MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the coldest time of the year to be outside as we’re often stuck in subzero temperatures and painfully freezing wind chills.
As cold as it is outside, things are heating up in high school gyms and hockey rinks all over the state. We are in the grind of the conference season all across Minnesota. That means every match-up is a battle, and every game is important. For those chasing league titles and home playoff game, there are no nights off.
It also means there are great games going on in the Twin Cities every week with a lot on the line for every team. Here are some of our top match-ups this weekend.
Friday Boys Basketball: Andover (6-10) at Osseo (14-3)
One of the early favorites in the Northwest Suburban Conference is living up to its billing, and they’re now one of the top ranked teams in Class 4A. Osseo hosts Andover Friday night, aiming to avoid a letdown against the 6-10 Huskies. Osseo is led by post player Ian Theisen, a Division I recruit who is averaging more than 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Orioles are led by Wheeler Baker, who is one of the metro’s top scorers at nearly 25 points per game. Osseo enters the contest having won eight straight and nine of its last 10.
Andover is in need of a big win as the Huskies have lost seven of their past nine but are coming off a win over Centennial earlier this week. They’re led by Connor Wilkie and Jake McNallan, who each score more than 14 points per game.
Never bet against the underdog in a rivalry game, but Osseo will be very tough to beat on its home court.
Friday Boys Basketball: Edina (10-7) at Eden Prairie (11-4)
A pair of Lake Conference rivals meet Friday night in the west Twin Cities metro as Eden Prairie will host Edina in a game both teams want badly to win. The Eagles come in having won nine of 11 games, but lost this week to Hopkins. The Hornets have lost four of their past six, including a tough 68-65 game to Minnetonka this week. Eden Prairie is led by Grantham Gillard’s 21 points and Andre Wallace’s 19 points per game. Edina is led by Walt McGrory and Mahad Haji, who both average more than 14 points per game. This should be a fun game to watch as both teams will play with desperation.
Friday Girls Basketball: Minnetonka (12-2) at Edina (10-5)
Minnetonka is on a roll right now with 10 wins in its last 11 games, including five straight, but that will be put to the test Friday as the Skippers travel to Lake Conference rival Edina. They’re led by Courtney Frederickson’s 19.7 points per game. The Hornets have won three of their past four and beat Minneapolis Southwest earlier this week. Edina is led by Jill Horton’s 17 points per game. These two programs always go toe-to-toe and is should be a great league match-up as always.
Saturday Boys Hockey: St. Thomas Academy (10-4-1) at Breck (11-5-1)
If you want to see two of the best hockey teams in the metro Saturday, you’ll want to be in Golden Valley as Breck hosts St. Thomas Academy in non-conference action. They are two perennial state tournament teams that always have the potential to win championships under the right circumstances. Expect a fast, physical game between these two talented programs. Breck is the No. 1-ranked team in Class A but has actually lost three of its past five games. The Mustangs are led by Chase Ellingson’s 30 points on the season, including 20 assists. Mark Sharp leads the team with 13 goals in 15 games. The Cadets are always deep and talented, and it will be interesting to see them play after facing Hill-Murray. They’ve won six of seven and are led by Tom Novak’s 39 points. They have two players tied with 13 goals each on the season.
Saturday Girls Hockey: Hopkins (20-3) at Minnetonka (16-2-2)
It’s not often when the state’s top two teams meet for a conference game during the regular season, but that’s exactly the case Saturday as No. 2-ranked Minnetonka hosts No. 1-ranked Hopkins just before the playoffs. The Skippers are unbeaten in their last three and won 13 straight to start the season. They’re led by Presley Norby’s 26 points, including 13 goals on the season. Hopkins had been on a 10-game win streak before losses to Eden Prairie and Edina. The Royals are led by Corbin Boyd’s 60 points on the season. Nina Rodgers leads the team with 26 goals in 23 games. It should be a great game between the state’s top two teams. When the two teams met on Jan. 7, Hopkins won 2-0.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max will have all the action covered.