It wasn’t long before tipoff on Feb. 8 that Shakopee coach Jake Dammann learned that Cade McGraw, one of the Sabers' scoring leaders and the team's floor general, had a stress fracture in one of his feet and wouldn’t be able to play that night against Lakeville North.
The Sabers, ranked No. 6 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News from March 3, recovered well enough that night to win 67-63 in overtime. But the team has found it tough to win in the South Suburban Conference as McGraw continues to heal, as Shakopee (12-4) has lost four its past seven games.
McGraw, a 5-11 junior who was averaging 11.1 points per game before his injury, will likely miss the rematch with Lakeville North as well. Dammann said McGraw is out of his walking boot and hopes to be ready to play in the Class 4A, Section 2 tournament.
The absence of McGraw has allowed increased playing time for freshman Issac Snell (6.6 ppg), who is already one of the Sabers' better offensive players but he's still developing skills on the defensive end.
But Dammann's Sabers are not dependent on any one particular player. Eight players have led Shakopee in scoring in their 16 games this season and six players average seven points or more a game.
Nick Katona, a 6-6 junior who produces a team-best 11.7 points per game, has been the team's leading scorer six times. Mick Wherley, a 6-6 senior who averages 10 points, has led the Sabers in scoring three times.
In No. 7-4A Lakeville North, Shakopee faces a team that's disciplined and defensive-minded — much like the Sabers are.
Lakeville North (12-4), which lost to Rosemount 65-56 four days after the defeat to Shakopee, has won its last seven games, including a 52-46 triumph over No. 3-4A Eastview on Feb. 26.