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High School Girls Basketball Focus: Chatfield's Baum earns win No. 400

Brian Baum's Chatfield basketball team beat Rushford-Peterson on Thursday. That gave the coach 400 career girls basketball wins.

Goodhue vs. Kasson-Mantorville Girls Basketball
Kasson-Mantorville's Aby Shubert (11) goes up for a shot during a girls basketball game against Goodhue Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Goodhue.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo
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There is a man in our midst with 700 career wins.

That is Chatfield's Brian Baum, who collected his 400th win on Thursday as a girls basketball coach, 385 of them at Chatfield. Last spring, Baum earned his 300th win as Chatfield's baseball coach.

The coach still appreciates these opportunities.

"I still enjoy the players, practice, the many coaches and officials I have met and continue to see, and the games themselves," the 55-year-old Baum said.

Baum was part of another big week in southeastern Minnesota girls hoops. Let's dig in.

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TOP 5 STANDOUTS

1. Brian Baum, Chatfield

Baum is our top standout due to a coaching career that has been excellent. Baum reached his 400th win on Thursday, Chatfield beating Rushford-Peterson 76-57. Last spring, Baum joined the 300-win club in baseball. He did that in the final game of Chatfield’s regular season. Baum has a career basketball record of 400-386.

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Hayfield's Kristen Watson (3) takes a shot during a Section 1A girls basketball semifinal game against Houston Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Century High School in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist /Post Bulletin file photo

2. Kristen Watson, Hayfield

At just 5-foot-4, Watson isn’t the biggest player in the world. But she keeps playing like she is. Watson, also a defensive menace, had 34 points on Thursday, nailing six 3-pointers along the way.

3. Abigail O’Reilly, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

O’Reilly has been among the top players in the Three Rivers Conference this season. On Thursday, the 6-foot-1 junior forward was clearly the best player on the floor as she poured in 27 points in a win over Fillmore Central.

4. Aby Shubert, Kasson-Mantorville

It’s been a rare losing season for Kasson-Mantorville. Still, the KoMets’ star — Aby Shubert — keeps rolling along. The sharpshooting junior guard was at it again on Friday, scoring 25 points against Pine Island. She followed that up with a 28-point effort (six 3-pointers) Saturday against No. 11-ranked St. Peter.

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5. Abigail Bothun, Fillmore Central

It was a good week for girls with the first name of Abigail (Abigail O’Reilly van vouch for this). Fillmore Central’s “Abigail” had a huge game on Monday against Southland, finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

POWER RANKINGS

(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.

1. Hayfield (15-0)

It’s been more of the same for the Vikings — more wins and no losses. It’s a wonder they aren’t ranked higher than No. 4 in Class A. Hayfield wins with defense that forces chaos for the opposition, with all of the speed and traps the Vikings throw at people.

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Austin's Emma Dudycha goes up for a layup in the first half during a girls basketball game against Northfield Thursday on Jan. 6, 2022,
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin file photo

2. Austin (11-1)

After finally being hit with a loss (74-69 to St. Paul Como Park), the Packers turned on Winona in their next game, winning by 38 points. Austin is easily the highest scoring team in the Big Nine, averaging 67 points per game.

3. Goodhue (13-1)

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It’s the defense that Goodhue plays that is so good. The No. 3-ranked Wildcats (Class AA), with so much depth and speed, allow just 44 points per game. They score plenty, too (67 ppg.). Goodhue has one of the top young point guards around, sophomore Elisabeth Gadient.

Lourdes, Lake City girls basketball
Lake City’s Paige West controls the ball’ during a girls basketball game against Lourdes on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at Lourdes High School in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo

4. Lake City (10-3)

Lake City likely has the best 1-2 combination in Section 1AA, 6-foot guard Natalie Bremer and 6-1 center Mya Shones. Bremer averages 26 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals per game; Shones 11 points and 8 rebounds, as well as provides stellar interior defense. Lake City is coming off a game in which it rolled past formidable Lourdes.

5. Caledonia (11-5)

After a difficult start, the Warriors are clicking. Wins over Dover-Eyota and Lake City in the last three weeks jump out. Caledonia is deep and figures to be even better next year, currently with four junior starters.

