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Posted On: 12/27/17 8:45 AM
The second of two 4-team brackets being held at Bethel University in St. Paul features St, Paul Central, Bloomington Jefferson, Mounds View and Maranatha Christian. Here’s the first look:
Dec. 27, 2:30 p.m. – St. Paul Central vs. Bloomington Jefferson
The Minutemen are 2-3 with a couple top 10 losses handed to them early on. Three are in double figures, led by Daveonte Davis at 18.5 ppg. Dion Ford supports with 16.5 ppg. Their pace has been halfcourt style in the past; we’ll see how that matches with the grind-it-out mentality Jefferson brings to the table. Central is likely the best team in the St. Paul City conference.
Jefferson graduated its best four guys from last year but returns three guards with varsity experience in Mike Evens, Gavin Lyons and Chris Seymore. Their diagrammed offense of cuts and passes can lull teams to sleep, but they don’t have the go-to scorer like they did last season. Evens is averaging 18.4 per game this year, so maybe he’s next up. Should be interesting to see how much time they take off the clock against another slower-paced team in Central.
Prediction: Jefferson 51, Central 46. I predicted the Jaguars to score around 70 points in their game at BU last year; not making that mistake again with how consistent they are in producing low-scoring games. Davis and Ford have great athleticism and slashing ability so maybe they can counter the grit ‘n’ grind style of Jefferson.
Dec. 27, 4:15 p.m. – Mounds View vs. Maranatha Christian
The Mustangs of Mounds View have struggled to score as of late, not topping 51 points in a game since December 8. Josh Albers is a proficient scorer but the options drop a bit after that. They’ll have their hands full with the athletes of MCA.
Maranatha has some great talent on display. Beijan Newbern headlines the group at 26.3 ppg and has a supporting cast of guards who are producing effectively in their roles. It’ll be my first look at these Mustangs and I’m looking forward to seeing what they run.
Prediction: Maranatha 72, Mounds View 54. Newbern alone might be too much at 6-foot-4 and athletic. I like Maranatha in this one by a healthy margin, barring some scoring surprises from Mounds View.
Dec. 28, 2:30 p.m. – Third Place Prediction: St. Paul Central 61, Mounds View 52
Dec. 28, 6:00 p.m. – Championship Prediction: Jefferson 59, Maranatha 56
Daveonte Davis (SF, 6-3, Jr., St. Paul Central)
Dion Ford (SF, 6-4, Jr., St. Paul Central)
Gavin Lyons (SG, 6-3, Sr., Jefferson)
Mike Evens (SF, 6-4, Sr., Jefferson)
Beijan Newbern (SG, 6-4, Sr., Maranatha)
Maciah Harut (PG, 5-9, So., Maranatha)
Josh Albers (SG, 6-3, Jr., Mounds View)