Minnehaha girls outlast DeLaSalle 61-58

The #3AA Minnehaha girls outlasted #3AAA DeLaSalle 61-58 at Hamline on Saturday night, Nov, 25, to help kick off the 2023-2024 season. It was just the 2nd best private school matchup of the night, as #1AA Providence was beating #1AAA Benilde-St. Margaret’s 85-63 at St. Thomas at about the same time. But the ‘Haha-De matchup was followed by a Minnetonka-Lakeville South contest. I have DeLaSalle matched up to play Tonka at the Hall of Fame Classic Saturday, Jan. 13 at Anoka-Ramsey CC, which I help to organize, and I could see both of them last night at Hamline. So that’s what I did.

This was the essence of a tossup. Either team could have won. It was just a question of when the clock decided to wind down to nothing. De led throughout most of the 1st half by as many as 8 (17-9, 24-16), but ‘Haha fought back to within 26-24 at the half. De led by as many as 6 (35-29) early in the 2nd half but ‘Haha caught up at 36-35 and there were a total of 11 lead changes in the 2nd half.

The game was essentially a matchup of elite point guards–Addi Mack of Minnehaha, and Aneisha Scott of DeLaSalle. They’re small but they’re elite ball-handlers and playmakers. Mack is smooth while Scott is rugged and tenacious, despite her diminutive stature. Each scored 10 points in the 1st half–Scott on 5-of-8 2s, almost all on in-your-face rushes to the rim; while Mack scored 6 of her 10 points on odd-numbered shots, a 3 and 3 FT. Each had 3 rebounds; Mack had 2 assists and one turnover. (Her one turnover in the 1st half was pretty remarkable considering DeLaSalle’s quick feet and quick hands on defense.) Scott had one assist and 2 turnovers. It was pretty much a standoff.

The momentum shifted toward DeLaSalle early in the 2nd half as Jordyn Johnson dominated inside, scoring 7 quick points, all of them on offensive rebounds. The Islanders would have been in better shape except Johnson missed 3-of-4 FT.

But, the momentum shifted again as Angel Hill got hot for the Redhawks. She shot 0-for-7 in the 1st half, as she rushed and forced her shots and got stuffed 2 or 3 times. But the say that shooters keep shooting, and that’s what Hill did, throwing caution to the wind and bursting into the lane, daring DeLaSalle’s bigs to stop her. In the 2nd half, they couldn’t, and shots that had a barely even grazed the rim in the 1st half started to fall. Hill made 5-of-7 2s in the 2nd half and added 2-of-3 3s just for fun. She scored 4 times in 3 minutes as a 35-29 DeLaSalle lead became a 44-38 Minnehaha lead at 11 minutes. 4 more Hill points restored the 6 point lead at 52-46. Her final 4 points gave ‘Haha a 54-53 lead, then brought them back to within 58-56. Mack scored the last 5 points to ice the win.

It was a very physical game. The officials took the attitude that if you fouled somebody often enough, well, then eventually they would call one. Except if you fouled your opponent hard enough, well, then they would look the other way. Scott got hacked 3 times on a dribble drive in the final 15 seconds, but not a one of them was called. But, overall, both teams were victimized equally and it’s just lucky nobody got hurt.

Five Stars

Addi Mack, Minnehaha, 5-9, junior, point guard–a smooth junior point guard and an elite scorer, though her size made it tough for her to score around the basket against DeLaSalle’s elite D. She made 3-of-6 3s but just 4-of-14 2s, which were usually shot in pretty heavy traffic. She had the ball in her hands probably 2/3 of the time for the Redhawks but turned it over only twice until the final minutes, 4 times overall. She is blessed of course to have teammates who can catch a tough pass at a fast pace and in traffic, most notably Angel Hill and Amina Allen. She finished with 22 pts-6 reb-3 asts.

Jordyn Johnson, DeLaSalle, 6-2, junior, post–Johnson dominated in the paint, especially in the 2nd half, with 13 points on 6-of-12 FG, all 2s, and 12 boards. For the night as a whole, she had 17 points and 16 boards, 9 of them on the offensive end, all in the 2nd half.

Aneisha Scott, DeLaSalle, 5-7, junior, point guard–Scott is a small but physical guard with a killer crossover. She scored most of her 15 points off the dribble drive. Like Mack, her size made it tough for her to score in the paint, but ‘Haha’s D was not as quick as De’s and so Scott was able to make 5-of-8 FG in the 1st half. The 2nd half was a different story, however, as she made just 1-of-11 from the field. She finished with 15 pts-5 reb-2stls.

Angel Hill, Minnehaha, 5-10, senior, shooting guard–Angel is a Hill, all right. She attacks the rim on the slightest provocation, sometimes going into the teeth of the defense and sometimes paying the price with a stuff. But even after starting 0-for-7, she finished 7-for-17 FG (2-for-4 3s) for 20 pts on the night and added 10 rebounds.

Amina Allen, Minnehaha, 5-11, junior, power forward–Allen was perhaps the difference in the game as the top 4 players were equally divided between the tw0  teams. Allen was a clear #5. She was always ready to catch a pass to help bail ‘Haha’s primary ballhandlers out of a jam. She scored 13 points and added  3 assists.