Roosevelt impressive despite lost firepower

Minneapolis Roosevelt served notice last Friday night at Johnson High School that it might not be a team to overlook as the girls’ basketball season progresses. The Teddies started slowly but eventually got in the groove while defeating St. Paul Johnson 87-61.

Senior KAYLANI EDWARDS dominated in the post on her way to a game-high 29 points. TYNEKA CAGE was no slouch, contributing 25 points, but the sophomore was more impressive with her passing game.

During one sequence, she drove the baseline heading for a layup. At the last second, she wrapped the ball around a Johnson defender to a trailing Edwards who scored easily.

Junior BRENDA BROWN, who calmly netted a jumper as time expired in the first half, chipped in 13. Sophomore center BREEYANA BRITTAIN added four points and also contributed with her rebounding and shot blocking.

Sophomore center AUDREY AWICH’s 23 points led Johnson. Teammate BROOK LAFLOE, a senior guard, added 10.

Roosevelt, who lost plenty of firepower with the graduation of JASMINE BELL, TYESHA WRIGHT, SHAKILA BOLER (Northern Arizona) and SURIYA MCGUIRE (University of Miami), scored an eye-opening 67-63 victory over perennial power St. Paul Central a couple of weeks ago.

Johnson boys have different look

Those thinking a repeat of St. Paul Johnson’s dominant run to the Class 3A boys’ basketball state title identical to last year’s 32-0 effort might want to consider this.

Last year the Governors snuck up on the competition. Co-St. Paul City Conference Player of the Year MAXIE ROSENBLOOM (who shared the honor with LADARIAN HORTON of St. Paul Central) and all-metro guard ESTAN TYLER led them.

In 2010, however, Johnson was a true team. Guards ANTHONY LEE, XAVIER BLACK, DEMETRI CONWELL, ROOSEVELT SCOTT, MARCUS MARSHALL, PRINCE WILLIAMS and DANTE WARLICK, and post players JORDAN PLUFF, XAVIER HENRY and CHRIS SMITH-BOND all played significant minutes during the championship run.

Rosenbloom, Black, Henry, Williams, Warlick, Pluff and Conwell have graduated, and despite the return of Tyler, Lee, Smith-Bond, Marshall and Scott, Johnson is far from the dominant team it was last year. Tyler’s tip-in at the buzzer led them past Lakeville South 61-60 a week and a half ago, and after jumping out to a 32-0 lead against Minneapolis North last Friday, the Polars scratched and clawed their way back in the game before losing 77-61.

At this point, however, the Governors are 2-0 and ranked number-one in Class 3A with Tyler, headed to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Scott, another Division I prospect, leading the way.

<i>Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to mmcdonald@spokesman-re</i>