Minnesota Teams have Success in Kingwood

The two top 17-and-under AAU teams in the state of Minnesota both shined in the Kingwood Classic this weekend. Howard Pulley won both their pool play games before losing 60-58 to Blessed IJN Elite (Indiana) in the playoffs. Minnesota Magic Elite split their pool play games before winning their first two playoff games to advance to the "Sweet 16" of the Platinum A Division.

Howard Pulley defeated Urban DFW (TX) Elite 58-55 in their second contest. Santino Clay and Trevor Mbakwe scored 12 points each in the win. Clay stole a pass and drove against three defenders to score a basket with eight seconds left to put Pulley ahead by three.

Noah Dahlman scored 10 points and had nine boards. Matt Janning hit two three-pointers in the victory. Jared Berggren, a 6-10 sophomore from Princeton, blocked four shots as he filled in for Mbakwe after he fouled out. The play of the Pulley big men was important as DFW was led by top 20 senior Darrell Arthur.

The Panthers fell to Blessed IJN Elite 60-58 in the playoffs as Matt Janning and Trevor Mbakwe each scored 12 points and Noah Dahlman added 10. Jared Berggren scored eight and Angelo "Bear" Johnson had seven.

The Minnesota Magic Elite shined as they played without Kansas verbal Cole Aldrich, who is playing in the Albert Schwitzer Games in Germany. They struggled with the speed and quickness of the Alabama Challenge, losing their second pool play game 53-49.

However, they bounced back to upset the Illinois Warriors, who had won the "Real Deal on the Hill" in Arkansas the previous weekend. Eric Carlson of Shakopee paced the team with 21 points. Jon Leuer of Orono had 16 and Alex Rubin of Armstrong added 12. Minnesota commit Al Nolen Jr. bounced back after scoring just eight points in their opening game to finish with 10.

The Magic knocked off the New York Gauchos as they jumped out to a 15-2 lead behind three-pointers from Nolen, Rubin and Blake Hoffarber.

Their playoff run ended with a loss to The Family (Michigan) in an 8 a.m. Sunday game. Coaches from North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois State were attendance for the Magic games. Minnesota head coach Dan Monson and Jim Molinari were at all three games Saturday and Molinari was at their Sunday playoff loss as Monson had to return to meet with a potential recruit.

The Minnesota Select 16-and-under team defeated 43 Hoops in the playoffs as Jordan Taylor of Benilde-St. Margaret and Bobby Fong of Bloomington Kennedy had 11 points each. David Hansen of Marantha, who had 29 points and 14 rebounds in their second game, added 10 points. Terrell Clark of Burnsville led 43 Hoops with 19 points and Anthony Tucker of Minnetonka had 10.

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