This week’s column features an outstanding basketball prospect who’s quarterbacking his school’s football team to the Prep Bowl, a running back who did the same for his team, a quarterback who led his team to the state semifinals, four who led their team to an upset victory, and a former prep basketball star who shot the lights out in a recent collegiate contest.
Here are the Fab Five:
1. Grantham Gillard
Two years ago he was an up-and-coming sophomore guard teaming with his senior brother Garrison Gillard (now a sophomore member of the University of Minnesota-Duluth men’s team). Today he is poised to be among the state’s top players, but for now he’s focusing on leading Eden Prairie to a fourth consecutive large-school state football championship as the Eagle’s quarterback. The senior’s 13-yard touchdown run secured a 13-7 victory over Maple Grove last week to earn a spot in the Class 6A Prep Bowl against Totino Grace at TCF Bank Stadium. Continue Reading →
A person seen at a high school football playoff game a couple of weeks ago inadvertently became connected to a text message and his son’s recent success at the professional level. A football team continues to represent the Minneapolis City Conference in state competition. The only major Division I football program in the state continues its march towards greatness, and a former prep and collegiate volleyball standout, serving as an assistant coach, helps her team earn an NCAA Division III tournament berth. Here’s when and how it all happened. October 31, 2014
During a during a football playoff game at Minneapolis North, Jeffrey Williams was spotted looking on (along with the rest of the Northside community) as the Polars dominated in a 40-13 victory over Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity. Continue Reading →
A dominating performance by the defense and explosive play by the offense propelled Minneapolis North to a 44-6 City Conference football victory over Southwest last Friday afternoon. Here is a breakdown of the game.
Wide receiver MALIK MATTHEWS dominated the opening period. The junior nearly scored on the opening kickoff and then caught touchdown passes of 14 and 11 yards from do-it-all quarterback TYLER JOHNSON. Johnson, also a junior, was also involved in a pair of two-point conversion — a pass to senior MARTICE CLARK and a run himself — giving the Polars a 16-0 lead. Continue Reading →
A couple of weeks ago I attended the annual Under the Radar Showcase at Macalester College featuring four games between the top high school boys’ basketball players in the metro area according to their graduating class. During the class of 2016 contest, participants TYLER JOHNSON (Minneapolis North) and JARRET BAPTISTE (Columbia Heights) put on an outstanding performance, making it clear that both are among the state’s top athletes. In a day when many student athletes concentrate on one sport, Johnson and Baptiste are the exception rather than the norm. Both excel in football as well. Last winter Johnson, a 6’-0” guard, averaged 20.1 points per game for the Polars last season, leading to a share of the City Conference title with Washburn and within one game of a state tournament appearance. Continue Reading →
This past week was one to remember in prep boys’ basketball. First I had to choose between two of the top games in the state on Tuesday. That Saturday I ended up attending a Twin City title matchup between upstart Minneapolis North, a dominant program that had recently fell on hard times, and St. Paul Johnson, a perennial power who had made eight state tournament appearances (including the Class 3A state championship in 2010) since 2004. To put everything into perspective, let’s go back to the beginning of the week. Continue Reading →
JALEN MOBLEY scored 25 points to lead St. Paul Johnson, the No. 1 boys’ basketball team in Class 3A boys’ basketball, to a 75-67 hard-fought victory over archrival St. Paul Central last Friday evening (January 31). The victory gave the Governors a one-game lead for first-place honors in the City Conference. Continue Reading →
It was an interesting week, to say the least, for the Minneapolis South boys’ basketball team. Despite the dismissal of one key player and the benching of two more for disciplinary reasons, the Tigers, led by do-it-all senior point guard KENLEY FARROW, sophomore sensation PAYTON BOWDRY, and sharpshooting junior TARON MYER, played four games in seven days, winning three of them (including two important conference wins) to open up a City Conference race that has five teams in contention for top honors. Washburn (4-1) is alone in first place. South, Southwest and North are tied for second place with 4-2 records. Third place Henry is 3-3. Continue Reading →
With four seconds remaining, Minneapolis Washburn guard JEFF JONES, the state’s Mr. Football, received the inbounds pass, dribbled quickly across half court, and launched a one-handed, running three-point shot that careened successfully off the backboard as the buzzer sounded, giving the Millers a thrilling 73-71 City Conference boys’ basketball victory over first-place North.
Mpls Washburn vs. Mpls North
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
The victory, witnessed by a capacity crowd at North, opened up the race for the conference title and confirmed that basketball in Minneapolis is back on the rise. Washburn appeared to be in control, taking a 44-33 lead behind the sharpshooting of EVAN SHEPHERD, who finished with a game-high 24 points and Jones, who added 22. Continue Reading →
In recent years the Minneapolis City Conference has not received the attention it used to get in the 1980s, ‘90s, and the early part of the 2000s. This year could prove to be a very competitive season for the conference, which has plenty of talented players who can hoop. So far, three conference games have been played, and if those games are any indication of the future, the City Conference might not be decided until the final game. Here is a quick rundown of the conference race so far:
North (3-0) is a young team led by sophomore point guard TYLER JOHNSON, who’s averaging 18 points per game. JAMIL JACKSON and ISAAC JOHNSON are playing well, giving the Polars a well-balanced attack. Continue Reading →
The biggest high school boys’ basketball game of the year, and I couldn’t make it. Parent-teacher conference duties as a social studies teacher at a St. Paul public high school prevented me from attending the Apple Valley-Chicago Whitney Young matchup featuring the nation’s top-ranked player in JAHLIL OKAFOR (Whitney Young) and No. 4-ranked TYUS JONES (Apple Valley). Jones, the No. Continue Reading →