On paper, Wednesday’s game between Park Center and Robbinsdale Armstrong looked like just another matchup between Northwest Suburban Conference foes. But for these rivals, it was anything but routine.
Revenge was on the minds of the Pirates, who started the season rolling, with nine consecutive victories (including over Class 4A contenders Prior Lake, Eden Prairie and Edina) before being stunned with their only loss of the season — a six-point defeat to the Falcons when the teams met in early January for the first of their two regular-season contests.
Robbinsdale Armstrong has the honor of being the only team to defeat Park Center this season, recording a six-point victory when the teams met in early January for the first of their two regular-season contests.
The Falcons tried to repeat the feat Wednesday night while hosting their Northwest Suburban Conference West Division rival, but the Pirates weren’t having it and used a outstanding defensive effort to record a 55-46 victory.
The low-scoring affair was the second time Park Center held an opponent to a season-low 46 points, matching the output No. 8-4A Eden Prairie had in a 49-46 loss the Pirates on Dec. 8.
When not on defense, Park Center turned to junior forward Dain Dainja, especially early. The standout big man led the Pirates in the first half with 10 points and finished the game with 14.
It was a group effort on offense in the second half for Park Center (19-1, 8-1), the No. 3 team in the Class 4A rankings released by Minnesota Basketball News on Feb. 13, as junior guard Joshua Brown picked up the scoring slack, hitting two key three-pointers to end the night with 11 points.
Robbinsdale Armstrong (13-8, 7-5) kept pace with the Pirates for nearly the entire game, thanks to the play of junior wing Adam Biewen, who tallied 10 points in the first half before going scoreless in the second. Junior guard Jake Breitbach was the big contributor, posting a team-high 11 points.
The victory was the Pirates’ 10th in a row, a streak started after a 62-56 loss to the Falcons on Jan. 8.
The MN Basketball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.