The boys’ basketball season reaches full swing on Dec. 5, with 127 games on the schedule, but a handful of eager teams will hit the hardwood early on Thursday, Nov. 30, with 30 games slated to be played.
St. Paul Central’s two-mile trek down Lexington Parkway to face Minnesota commit Daniel Oturu and Cretin-Derham Hall is sure to have one the strongest draws opening day as both schools pull players from the same community.
A week later, defending Class 4A champion, Apple Valley, will host Class 2A champion, Minnehaha Academy, in a matchup that’ll garner national attention on Dec. 7. ESPN networks will broadcast the meeting of two of the state’s top prospects in Eagles senior and Duke commit, Tre Jones, and the Redhawks’ sophomore dynamo, Jalen Suggs, who’s ranked the third overall recruit for the class of 2020, according to ESPN.
That Saturday, the Breakdown Sports Tip Off Classic will be held at the Lindbergh Center at Hopkins High School. The event is widely regarded as the best single day of basketball of the season where Division I coaches and scouts fly in to watch the deep pool of talent annually.
In a rematch of a Class 4A state quarterfinal, Lakeville North visits Wayzata on Dec. 12, seeking to avenge a 69-66 loss to the Trojans who made their first state tournament in program history a season ago.
Six-time defending Class 3A champion, DeLaSalle, will face Eden Prairie on Dec. 26. The Eagles were in top 10 discussion in Class 4A last year after the emergence of a budding youth movement. The Islanders aim to continue their dominance under first-year head coach, Travis Bledsoe.
Last year’s Suburban East co-conference champions, Woodbury and East Ridge, clash in a crosstown rivalry in their first of two meetings this season on Jan. 10.
Hopkins travels to Minneapolis North on Feb. 13 to take on the Polars who, regardless of class, are one of the premiere teams in the state. Minneapolis North won back-to-back Class 1A titles and opted up to Class 2A this season. The Royals have won the past two meetings by a single possession (95-92 in Feb. 2017; 98-96 in Jan. 2016).
Rochester John Marshall, home to one of the country’s top juniors in Matthew Hurt, often rolls through its competition in the Big Nine Conference. But a matchup that’s always highly anticipated is set for the final game of the season on March 2, when the Rockets host Austin, which took second-place in Class 3A a season ago.
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