There were some statements that were made this past week in southeastern Minnesota girls basketball. Goodhue looks like it is the team many thought it would be after a pair of impressive wins; Houston won its showdown with Kingsland (by two points); nobody has yet figured out how to beat Mayo, Stewartville or Houston; Cotter is for real; and Kasson-Mantorville's Avery Irish has big games in her.
Here is the latest from our girls basketball scene, complete with power rankings.
TOP 5 STANDOUTS
1. Anna Miller, Mayo
Miller has had one outstanding game after another this season and averages 21 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. But what the Mayo 6-foot-3 senior center did on Friday in a win over Austin was her best performance yet. Miller scored 27 points and yanked down 22 rebounds. That helped Mayo stay unbeaten, at 11-0.
2. Joslyn Carlson, Goodhue
Goodhue 5-10 forward Carlson picked a fine time to have likely her best game of the season. The junior did it against one of the top teams in southeastern Minnesota, Kasson-Mantorville. Carlson drained four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points in an impressive 81-66 win.
3. Allyssa Williams, Cotter
Williams didn’t go wild (13 points) in her team’s 57-54 nail-biting win over Dover-Eyota. But she made her team go wild at the end, draining a corner 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left to beat fellow power D-E.
4. Emma Geiwitz, Houston
The senior guard hit five 3-pointers and scored 25 points as Houston stayed unbeaten with a 52-50 win over Kingsland. Both teams entered the game perfect in the Southeast Conference.
5. Avery Irish, Kasson-Mantorville
Irish has had some big games this season, but this one was the biggest as Kasson-Mantorville beat Lourdes 63-46 on Tuesday. A 5-foot-11 forward, Irish hit five 3-pointers en route to 21 points. She also snared 11 rebounds.
(Editor's note: These rankings are considered "pound-for-pound" rankings, similar to many rankings systems in boxing and mixed martial arts. They represent the best teams in southeastern Minnesota, relative to the class they play in. They also only rank the teams that are still playing this fall. The teams whose seasons are canceled due to COVID-19 are not included.)
1. Mayo (11-0)
The Spartans continue to roll past the competition. They’ve done it with a big star, center Anna Miller, and all kinds of other firepower. Miller averages 21 points and three others average at least 10. Mayo scores 70 points per game, fourth best in Class AAAA.
2. Stewartville (11-0)
There is not much this team is missing. It’s got speed, shooting, grit, depth and enough size. Maybe a true back-to-the-basket scorer would be nice, but don’t think the Tigers really need it.
3. Houston (8-0)
The Hurricanes had some proving to do and it could have only come against Kingsland. Houston got that done, all right, having just enough to edge the Knights 52-50 on Tuesday. Both teams entered unbeaten in the Southeast Conference. Emma Geiwitz came through again, scoring 25 points.
4. Lake City (9-2)
The Tigers have won their last eight, including impressively against Goodhue and Lourdes. Lake City’s defense, with so much length, has been great. It’s allowed 43 or fewer points in six of its last eight games. The Tigers have done that while also having big scoring nights of 92, 82, 80 and 89 points in that stretch.
5. Cotter (8-2)
Cotter was impressive again on Thursday when it found a way to slip past another red-hot team, Dover-Eyota. The Ramblers are balanced, rugged and so well coached. They are also on a seven-game winning streak.
6. Blooming Prairie (10-1)
The Blossoms haven’t lost a game since Feb. 1, when Chatfield beat them by two points. Megan Oswald continues to have a dominant season at center. And Blooming Prairie is one of the best defensive teams around, allowing just 37 ppg.
7. Kasson-Mantorville (10-2)
There has been just a bit of slippage for K-M the last couple of weeks, including two losses in its last five games. It also includes an overtime win over St. Peter. The KoMets sure looked good against Lourdes on Tuesday, though, rolling 63-46. It was a balanced effort, but Avery Irish’s 21 points and 11 rebounds stood out.
8. Caledonia (8-2)
The Warriors likely should have been in the top 10 last week. But here they are now, and deservedly so. One of the youngest teams around, Caledonia hasn’t let that get in its way. The Warriors have impressive wins over Dover-Eyota and St. Charles. Caledonia shows a nice balance of offense and defense.
9. Dover-Eyota (9-3)
The Eagles had a five-game winning streak broken up by Cotter (57-54), a team that had also won five straight. But this is a fine team, with plenty of firepower and a smart, veteran coach.
10. Goodhue (9-3)
The Wildcats sure trended upward the past two weeks. There were one-sided wins over tough teams Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Lourdes and Kasson-Mantorville. The only loss was by a single point to Cotter, which has won seven straight.
• Dover-Eyota at Lourdes, Friday: These are two very good teams that seem evenly matched and with veteran and excellent coaches. My hunch is the Eagles win (see what I did there?).
