An inexperienced Totino-Grace team featuring a potent scorer will go up against Northwest Suburban Conference foe Spring Lake Park, which experienced success early this season before its schedule got tougher, on Friday in our Top Game of the Week.
The challenge for Spring Lake Park will be stopping Totino-Grace's Eric Krieger, the Eagles’ top scorer. After averaging 7.6 points per game as a junior last year, Krieger, a 6-foot guard, has scored more than 20 points in all but one game this season, when he had nine points in a 65-44 loss to Robbinsdale Armstrong on Dec. 18.
Totino-Grace (5-2, 0-1) has won its three games since that loss to Armstrong, including a 64-59 victory on Dec. 22 over Breck, which is ranked No. 4 in Class 2A by Minnesota Basketball News from Dec. 26.
Sophomores Devin Burger (14.3 ppg) and DJ Akpati (10.5 ppg) are the Eagles’ Nos. 2 and 3 scoring leaders. Senior Riley Burger (10.2 ppg) rounds out the lineup, giving Totino-Grace four players with double-digit scoring averages.
Despite the offensive production, the Eagles have outscored their opponents by just one point (457-456) through their first seven games this season, and even with the emergence of Krieger, they're still a relatively inexperienced team.
Spring Lake Park (6-2, 1-1), with a junior-dominated roster, opened the season with five consecutive victories but has lost two of its last three games as its competition has gotten tougher.
The Panthers enter the week having yet to beat a team with a winning record. They sandwiched a 70-61 victory over Farmington on Dec. 27 between losses to Maple Grove (5-2) and Tartan (7-1), and face an uphill climb this week with conference games against Irondale (5-3, 0-1) on Tuesday and Totino-Grace on Friday.