By Ryan Schleicher – Sun Newspapers
The Columbia Heights Hylanders (5-5-0; 1-2) continue to try and find their stride throughout the 2012-2013 season.
One major achievement was the success they had when they hosted their own Holiday Basketball Invitational where they picked up two wins in the games they played. In their first matchup, Columbia Heights took on Minneapolis Henry. Senior Sewa Ifonlaja led the way for the Hylanders as she scored 16-points en route to a ten-point victory over Minneapolis Henry, 59-49.
In their second matchup of the tournament, the Hylanders continued to roll with their momentum over Hope Academy in a 16-point blowout beating them 60-44. Roshanna Thomas from Columbia Heights put up 19-points to pave their way to victory.
Most recently, the Hylanders dropped a game to division rival St. Louis Park falling 59-51. Another stellar 19-point performance from Roshanna Thomas was not enough for victory in this contest as St. Louis Park squeaked out the victory.
Currently, Columbia Heights sits two-and-a-half games out first place in the North Suburban Conference.
Fridley held the Tiger Invitational basketball tournament for area teams around the metro.
Both the Girls and Boys Varsity teams participated with the girls really looking to turn their season around. Unfortunately, things did not go quite according to plan.
Fridley, (1-10-0; 0-4) dropped both their games in the tournament losing to Minneapolis Southwest, and Minneapolis Roosevelt.
In their first matchup against Southwest, Fridley fell 71-51. Senior Lucy Nelson from Fridley scored a team high 13-points but that wasn’t enough to tame Naja Woods from Southwest who scored a game high 24-points en route to a Southwest 20-point victory.
Fridley couldn’t find a way to rise above in their second matchup either as they were trounced by Minneapolis Roosevelt 67-52. Fridley’s standout player Sarah Cownhoven continued her impressive season by scoring a season high 22-points but that was overshadowed by the persistence of Roosevelt and their leading game scorer of Tyaneka Cage who put up 24-points in their 15-point victory.
Last Friday Fridley dropped a North Suburban conference matchup to Saint Francis, 55-33.
Fridley could just not find any offensive rhythm as they only had one player in double digits, Samantha Martinson who had ten-points.
The Irondale Knights continue to be a sleeper team in the North Suburban Conference. Irondale (4-9-0; 2-2) have two-wins, two-losses over their last four games. In their Holiday Tournament, Irondale opened with a blowout victory against Blake, winning 63-34. Offensively, this may have been Irondale’s best effort all season as they had nine different players record points, led by 17-points from Brooke Degelau.
In their second game of the tournament against St. Paul Humboldt, Irondale controlled most of the game except for one figure; that figure, La Shay Holt who led the game in all major categories by putting up a game high 30-points, 16-rebounds, and 3-assists as St. Paul Humboldt won a close one, 62-58. A character building game, Irondale hung in tough with one of the best teams in the state. Irondale has opened 2013 with a loss against division woe Spring Lake Park 64-47 and a non-conference win against Mound-Westonka 53-45.
Irondale has a big division matchup against Columbia Heights this Friday at Columbia Heights High School, game time is 7:15 p.m.
This year has been difficult on the Eagles as they continue to fight an uphill battle in the North Suburban Conference. Totino-Grace (1-10-0; 0-4) are competitive, but just cannot find that magic formula to push them over the edge into the win column more. Totino-Grace, participating in their Holiday Invitational basketball tournament, Totino-Grace took a huge loss against a very strong Wayzata team, 63-30.
Wayzata dominated the Eagles as they were very balanced offensively, having 11-players record points in their victory. On the Eagles side, Madison Soukup was the team leader with eight points, a silver lining in otherwise dismal situation. Things did not get easier for the Eagles as they took on Cretin-Derham Hall — A much closer game, yet, did not go in the Eagles favor. Madison Soukup once again shined as she scored a game high 12-points, but that wasn’t enough as the Eagles fell 52-44. Quickly, Totino needed to put this loss behind them as they faced Mounds View the very next night. A back-and-forth game, had the Eagles looking as though they were going to bring home a victory in large part of unusual players having a huge contributing factor.
Ashley Carter from Totino-Grace scored a game high 21-points but Mounds View ultimately got the victory in a down-to-the wire finish with a final score of 65-63. On the horizon is a North Suburban contest against Saint Francis (2-10-0; 1-2) at 7:15 p.m., Jan. 8 at Saint Francis High School.
Columbia Heights (6-3-0; 0-1) have had a very impressive season so far. A team that looks to have the capabilities of making some noise when Conference Tournament time comes rolling around, Columbia Heights continued their impressive season by catching the attention of several teams from around the Metro when they competed in the Tartan Holiday Invitational.