• Goodhue at Caledonia, Friday: We’ll see if Caledonia’s talented young players can hold up against Goodhue’s quick and ferocious pressure defense. The Wildcats seem to have found themselves after a sluggish start, with back-to-back wins against Lourdes and Kasson-Mantorville, two of the area’s best teams.
• Lake City at Goodhue, Tuesday: This will be Lake City’s towering size against Goodhue’s quickness. The Wildcats were no match in the teams’ last meeting, Feb. 4, the Tigers winning 50-33. But Goodhue has turned things around nicely.
• Mayo at Red Wing, Tuesday: Red Wing is the only team to have remotely given the unbeaten Spartans a game this season, in it until the end on Feb. 12. But the Spartans are clearly the most talented team in the Big Nine Conference.
• Hayfield at Medford, Tuesday: There is a clear disparity between the top four teams in the Gopher Conference and the bottom four. This game matches two of those top teams. Hayfield will be looking to its two fabulous freshmen — Kristen Watson (18 ppg.) and Natalie Beaver (16 ppg.) — to provide plenty of offense again.
NEWS AND NOTES
Young, promising Warriors
• Caledonia is having a strong season, 8-2 and with impressive wins over Dover-Eyota and St. Charles. But it’s tough not to consider how good the Warriors might be in a year or two. That’s based on who’s contributing most right now. Caledonia’s top four scorers — Ava Privet (15.4 ppg.), Paige Klug (11.4), Alexis Schroeder (7.8) and Sadie Treptow (5.3) —are all sophomores.
Goodhue showing signs of greatness
• After a surprisingly stagnant start, Goodhue seems to be getting things together. The Wildcats, who many figured would be the best team in the Hiawatha Valley League, lost games to Stewartville and Lake City (getting routed 50-33) early on. But since then, there has been just one setback, to tough team Cotter (53-52). Among the recent wins were back-to-back great ones over two of the HVL’s best, Lourdes and Kasson-Mantorville. Both were by robust 15-point margins.
All about timing for Williams sisters
• Twice in the same week, Cotter’s Williams sisters have come through huge at crunch time for the Ramblers. First it was senior Aubrey Williams knocking down the game-winning shot as Cotter took down powerhouse Goodhue. Then it was sophomore sister Allyssa getting it done, draining a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left to beat another power, Dover-Eyota. Cotter has won its last seven games.
Wow Mayo, that was fast
• With only the first meeting between teams in the Big Nine Conference counting toward the league standings this season (due to the pandemic), 11-0 and No. 8-ranked Mayo has already clinched at least a share of the conference crown. A win over winless Faribault on Wednesday would give Mayo the title outright.
Three Rivers collection
• Six players from the Three Rivers Conference played together this summer and fall on the North Tartan SE AAU team. That group, currently in grades 9-11, consisted of Caledonia’s Alexis Schroeder and Paige Klug; Chatfield’s Tessa McMahon; Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Lauren Rott and Abby O’Reilly, and St. Charles’ Makadyn Gust. Century’s Kennedy Speer joined the team in the fall. That collection won the Minnesota AAU Division II 2022 state title.
No varsity for Falcons
• For the second straight season, the Wabasha-Kellogg girls basketball team is not fielding a varsity unit. W-K does have a team, but it is made up of eighth- and ninth-graders this year. That group played the Schaeffer Academy varsity last week and lost 43-30.
FIVE JAW-DROPPING STATS
• There is just one team from Section 1AA that is currently state ranked. That is unbeaten Stewartville, at No. 6. Still, this section is loaded, with as many as eight teams that will be serious contenders to get to state — Stewartville, Goodhue, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Lake City, Cotter, Caledonia, Dover-Eyota and Lourdes.
• Against two of the top five teams in the HVL — Lourdes and Kasson-Mantorville — Goodhue went off for 68 and then 81 points, respectively, in the last nine days. Lourdes had been allowing 43 ppg., K-M 51. Goodhue had five players with at least eight points against the KoMets.
• Houston went 20 days without playing a game due to COVID-19 protocol. The unbeaten Hurricanes got back at it on Feb. 18 when they blasted Schaeffer Academy 75-24. They showed that all the rust is gone Tuesday with a dramatic 52-50 win over fellow power Kingsland.
• In her last four games, Mayo star center Anna Miller has been a rebounding machine, grabbing 22, 7, 14 and 16 boards.
• Kasson-Mantorville center Mya Suess has been tearing things up all season, as she's done all four of her years on the KoMets varsity. Suess has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds each of those four years. This season, she's averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds, and has had a double-double in 11 of her 12 games. For her career, Suess has 938 rebounds and 1,035 points.