Maybe if it had been close. That's what we were thinking Sunday while determining the new order of business in 4A following Hopkins' convincing defeat of Wayzata on Friday night, the Trojans' first loss of the season. In fact, the…
Maybe if it had been close. That's what we were thinking Sunday while determining the new order of business in 4A following Hopkins' convincing defeat of Wayzata on Friday night, the Trojans' first loss of the season. In fact, the rankings discussion began before the rematch even tipped off. If Hopkins wins a close one, we decided, then Wayzata should hold onto #2 because the series would be even at one win apiece, and the Trojans would still possess the better overall record. Except that's not what happened. What happened was Hopkins dismantled Wayzata from start to finish. As I said in my post-game recap, this wasn't so much about Wayzata playing poorly as it was about Hopkins playing great. After a blowout of such proportions, there is no way we could place the Trojans ahead of the Royals and still get a good night's sleep. That's why Hopkins is #2, Wayzata is #3 and 24-0 Eastview remains #1. That's our story and we're sticking to it. Elsewhere in 4A:
- Farmington continues to impress. The Tigers won two more times, improving their season record to 16-8. Now ranked 11th, Farmington is young and talented and will be a team to reckon with in section 1 AAAA, perhaps sooner rather than later.
- Owatonna continued its impressive play, as well, defeating highly rated Northfield by 16. The Huskies are 18-6 and ranked 12th. They reside in the same section as Farmington, a neighborhood long dominated by #9 Lakeville North.
- Park Cottage Grove lost a pair of Suburban East games to Roseville and Forest Lake, dropping the Wolfpack's record to 17-17 and their ranking to 13.
- Minnetonka continued to play well in the absence of senior Megan Walker. The Skippers cashed in on a Katey Brattland three (how many times have we said that over the past few years) to defeat Roseville by a basket before beating Eden Prairie by one just 24 hours later. The Skippers are 14-10.
Eden Prairie's run of success continues as the Eagles knocked off 3A power Holy Angels last week before the Minnetonka heartbreaker. As improbable as it may have seemed a few weeks back, Eden Prairie could conceivably emerge as the champions of section 2, which is a bit of a free-for-all. 'Tonka is by no means a sure thing, and Edina has lost four of its last six. Even Chaska has to be taken seriously. The Hawks started the season 0-8 but have now won 7 of their last 9. The two losses were by one basket each. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but Chaska could be a spoiler.
Cooper has been super in 3A
In a similar shuffle to that taking place this week in 4A, there is a flip-flop near the top of the 3A rankings, as well. On the way up are the Cooper Hawks, who extended their win streak to 15 games and their season mark to 22-2. The Hawks are hot as Benilde-St. Margaret's, Minneapolis South and Chanhassen learned first-hand last week. As a result, Cooper slipped past 20-4 Holy Angels which lost to Eden Prairie.
Led by the Wheeler sisters – junior guard Aja and freshman post Kierra – Cooper has yet to slip up in a significant way. Their speed is highly problematic for opponents, thanks largely to a flock of ultra-quick guards, including seniors TT Longs and Ju Gaston and freshman Andrea Tribble. Senior Jada Buford has provided leadership and additional punch. Make no mistake: this is a team that could win a state championship. The Hawks' only losses are to 4A powers Hopkins and Centennial. Are they better than Holy Angels or Mahtomedi? We'll see. Other changes in 3A include:
- Hermantown entered last week's play on a 12-game winning streak before dropping a pair of games to Grand Rapids and Proctor, just their third and fourth losses of the season. As a result, Hermantown is now hanging out at the bottom of the top 10.
- Hill-Murray has been on fire. After their upset of Mahtomedi, the Pioneers followed with wins over Henry Sibley and North St. Paul. That extended Hill-Murray's winning streak to eight games and raised their record to 16-8. Now ranked 14th, H-M is perfectly capable of upsetting the apple cart in section 4AAA where Mahtomedi and DeLaSalle reside. Como Park, which finished just outside of the rankings again this week, could do the same.
- The mystery that is Chisago Lakes continues to confound. The Wildcats dropped a game to Buffalo (not a huge surprise) but also lost to 3-21 Cambridge-Isanti (definitely a surprise). Chisago is 14-10 and slides to #21.