MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We’re heading into February, which means conference races in several high school sports are heating up as we approach the postseason.

February and March always seem to bring out the best in prep sports. If you’re not gunning for a conference title, you’re doing everything possible to get a high seed for the playoffs and at least one home game. After all, it’s much easier to play with your season on line the line in your home arena, in front of your home fans.

This weekend’s top match-ups include a conference tilt between two highly-ranked teams, two Saturday hockey games that look to be filled with talent and high drama and a few other quality basketball match-ups. Here they are:

Friday Boys Basketball: St. Croix Lutheran (17-1) at DeLaSalle (12-2)

It’s a battle of conference unbeatens and two top 10 teams Friday night in Minneapolis as DeLaSalle hosts St. Croix Lutheran in Tri-Metro Conference action. The Crusaders are 7-0 in league play and have won 16 straight games since a loss to St. Thomas Academy. St. Croix Lutheran averages about 61 points per game, and the squad is led by Trenton Kruger’s 16.2 points per game. Ade Lamu scores more than 15 per game and Aage Rovney scores about 15.

The Islanders are one of the best teams in the state that combine pressure defense with an up-tempo offense. They’re led by Sacar Anim’s 25.9 points per game. Gophers signee Jarvis Johnson is scoring close to 15 points per contest as DeLaSalle averages about 67 points per game.

The Islanders enter the contest ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, while the Crusaders are ranked No. 7. St. Croix Lutheran will need its best defensive performance of the season to keep this game close.

Friday Boys Basketball: Hutchinson (8-9) at Orono (15-4)

Orono is looking to stay on a roll as the Spartans host Hutchinson Friday night in Wright County Conference action. Orono needs the win to keep pace in league play as it’s one game behind New Prague for the top spot. The Spartans have won four straight games since losing at New Prague. They’re led by Cole Hennings’ 19 points per game. Hutchinson is in a rut, having lost three of its past four. The Tigers are led by Marcus Hahn’s 15.7 points per game.

Friday Girls Basketball: Princeton (12-5) at St. Michael-Albertville (14-2)

There’s a key girls basketball game in the Mississippi 8 Conference Friday night as St. Michael-Albertville, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, hosts Princeton. The Knights have a two-game lead in the league race over the Tigers and are just a game ahead of Rogers, who they’ve already beaten. St. Michael-Albertville, which has won eight straight games, is led by Bobbi Brendefur’s 14.8 points per game. Princeton, which has won four of its past five games, is led by Taylor Laabs’ 12.8 points per game.

Saturday Boys Hockey: Lakeville North (19-0) at Lakeville South (10-6-2)

The No. 1-ranked boys hockey team in Minnesota will face its biggest rival Saturday night looking to complete a regular season sweep as Lakeville North hosts Lakeville South. The Panthers are a perfect 19-0 on the season and should be a heavy favorite come state tournament time, They’re led by Jack Poehling’s 41 points. Nick Poehling leads the team in goals with 21. The Cougars have won three straight since a loss to Prior Lake. They’re led by Nick Swaney’s 44 points. Nick Oelrich leads the team in goals with 17.

Saturday Boys Hockey: Edina (16-1-2) at Holy Angels (12-7)

Two perennial Minnesota hockey powers, one a defending state champion, will do battle Saturday in Richfield as Holy Angels hosts Edina in non-conference action. After winning the AA state title last year, the Hornets are ranked No. 2 this year and are unbeaten in their last 13 games. All but one of those is a regulation victory. Edina is led by Garrett Wait’s 51 points, a mark that includes 20 goals. Dylan Malmquist also has 49 points on the season, including 16 goals. Holy Angels has won four straight games and is led by Marshall Barnes’s 43 points. Owen Larson leads the squad with 23 goals.

Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and David McCoy will have all the action covered.

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