Minneapolis turned what was shaping up to be a tight tussle in the first half, in to a laugher in the second half with a dominating third quarter. This helped the Lions knock off Winfield 75-53 in the opening round of the Halstead Adolph Rupp Boys Basketball Tournament.
At chilly Rupp Court, Minneapolis actually came out slow on Monday night. The No. 2 seed didn’t look quite ready to take on the No. 7 seed Winfield, who only had one win, but play in a brutal league.
Winfield’s athleticism appeared to bother Minneapolis early on, as the Lions rushed their initial shots of the game. Winfield’s Kyan Towles started the game with back-to-back buckets to help the Vikings get out to a 7-2 lead, midway through the first.
The lead would be short lived as Nolan White took over quickly for Minneapolis. The Lions’ senior started hitting jumpers from all over the floor. He then began to drive by Winfield defenders for easy buckets. Meanwhile, Trent Moeckel would get in the act for Minneapolis, as he knocked in a 3-pointer that gave Minneapolis the lead. The Lions never looked back from that point.
After one, Minneapolis led 16-12–ending the period on a 14-5 run.
Winfield hung around in the second quarter, but Minneapolis never surrendered the lead. However, Spencer Davidson–who came in averaging 18 ppg, was held to only three first half points for the Lions. Still, Minneapolis led 31-23 at the half.
Davidson came to life in a big way in the third quarter.
The post player would begin to carve the Viking defense throughout the third quarter and scoring at will. While Davidson pounded the Vikings inside, White was launching haymakers from the outside to quickly extend the lead. Meanwhile, freshman, Mister Smith, heated up for the Lions in the quarter as well, as Winfield had no answers for the MHS offense.
The Minneapolis defense–as per usual–was also creating havoc in the third quarter. Winfield was held to several one-and-done possessions, while the Lions ballooned their lead. When the dust all settled, Minneapolis had outscored Winfield, 28-8 in the third period.
Winfield (1-8) ultimately scored 30 points in the second half, but many of those came in garbage time and the game’s outcome was well in-hand. Towles led the Vikings with 16 points.
Minneapolis (8-1) wins its third-straight on the year. The win also propels the Lions in the semi-finals of the Rupp Tournament for the first time in four tries. Davidson would end up with 17 points on the game and another double-double, as he poured in 14 second half points. He also won the H&R “Block of the Game” with his three blocked shots on the night. Smith tallied in 10 points as well.
The Nex-Tech Wireless “Player of the Game” is White, who for the third straight game, scored in double-figures and led all scorers with 22 points.
Minneapolis plays next in the tournament on Friday, as they’ll take on the Cheney Cardinals–who won their first round game over Andale by 20 points on Monday. Minneapolis vs Cheney will be aired on 92.7 The New Zoo at 5:30 p.m. with the winner headed to the tournament championship game on Saturday.
Image Credit: Kandy Constable