Looking Ahead to Week #9
Holy Family takes the honors this week, playing in 2 of our top dozen games 3 Featured Games at St. Kate’s on Monday, January 16 The 4th Annual MN Fury MLK Day Classic at St. Kate’s has 8 games with,…
Holy Family takes the honors this week, playing in 2 of our top dozen games
3 Featured Games at St. Kate’s on Monday, January 16
The 4th Annual MN Fury MLK Day Classic at St. Kate’s has 8 games with, of course, 16 teams, 12 of them ranked by Northstar Girls Hoops. The action begins at 9:15 a.m. with Andover facing Bloomington Jefferson. But if things haven’t heated up already, they should do so after 3 p.m. when what look to be the top 3 games of the day will occur.
#12AAAA Cretin-Derham Hall vs. #7AA Norwood Young America at St. Kate’s, 3:15 p.m.
Gotta love the occasional inter-class matchup—and rarely do you see one like this, where the teams are 2 classes apart. And as such, you’d have to think Cretin will overwhelm NYA with Frannie Hottinger, Autam Mendez and Haley Moore inside and Chanel Anderson-Manning and Elizabeth Edinger on the perimeter. Meanwhile, we know what post Bren Fox and wing Kali Grimm can do for NYA. This will be a great chance to see how the Raiders Abby and Anna Mackenthun and Sam Miller match up with Cretin’s more familiar talent. And, keep in mind, I haven’t named a single senior among these 10 players. #12 and #7 now, both should be much better a year from now. Our pick: Cretin 66 NYA 52.
#14AAA Waseca vs. #5AAA Kasson-Mantorville at St. Kate’s, 6:30 p.m.
Two years ago KM defeated Waseca for the Section 1AAA title. Waseca has since moved to Section 2AAA, so it’s possible the 2 could meet again in the state tournament. Both played at the huge Hayfield bash on Saturday. KM lost to #2AAA Orono 69-56 as senior post Kristin Scott continued with her Ms. Basketball-worthy season with 29 points. Waseca was impressive in snapping the host Vikings 12-game winning streak 49-43 as Emily Karsten scored 26. Our pick: Kasson-Mantorville 50 Waseca 43.
#10AAA Hutchinson vs. #6AAA Winona at St. Kate’s, 8 p.m.
Hutch was #1 and Winona #3 in our pre-season ranking but the Tigers in particular have stumbled to a 7-5 start. They have great perimeter talent but miss the physical play of Erica Ellefson and Erin Corrigan, who have graduated from last year’s state tournament team. Winona is a respectable 9-2 but got clobbered by KM last month 54-33. Winona post Danneka Voegeli will have a big size advantage inside. Our pick: Winona 59 Hutch 54.
We’re going to totally cheat this week and declare that either Waseca-Kasson-Mantorville or Hutch-Winona will be our Game of the Week depending on which is the more competitive game. So, now you also know that we will be at St. Kate’s on Monday for the full slate of 8 games beginning at 9:15 a.m. I hope somebody puts the coffee on. Other top 20 matchups include Big Lake-Mahtomedi and White Bear-Prior Lake.
Also on Monday, January 16
#9AA Esko vs. #11AA Annandale at UMD, 1:15 p.m.
The Eskomoes are a deep team led by hard-nosed 5-3 point guard Eva Gonsorowski (”Gonso”), coming off a 24-point loss to Cromwell. The Cardinals have lost 3 in a row, but 2 of them are to highly-rated Maranatha and Watertown-Mayer. Their front court of 6-2 Allie Spaulding and 6-footers Hannah Purcell and Kamryn D’Heilly score more than 40 ppg among them, but the backcourt is less imposing. Only one of these teams will get back on track on Monday. We think it will be Esko. Our pick: Esko 57 Annandale 51.
#2A Maranatha at #15AA Holy Family, 3 p.m.
Maranatha has won 7 in a row after 3 early losses, but had to sneak by Heritage on Saturday 62-60. Like Annandale the Mustangs front court, with 6-footers Jaclyn Jarnot, Elise Moore and Sami Payne, is scary. The Fire has a terrific sophomore class led by Grace Conroy, Julia Geurs and Leigh Steiner. Our pick: Maranatha 72 Holy Family 67.
