Posted On: 02/25/16 2:16 PM

NHR Playoff Central. Playoff games actually started last Thursday and the full slate kicked in state wide on Tuesday. Last night was the first night of real upsets as some strong contenders left their home gym without another practice to go to this year.

The Big Stage. It’s a massive night of Class A games with contests being played in every corner. Many of the contests are first round sub-section games in the gyms of the high seeds. Hibbing is hosting four contests starting with Chisholm and Ely in a half hour (2:45 start) and ending with a projected 7:30 start time between North Woods and Bigfork. There are also four places (Esko, UM-Crookston, Bemidji Sate, and Bemidji HS) that are hosting double headers.

The most talked about contest of the evening seems to be third seeded Mounds View, who won 20 games, taking on Centennial who won ten but was without USD signed Tyler Peterson and second leading scorer Alex Facon for part of the year. With all of their guys the Cougars travel a bit south to Mounds View for what should be a packed gym. Mounds View is led by the 25 points per game from Nate Albers who has had an amazing year.

Fresh off a visit to Northern Iowa and an offer from the school, Trae Berhow leads Watertown-Mayer against a quality Maple Lake squad. This game will definitely draw a good crowd as should Sauk Centre/LPGE, Spring Lake Park/Park Center, and the opening round games for Osseo and Champlin Park against Roseville and Irondale respectively.

Name to Watch. Chase Olson is a 6-foot-3 senior from Maple Lake who scored over 18 points per game inside. He’s an undersized big and a lot of the Irish offense goes through him. The 16 win Maple Lake squad will need he and fellow undersized big Alex Toedter (scoring a dozen a game as a 6-foot-2 sophomore power forward) to get their numbers and guard Damian Kaley has to drain from the arc.

Upset City.

So many to talk about we have to rank them!

  1. Hill-Murray won only their 6th game of the year but they, the eight seed, got a Nathan Donatell trey at the buzzer to beat Mahtomedi 59-58. Donatell tripled his season scoring average while Simeon Davis had 21 in the win.
  2. Burnsville controlled the game with Eastview for most the night winning their 5th game of the season behind 29 points from senior Jason Gumm. The Blaze put out the spark of the bolt 60-57.
  3. Prior Lake knocked out 10th ranked Chaska 67-65 behind 26 points from Jack Kortes and 15 from Brian Sitzmann. Chaska was led by 26 from Jameson Meyer but it wasn’t enough.
  4. Fridley smashed Columbia Heights 52-31 as Tessy Pal scored 19 and Shyheem Murray had 16 while holding the Hylanders 31 (Baptiste 11).
  5. Oh the close calls. So many. Simley just got by Harding (71-67), Kennedy almost picked up win one on the season vs Highland Park in the 1/8 game, Tartan beat Stillwater 43-37, CDH hung on by nine over Central, Shakopee and Chanhassen played a close game until the Sabers pulled away late, and Cooper had to go to overtime to beat Minneapolis South 83-78 led by 20 from Melvin Newbern Jr.

 

Hat Tip to the Career. Amar Miller scored 36 in the final contest of his career as Minnetonka fell to Eden Prairie. Amar is considered to be the best point guard prospect/talent in the senior class and he had a fantastic career that started at Prairie Seeds Academy as a 7th grader, he played at Metro Tech Academy as a freshman, and Minnetonka for his final three years of high school. Many explosive scoring memories over his six years on varsity and junior varsity teams.