6. Winona Cotter (10-3)

Cotter was bound to lose eventually and can feel good about a 10-game winning streak that was finally snapped by Dover-Eyota. This is looking way ahead, but the balanced Ramblers will have a heck of stretch to end their regular season, playing Lourdes, Caledonia and Lake City to finish things.

7. Dover-Eyota (12-3)

Just three losses by the Eagles and all of the explainable variety — to powers Goodhue, Lake City, Caledonia and Byron. Dover-Eyota is coming off a three-point win over tough team Byron. D-E has a difficult test waiting for it on Thursday, at Stewartville.

8. Century (8-4)

It’s been a terrific jump for the Panthers, who won just four games last year. Credit goes to a couple of standouts, senior forward Jordyn Sutton (who hit the 1,000-point mark last week and is averaging 14 ppg.) and sophomore guard Taylor Clarey (14 ppg.). But this has been an overall effort, with contributions throughout the lineup.

9. Mayo (8-4)

Yes, the Spartans were humbled 66-44 on Tuesday by a Century team that has shown vast improvement. But that was without star Hannah Hanson in the Spartans’ lineup, as well as two other rotation players missing. Mayo had won five straight entering that game, including impressive ones over Lakeville South and Byron.

10. Lourdes (9-6)

That wasn’t a pretty loss absorbed by the Eagles on Tuesday, falling 60-43 to Lake City. They followed that by falling 58-52 to No. 3-ranked Goodhue. It’s been a gauntlet of a schedule of late for Lourdes, which is on a three-game losing streak, the other loss to No. 1-ranked Minnehaha Academy (56-48).

NEWS AND NOTES

Hayfield unbeaten, entertaining

Kasey Krekling doesn’t simply want his Hayfield girls basketball team to win, he wants it to entertain.

The Vikings head coach is getting both of those wishes satisfied. He’s done it as he’s employed a breakneck style of basketball that’s giving opponents fits. With full-court traps set from start to finish, and the Vikings forcing an almost-unheard-of 34 turnovers per game, Hayfield finds itself unbeaten (15-0) and worth more than the cost of admission.

“This is a fun (style) to play,” Krekling said. “We’ve watched games on film of people playing a zone defense against each other, and it looks pretty boring and slow. We want to be entertaining and fun. We want the crowd to be entertained.”

Krekling, with speed and skill at every position, has the players to get that done. The Vikings aren’t long on height, with Natalie Beaver (5-11) and Aine Stasko (5-10) the only Hayfield players taller than 5-6. But Hayfield more than makes up for it with possibly the best bunch of runners, jumpers and shooters that it’s ever had.

Sophomores Kristen Watson and Beaver lead that charge. The ultra-fast and skilled Watson, like all of the Hayfield players, is a defensive menace. She can also really score, recently with games of 34 and 31 points, including hitting six 3-pointers on Thursday. Watson averages 20 points per game. Beaver is just behind her at 16 ppg.

But it’s this defense of Hayfield’s that stands out most, with so many contributors to the Vikings’ orchestrated chaos. It’s built on speed and hunger to make a play. Ava Carney is the fastest of the bunch.

“Ava causes a lot of steals to be made, forcing players to throw passes that aren’t good passes, simply because they want to get ride of the ball,” Krekling said. “Our guards cause so much chaos out there. That’s what we want. We wants traps set all over the court. With us, there is no such things as a bad trap. And we have eight girls who rotate through, and all of them can dribble, shoot 3’s and play pressure defense.”

All of that has led No. 4 ranked Hayfield to a sensational start, with no end to the winning in sight.

“We were a pretty young team last year,” Krekling said. “We knew we had a lot of minutes coming back. I thought we’d have a nice team. But these girls have played extremely well. And it’s our defense that’s really raised us.”

Warriors have figured things out

Caledonia is as hot and head-turning as any team around.

Judging from what happened to the Warriors the first few weeks of the season, including losses to La Crescent-Hokah, Lourdes (by 32 points) and Winona Cotter, that’s a surprise to some.

