The first section games are barely a week away, but conference championships remain to be decided and jockeying for section seeds also continues. So it’s a very big week in girls basketball and on top of the usual schedule, you’ve…
The first section games are barely a week away, but conference championships remain to be decided and jockeying for section seeds also continues. So it’s a very big week in girls basketball and on top of the usual schedule, you’ve got the Breakdown’s Community Clash at Hopkins Lindbergh next Saturday.
Roseau and Elk River—along with Cretin, Forest Lake and White Bear of the South Suburban—each play in 2 rated opponents this week.
Monday February 13
#1A Mountain Iron-Buhl (21-1) @ #3A Cromwell (19-2), time n/a (scoreboards say 7:15 a.m. You figure it out). Both of these teams have worked hard to upgrade their schedules, including a home-and-home between the 2 of them, and still they have just 3 losses between them. MIB lost last week for the 1st time at Roseau, 80-67. Cromwell lost at Roseau 74-64, and Cromwell lost at MIB 66-61. Watch Mary Burke vs. Bailey Gronner inside. With a change of venue comes a change of result. Our pick: Cromwell 72 MIB 71.
Pine City (19-3) @ #17AA Rush City (18-0), 6 p.m. Both are members of the Great River Conference, long dominated by Braham. This year, not only are Rush City and Pine City #1 and #2 in the conference, they have beaten Braham 4-for-4 by an average score of 54-40. Unheard of! Rush City’s top 4 players are all sophomores and so, someday, they might not only beat Braham in the conference but Sauk Centre in the section. But, for now, another win over arch-rival Pine City, who they clobbered 54-19 3 weeks ago, will have to suffice. Our pick: Rush City 53 Pine City 32.
Tuesday February 14
#2AAA Holy Angels (20-2) @ #15AAAA Edina (16-7), 7 p.m. The Stars suddenly look vulnerable with a loss to St. Croix Lutheran and a one-point win vs. DeLaSalle. Watch the Stars Riley Thalhuber, one of the most improved players you’ll see this year. But a visit to Edina is tough duty for an AAA no matter what. Our pick: Edina 60 Holy Angels 50.
#2AAAA Elk River (23-0) @ #7AAAA Park Center (17-5), 7 p.m. The 2 unbeatens in the NW Suburban, but Elk River is unbeaten overall while Park Center has faltered 5 times outside the conference but to a tough, tough slate—Hopkins, Elk River, Wayzata, East Ridge, Minnetonka. Still, I think Gabi Haack is up to the challenge, and Sidney Wentland can defend inside. Our pick: Elk River 62 Park Center 57. See Darren Hayes comment below. And if he is correct, then Park Center is not unbeaten and has not been unbeaten in the conference since late December.
#19AAAA Forest Lake (13-8) @ #18AAAA Cretin (13-8), 7:15 p.m. Tough call—Forest Lake is up and down, Cretin fading fast, though Elizabeth Edinger came up big vs. DeLaSalle. Gotta go with the home court advantage. Our pick: Cretin 59 F
#11AAAA East Ridge (17-5) @ #14AAAA White Bear Lake (15-7), 7:15 p.m. The Bears have the home court and have been a pretty consistent team. East Ridge has been up and down but at their best they’ve been very, very good. Still, there’s that home court Also, White Bear is much deeper and will try to wear the Raptors out. Our Pick: White Bear 54 East Ridge 53
Thursday February 16
#1AAAA Hopkins (23-0) @ #6AAAA Wayzata (16-5), 7 p.m. Wayzata has been playing extremely well, with 4 players in double figures in each of their past 2 wins. But even with Paige Bueckers out for Hopkins, well, then Raena Suggs takes over. Pick your poison. Our pick: Hopkins 59 Wayzata 53.
#9AAAA Roseville (18-4) @ #19AAAA Forest Lake (13-8), 7:15 p.m. On a good day, Forest Lake can play with anybody. But, they’re young and inconsistent. Playing at home, we look for “good” Forest Lake. Our pick: Forest Lake 56 Roseville 53.
Friday February 17
#16A Southwest Minnesota Christian (18-3) @ #20A Canby (18-3). At least 7 players average in double figures for these 2 teams. The biggest guns are senior forward Chantel Groen of SWC and senior guard Natalie Dinius of Canby. Our pick: SWC 72 Canby 71.
#1AA Roseau (21-0) @ #14AA Pequot Lakes (15-6). Pequot has struggled at times but the defending Section 7AA champion has center Corinne Ruud and power forward Olivia Lane back, among others. I’m not saying they’ll scare Roseau, but they’ll make ‘em work. Our pick: Roseau 76 Pequot 65.
#10AAAA Centennial (18-4) @ #2AAAA Elk River (23-0), 7 p.m. If Elk River is going to lose in the regular season, this would be the game. Well, or on the road to Champlin the following week. Our pick: Elk River 62 Centennial 57.
#18AAAA Cretin (13-7) @ #14AAAA White Bear Lake (15-7), 7:15 p.m The 4th ranked vs. ranked matchup in the Sub East this week. Once again, the opponent has a better starting five but White Bear’s depth is the difference. Our pick: White Bear 57 Cretin 53.
#9AAA Winona (16-4) @ #7AAA Northfield (17-4), 7:30 p.m. This could be for all the marbles in the Big 9. Mayo also has 3 losses but has a tougher schedule at Owatonna and at Red Wing, the 4th and 5th teams with winning records. Could come down to Appicelli vs. Touchestte. Our pick: Northfield 52 Winona 48.
Saturday February 18
#16AAA Kennedy (13-8) vs. #3AAA Hutchinson (16-5) @ Hopkins, 9 a.m. Just one of 8 games at Community Clash, shockingly, the only one featuring 2 rated tams. Hutch on a role but Kennedy is very athletic. Our pick: Hutch 63 Kennedy 60.
#1AA Roseau (21-0) @ Esko (17-5), time TBD. Possible state tournament preview.