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Posted On: 12/6/18 5:37 PM
The beauty of high school basketball in Minnesota is that you can catch a good game on any night of the week (save Sunday). So, where are the big games tonight? Thursday night preview breaks it down.
The Big Nine Showdown
The senior season of Matthew Hurt begins tonight and every trip out of his home and to the gym Matthew will have the eyes of Minnesota on him. Can Hurt get this inexperienced team to state? Who will Matthew play with in college? How can he match last year’s amazing all around statistics? Can JM win another Big Nine title? Questions are everywhere from everyone, but the reasons those question come is interest. The primary thing fans want to do is watch Matthew play and once the interest is there (which it is in a big way) the questions come.
Last year Mankato East defeated JM early in the season before JM matched East with a victory of their own. East lost several players to graduation but they still have a strong junior group led by Jax Madson and Joich Gong. East has a few more players to lean on but Matthew is as efficient as he is productive which gives JM the upper hand. Both teams will have a lot of new bodies on the floor so this game between leading Big Nine contenders is the game of the night.
And the fun thing about Hurt? Seeing what college coach will show up in the stands for the game. Matthew put up 34 points, 15 boards, four blocks, and 3.5 assists game as a junior shooting 62 percent from the floor and 40 percent at the arc despite constant attention. So if the college coaches aren’t present the game will still be a ton of fun.
Metro Game of the Night
Chaska and Prior Lake, another excellent match-up between Class AAAA teams that will sit in or around the top ten all year. Prior Lake is big, real big. Dawson Garcia stands 6-foot-10 and is a top 30 player in the nation while teammate Robert Jones is a nationally ranked top 300 center headed to Denver. Add in Sam Nissen and they are tough to deal with. That said, Cole Nicholson is headed to Northern Colorado and junior Zach Lea will found a great spot too.
Both teams are coming off losses that they want to recover from. Chaska lost earlier in the week to Eastview in overtime as the Lightning size hurt the Hawks. Prior Lake got behind Park Center last Saturday but fought back within a score. Another loss to a top team would frustrate them in a big way. Who overcomes the early season loss and who picks up a second? Big game at Chaska.
Around the State
The St. Cloud Area has two key games: rivalry game of Tech vs Apollo as well as Albany versus New London-Spicer. Tech surprised many when they knocked off a more experienced team in Alexandria to start the year. Apollo? They took on DeLaSalle in the first game of the season and it was rough (lost by 35). Now they have something to prove.
As far as NLS and Albany go, it’s a game that the Wildcats should win, but it won’t be easy. Jordan Schiffler, Nolan Rueter, and Isaac Nett lead the Huskies against St. Cloud State bound Brandon Adelman, a top 25 level talent in Minnesota’s senior class.
The top game up north? Hawley versus Detroit Lakes. Jayden Carlisle and Noah Glad are an elite northern Minnesota 1-2 punch that has beaten good teams before, and may do it again. Detroit Lakes won 16 a year ago led by Jacob Bettcher.
Down south our eyes will be on NRHEG versus Hayfield. Six-foot-4 Brady Agrimson and 6-foot-5 Jacob Schuller saw their team lose to St. Peter in the opener so the goal is to avoid 0-2 this evening. Hayfield had a rough 2017-18 season (five wins) but the potential is there for a good 2018-19 year. Mason Tapp is a 6-foot-6 guard (and a senior) while Luke Dudycha is a 6-foot-8 sophomore, and the two of them scored double figures last year each game a year ago. Now expectations are high and a big start would be beating NRHEG.