1 night, 2 games, 4 tough teams
The girls basketball regular season ends for most teams on Friday night, and it goes out with a major bang due to a couple of great matchups.
Two games will bring together four of the top seven ranked teams in the Class AA state poll, teams with a combined 88-9 record.
At Hayfield, it’s Fred Kindschy’s No. 4-ranked Vikings (21-1) squaring off against No. 1-ranked Winona Cotter (22-3), coached by Pat Bowlin. Cotter handed Hayfield its only loss this season, a 61-51 decision on Dec. 15 at Winona.
Meanwhile, at Caledonia, coach Scott Sorenson’s No. 7-ranked Warriors (23-2) will try to get even with No. 6-ranked Kingsland (22-3), which dealt Caledonia one of its two defeats. Kingsland, coached by John Fenske, won their Dec. 15 matchup 54-47.
Both games have conference implications. Hayfield can wrest the HVL Gold division title from Cotter, and Caledonia can gain a share of the TRC South division crown with Kingsland.
— Donny Henn
Key matchup for Mayo
The Rochester Mayo boys basketball team has to be licking its chops over this one.
The Spartans will have an opportunity to avenge a two-point loss to powerful Owatonna on Saturday when they host the Huskies at 7:30 p.m. Mayo will also have a chance to show just how far it has come in the last month.
Mayo, now 13-8 overall (10-4 in the Big Nine Conference) has won eight of its last 10 games, the only losses in that stretch by two points at Owatonna on Jan. 9, and at Mankato West on Jan. 19. Both Owatonna and West are ranked in the top 10 in the state in their respective divisions — Owatonna fifth in Class AAAA, West third in Class AAA.
Owatonna is 12-1 in the Big Nine, 19-1 overall.
— Pat Ruff
Dover-Eyota is sending teams in both Jazz/Funk and High Kick to the state dance team meet Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Eagles were the only school to have teams from Section One, Class A advance in both divisions. They were second in Jazz/Funk and fourth in High Kick.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa won Jazz-Funk, and third-place St. Charles also qualified for state.
Defending state Class A champion Cannon Falls won in High Kick. No. 2 Plainview-Elgin-Millville and No. 3 Lake City join Cannon and D-E in advancing to state.
High Kick is Friday and Jazz/Funk is Saturday. There are three classes in dance team. Faribault is back to defend its High Kick title in Class AA; Austin also qualified for AA High Kick.
— Craig Swalboski
First state tournament set
Lacrosse has become the fastest-growing team sport sponsored by the MSHSL, and it will become much more visible this spring with the League-sanctioned state tournaments for boys and girls.
With 32 girls teams and 29 boys teams currently registered for the 2007 season, lacrosse has cleared the threshold for a state tournament. The League-sponsored girls program started in 2001 with just eight teams, but has grown consistently each year. This will be the inaugural season for boys lacrosse.
The League’s Board of Directors approved the sponsorship of the two state tournaments at its Dec. 7 meeting.
The official start date for the lacrosse season is March 26, and the boys and girls state tournaments are tentatively slated for the week of May 21-26.
Schools wanting to start a lacrosse program can still register. The final late registration deadline is April 15.
— Donny Henn
One big family reunion
Tonight’s Section One, Class A clash pitting Kenyon-Wanamingo against Goodhue will be a family reunion for many team members.
The Kenyon-Wanamingo Lexvold brothers — Chad, Drew and Nathan — have two cousins who wrestle for Goodhue — Caleb Diercks and Trevor Huneke. Wayne Lexvold, the father of the Lexvold brothers, wrestled for Goodhue when he was in high school. K-W coach Matt Ryan also has ties to the Wildcats. Micah and Trevor Huneke are his cousins.
Diercks is likely to wrestle one of his cousins; he’s entered in the section tournament at 112 pounds, though he could move up during the team portion of the tournament.
"There will be a lot of emotions," Ryan said Monday of a possible matchup between the two teams. "We really didn’t want to meet them in the first round."
The teams will meet at 7 tonight in Kenyon. K-W is the No. 3 seed and Goodhue is No. 6. Section 1A is very deep, with six teams considered legitimate title contenders.
— Ben Pherson
Mr. Hockey finalists named
The Minnesota Minutemen have announced the top 10 candidates for the Mr. Hockey Award.
They are Moorhead’s Jordy Christian and John Lee, Roseville’s Mike Dorr, Cloquet’s Tyler Johnson, Hill-Murray’s Nick Larson, Warroad’s Aaron Marvin, Holy Angels’ Taylor Matson, Cretin-Derham Hall’s Ryan McDonagh, Edina’s Matt Reber and Grand Rapids’ Patrick White.
Reid Ellingson of Cloquet has won the Frank Brimsek Award in recognition of being the state’s top goaltender.
The Mr. Hockey Awards Banquet is noon March 10 in St. Paul.
David Fischer of Apple Valley was the 2006 Mr. Hockey winner.
— Pat Ruff