-13 after the win. The Jags aren't your ordinary 4-13 team though as they have lost those 13 games by an average of 4.7 points a game.
Late in the game with Apple Valley up one the Eagles were trying to run out the clock and there was a backcourt dribble hand-off error and Alipate stole the basketball for Jefferson. Marcus went the other way to score in what essentially gave Jefferson the win in the final seconds at 68-65.
At some point in the evening coach Gard from Wisconsin had a good conversation with Jefferson coaches about Alipate's game so the interest there is something to watch over the spring. Schalk hit seven three-pointers in the game scoring 29 points, Jones had nine points with ten assists, and Alipate put up 20 points. Jalen Williams had a team high 26 points for the Jags.
8:51 Winona wins 38-35 after Owatonna failed to foul them and Blacklock gets an open lay-in. Thada had a shot from just beyond NBA range at the buzzer to tie but came up short. Winona escapes late as they were up 11 points but Owatonna cut things closer and closer before running out of time.
Brown finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, and two steals while Blacklock scored 11 points with six boards. The game high 17 points of Thada led Owatonna.
8:57 Sibley has Rostampour, Kreuser, and Jimmy Ryan all sitting with four fouls. In the middle of the second half the Sibley 17 point lead evaporates to four points as Tim Lubke rains a pair of threes, Manani Beavers becomes more physical on both ends boards and finishing drives, and Preiner continues his big night with more field goals. Sibley lead is 70 to 66 with three minutes left.
9:10 Sibley gets their bigs back on the floor and both Kreuser and Rostampour have an impact. Jake is back in the middle so both Beavers and Preiner miss on drives because the presence of Kreuser made the shots much more difficult. Meanwhile Rostampour is fighting on the glass and dropping in important late game free throws.
Of course it wouldn't be a Sibley versus Tartan game without some extra stuff and that was present too. Technicals included a scream at a bench and a coach being upset with the clock keeper because of a mishap. A few players had to be pulled apart late before the teams shook hands and generally speaking there was just some upset people as the teams went to the locker room.
Dante Grant led Sibley with 21 points while Kreuser had a double-double at 17 points and ten rebounds. Jake made six of ten shots and five of six free throws. Rostampour finished with 14 points and four rebounds and his numbers included five of six shooting from the floor and four of six shooting from the foul line. Jordan Jackson had 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
For Tartan Preiner totaled 21 for the game, Beavers had 14 and freshman Darrion Strong scored ten. The growth in Preiner's game is definitely worth note as he has become a true scorer in several fashion. Tartan used him on clear-outs and Preiner usually gave them positive results first using a dribble attack to separate and then either scoring at the rim or hitting a pretty pull-up jumper.
Other Notes on the Night
Jake White had a "beastly" performance of 23 points and 19 rebounds in Chaska's 76-61 win over Rosemount.
Roseville is on a three game winning streak and Lucas Brown has put up 22, 19, and 26 points in those wins over Mounds View, East Ridge, and Park of Cottage Grove. It upped his average to 16.7 points a game on the season. Teammate David Stanley has pushed average up to 15.9 points a game and 4.5 assists a game.