Five Things to Know: Tonka defeats St. Louis Park

High School

Posted On: 12/24/17 12:05 PM

Friday night Minnetonka picked up a key victory defeating St. Louis Park 86-76 led by Jalen Dearring and Cameron Steele who had their brothers looking on in the stands.

One.  Younger Brothers Stepping Forward.  Jalen Dearring is a junior and the younger brother of former Mr. Basketball finalist Riley Dearring (now at Bethel) and Cameron Steele is a 6-foot-7 sophomore big who is the younger brother of former Tonka center Grant Steele (now a senior at a school in California). Both Riley and Grant watched their brothers lead their team to a very important win as the Skipper resume shows a 5-2 record and wins over the Orioles, Monticello, Kennedy, Champlin Park, and Prior Lake.  A nice start to a Skipper team that has several role playing seniors with their top prospects being younger.

Two. The Jalen and Cameron Show. Jalen Dearring shot 9 of 15 from the floor, hit five threes, and made five of seven foul shots for his 29 points plus had five assists.  Cameron Steele gave his team four threes and 9 of 11 foul shooting for his 25 points.  What are they as prospects? Besides “young” this is our thoughts on both:

Jalen Dearring:  Jalen has grown several inches which helps him greatly not just as a prospect but in completing plays.  The shooting touch of Dearring is dangerous as he showed the ability to make one-hand scores on the move and feet set makes behind the arc.  His dribble separation into space for shots was good with smooth crafty handles but this young player rarely forces anything.  Jalen’s patience in reading the defense and attacking space as defenders shift is my favorite part of his game.  Dearring attacked gaps for jumpers, shots at the rim (tear drops or contested makes at the cup) and Dearring attacked and kicked or hit cutters to make plays.  Very impressed with how Jalen has grown as a player.

Cameron Steele.  Steele is a confident shooter who is kind of a bigger version of Seth Coatta in a way.  Steele is not a wing like Coatta and he has to be a high level shooter for about two straight years before we can put him in that category but Steele is off to a good start.  Steele, a sophomore, moved off the ball to get to spots on the floor to get feet set and hands up to make.  He made four field goals at the arc, faced up and hit a jumper, used the left handed attack into a make, and then the shorter Orioles players had trouble moving with Steele as position defenders so they put him on the line for 9 of 11 foul shot makes. Confident shooter in a big body plus Cameron has a bit of an edge to him.

Three. Cire’s Second Gear.  Oriole senior guard Cire Mayfield finished the game with 22 points on 11 of 22 shooting plus eight assists. Mayfield simply had a second gear he attack gaps with and pushed in transition to that Minnetonka couldn’t move with.  His speed getting to space was faster than Skipper defenders could move their feet to so Mayfield would get to the rim to make plays before a defender could make a play.  Also in that space Mayfield found teammates with zipping passes for the eight assists.  Cire is one of several quality PGs that are unsigned seniors.

Four.  Tonka Support. Jon Martens is one of my favorite senior workers in this class.  He is the Skippers top defender, third leading scorer, and in this game he was also a key ball reversal/cutter hit with four assists plus five boards.  He does what his team needs to win listing as the best defender and 3rd/4th scoring option. Andy Stafford is taking some time to get acclimated to the varsity level of play in terms of learning team defense and such, but the potential is there.  He put up eight points with nine boards against the Orioles which is about what he has done this year.  Tonka has three 6-5/6-6 players up front in addition to Steele that all player their roles: Ben Homeister, Ben Patton, and Peter Haas.

Five. What’s Next for StLP? The Orioles are not big they have solid players. Junior Anthony Rayson is getting better each game with his immovable post position and nice touch while Aidain Doherty is a combo forward that can play several roles.  In the backcourt Mayfield teams with shooter Joey Whitlock and Jacob Houts and all are capable of good numbers. The Orioles are 3-4 but I see them being about a 15-16 win team if they stay healthy.  Their early schedule has been tough so they have some good wins.