NHR Playoff Central

High School

Posted On: 03/8/18 3:42 PM

Last night Cole Nicholson and Parker Bjorklund battled to the end pushing Chaska to the night round and North St. Paul dug deep to beat a local rivalry.  What’s tonight?  NHR Playoff Central is Next!

The 4/5 Game.Chaska and Minnetonka is where I went last night.  I saw Chaska put Tonka down 15 early and I saw Tonka fight back to within four in the second half.  I saw Jalen Dearring battle through leg cramps that have bugged him as of late until it just became too much late in the game (he still scored a team high 14 but missed a lot of the second half), and I saw Cole Nicholson score 22 and make every single tough guy play a man can make when his team needs it.  Four point plays, big rebounds, big And1s, clutch passes, and all of it with a determined look that he will take his team to the next round.  Cole Nicholson is the very definition of a fighter and of a winner.  The guy simply wants it more and he has the confidence to take it from people.  Also, Minnetonka did not have any size that could move with Parker Bjorklund.  At 6-foot-6 his agility with back to the basket, on a straight line run, moving off ball, or vaulting in the air, it was all too much for his opponents. Parker had a big 18 points in the win.

Despite being a top ten team, winning their league, and putting together a nice list of wins, North St. Paul was still put as a four seed.  They have shown their quality but still they had to fight for the section respect!  Last night the Polars put together a real battle to outlast neighboring rival Tartan 49-47.  NSP had nobody in double digits, they didn’t need it!   Everyone fought from Brendan Lankford-Johnson to Dajuan Carter, and from Tytist Dean to the coaches on the bench, they all fought for their W.  Now CDH awaits.

Upset City.  There were several 5s that beat 4s last night but that’s not really an upset.  The story last night was more of the upsets that almost happened.  Centennial nearly defeating Champlin Park.  St. Paul Central taking East Ridge to the final plays.  The Centennial juniors – 6-foot-2 Matthew Wyfffels (24 points), 6-0 Ricky East (16), and 5-10 guard Riley Van Buskirk (15) had all the Rebels in the building scared.  The Cougars battled to the end but could not hold back 30 from Navy bound Josiah Strong.  Daveonte Davis had 20 and continues to grab the attention of Minnesota, but top 100 national sophomore Ben Carlson scored 27 leading the Raptors to the next round.

The Big Stage. St. Peter.  There are a lot of great places to watch games tonight but St. Peter High School and LCWM High School have the final four of the sub-sections meaning the best section in Class A basketball.   At St. Peter BOLD takes on New Ulm Cathedral as two teams that have played above expectations go at it followed by Cleveland facing Mayer Lutheran in a rematch from a game earlier in the year (the Crusaders won).  Fifteen miles away, the other side of the section is also playing.  Mountain Lake and St. Clair fight for their seasons, and the seasons of two of Class A’s better seniors: Marcus Boyd and Mitchell Weber.  WEM and Springfield battle in the other game.  Big night, big games, Section 2A

The Big Stage. Part 2.  Willmar High School.  At Willmar this evening is the north side of Section 3.  And within that section are a pair of excellent games this evening: Morris Area vs Minnewaska Area and Redwood Valley vs New London-Spicer.  All of these teams have talented players – Mitchell Irlbeck, Brandon Adelman, Camden Arndt, and Jackson Johnsrud to name a few – and all of them will be working to move their teams to the future.

Tip of the Hat to the Career.