After seeing COVID-19 dramatically affect the past two seasons, many prep basketball fans have entered this year hoping we will return to a more normal season.
Turns out it won’t.
Once again, the activity directors are scrambling to change the schedules; understand transportation, coaches navigate absent players and players do their best to enjoy their season.
John Marshall is currently on a COVID-19 hiatus, while Rushford-Peterson, La Crescent-Hokah and Lewiston-Altura are struggling to get out of it after requesting a time out on their season for a period of eight days or more. LA returned to the field on Wednesday missing eight players due to COVID-19 protocols.
Mayo and Century were also understaffed due to COVID-19 and on Wednesday Rochester Public Schools announced they would temporarily move teaching from in-person learning to distance learning from 18-28. January.
But if this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that children are resilient and will once again find a way out.
With that, here’s the third edition of the High School Boys Basketball Focus. Stay safe everyone.
The second edition of the High School Boys Basketball Focus
Ruberg raises the game, has Rushford-Peterson on the rise
1. HUNTER LORENSON, LAKE CITY
It was a great two-game streak for Lorenson.
He gave the go-ahead with 31 seconds left to lift Lake City over St. Peter 53-51 on Saturday, Jan. 8, before going on with his first career double-double in one of the toughest forms. rare possible. The sophomore scored a career-high 27 points and posted an academic record of 10 steals in the Tigers’ 74-54 win over Lourdes on Tuesday. He also counted
The Iowa State University engagement won its second straight 28-point game in a victory over Byron in the Guaranteed Rate Hoops Challenge on Saturday, Jan.8. This also included a monster dunk against the Bears. King’s scoring hike comes at the right time as the Warriors have a tough seven days ahead.
Goodson continues to perform well for a talented Spartans team trying to stabilize the ship due to injuries and COVID-19.
He followed a 20-point performance against Owatonna on January 7 with a 24-point explosion against Lakeville South. He also scored 15 points against Century on Tuesday. He can put it on the bridge, end up in traffic, and can pull it. Just a solid player.
Opsahl claims to be one of the best shooters in the area.
The junior sniper has scored nine 3-pointers in the last two games, highlighted by a 25-point night that saw him drop five 3s in a 67-47 victory over Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Tuesday. The Wildcats are 6-3 heading into their Thursday night game against Lourdes.
One of the world’s best athletes, Hedin has the potential to shoot 30 or more every night, which he did when he scored 30 in a 64-56 win over Century on January 8. Hedin was 17th of 20 in the free throw. line and also grabbed six rebounds.
He recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds against Austin on Tuesday. He is averaging over 22 points and 8 rebounds per game for a Winhawks team that is 4-4 and ranked No. 14 in the AAA class by Minnesota Basketball News.
(Editor’s note: These rankings are considered “pound-for-pound” rankings, similar to many ranking systems in boxing and mixed martial arts. They represent the top teams in Southeastern Minnesota, compared to the class they play in.)
The Warriors continue to win.
Caledonia – ranked No. 2 in Class AA by Minnesota Basketball News – topped Byron 80-64 in the Guaranteed Rate Hoops Challenge behind 28 points for King and 23 points for Jackson Koepke. The Warriors knocked out Wabasha-Kellogg 84-41.
They have a big week ahead as they take on a pair of Wisconsin’s top 10-ranked Wisconsin teams at DeForest and Waunakee at the Midwest Player’s Classic on Friday and Saturday at La Crosse Center. They went on to Lewiston-Altura on Monday in their first home game since December 17.
The Cardinals remain in place despite dropping their first game of the season with a 56-52 loss to Pine Island on Wednesday. That’s because the Cardinals were without eight players due to COVID-19 protocols.
LA still managed to enter the Minnesota Basketball News rankings for the first time, placing 13th in Class AA.
The Cardinals have the opportunity on Saturday to show off the new standings when they face rival Rushford-Peterson at Target Center in Minneapolis, before traveling to Caledonia on Monday.
After supporting a quality Rotary Holiday Classic with three solid wins, the Tigers have moved from 9th place in our standings last week to 3rd place, in part thanks to Lorenson’s aforementioned performances. LC is also now ranked No. 7 in Class AA by the Minnesota Basketball News after coming in at No. 12 the week before.