Note: Thanks to reader Grant McGinnis for noting that Maranatha in fact lost to Red Lake 66-64 in OT over the weekend. See comment below for more information.
Tuesday, January 17
#11AAAA Champlin Park at #2AAAA Elk River, 7 p.m.
The Elks come in as one of just 2 remaining undefeated teams in Class AAAA. Guard Gabi Haack has been unstoppable and she has a deep, experienced supporting cast. Champlin has won 7 in a row, including a 25-point thrashing of Andover a week ag, as 5-7 junior guard Erica Hicks and 6-0 senior wing Alison Gerads have blossomed. They’re scoring 32 ppg between them. If anybody can give the Elks their 1st loss, it's the Rebels. Still. Our pick: Elk River 67 Champlin Park 64.
#15AAA Hermantown at #7AAA Grand Rapids, 7:15 p.m.
It’s not unlikely that these 2 will play for the Section 7AAA title 6 weeks from now. Hermantown is 12-2 behind 6-footers Jordyn Thomas, Ellie Gamradt, Sierra Bolen and Taylor Vold. Grand Rapids is 12-3 against a tough, statewide schedule, with point guard Heaven Hamling scoring 19 ppg. The Thunder Hawks beat the Hawk Hawks 62-46 last month. Our pick: Grand Rapids 63 Hermantown 54.
Thursday, January 19
#5AAAA Lakeville North at #4AAAA Eastview, 7 p.m.
Rachel Ranke, Allie Pickrain and Megan Walstad score in double digits for the Lightning while Temi Carda and a much-improved Ke James do the same for the Panthers. But freshman guard Lauren Jensen may hold the key to this one. She has scored 15.5 ppg, including a career high 20 points vs. Prior Lake, in her past 2 games. Our pick: Eastview 66 Lakeville North 62.
#2AA Watertown-Mayer at #5AA New London-Spicer, 7 p.m.
Here’s another possible state tournament matchup. But the Royals had a 9-game winning streak, with an average winning margin well into the 20s, snapped at Eden Valley-Watkins on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have lost only by 2 at Sauk Centre and have won 5 in a row, with winning margins also well into the 20s. They play at home in this one for the 10th time in 13 games, and its never an upset when the home team wins. Our pick: New London-Spicer 50 Watertown-Mayer 45.
Friday, January 20
Rush City at Pine City, both unranked, 6 p.m.
The Tigers (Rush City) and the Dragons (Pine) are in catch-22 mode. Neither has played nor beaten a rated opponent, and that won’t change next Friday despite a combined 21-1 record (as of today; more than likely they will be 23-1 by Friday). Both have beaten Braham by double-digit margins. Rush City did it on the road. When do you think was the last time that happened? According to head coach Ted Hasz, the Pine City Dragons have done it with 2 8th graders, 2 freshmen and 4 sophomores in the rotation. Point guard Lily Wilson, one of the sophomores, leads the way. Rush City counters with at least 3 sophomore contributors led by 6-1 Jamie Guptill and 6-0 Shawna Mell. Our pick: Rush City 49 Pine City 47.
#6A Heritage Christian at #14AA St. Croix Lutheran, 7 p.m.
Heritage gave Maranatha a scare last week before losing 62-60. St. Croix has 4 wins against Class AAA and AAAA opponents. Point guards Taylie Scott (13 ppg) of Heritage and Audrey Gadison (15 ppg) of St. Croix lead their respective teams. Our pick: St. Croix 62 Heritage 56.
#2AAA Orono at #15AA Holy Family, 7 p.m.
Holy Family goes from the frying pan (Maranatha) into the Fire (Orono), except, wait, Holy Family is the Fire and that makes Orono earth, maybe? Or wind? And, you know what they say. Scissors cuts paper. In other words, if the Fire couldn’t quite handle the frying pan, it’s hard to see Orono’s Tori Andrew, Madaline Loder and Natalie Smaron, fresh off an impressive 13-point win against the Kasson-Mantorville KoMets, falling short against Holy Family’s kiddie korps. Our pick: Orono 68 Holy Family 52.