The Proving Grounds: Saturday Evening

Grassroots
Dakotas

Posted On: 04/29/18 9:25 AM

As we move into Championship Sunday at the Proving Grounds in the Twin Cities we take a look at a few of the better performances from Saturday night and look at who is playing for gold on Sunday.

Playing for Gold

The Final Four at 17U starting at 11:10 this morning at Bloomington Kennedy includes four teams from Minnesota, one from Kansas City, two from Wisconsin, and one from Illinois.  One of the event favorites the KC Spurs, their quarter-final will be against the Young Lions out of Wisconsin.  The Young Lions earned a double-figure win over Select Ellis last night.  The winner of that game takes on the winner of Raw Athletics – and their outstanding guard Ishmael Martin – versus Heat Nelson.  The Heat Nelson pair of Joshua Albers and Jared Rainey has been outstanding all weekend at the Proving Grounds.

In the bottom half of the bracket is a Fury against Fury match-up of Fury Wilde against Fury Kaupa.  People hate saying it but the truth is it’s the Fury top team against the Fury second team.  There is always a fun atmosphere in games like this as the underdog has something to prove but in the end both teams are a part of a family that was likely eating diner together last night.  Fury Wilde is the other event favorite but they will have to play well against a Fury Kaupa team we will talk about a bit more in this article.  The other quarter is the Wisconsin Blizzard taking on the fun and exciting SE Minnesota Lightning squad that has put together a fantastic weekend run in the Twin Cities.  Dylan Miller of Mason City, Iowa has made a strong name for himself as has Drew Lesitikow.

At the 16u level Minnesota Fury Zurn got a nice challenge from South Dakota Network who pushed the Fury to the end before losing by four scores.  That South Dakota Network squad opened some eyes in the Proving Grounds making many take notice.  Fury Zurn faces Select Koch at 10:05 this morning and the winner of that game plays the Wisconsin Playmakers and Gordon DTA Gold out of Fargo.  The bottom half of the Elite Eight is Fury Kline against Wisconsin RAP and Twin Cities Finest versus the Omaha Crusaders.

The 15u quarter finals starts with Crossfire Bertsch and the Wisconsin Academy over at Bloomington Jefferson.  Crossfire Bertsch is a top ten Minnesota team and has put themselves where they expected to be today.  Wisconsin RAP will play Team Tyus 14s which of course is the team of Tyus Jones which has all players from grade eight.  The other half of the bracket is Team Nebraska versus the Omaha Cruasaders in Nebraska battle, and Minnesota Fury Poppen facing Grassroots Sizzle who has had a great weekend highlighted by last night’s three point win over ECI.

Fury Kaupa in the Elite Eight

Yes Fury Kaupa gets their shot at Minnesota Fury Wilde today but even before that contest it’s important to note the steps that this Fury Kaupa team has taken this weekend.  Three strong wins and the players on this team have all worked together for a strong team performance.

Physically the Fury team has a player in Miles Mendes who at 6-foot-4 can do things to a rotating or lazy defense that result in an even deeper deficit.  Miles is a strong but explosive athlete who was able to basket cut and attack backside offensive rebounds for a lot of Saturday results.  At guard Wayzata’s Luke Paulson has done a nice job handling the basketball.  With the Trojans we commonly see Paulson defending and scoring his 13 points a game hitting three treys a contest.  But with the Fury he’s shown he can handle some as well.

Carson Schoeller of Prior Lake is getting a chance to play with the Fury and making the most of it.  The 6-foot-9 big has put together high percentage results in the paint regularly.  Zachary Kloos of Edina is playing his trademark defense for the Fury but has also been getting basket attack results. Nate Shikenjanski‘s defensive efforts as well as his matured physical ability has had people talking.  He put together a couple of double figure games already this weekend.

Hoffer Leads DTA Gold to the Elite Eight

A new squad out of the Fargo area is Gordon DTA coached by Tyrone Gordon.  After a solid first weekend in Sioux Falls seven days ago the DTA Gold 16s squad is 3-0 so far in the Proving Grounds beating Heat Ankrah, Minneapolis FAB, and last night Wisconsin Academy.  The last two games have come down to the wire but the play of Talon Hoffer, a 6-foot-2 guard from Fargo Shanley, has helped move the team into the Elite Eight.  With the game on the last last night Hoffer had two basket attacks and an assist helping Justice Noel score a key basket.

With the game on the line Hoffer looked confident and comfortable in the moment.  He calmly surveyed the defense, broke it down with his attack, finished softly, and jogged back on defense like it was every day business.  For Talon playing at a high level has become every day business.  He helped Shanley to fifth place in state this winter scoring 3-4 baskets a game with 3-4 rebounds a night on a veteran team.  Talon looks now to be taking big steps forward as an upperclassmen.

More From Dalton

Six-foot-7 Dalton Albrecht has had some of his best games when the Prep Hoops audience was looking on.  Last night North Dakota Attack lost 72-68 to a very good Wisconsin Swing team and Albrecht gave his team 21 points including a three showing his range.  Dalton continues to look comfortable facing the basket taking and making elbow area jumpers as well as putting the ball on the deck and making plays with a dribble.  It’s been a strong weekend for Albrecht who also had 17 points in a win over Family First.

Speaking of the North Dakota Attack, we also need to turn a bit of attention to 6-foot-4 Jamestown power forward Keith Levin.  Last night in a six point win over the Minneapolis FAB, Levin led the ND Attack 15s to a 63-57 win putting up a massive 27 points with 16 rebounds.  That’s the most dominant double-double of the event that we’ve seen thus far.