Rankings update: Small but significant movement at the top of 3A and 4A
When a pair of teams swap spots in the Northstar Girls Hoops high school team ranking it might not seem all that significant. When the teams we are talking about – Waseca and Northfield in 3A, Hopkins and Wayzata in…
When a pair of teams swap spots in the Northstar Girls Hoops high school team ranking it might not seem all that significant. When the teams we are talking about – Waseca and Northfield in 3A, Hopkins and Wayzata in 4A – are such important pieces in the state tournament puzzle, however, they are most certainly worth noting. That is exactly what happened this week.
On Friday night in Wayzata, the Trojans came from 18 points down to score an improbable victory over the Hopkins Royals. There was some controversy a couple of weeks back when Hopkins suffered its first loss of the season – a holiday tournament tumble against #1 Eastview – but remained ahead of undefeated Wayzata in the rankings refresh. Our logic at that time was simple: Hopkins is a perennial power that has been steamrolling opponents at an impressive clip while Wayzata was still the unproven upstart trying to dethrone the king. Until the two teams actually faced each other on the floor, it was our contention that Hopkins should hang onto its edge.
Well that deciding encounter finally came last week. When Wayzata's 2-3 zone shut down the Royals offensive machine in the second half, the Trojans roared back to win. As a result, they have earned the #2 spot in this week's rankings while Hopkins drops to #3. Now the debate will between #1 Eastview, which is undefeated at 13-0, and Wayzata, which is now 16-0. Unfortunately, neither team is on the other's schedule. The rankings will change when Eastview possibly loses a game – an upcoming rematch with Lakeville North, perhaps, or maybe a stunning upset by Park Cottage Grove – or when the Lightning and Trojans meet in a potential state title matchup at Williams Arena. Stay tuned.
A similar shift occurred this week near the top of the 3A rankings where Waseca dropped to #5 after its two-point loss to #14 Hutchinson. Waseca is 14-2. Its only other loss was to Mankato West. Northfield crushed Winona last week, raising its season mark to 11-2. Both teams are still looking up at #1 Holy Angels, #2 Mahtomedi and #3 Cooper.
Meanwhile, teams 12 through 16 in AAA each moved up one rung on the ladder thanks to Hibbing's two-game swoon. The Bluejackets dropped a pair of games to Thief River Falls and Crookston, which moved Hibbing down five places to #16. New Ulm has won four in a row and moves to #17. Nobody came to the party this week and nobody left.
AAAA welcomes Woodbury to the big show
Not much was expected of the Woodbury Royals at the beginning of the season. In our Suburban East Conference preview, we picked Woodbury 7th, just ahead of East Ridge and Moundsview. It seemed like a logical choice given that senior Rachel Hakes was the only highly-rated, highly-experienced player on a team with a lot of unproven talent. Well it appears as though the likes of Carley West. Kassidy Mackie and Solape Amusan have figured things out as the Royals have reeled off four straight wins to reach 8-5. Woodbury has won five games against top 25 teams, having defeated Forest Lake, Bloomington Kennedy, Park Cottage Grove and most recently White Bear Lake and Hastings. Woodbury makes its rankings debut all the way up at #18.
Also new to the rankings this week is Owatonna. The 9-5 Huskies have been running along largely under the radar. Led by senior Sydney Schultz, they have quality wins over Mankato West and Alexandria. Four of their five losses have been to ranked opponents, including Farmington, Lakeville South, Northfield and Red Wing.
Meanwhile, Moorhead continues to miss leading scorer Sam Haiby, the #1 player in the senior class who is out with a knee injury. The Spuds suffered an embarrassing 35-point loss to Maple Grove last week and have now lost four of their last six. Moorhead drops out of the top 10 and is now at #12. Irondale discovered the realities of facing a higher-quality opponent in Maple Grove. The result was a 43-point loss that move the Knights down to 25th. Forest Lake (8-7) and Anoka (9-5) dropped off the list altogether.