Park Center vs. Maple Grove

7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8

Park Center had an eight-game winning streak snapped in a 86-81 loss to Champlin Park Feb. 2, but the Pirates can get back on track this week with Northwest Suburban Conference games against Coon Rapids and Maple Grove. 

Four players average in the double digits for No. 6-4A Park Center (14-4, 9-2), led by North Dakota State commit Jarius Cook (15.2 ppg). Sophomore Dain Dainja is right behind at 14.2 ppg, and at 6-foot-9, the forward could draw plenty of attention from Maple Grove.

The Crimson's Alex Battist is a likely counter to Dainja. Battist, a 6-foot-7 post player, averages 12.2 ppg and, perhaps more importantly, 9.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest.

Defense has been the path to victory for Maple Grove this season. The Crimson (13-5, 7-4) have kept all but two opponents below 70 points.

Incidentally, Park Center was one of the opponents to break that barrier, recording a 76-75 victory on Dec. 19. The Crimson can avenge the defeat and pick up a Northwest Suburban West Division victory if they keep the defensive intensity high and get solid offensive performances from Battist, Jared Rainey (14.7 ppg) or Nate Adams (12.4 ppg).