47 girls basketball teams in the 2018-2019-2020 and 2021 classes will descend on Wayzata HS this weekend for the Suns 5th Annual Summer Xplosion. There is also play for younger girls, of course, and the Suns Web site says that there also are games at Cooper HS, but for the life of me I cannot find any such games. They’re all at Wayzata as far as I can tell.
Only 21 of the 47 teams in the top 4 age groups played in the recent AAU tournament, so this tournament clearly is appealing to some of the smaller, more independent clubs around the metro and the state. From out point of view, that’s a good thing. We’re going to see some girls we haven’t seen, or haven’t seen in a while.
North Tartan is of course a pretty familiar name, but what exactly is North Tartan 8? So far this year, Tartan has had 3 8th grade teams—Coley, Kuppe and West. But, no just plain Tartan 8. So we’ll have to see what that roster looks like. And, that’s the only Tartan entry in this tournament.
The Southwest Slam is also coming to town with just one team, their 10th graders, featuring post Hannah Nerem of SW Christian and point guard Miranda Hulstein of Pipestone.
The Warriors have 2 teams entered in the 2018 division (the Big 10), but we have no idea who will be suiting up for Andrayah Adams’ former team. We’re just going to have to find out.
The MN Nice is sending 4 teams. We don’t know if Yokie Lee (Byron) will be here with the Nice 11s, but we certainly hope so. It’s always too long between Yokie Lee sightings in these parts. Equally enticing is the opportunity to see her teammate, guard Madi Schirmer (Maple River), who burst onto the scene this past winter with a 23.5 scoring average and at least a couple games north of 40 points. She is a sophomore playing up a year. The Nice 8s also have Lexi Karge (Mankato West), heir to the Scarlets’ Karge dynasty.
But among the 21 teams that are rated or played at the AAU, 5 are Suns, 3 are MN Basketball Academy, 3 are Stars, 2 each are Fury, So Minn Fury and Nice. And that’s where most of our favorites come from.
The 2018 division is called the Big 10. Suns R. Long and So Minn Fury 2018 Gold look like the top teams but they won’t play for the title. They’re both in Pool A and they’ll square off at 5:20 p.m. Saturday on Wayzata Court 2. Suns R. Long has a bunch of talent you didn’t see at the AAU—Destiny Cummings (Andover), Jada Hood (Roseville), LaRae Maxey-Moore (Hopkins), Emily Miletich (Barnum), Breanna Wendland (Richfield) and more. SMF Gold counters with Lexy Peterson, formerly of Wabasha-Kellogg, now of Cochrane-Fountain City, WI; Erika Bute (Alden-Conger), Selena Lor (Winona), Mackenzie Hicks (Lakeville South) and Emma Kniefel (Medford). Peterson and Kniefel may be 2 of the best players you haven’t seen.
The winner of that game could get Warriors Elite in Sunday’s final at 1:50 on Wayzata 8.
The 2019s for the most part are in the Pac 12 division. The best pool is B with our (Northstar Girls Hoops) #7 Fury 2019 Gold and #11 Suns Jefferson. The Fury have Madison Gehloff, an accomplished long-range bomber from Waseca; and more guards including Mariah McKeever (Ada), Ashley Schindele (Kimball) and Anna Sanders (White Bear). Suns Jeff counter with size in Sophia Montgomery (Maranatha), Shayla Miller (St. Louis Park), Alexis Nance (Cooper) and Avery New (Minnehaha) plus guard Danah Ocsan of St. Francis.
The Fury and Suns open up festivities at 7:40 Friday night on Wayzata 5. In bracket play Suns Kietzer obviously becomes a factor with Mimi Schrader (Wayzata), Jenn Schaible (Mound), Abby Mackenthun (NYA), Abby McDonald (Hibbing) and more. If everybody shows, the Fury and the Kietzers should square off at 11:30 a.m. on Wayzata 7 for the Pac 12 title.
The SEC is basically the 2020s, and we have no idea what to expect here. North Tartan 8 would have to be a contender, right? But we don’t know who will be playing. And E1T1 is here, too, but its not clear which team this is. So maybe Fury 2020 Gold could sneak in behind guards Morgan Ebel (Farmington) and Sarah Kuma (Lakeville North). I would suggest checking out Fury Gold vs. North Tartan at 11:30 Saturday on Wayzata 6 to see who’s playing for Tartan. And while you’re at it, check out E1T1 vs. the Nice at 1:50 on the same court to see if this is E1T1’s 3rd place AAU team.
But, either way, the final is 12:40 Sunday on Wayzata 8.
This is he 8th grade division for the most part, but there is no AAU Division 1 team entered. Only 5 teams played in the AAU tournament at all. Stars Tilton finished 8th, Suns Porisch 9th, Stars Carli 19th, MBA Pagano 12th and the Nice 15th, all in D2. On that basis, we would have to expect Stars Tilton and Suns Porisch to meet in Sunday’s final at 3 p.m. on Wayzata 7.
And, In Closing
Out-of-state teams coming to Wayzata for the weekend include the Dakota Drillers with 2 teams, North IA Fire with 2 teams, North Dakota Pro with 6, the Racine Dream with 1, IA Ambush with 1 and the Capitol City Soldiers with 1. Any of these could upset the applecart, but we make no pretense to know which ones that might be. If I were a betting man (and I'm not, but if I were), I'd say, Minnesota all the way!