Girls’ State Basketball Tournament one of the best ever

LISA LISSIMORE, former St. Paul Central, Grand View (IA) and Gopher hoopster, did a magnificent job directing the Minnesota Girls’ Basketball Tournament last weekend. Among her able assistants were LINDA ROBERTS, FELICIA FULLER and SHLYNN HAYES.
JIM ROBINSON, supervisor of officials, had former University of Minnesota women’s basketball standout CRYSTAL FLINT as the referee in the Class 4A title game between Hopkins and Eden Prairie. Others who officiated included CHARLES MOORE, KEVVAN ANDERSON, LONNIE ANDERSON and DENNIS HARRIS.

Two outstanding coaches make their mark
It was appropriate that two outstanding mentors of Minnesota high school basketball, coaching in their respective classes, were seen in the class AAAA and AAA championship games. Eden Prairie CHRIS CARR, former Timberwolves player, is a good coach who uses a lot of psychology in dealing with the referees as well as with his players. The Hopkins team was simply too talented and too deep for Carr’s Eden Prairie squad.
FAITH JOHNSON PATTERSON expended a lot of energy on the sideline as she urged her DeLaSalle players to play at their highest level. They did, and as a result defeated the team that beat them in the 2010 finals. The victory led to Patterson’s sixth state championship. She led the Minneapolis North Polars to five crowns between the years 1998 and 2005.

Nicolai, Nance lead St. Thomas  to title
St. Thomas beat Wooster of Ohio 78 to 54 to capture the NCAA Division III championship. Hopkins grad TYLER NICOLAI, a four-year starter, was named the most outstanding player in the tournament. The 5’11” guard scored 11 points, including three three-pointers, made several crucial assists, and played stellar defense.
JOHN NANCE, a Cretin-Derham Hall grad and former Gopher backup quarterback, was the catalyst in the victory. He came off the bench to score 15, including two timely three-pointers.

MN grads help college teams in NCAA Tournament
St. Paul Central grad ANGEL ROBINSON led Marquette with 19 points as the Golden Eagles advanced to the finals of the Dayton Regional. The 68-65 win over Texas put them in a game where the next opponent is top-seed Tennessee.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s alum JORDAN TAYLOR made key plays in the final seconds to assure a University of Wisconsin win. He hit two free throws and blocked a Kansas State shot in the closing seconds of the NCAA tourney game to help the Badgers move on to the Sweet 16.

Inner City All-Star Classic set
Co-founder DEREK REUBEN has announced that the 18th annual Inner City All-Star game will be played at the new St. Thomas Anderson Gymnasium on Sunday, June 19, in St. Paul. More about the players next week. The game features some of the top senior girls and boys basketball players in the metro area.

Kwame McDonald welcomes reader responses to or by phone at 651-398-5278.