Posted On: 12/26/17 2:27 PM
The Bethel University holiday tournament returns once again to the Robertson Center in Arden Hills. Instead of the usual three-day event (two groups of four, overlapping games on the second day), we’ll see four games on the 27th and four games on the 28th. The first four-team bracket includes St. Louis Park, Eagan, Totino-Grace and Roseville.
Dec. 27, 6:00 p.m. – St. Louis Park vs. Eagan
StLP has had one of the toughest pre-holiday schedules in the metro. They sit at 3-4 right now, with losses to Park Center, Minnehaha, Hopkins and Minnetonka. This group is gritty and doesn’t give up though, and the extreme doses of talent thrown at them so far will have prepared them for this tournament. Cire Mayfield leads the Oriole charge with an impressive 15.7 ppg/6.8 rpg/3.5 apg statline, with Aidan Doherty (13.7 ppg) and Joey Whitlock (12.8 ppg) in support. This team is definitely talented and better than their record shows.
Eagan has had their own share of struggles with a slate of tough competition. The Wildcats are 1-5, scoring just 53 points a contest. They are currently without 6-foot-6 big man Jaren Tschetter who was a big chunk of their offense last year. Point guard Jaylen James runs the show at 14.8 points per game.
Prediction: St. Louis Park 75, Eagan 58. If Mayfield grabs boards and runs with his shooters and finishers, it could be a long night for Eagan. This is a rematch of the Bethel title game last year and could have some revenge aspects, but I’ll take the Orioles again.
Dec. 27, 7:45 p.m. – Totino-Grace vs. Roseville
The Eagles of T-G started off a bit rocky but have rebounded for three straight wins, close games against Brooklyn Center, Elk River and Armstrong. That momentum is paced by Charlie Jacob (15.4 ppg) and Nick Flottmeier (14.2 ppg). The starting five is a very competent group; bench depth is something to watch as the season progresses for T-G.
Roseville is having a very solid season with young guys that have experience under their belts now. The Raiders are 4-3 and have lost those three games by an average of five points. The wing combo of Drew Adams (12.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 47% 3P) and Gary Smith III (11.1 ppg) is propelling this team so far. They have high energy right now after coming back from down 20 to beat a talented St. Paul Central squad.
Prediction: Totino-Grace 63, Roseville 60. This is sneakily one of the better matchups of non-top 10 teams over the holiday break. T-G has lots more size up front, but it could come down to which guards are making plays down the stretch.
Dec. 28, 4:15 p.m. – Third Place Prediction: Roseville 68, Eagan 57. Too much confidence from Roseville to not pick them right now. If Jaylen James goes off, this is gonna be a fun one.
Dec. 28, 7:45 p.m. – Championship Prediction: St. Louis Park 72, Totino-Grace 65. Look for Aidan Doherty to do damage with some kind of mismatch on him. I love the individual matchups in this game.
Cire Mayfield (PG, 6-0, Sr., St. Louis Park)
Aidan Doherty (F, 6-5, Sr., St. Louis Park)
Joey Whitlock (SG, 5-10, Sr., St. Louis Park)
Jaylen James (PG, 5-10, So., Eagan)
Charlie Jacob (PG, 6-1, Sr., Totino-Grace)
Tyler Kittelson (F, 6-6, Sr., Totino-Grace)
Will Schmidt (F, 6-6, Sr., Totino-Grace)
Nick Flottmeier (G, 6-2, Sr., Totino-Grace)
Drew Adams (G, 6-1, Sr., Roseville)
Gary Smith III (F, 6-4, Sr., Roseville)