Two sophomores face off in front of Monson

Two of the top sophomores in the state faced off as Duluth East faced St. Thomas Academy, but it was the play of senior point guard Jason Birr and the three-point shooting of the Cadets that proved to be the difference in a 68-52 win. Marquette head coach Tom Crean and assistant Kyle Green, Minnesota head coach Dan Monsoon, Iowa assistant Greg Lansing, Wisconsin assistant Rob Jeter and assistant Darian DeVries of Creighton all attended the game to watch the top talented sophomores.

St. Thomas jumped out to the early 15-4 lead, but Duluth East rallied to cut the lead to 24-17 after one period. Jason Birr hit two first period three-pointers and the Cadets relied on the outside shot as the Greyhounds double-teamed 6-9 Bryce Webster, leaving the St. Thomas outside shooters open from the outside. Birr scored 16 points in the first half and Webster added 11 at the break, as Cadets led 36-31. 6-6 Cory Johnson and older brother Ryan each had nine points at halftime.

The Johnson brothers each scored two baskets as the Greyhounds tied the game at 39-39 with 4:30 to go in the third period. However, they would fail to score the rest of the quarter. as the Cadets led after three periods, 49-39. St. Thomas scored four more points before the Greyhounds stopped the 13-0 scoring run.

Webster scored 10 points in the final 12 minutes as he finished with a game-high 22 points. Birr, who is getting looks from Army and Lafayette, added 11. He does not turn 18 until August and will play for the Howard Pulley AAU program this spring and summer with the hopes of getting more attention. Birr had received interest from several Missouri Valley schools as a junior.

Cory Johnson finished with 16 points and Ryan Johnson added 15 for the Greyhounds.

Johnson has already received offers from Marquette and Iowa with interest from Florida State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Webster has offers from Marquette, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and Iowa is expected to make an offer soon.

Webster plans to attend the Wisconsin-Marquette game this weekend.

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