The Tigers beat Class AAA St. Peter on Lorenson’s exploits in a game that saw Justin Wohlers lead the way with 19 points left and four steals. Wohlers scored 20 points and took five rebounds in Lake City’s 20-point loss to Lourdes. Wohlers is averaging 18.8 points per game, a team-high.
4. La Crescent Hokah (7-0)
Like the Cardinals, the Lancers – who are ranked No. 11 in Class AA by Minnesota Basketball News – are staying put after a break in their schedule. On Wednesday, they were still scheduled to play Holmen in the Midwest Player’s Classic on Saturday. They were originally scheduled to play against talented West Salem (Wis.), Who is ranked No.2 in Division 3, but the Panthers dropped out of the tournament.
5. Rushford-Peterson (6-2)
Stop, if you’ve heard that here before, but the Trojans spent eight days between games because they took a break from their season. They hold up well in our rankings as well as in the Minnesota Basketball News rankings, which places them 4th in Class A.
They returned with a game against a strong Chatfield side on Thursday before the big game against Lewiston-Altura at 5.30pm on Saturday.
The Vikings extended their winning streak to 11, thanks to an impressive three-game streak.
They followed a 66-51 victory over Triton on Jan. 7 and a 59-38 victory the next day over St. Clair, which was then ranked No. 14 in class AA by Minnesota Basketball News. Hayfield used a 17-0 run in the second half and 16 points from Isaac Matti to pass the Cyclones.
Matti then finished with 18 points in a tough 44-40 win over a strong Kenyon-Wanamingo team on Tuesday. He averages over 20 points per game for the Vikings – ranked No.5 in Class A – used a 17-0 run to break the tie in the second half en route to a 59-38 victory over St . Light.
Matti scored 22 points as the Vikings beat Randolph 58-45 on Thursday.
7. Plainview-Elgin-Millville (10-0)
The Bulldogs make their first appearance in this year’s power rankings behind an offense that has been one of the best in the region.
The Bulldogs – ranked No. 14 by Minnesota Basketball News in the AA class – are averaging 75.1 points per game and have under 70 points just twice. They have three players who have a double-digit average with Aeron Stevens in the lead with over 20 points per game. The 6-foot-6 junior scored 29 points in an 81-73 win over Triton on Jan.6 and 18 in a 72-56 win over Lourdes on Tuesday.
Stevens once again led the way for Thurdsay, scoring 21 points in the Bulldogs’ 77-68 win over Fillmore Central in a game PEM led by up to 25 points.
They might have their biggest test on the road Monday at Rushford-Peterson.
8. Kasson-Mantorville (7-3)
The KoMets are well received in the power standings after winning for the fourth time in five games with a fine 56-52 victory over Byron on Tuesday.
KM allows just 54.4 points per game, which is the third best in the Hiawatha Valley League. The offense is led by Camden Holeck, who is averaging over 17 points per game, but it was Jake Hallstrom who finished with a team-record 18 points against the Bears.
The KoMets have a big week next week when they host Winona on Monday, before heading to Stewartville on Tuesday.
The Bears remain at # 9 on our list, losing two of their last three games. Byron lost to Caledonia on Jan.8, before losing to the KoMets on Tuesday.
Jaxon Marine led Byron with 20 points against Caledonia, while DeCook added 14, before scoring a high of 19 against KM. Marine leads the Bears with 13.8 points per game.
James Durst scored 14 and as one of four to finish in double digits to help the Bears slam the two-game slide.
The Panthers remain at No.10 after rebounding from a 64-56 loss to Winona on Jan.6 with a pair of quality wins over Red Wing (63-51) and crosstown rival Mayo (62-61 OT).
Jaden Wysocki continued his stellar season with 16 points against Mayo, while he had 16 points, five rebounds and Ethan Wills recorded 10 points and 13 rebounds against Red Wing.
The Panthers host Faribault on Friday.
Honorable mention: Stewartville, John Marshall, Mayo, Winona.
Another day, another monster slam from the King of Caledonia.
Here’s another angle. Man is simply floating in the air.
Here are a number of great pieces from Winona’s Hedin, which seems to be really heating up.