Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The high school winter sports season is officially underway as hockey, wrestling, basketball and other sports are all at least a week into action.
That means a lot of late nights, cold bus rides and weekend tournaments for several teams. It also means there’s a lot to keep an eye on with the state’s top athletes lacing up their skates, putting on their shoes or getting that singlet on.
Earlier this week, all three of the state’s top basketball recruits for the 2014 class were in action. Cooper’s Rashad Vaughn put up 51 points, but it was in a 96-94 overtime loss to Maranatha Christian Academy. Reid Travis scored 30 as DeLaSalle beat Brooklyn Center 82-49, and Apple Valley had to come from behind to beat Hopkins 73-64. They did it largely without star guard Tyus Jones, who left the game early with back spasms.
One of the state’s top seniors, Quinton Hooker of Park Center, led the No. 2-ranked Pirates to a 73-62 win over No. 1-ranked Osseo with 34 points. It was Park Center’s second straight win over a top-ranked team as the Pirates beat Jones and Apple Valley in their opener.
It’s Friday and the snow has cleared, so teams are getting back to action in various venues.
Here’s a look at the featured action for the night.
Boys Hockey: Elk River at Edina (Edina Invitational)
Undefeated and No. 1-ranked Edina serves as the host for this weekend’s Edina Invitational in boys hockey. The Hornets are 7-0, including wins over Wayzata early in the season and No. 12-ranked Grand Rapids Thursday night. Edina went 23-5 last season before falling to Benilde-St. Margaret’s, the AA state champion, in the state quarterfinals. The Hornets face Elk River Friday night, and it’s our featured game for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.
The Hornets, who scored four first-period goals in Thursday night’s win, are led by Connor Hurley’s 10 goals and eight assists. Dylan Malmquist also has five goals and seven assists on the season.
Elk River is 5-2 on the season and lost Thursday night 4-2 to Eden Prairie. The Elks finished last season 16-9-2 and were fifth in a loaded Northwest Suburban Conference. Jacob Jaremko leads Elk River with six goals and five assists on the season. Chase Springham and Tim Sanford each have five goals.
Edina will face Eden Prairie on Saturday before taking on the top ranked team in Class A, St. Thomas Academy, in the first round of the Schwan Cup. Elk River will face Grand Rapids on Saturday before participating in the Sports Authority Holiday Classic.
Friday Boys Hockey: Benilde-St. Margaret’s at Duluth Marshall
A pair of state tournament teams from last year square off Friday night as Duluth Marshall hosts Class AA defending state champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s. The Red Knights are led by Dan Labosky’s 15 points, including 11 assists. Grant Besse, who scored all five goals in the state championship win back in March, has nine goals on the season and Spencer Naas leads the team with 11 goals. Duluth Marshall got to the Class A state quarterfinals last year before losing to Breck and is led by Kris McKenzie’s eight points.
Friday Boys Basketball: Blake at Minnetonka
The Minnetonka Skippers are off to a 5-1 start on the hard court and get another stiff test Friday night when they host the Blake Bears, who are the No. 3-ranked team in Class 3A. The Skippers are led by Division I recruit Riley Dearring, who is averaging 14.8 points per game. Mike Fernando is adding 13.7 points per game. Blake is led by Blaine Crawford (18 points per game), Kebu Johnson (16 points per game) and John Veil (15.8 points per game).
Friday Girls Basketball: Eastview at Lakeville North
Two of the top 10 teams in girls basketball will do battle in Lakeville Friday night as No. 2-ranked Eastview (7-0) travels to No. 10-ranked Lakeville North (4-2). The two teams finished second and third in the South Suburban Conference last year behind Bloomington Kennedy. Madison Guebert leads the Lightning with 22.8 points per game and Tyra Johnson averages about 15 per game. Lakeville North is led by Simone Kolander’s 15.6 points per game.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and John Lauritsen will have all the action covered.