Columbia Heights went 2-1 in the tournament beating Bemidji 82-73, and Bloomington Kennedy 63-56, with their only loss coming in their first game of the tournament against Rogers, who defeated Columbia Heights 74-60. Each victory Columbia Heights had displayed a total team effort to lead the way.
In the Bemidji game, Jarret Baptiste had 17-points followed closely by Colton Williams who scored 16-points for Columbia Heights to earn the victory. Bloomington Kennedy got a ton of energy out of Cornnell Lewis, Jr who scored a game high, 33-points, but that failed in comparison to a total of 43-points combined by Baptiste, Williams, and Deon Sanstad, with 21 of those points coming from Sanstad who overmatched Kennedy to get the win.
Most recently, Columbia Heights fell to North Suburban Conference leader St. Louis Park 81-78 despite a 26-point effort from Martice Craemer. Columbia Heights is one-and-a-half games back of the lead in the North Suburban Conference with their next game being an in-conference game against Chisago Lakes on Jan. 8, at Chisago Lakes High School. Game time for this matchup is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
The Fridley blazed up their home court during their Tiger Invitational basketball tournament getting victories against St. Paul Como Park and St. Paul Academy & Summit. Against St. Paul Como, Junior Darius Mulbah from Fridley led the way with 22-points leading to a 74-64 win even with St. Paul Como getting 21-points out of Mikal Baschnagel.
Against St. Paul Academy & Summit, scoring came at a premium. Josh Gray from St. Paul Academy seemed to be the only one who had the touch as he netted a game-high 21-points, but it was the depth of the Fridley bench which ultimately prevailed in this one. Even though Fridley had only one player in double digits (LeMarco Brown-11) they were able to have nine different players record points in this game helping Fridley slip pass St. Paul Academy & Summit 51-44.
To kickoff 2013, Fridley hosted North Suburban Conference leader St. Francis in this important conference matchup. St. Francis came into the game putting their undefeated record on the line, and they were tested all night. Fridley came out with energy and opened up a six-point lead at halftime; but that must’ve been just enough to get under the skin of Saint Francis. The Tigers came out in the second half and were overwhelmed from the start as Saint Francis tightened up their defensive effort while creating a lot higher quality shots on the offensive end.
Fridley looked as though they did more than enough to win by getting three players into double-digit points and by getting eight different players with points. But Saint Francis showed the resiliency of a team who might be poised for big things as they overcame a six-point deficit to beat the Tigers in this nail biter, 58-57. Fridley, now has to put this heartbreaking loss behind them as they have another Conference matchup against Saint Louis Park, 7:15 p.m., Jan. 8, at Fridley High School.
After a two-week break, Irondale (3-6-0; 0-2) hit the hardwood for a North Suburban showdown against shared North Suburban Conference leader Spring Lake Park (7-4-0; 2-0). Irondale came out with tons of energy as they were amped to try and put a stamp on their season by getting a huge conference victory. Ben Ojika from Irondale led the way with a game high 27-points.
Another strong game by Jack Martinek who scored 14-points for Irondale was not enough as they fell 77-65. Spring Lake Park was led by TC Robinson who continues his strong year, but ultimately it was their ability to score as a team that led to their victory. The Panthers had three different players in double digits and a total of eight different players scoring points.
Irondale is going to have another tough challenge ahead when they travel to Rogers (3-8-0; 0-0) on Jan. 8 for a 7:15 p.m. matchup of two teams desperately needing a win.
Totino-Grace (1-6-0; 0-2) has had a very busy week as they traveled to Rochester for the Rochester Rotary Basketball Tournament. There, the Eagles found some minor success as they recorded a win against Plainview-Elgin-Millview, 77-61. Totino-Grace went 1-and-2 in the tournament losing against Rochester John Marshall, 70-34, and Rochester Century, 54-42. In the loss against Rochester John Marshall, Totino-Grace struggled to get any offense going as Kyle Dahlstrom from Rochester John Marshall dominated the game by scoring 16-points.
Against Rochester Century, Anthony Lapanta scored 13-points for the Eagles but that wasn’t enough as Matt Buettner and Carter Evans from Century combined for 37-points en route to their victory. In their only victory, Totino-Grace put together a very strong team effort as they pulled out a 16-point victory against Plainview-Elgin-Millview. Most recently, TG took on conference rival Benilde-St. Margarets. Collin Fleming led the way with 14-points but four players from Benilde-St. Margarets was too much to handle as the Eagles fell 60-51.
The Irondale Knights (5-9-0; 2pts) traveled north for a Holiday Hockey Tournament where they played against Thief River Falls and Crookston.
Irondale had a difficult time in their first game against Thief River Falls on both ends of the ice as they couldn’t find the back of the net with ease, and seemed to let Thief River Falls score with ease.
