Coach Seth Anderson's Waseca squad has been playing in some very rare air this season.
The No. 2-3A Bluejays have surprised perhaps even themselves by winning their first 18 games. And now, the team whose schedule usually is filled with visits from and trips to farmland schools in south-central and southeast Minnesota, finds itself playing in the heart of the state's biggest city.
Waseca and No. 2-2A Minneapolis North have never played each other. When the Waseca athletic director floated the idea of playing at North last fall, Anderson jumped.
"I immediately thought it was an awesome idea," Anderson said. "Everyone knows how good of a team North has this year and in past years. I thought it would be a great experience for our team."
It could end up being a pretty good experience for the Polars as well. Waseca (18-0, 5-0) brings its perfect record and a talented and athletic roster, and provides yet another strong opponent in North's rugged out-of-conference schedule.
"I think both teams have great athletes who can get up and down the floor and score," Anderson said. "But I think you will find both teams being stubborn on defense as well when the competitiveness sets in."
Waseca has a balanced lineup, with Ryan Dufault, Malik Willingham, Andrew Morgan and Kyreese Willingham providing plenty of scoring options. Dufault, Kyreese Willingham and Morgan, a 6-8 center who Anderson said has really developed into a great post presence, are sophomores with more learning and experience ahead of them.
Although it has a 79-74 win over No. 10-2A Caledonia, North has fallen to heavyweight opponents such as No. 1-4A Hopkins (84-66 on Jan. 25) and No. 1-3A DeLaSalle (66-57 on Jan. 8), and still has matchups with No. 8-4A Eden Prairie and No. 1-2A Minnehaha Academy on its schedule.
No matter what happens in this game, Anderson is eager to watch his team continue to play out its dreamlike season.
"I don't think any of us thought we would still be undefeated at this point in the year," Anderson said. "Win or lose, this will be a great game for our team to play."