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Prep Blog: High School Basketball Highlights Weekend Match-Ups

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The middle of January is a great time of year for the winter high school sports season.

You're in the meat and potatoes of the conference season around the state, which means there are great games on a nightly basis. Success in the conference is what sets teams up for playoff success, a run to the state tournament and perhaps even a state championship in March.

It's a great time to see good teams face each other inside when it's bitterly cold outside. Here are some of this weekend's top match-ups, with a focus on prep basketball and hockey.

Friday Boys Basketball: Cretin-Derham Hall (11-3) at Roseville (11-3)

There's a log jam at the top of the Suburban East Conference, and there should be a little more clarity after Roseville hosts Cretin-Derham Friday night. The two are tied at the top of the league at 6-1 with East Ridge, and it's our featured game for WCCO-TV's High School Sports Rally.

Cretin has won seven of its past eight games and got its most impressive victory so far on Tuesday, winning on the road at East Ridge 65-60 to hand the Raptors their first conference loss. Cretin plays an up-tempo game and scores in bunches to the tune of nearly 75 points per game. They are led by Division I recruits Sam Neumann and Joe Rosga, who each score about 20 points per game.

Roseville, ranked No. 8 in Class 4A, enters the game having won four of its last five, with its most recent loss to East Ridge. They just put up 105 points on Tuesday in a win at Woodbury. Roseville averages about 75 points per game as well, and they're led by Kobe Critchley's 18.4 points per game. Mitch Poss and Jesper Horsted also add 15 points per game each.

Roseville's best chance to win will be by defending Cretin-Derham Hall from the perimeter. Cretin is shooting 51 percent from the field on the season, including nearly 39 percent from three-point range.

Friday Boys Basketball: Holy Angels (6-7) at DeLaSalle (9-2)

There's a big boys basketball game Friday night in Minneapolis as DeLaSalle, the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAA, hosts Holy Angels in Tri-Metro Conference action. The Islanders have a one game lead over the Stars in the league. Holy Angels has a chance to give DeLaSalle just its second loss against a Minnesota team this year. The Islanders' only loss to a Minnesota team is to Apple Valley, which is a favorite to win the Class 4A state title.

Holy Angels is athletic, but only averages about 53 points per game. The Stars, who just had a four-game win streak snapped, are led by Charlie Nicklay's 15.9 points per game.

DeLaSalla, which is averaging about 66 points per game, is led by Sacar Anim's 26.9 points per game. Gophers signee Jarvis Johnson adds more than 16 points per game. The Islanders have won eight straight games, including a non-conference win over Eden Prairie this week.

Friday Boys Basketball: East Ridge (13-2) at Stillwater (8-6)

They have a great rivalry in football, and now it spills onto the basketball court Friday night as Stillwater hosts East Ridge in Suburban East Conference action. The Raptors are a top-10 team in Class 4A and are coming off a loss to Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday.  That snapped a 12-game win streak. They're led by Sid Tomes's 24.5 points per game. The Ponies got off to a rough 1-5 start, but have won seven of their last eight games. They're led by Connor Gamble's 22 points per game.

Friday Girls Basketball: Robbinsdale Armstrong (4-7) at Elk River (8-1)

The Elk River girls basketball team is on a roll, and it hopes to stay hot Friday night as the No. 8-ranked Elks host Robbinsdale Armstrong in Northwest Suburban Conference action. Elk River enters the game having won eight straight since a season-opening loss to Rochester John Marshall. The Elks score about 66 points per game, and Abi Scheid (17.4) and Gabi Haack (15.8) combine to score half of those. Armstrong, which has lost five of its last six games, will be looking to pull the upset. The Falcons score about 47 points per game and are led by Lyrik Williams' 20.7 points per game.

Saturday Boys Hockey: Hill-Murray (10-5) at St. Thomas Academy (13-1)

Saturday is Hockey Day Minnesota, and there isn't a much better way to celebrate it than by putting two of the best teams in the Twin Cities against each other outside. It's also a match-up of the top two teams in the Metro East Conference as Hill-Murray and St. Thomas Academy meet at Holman Field in St. Paul. The Cadets, ranked No. 4 in Class AA, lost their first game of the season this week. They're led by Peter Tufto's 36 points, including a team-best 17 goals. Hill-Murray, ranked NO. 3 in Class AA, had a three-game win streak snapped in a loss at Edina last weekend. The Pioneers are led by Zach Mills' 29 points. He's tied for the team lead in goals at 14 with Marko Reifenberger.

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

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