Section 4AAAA Semi-Finals: The Standouts

High School

Posted On: 03/11/18 9:14 PM

The best were at their best on Saturday in Hastings when Cretin-Derham Hall and East Ridge proved to be the best of the section best in hard fought victories.  NHR was there to view all the action.

Top Five Standouts.

Michael Jones of Woodbury.  What Yes, Michael Jones missing that foul shot with a second to go will be remembered.  But what should be remembered even more was how a player scored 31 of his team’s 48 points in a one score game bringing the ball up the floor and facing not just a tough defender, but over-help from every direction on the court.  Jones went through all of that and still used a dribble separation here, a hard cut there, a ball screen here, and a quick catch and release there to make 11 of 22 shots and 6 of 8 foul shots.  Michael’s ability to finish in the tightest spaces won’t be soon forgotten.  I think Michael is going to have a fantastic career at Davidson.

Ben Carlson of East Ridge.  Ben is a lot more versatile of a player than I had ever thought.  Or he’s grown into that type of player over the season  between my last two viewings.  I did not expect Ben to be the guy handling the ball against Woodbury full court pressure, I didn’t expect him to handle the incredible atmosphere and high pressure situation like he did, and I didn’t expect Ben to be so hard to block out with relentless putback efforts.  Carlson was dealing with a future Nebraska Husker football player in David Alston fighting with him on the block and Ben still caught in great position to make a balanced move and finish.  Had 18 points and nine boards on 7 of 16 shooting in a slow, physical game.

Daniel Oturu of Cretin-Derham Hall.  I’m not really sure what other way to say it, Daniel was simply unstoppable and relentlessly kicked North St. Paul’s butt everywhere on the court.  He had a triple double that included ten blocks and Oturu easily adjusted ten more of the Polar attempts.  Oturu’s springs bouncing to high points to get a block are so unique and he may be the best high school shot blocker we’ve seen in ten years.  Reggie Lynch likely had better timing to his block after the initial position but Daniel is longer with better springs.  Then you have Oturu’s 14 of 18 shooting at least half of which was physical dunks plus the one dribble pull-up from 13 feet on the baseline was really nice too.  Add in 19 rebounds and you have one of the most dominating low post basketball games I’ve seen in this type of atmospheres in a long time.

Ryan Larson of Cretin-Derham Hall.  Again, I take you back to Howard Pulley 17u season.  Ryan was not getting many minutes so he began to play much harder on defense and things changed for him.  Now he’s got a visual toughness to him that few others have and I feel like it’s made him even better.  Larson is still hurting some from the ankle as you can see when he moves laterally, but that does nothing to stop him from his straight line aggressive attack which this weekend was fantastic.  His leads, lobs, and quick rotations earned him eight assists, Larson physically fought for seven boards, and made half of his dozen shots for 18 points.  There are many that feel Ryan deserves more in recruiting and lately Elon and Wofford have come to watch him in addition to Sioux Falls who never misses a Larson game.

TJ Kelly of East Ridge/Jacob Prince of CDH.  I pair these two in here as I feel they were key ex-factors for the winning teams on Saturday.  Kelly made Jones battle for everything he did contesting all shots and being physical from the start.  Kelly had three scores, five boards, three assists, and never once did he slow up facing Jones. Not a single possession.  Then you had Prince who gives the Raiders a little shooting, the right passing, some dependable boards, some high percentage finishing on scores, and a load of toughness.  He brings the attitude every game including Saturday when Jacob totaled 13 points and eight boards.

A Few More.

Courtney Brown Jr of East Ridge.  The Raptors junior collected the game winning rebound which was his tenth giving him a double-double.  Brown went at the rim for 17 points making half of his dozen shots and 3 of 4 free throws.

Dejaun Carter of North St. Paul.  Very few people will try and attempt threes from the spots on the floor this guy does but Carter made four treys and most of them were about 4-5 feet behind the arc.  He had 18 points for the game.

Goodnews Kpegeol of North St. Paul.  That potential still grabs you when you see him play.  Long strides, comfortable on the perimeter, and the ability to glide to the rim and softly finish separates him.  Goodnews had 17 points in the loss.

Sy Chatman of CDH.  The senior had four scores and seven boards with Northern Iowa Head Coach Ben Jacobson and assistant Kyle Green watching.  The Panthers recently offered Chatman on a visit and are among the schools following him closely.