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Prep Scene — Change of plans worked out nicely

 

Last Friday evening, the plan was to attend an important Classic Suburban Conference girls’ basketball matchup between host Tartan and Richfield. I wanted to see JESSICA JANUARY, Richfield’s leading scorer (headed to DePaul University next year), and Tartan’s TIA ELBERT, a junior guard whose scoring is off the charts with a metro-leading 36.4 points per game. I never made it. I got a call from a friend who made me aware of the fact that her daughter had gone with her middle-school basketball teammates to watch a St. Paul City Conference girls’ contest between Central and Como Park. Continue Reading →

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Sports odds and ends: Hill’s college career earns her high praise as ‘a special talent’

 

Despite playing sick, Tayler Hill poured in 24 points last week in her last collegiate visit to her hometown. In the process, the Ohio State senior guard and former Minneapolis

South standout surpassed 1,700 career points — to do so, she needed only three points coming into last Thursday’s contest against Minnesota. “I actually didn’t know about it,” admitted Hill afterwards of the career mark. The 5-10 guard has the Big Ten’s longest active double-figure scoring streak. Hill reached the 50-game mark against the Gophers and leads the conference in scoring just over 21 points a game (11th nationally), and also leads the league in minutes played (32 minutes a contest). Continue Reading →

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U of M assistant coach helps guards transition to college play

 

 

The main teaching point Saul Smith stresses to the Minnesota Gophers basketball guards he works with is tempo. “As a former point guard, I think tempo is going to be crucial to any player. “[Controlling] tempo — whether that’s faster or slow, whatever you play — you are going to be more successful. This is what we preach to our guys,” says Smith, the sixth-year assistant coach who helps develop the team guards. Does the fact that he once played guard in college help? Continue Reading →

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Vikings clinch playoffs, beat Packers 37-34

 

Yes, the Vikings are relevant again. They clinched the final NFC playoff spot Sunday by beating Green Bay 37-34 before 64,134 fans in one of the most electric, pressure-packed Viking games in franchise history. The great Adrian Peterson’s remarkable, incredible return from knee surgery fueled the Vikings’ return to the playoffs. Peterson came up just nine yards short (at 2,097) of breaking the all-time single-season rushing record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. If you witnessed this game Sunday, you saw one of the greatest games in NFL history. Continue Reading →

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Sports highlights, plus banished words of 2012

Two members of our MSR sports experts’ panel recently released their 2012 best sports stories. Nate Parham of Swish Appeal places at the top of his list the Indiana Fever winning the 2012 WNBA championship. “I think Tamika Catchings [the finals MVP] has done so much for women’s basketball…throughout her career. I think the entire women’s basketball world was rooting for her to win a championship. People are comparing it to LeBron James [winning his first NBA title this year].”

Baylor’s undefeated season “obviously was a huge story,” Parham says. Continue Reading →

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Just the facts! A lack of diversity in Minnesota sports

I hope you had a great Christmas. This time of year grips me like you cannot imagine. It’s a time of joy and reflection. I have taken to social media at FitzBeatSr., my Twitter handle. No Facebook for me. Continue Reading →

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Park Center-Osseo rivalry showcases b-ball talent

 

Last year in late December a friend of mine, former Minneapolis North and University of Minnesota women’s basketball player ELLEN HEBERT, suggested that I attend a boys’ basketball contest between Park Center and Osseo on Friday, January 6, 2011. I will admit I blew the invitation off at first. I live in St. Paul, and the thought of driving through traffic was enough for me to want to attend a game closer to my home. Not sure if it was voices I kept hearing or a gravitational pull that turned my car west on I-94 instead of east. Continue Reading →

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W’s goin’ through them changes

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

The WNBA last week did a Buddy Miles “Them Changes” and announced several new moves for the upcoming season.  

W draft in prime time 

After years of having their annual draft shown during daytime soap opera hours, the 2013 WNBA Draft will be shown for the first time next spring in prime time. ESPN2 will show the first round at 7 pm Central time on Monday, April 15. The second and third rounds then will be shown on ESPNU. Both league and network officials cite the historic change due to an anticipated star-studded first round that is expected to include Baylor center Brittney Griner and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins. Continue Reading →

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Top performers in boys’ hoops

The boys’ basketball season is off and running, and some of the state’s top players are already serving notice that they will be heard from before the season is over. Check out these top performances so far:

QUINTON HOOKER (Park Center) — The leading candidate for Mr. Basketball dropped 26 in a 72-70 victory over top-ranked Apple Valley. TYUS JONES (Apple Valley) — Considered by many as the top junior in the country, the point guard scored 20 in a loss to Park Center. RILEY DEARRING (Minnetonka) — The University of Wisconsin recruit had 16 in a 79-71 win over Robbinsdale Cooper. BRIDGE TUSLER (Osseo) — The all-state football player scored 16 points from his point guard position, helping the Orioles defeat Eastview 50-40. Continue Reading →

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