Minnesota Stars 2021 Hersch named "AAU Team of the Week" by Prep Girls Hoops!
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Many astute observers are of the opinion that Minnesota’s class of 2021 is the deepest of the four high school age groups. We believe it is loaded with potential Division 1 talent, an assertion that was certainly reinforced over the weekend when Stars 2021 Hersch knocked off a pair of top-six 2019 squads – Comets Elite and Fury Yellow – to win the Comets Shootout in St. Cloud. In doing so, the Hersch girls earned our AAU Team of the Week award, edging out their stablemates Stars 2019 Amundson, who captured the premier division at the Minnesota Suns Showcase in St. Louis Park.
If there was a predominant theme to the weekend it would be this: Borowicz to McKenzie for the basket. “Those two just seem to have a sense of where the other one is going to be,” coach Josh Hersch said of point guard Katie Borowicz of Roseau and wing Adalia McKenzie of Park Center, two of the most dynamic players around. “When one of them gets the ball they are looking for the other one to be open up the court. They found each other quite a bit this weekend. It was exciting to see.”
On Saturday, their acrobatic performance resembled the flying Walendas under the big top. On Sunday, they were equally effective. If fact, it was a Borowicz-to-McKenzie combination that was the difference in the win over the Comets. “We were tied down the stretch and Borowicz hit McKenzie on a beautiful backdoor cut to retake the lead,” said Comets coach Barry Peterson. “Another stop could have changed the momentum. Hersch 9 is a very nice team, but Adalia McKenzie is the player that really tilts the court in their favor.”
Borowicz made 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute to seal the deal. McKenzie, who last week was crowned Prep Girls Hoops Breakout Player of the Year, is one of three additions this year to the Hersch group along with 6’1 forward Faith Alberts of Parkers Prairie and 5’9 guard Paige Kindseth of Farmington. “There’s no question that Adalia does some things athletically that kids just don’t do, regardless of age,” Hersch said. “The great thing is she is such a coachable kid who wants to learn and wants to get better. It was kind of fun just to see her finally play some games with us.”
Peterson’s Comets team turned in an impressive weekend of its own, as did the Fury. “Our team played well on defense, which is our number one priority,” Peterson said. “We were hurt by missing good looks close in, free throws and untimely turnovers. Mariah McKeever was outstanding at both ends of the court all weekend. She is not afraid of the moment and leads our team by example.”
Hersch is one of a half dozen elite 2021 teams
In the final, Hersch’s team was able to contain the Fury’s outside shooters just well-enough to pull ahead by a couple of baskets. Although they play a different style than the Comets, this Fury squad is no less formidable. It was a Stars’ run midway through the second half that was the difference.
Alberts had an excellent weekend for the Stars as did 5’11 Katie Leisen of Minnetonka, who can defend with the best of them. Hersch’s big post, 6’3 Tamia Ugass of Roseville, did an admirable job against O’Brien. This Hersch team is chock full of experienced varsity players, including Tatum Brostrum of Prior Lake, Allie Murphy of Breck, Reagan Alexander of St. Louis Park and Caiya Wulf of Edina, and each brings a little something different to the table.
Not to take anything away from the Stars victory but here’s the thing: It is conceivable that any of the top 2021 teams may have been able to come to St. Cloud and go home with the hardware. The freshmen class, which includes Fury 2021 Gauntlet, North Tartan Sinn, Minnesota Suns Coley and Tayler Hill Elite, is just that good. “We know what we’re up against in our own 2021 age level with those teams you mentioned and beyond – an incredible amount of talent and varsity experience!” Hersch said. “There’s going to be some really fun battles on the court this season and that’s what will continue to help all of these kids improve and develop into better players.”
Runner-up Team of the Week: Stars 2019 Amundson
The 2021 Stars got the nod for Team of the Week because they won two years above their age group. The fact is, the 2019 Stars played just as well this weekend while beating five of their peers. They, too are led by a Borowicz. That would be Katie’s older sister Kacie Borowicz, who put up 40 points in a state tournament game the other night. She, along with the likes of Tori Nelson (Henry Sibley), Hannah DeMars (Grand Rapids), Macy Nilsen (Edina), Breianna Smestad (Maranatha) – OK, the whole dang roster – turned in impressive performances to win the event. Coached by Greg Amundson of Rogers, the Stars staged a defensive clinic to defeat the powerhouse Fury 2020 Gauntlet 61-53 Sunday morning before squeezing past Suns 2019 Jefferson 56-51 in the final. We’ll have a more extensive look at the Amundson team in a day or two.
Tag(s): Stars Headlines