This matchup will be a battle of contrasting styles and two teams looking to shake up the established Class 1A hierarchy going into the second half of the season.
Mayer Lutheran opened the season on a five-game winning streak, but the No. 6-1A Crusaders (7-2, 1-0) stumbled twice in the TCO Holiday Classic, losing to Minnehaha Academy 82-69 on Dec. 21 and falling to St. Paul Johnson 63-59 on Dec. 23.
Junior Baden Noennig (16.9 ppg) is leading the Crusaders in scoring this season, while last year's scoring leader Kobey Woolhouse (13.3 ppg) is continuing to contribute and gives Mayer Lutheran scoring options when its offense gets bogged down.
Despite solid offensive numbers, the Crusaders' wins have depended on containing other teams. It doesn't stifle teams like some defenses, but Mayer Lutheran is able to control the pace of the game and keep potent offenses from getting in a rhythm.
Cass Lake-Bena has been rolling from the opening tip of its first game. The Panthers (12-0, 4-0) have won by single digits only twice and have been sprinting out to huge leads that pave the way for lopsided results.
Seniors Noah DeLapaz (20 ppg) Arnold Kingbird (15.5 ppg) lead No. 4-1A Cass Lake-Bena's offense, while sophomore Jarell Jacobs (13.5 ppg) has also played well. If these three can get the Panthers offense rolling, Mayer Lutheran could have a hard time keeping Cass Lake-Bena out of the win column.