It's way too early to start talking about conference championships in the Suburban East, but when #12 White Bear Lake travels to St. Paul on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. game at #6 Cretin-Derham Hall, it will be a…
It's way too early to start talking about conference championships in the Suburban East, but when #12 White Bear Lake travels to St. Paul on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. game at #6 Cretin-Derham Hall, it will be a battle of two teams unbeaten in conference play who will no doubt be around when they hand out the trophies in March. It's also a classic offense vs defense matchup, and a game featuring at least a half dozen scholarship-level players, all of which make it a worthy choice as the Northstar Girls Hoops Game of the Week.
Cretin enters this one on a roll. Their only loss is to the very impressive Dowling Catholic of Iowa, who needed heroics from one of the best two or three players in the country to finish the deal. More recently, the Raiders have defeated #15 Park of Cottage Grove and #17 Roseville. The Roseville encounter was a four-point game with 6 minutes to go, but quickly turned into a 22-point blowout when Cretin's offensive juggernaut was unleashed.
The Raiders are led by junior forward Frannie Hottinger, a 6'1″ rebounding machine who is averaging 19 points per game. Senior guard Autam Mendez, at 14 ppg, has been terrific, while senior Elizabeth Edinger (13 ppg) has rediscovered her form. Add seniors Haley Moore, Chanel Anderson-Manning, and Justyna Butler to the mix and Cretin is scoring 67 points per game. That brings us to the much-admired White Bear Lake defense.
Perhaps the Bears aren't being as stingy as in years past. Perhaps that's an illusion on my part. Without digging too deep into the statistical well, it can easily be determined that the Bears are only giving up 53 points per game, 14 less than Cretin is accustomed to scoring. Something has to give. White Bear has built a culture that clearly connects defensive intensity with spring trips to Williams Arena, and coach Jeremy Post accomplishes this with one of the deepest rotations around. Of course, WBL has some scorers, too. Their surprise leader this year is junior guard Courtney Crouch who has been known to land a shot or two from the hinterlands. She's averaging 16 points per game and has twice hit the 28-point mark. The rest of the White Bear offense is balanced as usual with sophomore Ella Janicki at 10 ppg, and seniors Jordan Ferrand and Tessah Anderson at 9 apiece. White Bear Lake has just two losses: #3 Eastview and #7 Moorhead.
Other great games this week
The high school calendar will be dark Dec. 23-25 before a flurry of holiday tournaments kick off. In the meantime, there are some terrific matchups this week beginning on Tuesday when four of the heavyweights step into the ring. Here's the best games of the week.
- #1 Hopkins at #4 St. Michael-Albertville
- #9 Park Center at #10 Maple Grove
- Minnehaha Academy (5th in 2A) at Cooper (#1 in 3A)
- Hutchinson (#16 in 3A) at Holy Angels (#2 in 3A)
- #17 Roseville at #2 Wayzata
- #13 Champlin Park at #5 Centennial
- Mahtomedi (3rd in 3A) at White Bear Lake (12th in 4A)
- Roseau (#12 in 2A) at Mountain Iron-Buhl (#3 in 1A)