Sy Chatman (1) makes his way to the basket untouched by Hopkins defenders. Chatman filled the void left by the injured Daniel Oturu, scoring 33 points in the Raiders' 86-73 win over the Royals. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
As the only Minnesota school ranked in USA Today’s Preseason Super 25 Boys Basketball Rankings, No. 25 Cretin-Derham Hall’s reputation preceded itself with three members of Howard Pulley pacing the Raiders — who return all five of their starters — on Saturday night.
Ryan Larson, who was the state’s leading distributor a season ago, and Daniel Oturu, a Gopher recruit that is arguably Minnesota’s best big-man, both built names for themselves on the AAU circuit.
But when Oturu went down with a sprained ankle seven minutes into the game, it was Sy Chatman’s turn to make his presence felt after playing minimally for the Panthers.
“People are missing out,” coach Jerry Kline said following Chatman’s career-high 33 points that spurred Cretin-Derham Hall to an 86-73 victory over Hopkins in the first weekend of the Breakdown Sports Tip Off Classic at the Lindbergh Center.
Chatman, a 6-foot-8 wing, slid to center after Oturu’s injury, and it appeared the Raiders, ranked second in the preseason Class 4A Minnesota Basketball News poll, were shorthanded.
The players on the floor felt otherwise.
“We preach next man up,” Kline said. “We think some of our practices might be some of our best games — as far as getting after each other — the intensity is there.”
During practice, Kline throws seven-man defenses at his starters where they fight through extra bodies and blocks and are forced to move the ball faster. The frustration the starters feel in practice didn’t show when it came to Saturday's game as Cretin-Derham Hall (2-0) didn’t miss a step after losing Oturu.
There was no lapse in Chatman as he converted a fastbreak to a one-handed dunk that extended his team’s lead to 17 points after Oturu left the floor.
Larson, who was a menace defensively in the first half after tallying three steals, showed his inner Tasmanian devil in taking a hand off from Chatman, spinning underneath the basket and turning heads as he laid the ball in.
“I love having (Larson) on my team. He’s just so fast. I don’t know if anyone can stay in front of him,” Chatman said, adding that fellow wing Jaeden King’s presence outside the arc, hitting four 3-pointers and totaling 22 points, kept the defense honest.
Zeke Nnaji and D.J. Davis kept the Royals in striking distance (0-1) as the duo scored 16 points apiece. Hopkins pulled within nine points in the final five minutes of the game, but the Raiders sank seven of nine free throws to cement the win.
Saturday served as a reunion for several of Howard Pulley’s players from this past summer where they put together one of the best seasons in the program’s history. Hopkins' Nanji and sophomore guard Blaise Beauchamp made it five Howard Pulley members playing on the floor at the same time, the most you’ll see at once this year.
Off the floor, Oturu’s future Minnesota teammate Jarvis Omersa of Orono helped carry him off the court and was later greeted by fellow Golden Gopher recruit, DeLaSalle’s Gabe Kalscheur. Duke commit and Apple Valley star Tre Jones was also in the two-dozen person huddle around Oturu immediately after his injury.
“The Pulley family, all together, we’re really close,” Chatman said. “Of course those guying being committed to the U together, they were going to be close.”
Oturu’s status remains day-to-day, and while rankings mean little to a team that’s already proven its moxie without its star player, Larsen has already circled an important date on his calendar.
“We just showed how good we were today,” he said. “And on Dec. 30, we’re going to show (No. 1-4A) Apple Valley how good we are to them.”
Junior guard Jaeden King (2) drives the baseline past Royals DJ Davis. King scored 22 points for the Raiders at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic at Hopkins High School on Saturday night. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
Sy Chatman posted a career-high 33 points to carry Cretin-Derham Hall to an 86-73 victory over Hopkins Saturday night at the Lindbergh Center in Hopkins.
Ranked second in the preseason Class 4A Minnesota Basketball News poll, the Raiders (2-0) ran out to a 21-5 lead early and sank seven of nine free throws in the final four minutes of the game to solidify the victory over No. 4-4A Hopkins.
Cretin-Derham Hall's Jaeden King contributed 22 points and Ryan Larson added 19 in the victory.
Daniel Oturu, the 6-foot-10 senior forward and Minnesota commit, suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury in the first half and left the game. He scored six points in limited action.
D.J. Davis and Zeke Nnaji poured in 16 points apiece for the Royals (0-1).
Zeke Nnaji (22) goes up for the easy two over defender Ryan Larson (5). Nnaji and teammate DJ Davis led No. 4-4A Hopkins with 16 points each as they fell to No. 2-4A Cretin-Derham Hall 86-73. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
The MN Basketball Hub polls are for entertainment purposes only.