Caledonia has won six straight, a couple of its wins leaping out. The first happened Jan. 4, the Warriors getting scoring from nine players to topple an excellent Dover-Eyota team 61-53. Two games later, Caledonia beat arguably the top team in the Hiawatha Valley League, Lake City, 47-46. Then on Thursday, Caledonia punished a solid Kingsland outfit 64-28. Ava Privet had six 3-pointers in that one.

“The kids are buying into what we want,” said Caledonia coach Scott Sorenson, who starts four juniors — Privet, Alexis Schroeder, Jovial King and Paige Klug. “We want to attack and get good shots. Our shot selection has improved, and we’re taking better care of the ball. Plus, we’re seeing a lot of kids step up. We’ve got as many as 12 kids who we’re comfortable putting into games, and each night it seems like a different one steps up.”

Caledonia has five players averaging between 9 and 11 points — Schroeder, Privet, King, Klug and Sadie Treptow. King is the team’s top rebound at 8 per game.

Include Sorenson as one who has not been surprised by Caledonia’s turnaround. He knew what he had.

“We’d been talking since Day 1 that there is talent here,” Sorenson said. “It was just a matter of figuring out how to put it together.”

P-E-M's O'Reilly a force

There is a lot to like about Abigail O’Reilly, who’s gone a long way toward guiding Plainview-Elgin-Millville to a 10-2 record.

O’Reilly is a strong and quick 6-foot-1 forward who’s been dominating the competition of late. The junior had 27 points on Thursday and is averaging 21 points on an excellent 54% shooting.

It’s O’Reilly’s second year as a Bulldogs starter.

“I think she’s the best forward in our (Three Rivers Conference) league,” P-E-M first-year head coach Wyatt Nelson said. “Her best place to score is from about 5 feet on in. She’s more of a down-low kid, but she made some mid-range shots (Thursday).

“She’s also very athletic for her height. She’ll catch the ball at the free throw and drive right past people.”

1,000 points for Carlson, Sutton

Joslyn Carlson, a longtime starter and senior for Goodhue, reached her 1,000th point on Friday in a 58-52 win over Lourdes. Carlson, a do-everything player for the Wildcats, finished the game with 10 points.

Century's Jordyn Sutton hit 1,000 points on Tuesday in an impressive win over Mayo. Sutton, a senior forward, followed that up by scoring 29 points on Saturday in a lopsided win over Minneapolis South.

UPCOMING GAMES

John Marshall at Century, Tuesday, Jan. 18: This is the first meeting between the teams. Century has made a quantum jump from last season, when it won four games. The Panthers are now 7-4.

Goodhue at Caledonia, Tuesday, Jan. 18: This matches the two hottest teams in Section 1AA. Caledonia has pulled off two signature wins in the last two weeks. But getting it done against No. 3-ranked Goodhue, with all of its speed and depth, will be tough.

Dover-Eyota at Stewartville, Thursday, Jan. 20: Stewartville has slipped a bit in the last two weeks, including a one-sided loss to Lourdes. But the Tigers figure to rebound. Dover-Eyota is rising, with seven wins in its last nine games. Malia Nelson is the highest scoring player in the area (28 ppg.).

Austin at John Marshall, Friday, Jan. 21: The Rockets have the best player in the conference, Indiana University-bound Lilly Meister. The Packers have the best team. Austin beat JM by six points in the teams’ first meeting.

Lake City at Goodhue, Friday, Jan. 21: Lake City is a team that boasts a great 1-2 punch in guard Natalie Bremer and center Mya Shones. But the Tigers are showing they are more than just those two, with a variety of players getting into the scoring act and the team playing tireless defense. No. 3-ranked Goodhue will test Lake City with its depth.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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(Blooming Prairie, Caledonia/Spring Grove, Chatfield, Winona Cotter, Dover-Eyota, GMLOKS, RACE, Hayfield, Kenyon-Wanamingo/Goodhue, La Crescent, Lake City, Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton), Lewiston-Altura, Lyle/Pacelli, Medford, Pine Island, Lourdes, Rushford-Peterson, Houston, St. Charles, Triton, Wabasha-Kellogg, Zumbrota-Mazeppa)
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