#1 vs. #1 and more at the 4th Annual Hall of Fame Winter Classic Saturday January 13

#1AAAA-rated Minnetonka (10-0 as if today, Tuesday) and #1AAA DeLaSalle (8-2 as of today) headline the 4th annual Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame Winter Classic at Anoka-Ramsey Community College this Saturday January 13. Two more girls games and 3 more boys games are also on tap. (We’ll preview the boys in a separate post.) The girls lineup:

Spring Lake Park (5-5) vs. White Bear Lake (9-4, 6-0 in the Suburban East, #11AAAA) Varsity 11 a.m. JV 9:30 a.m.

Mahtomedi (6-4) vs. St. Peter (9-1, #7AAA) Varsity 12:45 p.m. JV 11 a.m.

Minnetonka vs. DeLaSalle Varsity 2:30 JV 12:45

The Minnetonka Skippers are firmly ensconced atop the statewide ratings right now, but face a couple of danger games before Saturday rolls around–those being #5 Wayzata and #2 and also undefeated St. Michael-Albertville on Friday. They’re led by a trio of guards:

• 6-1 junior Aaliyah Crump, rated #1 in her class statewide, and unstoppable when she attacks the rim. Scoring 27.5 ppg.

• 6-1 senior Tori McKinney, rated #4 in her class and headed to the University of Minnesota. She’s a bit more defensively oriented but also scores 14 ppg.

• 5-9 sophomore Lanelle Wright, whose game is expanding by the week. Always a reliable ball-handler and playmaker, now she’s also scoring 15 ppg as well.

• They’re surrounded by a cadre of role players, so if it’s defense you want, or rebounding, or scoring, or ball-handling, coach Brian Cosgriff has got those tools at hand. As a result, well, you already know that ‘Tonka is 10-0 (today) but did you know that their closest game was a 20-pointer, 56-36 vs. Centennial?

Well, this one figures to be closer. DeLaSalle started out 1-2 with losses to Minnehaha and Hopkins, and rated as low as #6 in one poll. But they’ve now won 8 straight by an average of 72-50. They’re led by 5-7 junior point guard Aneisha Scott, small but tough, and averaging 14 ppg-4 rebounds-5 assists-3 steals. You know the type. Does it all. And she’s amply supported by Jordyn Johnson, a 6-2 junior, strong and persistent in the paint, and averaging 15 ppg and 10 boards.

As a generalization, a #1AAAA is almost always going to be favored over a #1AAA and this is no exception. But I don’t see this being more than 7 or 8 point game. Let’s say Tonka 72 DeLaSalle 65.

Our other 2 games suggest the difficulties of scheduling games like these more than a year out in this era of the transfer portal, though this is nothing compared to the boys (separate post). But Spring Lake Park lost 6-0 senior forward Mikayla Thomas, top 20 rated in her class, during the off-season, apparently due to burn-out and/or the simple notion that she had played enough basketball and wanted to get on with other parts of her life. Meanwhile, 8th grade guard Mya Wilson (13 ppg last year) transfered from Mahtomedi to Hill-Murray. So a little luster came off these games.

But, hey, White Bear Lake is 6-0 in the conference and 9-4 and rated #11 overall, with losses to powers Minnetonka, Lakeville North and Eden Prairie. Along with venerable coach Jeremy Post, the Bears are led by 6-0 senior forward Jordyn Schmittdiel, who scores 18 ppg and provides toughness by the bushel basket full. And, it will be needed against Spring Lake Park. They’re just 5-5 but can put 3 6-footers out there–6-0 senior post Bella Sutch (17 ppg), 6-0 senior forward Olivia Kesti (10 ppg) and 6-0 sophomore guard Brooke Goerish (5 ppg and lots of upside). I’m not suggesting an upset but rather a grinder that should stay with single digits most of the way, like maybe White Bear 58 Spring Lake Park 50.

Finally, Mahtomedi’s inredibly young team takes on the rising Saints of St. Peter. St. Pete as been on the rise thanks mostly to 5-9 senior guard Rhyan Holmgren who is now scoring 19 ppg. Now she’s got a sidekick, or more, in coach’s daughter Annika Southworth, a 5-6 junior, who is scoring 21. They’re small but oh, so wise. This game also represents the very rare opportunity to see a girls basketball coach (in this case St. Peter’s Bob Southworth) who is also a banker. You can be very sure that he knows how to value his assets. The Zephyrs, meanwhile, may be starting 3 sophomores and 2 juniors. There’s not a senior on the roster. 10th-grader Anna Greene leads the way with 16 ppg. Though St. Pete is 9-1 and rated #7 while Mahtomedi is 6-4 and unranked, this looks a lot like a tossup, but I guess I’ll stay with the faves: St. Pete 63 Mahtomedi 61.

Here are 5+ girls to watch for on Saturday.

C–Jordyn Johnson, DeLaSalle

PF–Jordyn Schmittdiel, White Bear Lake

SF–Tori McKinney, Minnetonka

PG–Aneisha Scott, DeLaSalle

SG–Aaliyah Crump, Minnetonka

6th–Bella Sutch, Spring Lake Park; and/or Rhyan Holmgren, St. Peter