Grand Meadow boys looking to snap Lions’ streak
Spring Grove and Grand Meadow will resolve quite a bit over the next 10 days.
They’ll know a lot more about who they are as teams and about where they stand in the Southeast Conference boys basketball hierarchy, as well as where they stand in the chase for a top seed in the Section One, Class A playoffs, which begin at the end of this month.
Spring Grove (14-2 overall) and Grand Meadow (16-4) will meet twice in the next week and a half.
They’ll battle at 7:15 p.m. Monday in Grand Meadow, then will meet again eight days later, on Feb. 19 at Spring Grove, the penultimate game of the regular season for both teams. A third meeting between the pair of Southeast Conference powers could happen next month in the section tournament.
Both teams are part of a logjam atop the Section 1A standings, too. Spring Grove is second in the section, based on QRF rankings, while Grand Meadow is sixth.
Much could change between now and the start of the postseason, though, as the Superlarks have three games remaining against teams ahead of them in the section rankings – two games against Spring Grove and one against Randolph, currently ranked third in the section.
The SEC rivals present an intriguing matchup. Spring Grove has the second-best scoring defense in the section, allowing just 47.9 points per game (only Randolph is better, at 46.3 ppg).
Grand Meadow has the second-best scoring offense in the section, averaging 66.3 ppg (again, only Randolph is better, at 68.8 ppg).
Spring Grove has dominated this rivalry for more than a decade. Post Bulletin records indicate the Lions have defeated the SuperLarks in every meeting dating back to at least the 2003-04 season.
The SuperLarks have two big opportunities to snap that streak over the next two weeks.
Other games to watch in the area in the coming week:
• Mankato West at John Marshall, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.: A challenging three-game stretch for the Big Nine Conference-leading Rockets concludes at home against third-place West (14-5), which JM defeated 68-59 on Jan. 3 in Mankato. This game comes on the heels of a showdown with No. 1-ranked Red Wing on Friday and a cross-town rivalry matchup against Mayo tonight.
• Lourdes at Lake City (Wednesday, 7 p.m.), at Goodhue (Friday, 7:15 p.m.): The Eagles’ last two regular-season games are also the final two games of a stretch where they play six games in eight days. Lourdes couldn’t end with two bigger matchups, facing Lake City in a game that could decided the HVL Gold Division championship, then playing at Goodhue, which is in the driver’s seat to win the HVL Blue.
• Century vs. White Bear Lake, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.: The Panthers are closing in on their second straight Big Nine Conference championship. This is their only non-conference matchup during a stretch of six games in nine days – and it’s a big one for Century (15-3-0) to see where it stands against the state’s best. White Bear Lake (17-4-1) is ranked No. 7 in the state in Class AA, with its four losses coming against No. 13 Duluth East, No. 2 Minnetonka, No. 4 Andover and No. 1 Edina.
• Section 1 girls hockey semifinals, today: In Section 1A, top-seeded and No. 8-ranked Lourdes hosts No. 5 Albert Lea, and No. 2 seed Faribault hosts No. 3 Waseca. Lourdes is looking for its second straight trip to the sectioni final. In Section 1AA, No. 3 seed Dodge County plays at No. 2 Lakeville North, and No. 5 Lakeville South plays at No. 1 Farmington. The semifinal winners meet Thursday at Owatonna in the section championship games.
BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING
• Big Nine Conference meet, today, 1 p.m. (at Rochester Recreation Center): The 12 teams in the Big Nine Conference converge on the Rec Center to determine the conference champion. Rochester Mayo has won the meet three consecutive years. Last winter, Mayo beat runner-up Century by more than 160 points. Spartans senior Grant Reeves won four events at last year’s meet (100 backstroke, 200 IM, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay). Century sophomore Grafton Parlette (100 freestyle) and senior Gavin Bloch (500 freestyle) are also defending champions in individual events.
• Section 1 team tournaments, Thursday and Feb. 16: The path to the Xcel Energy Center begins on Thursday for Section 1 wrestling teams as the section team tournaments begin with duals at home sites The semifinals and championship duals will be held Feb. 16 at the Mayo Civic Center. Zumbrota-Mazeppa (Section One, Class A); Kasson-Mantorville (Section 1AA) and Hastings (Section 1AAA) are the defending champions. Z-M and K-M both went on to capture state championships last winter. Neither will have an easy path back to The X, however. K-M is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AA, but the No. 2-ranked team, Simley, also resides in Section 1AA. In Class A, Z-M is ranked No. 4, but No. 9-ranked Goodhue is also in the section. Two other teams are receiving votes in the state poll – GMLOS and Chatfield.
• Section 1AA meet (Friday, at Farmington); Section 1A meet (Feb. 16, at Red Wing): Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa snapped Austin’s streak of six consecutive Section 1A championships last year. The Panthers, who went on to finish fifth at the Class A state meet last year, will seek their second straight section title on Feb. 16. Owatonna is the defending Section 1AA champion.