Posted On: 01/29/18 3:44 PM
The Totino-Grace Eagles swarmed the Crimson of Maple Grove on Friday with one of the best defensive efforts I’ve seen all season. Charlie Jacob highlighted the night with a triple-double.
One. A Defensive Masterpiece. The activity. The Defensive Communication. The Effort. The ability to bring the same effort and consistent results regardless of what defense the Eagles were in. All of it contributed to Maple Grove getting doubled up at the half (38-19), getting crushed on the glass, and shooting a very poor percentage.
What’s even crazier is that Maple Grove was a 10-4 team coming in and had just beat TG by 19 only 17 days ago. This was a complete switch of momentum brought on by an Eagles team that was highly motivated to work together and get a victory. I would pick out a player here and a player there but the whole team defended extremely well. The Tyler Kittelson explosive blocks and Eric Krieger effort off the bench at the top of the zone eye popping standouts but the whole team impressed in the 66-51 win.
Two. Triple-Double. Eagles guard Charlie Jacob put up 16 points, ten boards, and ten assists in the win. Charlie shot 6 of 14 for the game and set the tempo quick with his chasing down as well as scrapping in the paint for boards. Jacob was the best rebounder on the floor in this game and that was evident in the first half. Jacob used his touch off the one dribble or with feet set catching and hitting for a dozen quick points and then in the second half the Eagles were in constant transition and most of the time it was Jacob leading the way sending the perfect pass for easy scores. An all around game for Jacob who is of course an all around student athlete.
Three. Eric the Blue. Eric the Red discovered lands across the planet. Eric Krieger wears a blue uniform and he discovered that if you come off the bench and produce on both ends, you get a lot more playing time. Eric, a junior, has only been playing in the varsity rotation since the turn of the calendar and this was his best game yet. Krieger scored his 13 on six of seven shooting mostly on active cuts and movement off the ball for scores. He also defended at the top of the zone and wherever else his team needed him to.
Four. The Crimson. Maple Grove played one of their worst games of the year when we saw them but this is a 10-5 team that is at least four games better than I thought they would be at this point. This group has outplayed expectations and has beaten some really good teams. Four guys have stepped up to provide a balanced offense with Alex Battist being the most know name with his 13 points and ten rebounds a game while junior Jared Rainey has grabbed the ball from Brad Davison and has done much more with it than anybody thought he would (15 points and five assists a game). Nate Adams and Jordan Stensland, a junior and senior respectively, have also been dependable players.
Five. The Eagles. Tyler Kittleson is more explosive than we knew. Those blocks were something to see and he did a great job with Battist when on him plus hit some jumpers. The Nick Flottmeier up and under, flex cut score, and foul shots helped him to an assortment of ten points. Riley Burger came off the bench to hit two first half treys and Will Schmidt was able to get some points on the board later in the game as well. This was not the usual offensive game that Schmidt brings as Will usually scores in the 14-15 range. Totino-Grace is a team with several seniors and if they play defensively like this they are going to have a real shot at challenging Columbia Heights for state.