Knights, Mustangs nab holiday tournament titles

The most successful Bulletin-area teams over the holiday break were a pair of boys basketball squads. The teams from Irondale and Mounds View both brought home tournament championships.

It wasn't that long ago that the Knights stopped playing in holiday tournaments. After Irondale spent a number of years playing in an event at Anoka, head coach Jon DeMars decided that playing three games in three days without any time to work on things between games wasnít a productive way to operate. Irondale then went five years without playing in a holiday tournament.

Irondale returned to holiday action last season at a tournament in Hastings and played in that event again last week. The Knights made the most of their two days in Dakota County by winning the tournament.

Irondale opened the tournament on Dec. 29 with a 61-59 win over New Prague. Senior Uwana Etuk-Akpan paced the Knights and led all scorers with 20 points while senior Kevin Schramm added 17 and junior Sean Sutherlin also reached double digits with 10.

Prescott (Wisc.) beat the host Raiders 68-49 in the other semifinal to set up an Irondale-Prescott championship final.

Irondale claimed the title with a 69-56 victory in the final. New Prague beat Hastings 65-44 for third place.

The victories in the tournament gave the Knights' their second two-game winning streak of the season, snapped a three-game skid and evened their record at 6-6. They are just one victory from matching last seasonís win total of seven.

Irondale returns to action this week with a pair of games, including a visit from Spring Lake Park on Tuesday. A win in that game would give the Knights their first three-game losing streak since the end of the 2012-13 season. Also visiting Irondale this week is Robbinsdale Armstrong, which comes in on Friday.

Mounds View

The Mustangs spent a couple of nights last week playing in a holiday tournament at Bethel University. Mounds View went 2-0 to win the title and extend its streak of holiday tournament championships to three.

Mounds View opened the tournament on Dec. 28 with a 68-64 victory over Mahtomedi. Mustang senior Nate Albers went 9-for-10 at the free-throw line and added four three pointers as part of his game-high 27 points. Junior Nick McMillan hit three threes en route to a 15-point game.

In the other semifinal, Bloomington Jefferson edged Andover 51-49. That set up a championship matchup of Mounds View versus the Jaguars.

Offense was more difficult to come by in the final. The two teams combined for only 45 first-half points and Mounds View found itself trailing by nine at the break. The second half was a different story as the Mustangs finally got McMillan and Albers going and pulled out a 51-45 victory.

McMillan scored a game-high 18 points while Albers added 17 and Zeke Thompson also made his way into double figures with 11 points.

The victory gave Mounds View its second consecutive Bethel tournament title. The Mustangs beat Eagan and Minnehaha Academy to wrap up the 2014 Bethel crown.

Overall, it was Mounds View's third straight holiday tournament title. The Mustangs skipped Bethel in 2013 and played instead in a tournament at Windom High School. Mounds View knocked off Albert Lea in the semifinals and the host Eagles in the championship game.

The tournament victory also kept Mounds View unbeaten this season. The Mustangs enter 2016 with an 11-0 record and a share of the Suburban East Conference title. Mounds View and Cretin-Derham Hall both began this week unbeaten in conference play.

Mounds View visits Cretin on Tuesday with sole possession of first place on the line. The Mustangs then host Woodbury on Friday and play a non-conference game at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault on Saturday afternoon.

Brian Meyers can be reached at or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

Suburban East Conference boys basketball standings (Through Jan. 3)
  Conf. Overall Games behind
Mounds View 5-0 11-0   -
Cretin-Derham Hall 4-0 8-2 1/2
Woodbury  3-1 10-2 1 1/2
Stillwater 2-2 7-4 2 1/2
Forest Lake  2-2 4-6 2 1/2
Roseville 2-3 4-8 3
East Ridge 1-3 5-6 3 1/2
Park-Cottage Grove 1-4 5-6  4
White Bear Lake 0-5 2-10  5










Bethel Invitational

Game 1 — Bloomington Jefferson 51, Andover 49
Game 2 — Mounds View 68, Mahtomedi 64

Third-place game
Game 3 — Mahtomedi 75, Andover 55

Championship game
Game 4 — Mounds View 51, Bloomington Jefferson 45

Hastings tournament

Game 1 — Irondale 61, New Prague 59
Game 2 — Prescott 68, Hastings 49

Third-place game
Game 3 — New Prague 65, Hastings 44

Championship game
Game 4 — Irondale 69, Prescott 56


Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here