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Prep Blog: Friday's Top High School Match-Ups

It's officially state tournament time on the Minnesota high school sports landscape. Champions were crowned last week in the State Dance Competition, and this week, girls hockey takes center stage at Xcel Energy Center.

The top gymnastics programs in the state are also at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion for the team and individual tournaments. On top of the playoff action, conference races across the state are up for grabs with several big games on the prep landscape.

It's a huge weekend in prep sports, and here are some of the top events on the schedule.

State Gymnastics Championships (University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion)

The competition won't get much better than the State Gymnastics Championships this weekend at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. The action starts at 11 a.m. Friday with the Class A team competition and resumes at 6 p.m. with the AA competition. It's our featured event for WCCO-TV's High School Sports Rally.

The individual and all-around competitions are at 11 a.m. Saturday for Class A and 6 p.m. for Class AA.

In the Class AA team competition, it's Roseville's state title to lose. The Raiders are back as the four-time defending state champions, and they return four gymnasts from that team. Roseville won last year's team championship by nearly two full points, a wide margin in gymnastics, with a score of 150.050.

They'll have their fair share of competition as five teams from last year's state field are back. Those include St. Cloud Tech, Lakeville North, East Ridge, Champlin Park and Cambridge-Isanti. The other qualifying teams are Eden Prairie and Owatonna.

In the individual all-around competition, Jessica Strecker of Roseville and Megan Trollen of East Ridge are the two returning medal--winners. They finished fourth and sixth, respectively. Of last year's 30 medal-winners, 12 are back in this year's competition.

In the Class A team competition, Detroit Lakes is back to defend its 2015 title. They appear to be the favorite with 10 gymnasts back from that team. Other returning teams include Melrose, Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka, Becker, Austin and Worthington. The other qualifying teams are Mankato West and Mahtomedi.

In the Class A individual competition, Mady Brinkman of Melrose is back after taking second in the all-around competition. Nine of last year's 30 medal-winners across the events are back.

Boys Basketball: Osseo (25-0) at Maple Grove (22-3)

Osseo already has wrapped up the Northwest Suburban Conference title, but the Orioles have a bigger mission at stake. They can wrap up an undefeated regular season with a win at rival Maple Grove Friday night. The last time the two teams met, the Orioles came away with the 78-75 victory. Osseo is led by Zach Theisen's 13.3 points per game among four players who score in double figures. Maple Grove has won five straight since a loss at Centennia. The Crimson are led by Brad Davison's 20.4 points per game and Tywhon Pickford's 18.3 per contest.

Boys Basketball: Red Wing (23-2) at Rochester John Marshall (22-3)

The Big 9 Conference title is up for grabs Friday night as Rochester John Marshall, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, hosts Red Wing, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A. The Wingers had started the season 21-0, but have lost two of their past four games. The Rockets have won 11 straight since their last loss, which came at Red Wing, 75-65. John Marshall is led by Gophers recruit Michael Hurt, who scores about 20 points per game. His younger brother, Matthew, scores 19 points per game. The Wingers are led by Travis Toivonen's 18.3 points per game.

Girls Basketball: Eastview (20-3) at Shakopee (22-1)

The top match-up across the Twin Cities metro Friday night features No. 2-ranked Shakopee hosts No. 3-ranked Eastview. The Sabers, who have won five straight since a loss to Hopkins, can all but wrap up the South Suburban Conference title with a victory. When the two teams met back on Jan. 19, Shakopee came away with a 73-65 victory. The Sabers are led by Taylor Koenen's 20.5 points per game. Eastview will be a hungry group, coming off just its third loss of the season, to Lakeville South. The Lightning are led by Rachel Ranke's 16.6 points per game.

Tune into WCCO-TV's High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and David McCoy will have all the action covered.

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