Caledonia's Noah King drove past Maranatha Christian's Hakim Daniels in the second half. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
A pop in the nose and a full court pass from brother to brother proved to be all in a day’s work for Caledonia’s Noah and Eli King, as they brought their talents from the football field at US Bank Stadium to the basketball court at Hopkins High School. In an early season contest between Caledonia (2-0, 1-0), currently ranked #3 in Class 2A, and Maranatha Christian Academy (2-1, 0-0) as part of the Boys’ Tip Off Classic Caledonia beat Maranatha 81-64 behind Eli’s 27 points and Noah’s 19. When asked how he got the bloody nose in the first half, Eli said, “I think it was Noah that hit me.”
Fresh off their recent state football championship in Class 2A, the Warriors showed no signs of being tired. “Coming off of football season, we don’t need to spend a lot of time getting in shape,” said sophomore guard Eli. Senior guard Noah, a Mr. Football finalist, will be joining older brother Owen to play basketball at South Dakota State next year. Owen, a former Mr. Basketball finalist, led Caledonia to the state championship game two years ago before ultimately losing to Minnehaha Academy. They are coached by their dad, Brad King, who is beginning his third season as head coach.
“It’s awesome and we’re going to enjoy every moment of it,” said Eli of playing one final year with his brother. “We’re different players but we can draw attention away from each other,” said Noah.
The Mustangs started the game strong, including some hot outside shooting by senior guard Maciah Harut and sophomore guard Jeremiah LaVelle. Former Gopher Ariel McDonald is in his first year as head coach of Maranatha, which is located in Brooklyn Park and finished last season first in their conference. Both teams were playing on back-to-back days, with Caledonia beating conference rival Lewiston-Altura and Maranatha beating Jordan, ranked #9 in Class 2A, last night. Harut finished with 22 to lead Maranatha and sophomore guard Jeremiah LaVelle also contributed 18 for the Mustangs.
Overcoming Eli’s 11 first half points and stellar defense including several blocks and steals, Maranatha led at halftime 34-29. Caledonia scored 52 points in the second half to turn that halftime deficit into a 17-point victory. “In the first half we had too many players that were close to the rim but passing it outside and not looking to score,” said Coach King. “I’m proud of how we adjusted in the second half.” Noah drove the lane several times and, after finishing the first half with two points, added 17 in the second half.
So what makes this tiny town of approximately 3,000 in southeastern Minnesota so accomplished on both the football field and the basketball court? “The kids work hard all of the time, not just when the lights are on but all summer,” said Coach King. Caledonia has a tough upcoming schedule, including games against highly rated Waseca, Minneapolis North and Minnehaha Academy. When asked if there was a team that he was most looking forward to playing this season, Eli said, “Lake City, they are in our section and have good battles with them.” Lake City, currently ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, beat Minneapolis North in the game immediately before the Caledonia-Maranatha contest. When asked the same thing, Noah did not hesitate: “Lake City.”
Caledonia's Eli King had to fight his way past Maranatha Christian defenders Matthew Bluford (23) and Maciah Harut to score in the second half. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Caledonia’s Noah and Eli King proved to be too much for Maranatha Christian Academy on Saturday afternoon as brothers powered the Warriors past the Mustangs 81-64 as part of the Boys’ Tip Off Classic at Hopkins High School.
The pair combined for 35 points in the second half to help Caledonia (2-0, 0-0), No. 3 in the Class 2A rankings released by Minnesota Basketball News on Dec. 4, rally from a 34-29 halftime deficit.
Maranatha Christian (2-1, 0-0) took the lead into the break behind senior guard Maciah Harut’s 14 points and some hot outside shooting.
Eli, however, helped keep the difference to just five points as the Warriors sophomore guard was stellar on defense — contributing several blocks and steals — to go with 11 points.
Caledonia strengthened its inside presence on offense in the second half, where they scored 52 points — including 19 by Noah, a senior guard, and an additional 16 by Eli, who finished with a game-high 27.
Harut had a team-high 22 points and sophomore guard Jeremiah LaVelle added 18 for the Mustangs.
Maranatha Christian's Isaiah Bluford (11) made a pass after leaving Caledonia defender Eli King on the floor in the second half. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine