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Hopkins is still pretty good, but this is their worst team in years. That still probably means top 10 in the state, but I don't think they're a threat to win state. Minnetonka actually swept them this season.
Minnetonka's win over Hopkins was also a regular season game. Minnesota playoffs start next week.
Coach Gard is in Eau Claire tonight to watch Henry Ellenson and Rice Lake take on Matt Thomas and Onalaska.
Ellenson had 16 and 18 in front of Gard and an assistant from Georgetown, but Rice Lake fell to Onalaska. Thomas 18 and 13, but made only 6 of 18 shots.
I made it over to Eau Claire last night for the Onalaska/Rice Lake sectional semi-final. The game was moved from Memorial to Zorn Arena on the UWEC campus to accommodate the ticket demand, and it was a good move. Zorn reportedly holds 3300, and it was packed to the rafters. Very cool environment, which I assume was a lot of fun for the kids to play in. From my earlier post, Coach Gard and an assistant from Georgetown were both in attendance, presumably to watch Henry (Georgetown was the first high major to offer). It was a pretty entertaining game, which Onalaska ended up winning 47-39 to move on to Saturday’s sectional final. They had control from the start, but Rice Lake kept it a 3- to 5-point game pretty much throughout.
Matt Thomas has certainly been discussed enough by Badger fans, so I’ll keep the comments regarding him relatively brief. I thought he played OK, but it was far from his best game. For Onalaska, it appears that any shot Matt takes is good shot, because shoots whenever he wants from where ever. He took some really tough shots, but also missed some very makeable ones, and finished with 18 points on 6-18 shooting (1-7 on 3s). He is definitely a gunner, but he had a really positive impact with the ball in his hands despite the tough shooting night. I had him for 6 assists to go with the 18 points. I also thought he looked more athletic than last summer. I counted 13 rebounds, and he played stronger both with the ball and at the bottom of Onalaska’s zone. He also won the opening tip over the older Ellenson.
I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before, but Henry is just a really big kid. It is impressive how skilled he is and how well he moves for a young big who is that size. He is listed at 6’9”, which is probably pretty close, and he must be 240 or 250. Onalaska plays a very tough 2-3 zone, and Rice Lake’s guards did not make very many shots, so the defense was really able to collapse and make it difficult for Henry to get touches. I had him for 16 points on 5-11 shooting, but only 1-1 from long range, and 5-7 on FTs. He did not get too many open looks, as the defense really focused on having at least one body on him at all times. Rice Lake tried to run some high low against the zone, with the Henry’s brother catching at the FT line. Ellwood made a few shots from there, but I wonder if it would have worked better to put Henry high because he is a more capable scorer from there. That said, I would guess they wanted him at the bottom for rebounding purposes, as he’s tough to handle around the basket. Onalaska did a pretty good job boxing him out on their defense boards, as Henry only had a handful of offensive boards. On the other end, Henry absolutely controlled the paint, I counted 18 rounds, almost all of which seems to come off Thomas misses. This was not Henry’s best game offensively, but I think Onalaska’s tough defense had a lot to do with that. I think he’s a great prospect, who I would love to see in a Badger uniform. The one knock on him at this point is probably that he’s not terribly explosive. However, given his size and age, I think it’s fair to say that he will likely become more explosive as he continues to mature and get stronger. I would guess that UW will make him a priority when the staff is able to be out on the road this spring, and I hope they offer sooner rather than later.
Thanks for the updates Ole, always do a great job
We could have some great recruiting classes these next couple of years
This post was edited by WildcatBadger on 3/2/2013 at 11:49 AM
Went over to River Falls this afternoon for the D3 sectional final between Barron and Aquinas. Aquinas played a real solid game from start to finish and advanced to Madison with a 66-49 win. They scored the first 8 points of the game, and were really in control throughout. Coach Gard was in attendance for this one. From posts elsewhere, sounds like Coach Paris was at the Dominican game watching Diamond Stone.
Based on his scoring output in the last several games, I was expecting to see Bronson do more attacking offensively. However, Barron played primarily a 2-3 zone, so he beat them more with his passing that he did scoring today. Bronson ended up with 14 points on 5-7 shooting, including 3-4 from downtown, but only 1-4 from the line (missed to front-ends in the second half). I also had him for 9 assists versus 3 turnovers. That was quite a contrast to the Onalaska game I saw on Thursday night. Bronson has a better supporting cast than does Matt Thomas, but there’s a pretty significant difference in how they each play within the context of their teams. Bronson put up 7 shots while Matt took 18.
Bronson really set the tone early with his passing. On the one of the first possessions of the game, Koenig made a really nice hesitation move in transition to get by the initial defense, then took it strong to the hoop to get fouled. On the next possession he beat his man in the half court going left from the top of the key and zipped it to Aquinas’ big man for a layup. Aquinas then got the ball on a semi-break, and Bronson fired a sweet left-handed pass to the big again for another layup. The next time down, Bronson made a nice back door cut, which he finished left-handed while contested. A couple possessions later, he got into the lane again and found a teammate for a layup. The best pass of the game came later in the second half (can’t remember if it was late 3rd or early 4th). Bronson was coming up the court kind of in transition, moving from the left to the right. When he got to about the 3-point line on the offensive end, he fired an awesome wrap-around pass past the defender to an open teammate at the basket for an un-contested layup. I believe Bronson will come in as the most complete guard prospect Bo has ever had, but I still see his passing as his best attribute. He is wonderful in transition, but he is equally good at getting in the lane and finding open teammates or making the right pass against a zone.
Aquinas had a double-digit lead for almost the entire game. However, there were a couple times where Barron got a little momentum. After Aquinas’ hot start, Barron got it back to 11 (I think in the second quarter). Bronson then buried a deep three from the top of the key outside the two defenders. On the other end, he got a steal that resulted in a big dunk, pushing the lead back up to 16. Barron did something similar late in the 3rd, I think they got it down to 13, but Bronson hit a pair of big 3s to push them back again. He wasn’t as disruptive defensively in this one, but he wasn’t guarding Barron’s best guard. Barron has a 6’5” freshman who has apparently had a pretty nice year. Koenig guarded him, and I think he ended up with 3 or 5 points. Really a very impressive effort from Bronson today. He brings a lot to the table in the backcourt, and I am really looking forward to seeing him in a Badger uniform. I have a hard time seeing him not getting minutes next season. Hope he finishes up his HS career with a couple more wins and a second gold ball.
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