Ballerz Tour Live Week 1 Recap
The second annual Ballerz Tour Live kicked off last week with stops at Totino-Grace and Hopkins.
The week began Dec. 4 with a trip to watch the defending Class AAA State Champions Totino-Grace Eagles battle the Irondale Knights. Coached by Shannon Hartinger, the Eagles are once again favorites to contend for this year's crown and they showed why Thursday night. In a tightly contested first half, Totino-Grace edged ahead to take a 30-26 lead into the locker room. The Eagles, led by Drake commit Lizzi Naumann, started strong in the second half and never looked back, cruising to a 56-38 win. The Eagles outscored the Knights 26-12 in the second-half en route to the 18-point win. Nine different Eagles cracked the scoring column, led by Naumann's 17 points. Irondale's Jolene Blood scored a game-high 20 points for the Knights, including four first-half three-pointers. With the win, Totino-Grace improved to 2-0 on the season. The loss dropped Irondale to 1-1.
Thursday's game included pregame pep-talks and a half-time clinic from Lynx player Nicole Ohlde. Hartinger talked about how much it meant to her team that the Lynx Ballerz Tour Live stopped in Fridley. "We were honored to be part of the Minnesota Lynx Ballerz Tour," admitted Hartinger. "The Minnesota Lynx create such a positive impact on our young ladies and serve as an example to our whole community. It was a treat for our players and fans to have an opportunity to meet some of the Lynx players and get a taste of the highest level, as WNBA players. We were thrilled to see the Ballerz Tour Live make a stop here at Totino-Grace High School and every high school should take advantage of this opportunity."
Nicole Ohlde and the BTL moved on to the Lindbergh Center Dec. 9 for a heated contest between perennial powers Hopkins and Cretin-Derham Hall. Hopkins, coming off a 26-3 season in 2007-08, overpowered the visiting Raiders in the first half to take a commanding 37-9 lead after one. Cretin-Derham Hall came back a little in the second, outscoring the Royals in the second half 34-26 to make the final score Hopkins 63, Cretin-Derham Hall 43. The Royals were led by Kara Elofson and Hana Potter, with each of them tallying 12 points. Kendra Harris paced the Eagles with 11 points. Hopkins improved to 6-0 with the win and Cretin-Derham Hall fell to 0-3.
While the two games didn't go down to the wire, the level of the play impressed Ohlde. "We saw some pretty good basketball this week," said Ohlde. "The girls really competed and left it all out on the floor. It's great to see the Lynx getting involved with the youth basketball ranks. It's an important outreach and I'm glad to be a part of it."
The BTL will stop at 15 more girl's high school basketball games over the next 11 weeks, bringing the experience of the WNBA to high school gyms across the state of Minnesota. At each stop, the Lynx meet with players, families and fans, bringing the fun and excitement of Lynx Basketball, including autograph sessions, raffle prizes, Lynx T-shirt giveaways, and half-time basketball clinics. The Tour shines the spotlight on girl's basketball at local high schools, where the future stars of the WNBA are already competing.
Candice Wiggins will join the BTL next week for trips to Lakeville South, Edina and Apple Valley.
Stay tuned to lynxbasketball.com for further updates on the Lynx Ballerz Tour Live.