MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s getting down to crunch time in the winter high school sports season.
Section tournaments are either already underway or just around the corner in girls hockey, boys hockey, wrestling, girls basketball and boys basketball. That also means the regular season is winding down for most teams and conference championships hang in the balance.
This is that special time of year where it’s fun and crazy to be a high school sports fan. There are plenty of good match-ups this weekend, and here are the four that we went with.
Girls Basketball: West Lutheran (18-2) at Maranatha Christian Academy (17-4)
The Minnesota Christian Athletic Association conference title is on the line Friday night as Maranatha Christian Academy, the No. 1-ranked team in Class A, hosts West Lutheran. Maranatha won last year’s Class A state title and has won 13 of its last 14. West Lutheran has won nine straight games since losing its only two of the season in early January. It’s our featured match-up for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.
One of West Lutheran’s two losses was an 83-65 decision to Maranatha earlier this season. The Maranatha Mustangs have four losses on the season, which came to Braham, Burnsville, Waconia and most recently Maple Grove.
Maranatha is led by post player Onye Osemenam, who averages 15.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Madison Lee also adds more than 13 points per game and Alexis Long scores almost 12 per game. West Lutheran is led by Laura Kolander, who averages 16.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Megan Steffel also scores more than 12 points per game.
It should be a great battle between two solid teams. I’ll give the edge to Maranatha playing at home.
Saturday Boys Hockey: Totino-Grace (15-7) at Benilde-St. Margaret’s (16-6)
It should be a great battle between to high-quality hockey programs Saturday as Benilde-St. Margaret’s hosts Totino-Grace. The Eagles, ranked No. 6 in Class A, have won three straight and are coming off a big 7-4 win over No. 3-ranked Breck. The Red Knights are ranked No. 8 in Class 2A and are looking to finish the regular season strong. T.J. Roo leads Totino-Grace with 51 points, and Andy McDonald leads the Eagles with 24 goals. He had four in the win over Breck. Grant Besse leads Benilde with 67 points. Totino-Grace proved it can play with anybody in the state by beating Breck, and with the North Suburban Conference title on the line, I’ll pick them to surprise the Red Knights.
Boys Basketball: Lakeville North (18-1) at Eastview (19-0)
It might be the game of the night around the metro as No. 1-ranked Eastview hosts No. 3-ranked Lakeville North in a South Suburban Conference showdown. The Panthers only loss of the season came to Eastview in a six-point game. They are led by the trio of Brett Rasmussen (13.9 points per game, Tyler Flack (13.7 points per game) and Ryan Saarela (12.9 points per game). Eastview is led by post Joey King, one of the top players in the state, who averages almost 26 points per game. The Lightning have passed every test so far, and I’ll take them to top the Panthers.
Girls Basketball: Edina (19-2) at Hopkins (20-0)
It should be a great battle Friday night as undefeated and No. 1-ranked Hopkins hosts No. 3-ranked Edina in a Lake Conference match-up. The last time these two teams met this season, the Royals ran away with a 68-46 win over the Hornets. Edina, led by Katybeth Biewen’s 15.5 points per game, will be looking for revenge. Hopkins is led by Nia and Sydney Coffey, the daughters of former Gophers star Richard Coffey. They combine to average about 28 points per game. I’ll give Hopkins the advantage in this one.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and John Lauritsen will have all the action covered.