Irondale fell 5-1 in that game, with their only goal coming at the 5:25-mark in the first period off the stick of Marty O’Connell. Against Crookston, Irondale showed great resilience as they were able to match goal-for-goal through two-periods of play. Three unanswered goals scored by Crookston ultimately led to their 5-2 victory over Irondale. Barrett Reif and Tony Bridgeman found the net in this game for the Knights.
Irondale then traveled back home for a showdown with St. Michael-Albertville. Four goals in the second period by, Reif, Kilen Eilefson, Logan Johnson, JP Stickney gave the Knights a 4-1 lead heading in to the third period. An early goal in the third period by Alex Fredberg gave the Knights a 5-1 lead. But St. Michael-Albertville wasn’t done as Zach Borgen scored two goals of his own to bring St. Michael-Albertville to within two, but a late goal by Jack Tuomie put the final nail in the hopes of any comeback, Irondale won the matchup by a final score of 6-3. Most recently, losses against Chisago Lakes and Owatonna has Irondale currently in fifth place in the North Suburban Conference.
Next, Irondale has a conference matchup against St. Louis Park, 7 p.m., Jan. 10 at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center.
Totino-Grace (7-1-0; 4pts) continues to be red-hot as they downed Duluth Marshall 6-1 last week. The Eagles scored two unanswered goals to begin the contest, and closed the game by scoring three more unanswered goals. Scoring for Totino-Grace were Carter Roo, T.J. Roo (2), Connor Schmidt, Derek Lodermeier, and Kai Barber. TG dominated the pace of the game by getting 61-shots-on-goal compared to the 25 that Duluth Marshall posted. The Roo’s, and Lodermeier continued their outstanding seasons by leading TG’s seventh victory of the season. Tri-Metro Conference leader Breck (7-2-1) travels to Totino-Grace next for a 7 p.m. Jan. 8 matchup at the Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis.
The Irondale Knights (11-5-0; 4-1; 8pts) just keep rolling over opponents as they put the pedal to the metal by winning five out of their last six contests. The Knights were able to take down Hopkins, Stillwater, St. Louis Park, Centennial, and Tartan by outscoring those opponents 25-5, helped in large part by an 11-0 thumping of St. Louis Park.
Their only loss came against Lakeview South, a 3-1 final that saw Lakeville score three unanswered goals to nab the victory. In their last six games, Irondale has recorded an outstanding 182-shots-on-goal, and has recorded impressive 115-saves. Junior Forward Samantha Donovan has led the way for Irondale scoring seven-goals over this six game period, followed closely by fellow Junior Forward Alex Toupal who recorded six-goals of her own.
Irondale sits atop the North Suburban Conference one point in front of Totino-Grace. Next, the Knights have an opportunity to pad their cushion a little more on first place in the conference when they travel to Chisago Lakes for a 7 p.m. conference matchup on Tuesday Night at the Chisago Lakes Arena that has major implications for both teams.
Chisago Lakes (4-12-0; 3-1; 6 pts) does not show on paper how dangerous of a team they can be, but they have disrupted the North Suburban Conference by winning 3-out-of-4 in conference games thus far this season.
The Totino-Grace Eagles continue to keep within striking distance of first place in the North Suburban Conference as they continue to fly high throughout their season. The Eagles (8-6-4; 3-1-1; 7 pts) have used a unique mentality as they have as many losses as ties in conference matchups to remain a factor in the North Suburban Conference.
This mentality has resonated with the Eagles over their last five games as they have only one loss to accompany two wins, and two ties. TG picked up wins against Rogers (2-0) and Saint Francis (2-1) with their ties coming against highly regarded Robbinsdale-Cooper and Spring Lake Park, both at two-a-piece. Their only loss over the last five-game-stretch came against Woodbury where the Eagles faltered and fell 2-1.
Timely goals and strong defensive effort have helped Totino-Grace get into the position they are in. The Eagles are only up two in the goal ratio over the last five games, outscoring their opponents 9-7. A total team effort has been prevalent on both ends of the ice as six different Eagles have chipped in to tally this nine-goal total over the last five games.
Senior Forward Kristin Dellich has been crucial to the success of the Eagles as over this stretch she has scored two-goals and has projected herself to the position of team leader in skater points with a total of 19. Next, the challenge for the Totino-Grace Eagles gets substantial as they take on powerhouse Benilde-St. Margarets in crucial North Suburban Conference matchup. BSM (14-2-0; 3-0-0; 6 points) trails TG in conference points by just one point but has a better overall record than the Eagles when looking at their body of work.
This game proves to be a test for both teams as they try to further solidify their dominance in the North Suburban Conference when Anna Deguilio from BSM puts her 97 percent save percentage to the test against the second place squad in the conference. This matchup is slated for Jan. 8, inside the St. Louis Park Recreation Center at 7:30 p.m.