Posted On: 06/20/19 8:15 PM

It might be early summer but, in a world where the girls basketball calendar is perpetual in nature, there isn’t ever a bad time to play some high school ball. Thanks to our friends at Breakdown Sports, there are 27 one-day events throughout the state from early June until late July for high school teams to strut their stuff and prepare for the season ahead. Having not watched a single minute of school ball since the trophies were handed out at the state tournament in March, I am fired up to do just that on Sunday at St. Michael-Albertville.

The Breakdown events are great because teams can play three games in six hours and still have time to do real life the rest of the day. That makes it easier to gather a relatively full complement of players. Now that spring sports, prom, etc., are over, and most of the elite AAU teams are off this weekend, there’s a decent chance we’ll see some nice prospects on Sunday. There are 16 teams participating – 8 will play in the morning in what looks like an ‘A’ event while 8 less-heralded squads will play in the afternoon. There are complementary JV divisions scheduled, as well.

We are hearing that Mike Dreier’s New London-Spicer Wildcats have looked really good in recent outings. Let’s hope so because on Sunday they’ll be facing the Hopkins Royals, who have looked really good since before the NLS girls were born. The two squads will face off bright and early at 8 a.m. Here’s the complete schedule, along with a few players we’ll be watching.

Incoming senior Tess Johnson of Waconia doesn’t play AAU ball but we might get a glimpse of her on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of StarTribune)

MORNING GAMES

Opening games are at 8 a.m.

New London-Spicer vs Hopkins

NLS always plays great team basketball, and Coach Dreier has never been shy about giving his girls the off-season experience of facing a AAAA power like Hopkins. We’ll be watching 2021 prospect Ava Kraemer for the Wildcats. As for Hopkins, we are all familiar with the big dogs, including top-30 senior-to-be KK Adams, and 2022 #1 Maya Nnaji and #2 Amaya Battle. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2022 #27 Alayna Contreras and #29 Selam Maher will do, along with 2023 prospect Kelly Boyle.

Centennial vs Waconia

Centennial has an excellent pair of incoming juniors who are having great summer seasons: 6’3 post Jenna Guyer, who has vaulted all the way up to #29 in the class, and #32 Jodi Anderson, who is one of the smoothest young prospects around. Hopefully 2022 #56 Hannah Herzig will also suit up. Waconia has 2021 #33 Addy Salzer, 2022 #38 Ava Stier, and 2020 guard Tess Johnson, who we inexplicably overlooked in our recent rankings update (sorry!!).

St. Paul Como Park vs Willmar

Como Park was one of the top young teams in Minnesota last season and they are only going to get better. The Cougars lineup includes 2022 #10 Kaylynn Asberry, #26 Ronnie Porter, #34 Jada James and #69 Cloey Dmytruk. Guard Shania Van Nett is one of the top handful of players in the Class of 2023. They are fast and formidable. It’s an intriguing match-up because Willmar’s suffocating defense is well-known. Among the Cardinals to watch is incoming senior Madi Linbo.

St. Michael-Albertville vs Fergus Falls

There is no shortage of high-octane power in the STMA lineup, from 2020 standouts Mackenzie Kramer (#4), Vanessa Alexander (#42) and Lily Tennyson (#58) to 2021 #18 Kendall Cox and 2022 #15 Emma Miller. And then there’s 2023 standout Tessa Johnson, who is no doubt among the top 5 incoming freshmen in the state. Fergus Falls counters with two outstanding sophomores in Ellie Colbeck (#24) and  Tori Ratz (#35), along with promising forward Paige Pearson.

The semifinals are scheduled for 9:50 a.m. with the final at 11:40 a.m. The bracket is set up for a Hopkins vs STMA final. We’ll take Como Park as our dark horse because they’re planning to bring pretty much the whole roster to the party.

AFTERNOON GAMES

The afternoon bracket isn’t nearly as deep as the morning lineup, but it will be a good opportunity to scope out some kids we don’t see very often from schools such as Little Falls, Litchfield and Delano. Opening-round games are at 1:35 p.m.

Incoming senior Alaina Brenning of Rogers is a solid college prospect. (Photo courtesy of Hometown Source)

St. Cloud Apollo vs Rogers

Things will be different at Apollo this year following the graduation of standout guard Lariah Washington, who is off to Eastern Illinois. We know Rogers has some nice young talent. Unfortunately we won’t get to see 2022 #6 Ellie Buzzelle, who is taking a well-deserved couple of days off from the grind. That will probably leave 2020 #62 Alaina Brenning running the point. We’re interested to check in on 2021 #86 Matlyn Jensen, a 6’2 forward who has been progressing nicely.

Cristo Rey Jesuit vs Delano

Kya Phillips has departed Cristo Rey Jesuit of Minneapolis with diploma in hand and we will have a lot more knowledge about what the future holds for the Pumas by the end of the day Sunday than we do right now. Delano is in serious rebuilding mode having won just 5 games last winter. The player to watch is 2022 #62 Kaila Youngs.

Orono vs Little Falls

Orono is also in rebuilding mode under the direction of coach Ryan Martin. Incoming junior Julia Knudson and promising 2022 Ruby Carlson are a pair of nice guards, but it’s unclear who else might step up. The Spartans will face a young Little Falls squad that struggled a year ago with just 3 wins.

Litchfield vs Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s

Litchfield finished above .500 with impressive Ws over Hutchinson, Concordia Academy and Rockford among others. Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s won 21 games behind the offensive juggernaut that is Madison Mathiowetz. The 5’9 guard just landed on the Prep Girls Hoops 2022 rankings list at #32 and she can light it up.

The semifinals are scheduled for 3:35 p.m. with the final at 5:15 p.m. The bracket says Rogers vs Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s is the plan and we have no reason to argue with the matchmakers.

Complete information on the Breakdown Summer Series events is available at breakdownsportsusa.com

Top photo: St. Paul Como Park has already captured some Breakdown glory this month. They’ll face stiff competition on Sunday at St. Michael-Albertville. (Photo courtesy of Breakdown Sports)