Minnehaha Academy coach Lance Johnson and the Redhawks visit Caledonia on Friday for a game between the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in Class 2A. Photo by Brian Nelson, SportsEngine
Minnehaha Academy overtook the No. 1 spot in Minnesota Basketball News' Class 2A rankings following a win over No. 6-4A Hopkins in the final round of the Augsburg Holiday Tournament in late December.
While the win over the defending Class 4A champion was cause for celebration, the Redhawks can't rest on their laurels -- especially as they must defend their new ranking on the road Friday against Class 2A's former top-ranked team, Caledonia.
Led by freshman superstar Jalen Suggs, who posted 40 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the win over the Royals, Minnehaha Academy (6-3) has had an up-and-down season. The Redhawks opened the season with an overtime victory over No. 4-3A Orono before dropping three straight games, partially due to an injury to their top post-player, JaVonni Bickham.
Despite that setback, Minnehaha Academy has won five straight and has found new contributors to pick up the rebounding and scoring slack. With Bickham's return potentially coming in time for the trip to Caledonia, the Redhawks are in position to keep rolling.
The No. 2-ranked Warriors suffered their first loss of the season in an 85-71 contest against No. 8-3A Austin on Dec. 28. Freshman Noah King, who leads Caledonia (7-1, 4-0) in scoring with 20.1 points per game, hit seven three-pointers in the loss and is an equally dominant player in the paint, leading the team with 6.7 rebounds per game.
If both teams live up to the expectations of their rankings, this matchup could very well be a potential Class 2A state championship preview.
Add to the mix two of the state's most talented freshman and strong supporting casts, and this game rightfully deserves our selection of Top Game of the Week.
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