First round state basketball turns into a slam dunk
The Minneapolis North Polars stepped onto the Minnesota State High School League state basketball championship tournament floor for the first time in 13 years. From the start, they not only stepped onto the big time raised hardwood platform of the Big 10 University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena, but they threw themselves at it,winning big 80-27 over St. Clair Cyclones.
There were simply two storylines that explain the Polar dominance: Defensive pressure and balanced scoring. Defensively, the Polars held the Cyclones to shooting just half (33) as many shots as North (68). And making a total of eight for the game. The Polars created alternative pressure approaches with traps, the collapses and inside defense forcing the Cyclones to shoot just 24.2 percent for the game. And with a 39-18 lead at the half, the Polars did not back off, limiting the Cyclones to making just two of 12 shots (16.7%) in the second half.
But if defense pressure wasn’t enough, the Polars demonstrated a breadth of scoring options with their personnel. Five players scored double-digits, including #10 Tyler Johnson (14 pts), #12 Jamil Jackson (14 pts), #32 Wilson O’Dell IV (12 pts), #04 J. Sanders-Smith (12 pts), and #35 Isaac Johnson (10 pts).
The balanced scoring was mirrored by half, wth the Polars scoring 39 in the first half and 41 in the second, even after the starters were pulled toward the end of the game, providing valuable game-time experience to the non-starters.
Looking to Keep the Ball Rolling
The Polars will step onto he court at the Target Center tomorrow, Friday at noon to play the winner of the Red Lake v Browerville/Eagle Valley game that is taking place as this is written up.