Too many games to choose from



The only bad thing about high school basketball in the metro area is that there are so many games to choose from and I am unable to make them all. This week I saw three games featuring some of the state’s top players in girls’ and boys’ basketball.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011 

I looked on as Tartan defeated St. Paul Central 60-64 in a nonconference match-up. DARRION STRONG led the winners with 16 points. XAVIER HALL and KHARIE KIRKLAND chipped in 14 apiece.

Central was led by MALIK DURANT-HAINES’ 20 points, while MONTRELL WILLIAMS and MARCUS TAYLOR-KNIGHTEN added 17 and 14 respectively.

Legendary coach MARK KLINGSPORN led Tartan. The coach for the Minutemen is SCOTT HOWELL, a 1984 Central graduate and all-metro fullback his senior year.

Former prep stars who attended the contest included all-conference football and basketball star LENNY WALKER (St. Paul Highland Park, 1987); all-conference quarterback and point guard KYLON PAYNE (St. Paul Highland Park, 1983); all-state and Mr. Basketball finalist

MARLON MCCOY (St. Agnes, 1994); all-conference guard VALARIE LITTLES-BUTLER (St. Paul Highland Park, 1981), an assistant principal at Central; all-conference point guard MALIK DAVIS (St. Agnes, 1997), an assistant coach for Central; and former Central and Burnsville two-sport athlete (football, basketball) GREG KIRKLAND (1983).

Friday, December 16, 2011 

I watched St. Paul Johnson, coached by VERN SIMMONS, use a balanced attack led by MARCUS MARSHALL (16 points), WAYLAND JOHNSON II (12), ROBERT CHATTARD (10), and JALEN ALBRITTON (10) to defeat Minneapolis North 82-35. The Polars, who got 18 points from COREY JONES, are coached by BRETT MCNEAL, a former North player who was named Mr. Basketball in 1985.

Former prep stars who attended the contest included PRINCE WILLIAMS (St. Paul Johnson, 2010), who was  a member of Johnson’s 2010 state championship team; fellow graduate and teammate JORDAN PLUFF; and former all-conference football and basketball player and 1990 Minneapolis North graduate OMAR ABDUS-SHAHID (LAMAR ELLIOT).


Saturday, December 17, 2011

 I looked on as St. Paul Johnson, coached by all-conference guard WILLIE TYLER (Woodbury, 1981), defeatedPrairie Seeds Academy, led by former Minneapolis North standout and 1998 Miss Basketball winner TAMARA MOORE 70-56 in a nonconference girls’ basketball contest.

AUDREY AWICH led the Johnson with 21 points. LAURYN SMITH added 15 while TAYLOR CUNNINGHAM chipped in 11.

Point guard ARIANNA FULLER had 13 for Prairie Seeds Academy. BRY’ANNA SEABORN had 12 and IYANNA TURNER added 10.

Former prep stars who attended the contest included all-conference football player DARRYL SMITH (St. Paul Central, 1981), an assistant coach at Johnson; all-state performer DEVON GILCHRIST (St. Thomas Academy, 1995), who refereed the JV game; all-conference forward TIM WILLIAMS, who starred at Minneapolis Washburn in the mid-1990s and served as an official in the JV game; and ESSANCE TYLER, a point guard for St. Paul Johnson before graduating in 2006.



Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to