Posted On: 12/7/18 3:44 PM

Best games to follow and/or attend on this fine Friday night?  NHR previews the games and gives you a winner! 

Red Lake at Cass Lake-Bena. The Panthers of Cass Lake-Bena spent the last decade making March trips to the State Tournament on an annual basis. Rival Red Lake took away the Panther glory for a bit of time but with three wins by a combined 87 points last year the Panthers wiped out Red Lake by double figures every time. Cass Lake-Bena was back at state and the community rejoiced. Now they meat again.  Red Lake has a mix of seniors and talented sophomores but it’s unlikely that they are ready for the experience that Ethan Brown, Jarell Jacobs, and Jared Brown are about to bring to the court.  Six-foot-2 Jared Brown is entering his upperclassmen years and is likely ready for a 20 point per game year. Panthers by double figures. 

Eden Valley Watkins at Litchfield. Eden Valley-Watkins only lost three games last year but game one of 18-19 was a 20 point beatdown by Osakis.  Luke Jansen, Justin Streit, and sophomore standout Joshua Streit have the talent to replace three all league players and tonight they all need to play better. Litchfield had a tough 17-18 falling below .500 but their opening game was a controlling win over a good Maple Lake team.  Owen Boerema and Alex Gruenke are one of the better senior guard pairs you need to learn about and Litchfield is home.  Dragons win 67-60.

Shakopee at New Prague.  Game of the night maybe?  After New Prague defeated Lakeville South they have our attention.  Hunter Nielson put together a great first game of the year scoring 18 to beat Lakeville South, but Shakopee might be a different animal.  This is a Sabers team that has been building together and taking lumps for a couple years now, but Charlie Katona, Tanner Koenen, WIll Cordes, and Caleb Druvenga (the last three are juniors) have big goals in mind.  We pick against the Trojans again, Shakopee by five. 

Osseo at St. Paul Central. Central has been talking about getting more attention, and being “slept on” so here is their chance.  Osseo is a perennial state tournament team that is traveling to Central.  If now is the time for the Minutemen this is a game they should win.  Central has a line-up packed with returning players led by St. Paul City MVP last year Daveonte Davis, Dion Ford, Ronelle Porter, Luke McElory, and Khai West (all City Conference honored last year) while Osseo lost the majority of their line-up.  Tim Theisen is one of the best coaches in Minnesota and he has Montrell Stokes, Earl Anderson, Eli Barlue, and Cornell Richardson making up a tough group of players.  Osseo has the talent to win but if Central is going to have the year they want this is a game they should win (at home, way more experience) so do they?  Tough call.  I say home team by a score. 

Morris Area at BOLD.  Morris Area has put together a fairly tough early season schedule.  They beat a top 15 ranked Class A team in Ortonville but lost to ACGC (who might be better than expected).  Now Morris Area heads to BOLD and they have guys that can defend Carter Henry.  Jackson Loge is a top freshman in the state and Camden Arndt can fill in too.  How will the Morris Area guards handle BOLD’s backcourt talent will tell everything.  We go Morris is a slight upset, by a foul shot. 

Extra.  Almost forgot about Princeton versus Fergus Falls.  Let’s make this quick and very real.  If Princeton is the team that can contend for a state title – and the results so far are very good – the Otters are team they beat.  Matthew Johnson and his team has already defeated Breckenridge, can they beat Princeton too?  Keep an eye on this one.