The basketball season ended in March, but some of Minnesota’s top high school players are still playing at a high level.
Through the first two weeks of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) — the nation’s top AAU circuit — the Howard Pulley Panthers 17-Under boys’ team has been the best AAU team in the nation. The Panthers include Apple Valley’s Gary Trent Jr. and Tre Jones, Maple Grove’s Brad Davison, Minneapolis North’s Isaac Johnson and Champlin Park’s Theo John. The team is 7-0, winning all four games in the second weekend of EYBL play in Indianapolis April 22-24.
Trent, who led the 40-team EYBL in scoring last summer, is picking up where he left off, averaging 22.7 points per game. Davison has been having a breakout season offensively, averaging 15 points.
With the EYBL on hiatus for a couple of weeks, the Panthers played in the Jayhawk Invitational in Kansas City over the weekend. They will host the Howard Pulley Invitational at the Maple Grove Community Center on May 6-8.
Blake freshman Robbie Grace struck a blow for three-sport athletes when she was named the MVP at the recent Lakeville North Invitational girls’ track and field meet. Grace, who is also a starter on the Bears’ volleyball and girls’ basketball teams, won the 200-meter dash in 27.02 seconds and the 400 meters in 58.96 seconds. She finished second in the 100 meters (13.13 seconds) and fifth in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 1 inch.
Former POY shines
Sydney Smith, two-time Star Tribune metro softball Player of the Year from Maple Grove who is now a freshman pitcher at LSU, was selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Freshman of the Year Top 25 list. Smith is 9-2 with a team-leading 0.66 ERA for the Tigers, including a five-inning perfect game in an 8-0 victory over Tennessee Tech on March 4.