Notebook: All-star weekend for hoops, hockey
Thirteen local players in Great 8 festival
Eastview standout Joey King and Lakeville North seniors Tyler Flack and Ryan Saarela will be among 40 players participating in the Minnesota High School Basketball Series this weekend in St. Cloud and St. Paul.
The event, in its 30th year, is a four-team, two-day tournament featuring the state’s top high school seniors. King and Saarela will play for the Maroon team, while Flack will play for the Green squad.
Action begins Friday at Halenbeck Hall on the St. Cloud State University campus, with the Blue and Gold teams playing at 7 p.m., and the Maroon and Green teams playing at 8:45 p.m. The all-star series moves to Macalester College on Saturday, with the losers of Friday’s games playing at 2:15 p.m. and the winners tipping off at 4 p.m.
King, a 6-foot-9 forward who has signed with Drake University, averaged 23.9 points this season and helped the Lightning finish 28-2. Eastview tied for the South Suburban Conference championship and won the Class 4A, Section 3 title.
Flack and Saarela led Lakeville North to a 30-2 record and second place in the Class 4A tournament, the highest finish ever for a Lakeville boys team at state. Flack, a 6-7 forward, missed the Panthers’ first 10 games of the 2011-12 season because of a broken wrist but averaged 13.4 points a game after his return. He had 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in North’s 49-47 loss to Osseo in the Class 4A championship game March 24 at the Target Center.
Flack has signed with the University of South Dakota, becoming the first Lakeville player to join a Division I men’s college program.
Saarela, a 6-5 forward, averaged 12.1 points for the Panthers this season. In three state tournament games, he averaged 10.7 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Great 8 hockey
Thirteen boys from Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville North and Lakeville South will compete in the Ted Brill Great 8 Hockey Festival beginning Friday at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul.
Defenseman Charlie Heller and forwards Alex Harvey and Mike Chuinard of state Class AA third-place finisher Lakeville South will play for the Section 1A-1AA squad in the eight-team tournament, which showcases many of the state’s top senior players.
Heller had 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) this season. Harvey, playing on the Cougars’ top line with Mr. Hockey award winner Justin Kloos, had 79 points on 36 goals and 43 assists. Chuinard had 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points.
Also playing for the Section 1A-1AA team are Lakeville North senior forwards Blake Winiecki (25 goals, 32 assists, 57 points) and Evan Peterson (28-23–51).
Burnsville defenseman Jake Maxson and forwards Cory Chapman and Hunter Anderson will play for the Section 2A-2AA team. Maxson had seven goals and eight assists for 15 points for a Blaze squad that was runner-up in Section 2AA. Chapman, one of the top forwards in the South Suburban Conference, had 57 points on 26 goals and 31 assists. Anderson had 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points.
Twin brothers Derick and Nick Kuchera will represent Eagan on the Section 3A-3AA team. Derick Kuchera, a defenseman, had 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) for a Wildcats team that won the South Suburban Conference championship and finished sixth in the state tournament. Nick Kuchera played forward and scored 55 points on 17 goals and 39 assists.
Apple Valley forward Tate Erickson (9-17–26) and defensemen Anthony Leong (6-9–15) and Derek Smith (5-19–24) also will play for the Section 3A-3AA team. Apple Valley High School assistant coach Chris Sikich will be one of the coaches of the 3A-3AA team.
The Section 1A-1AA team will play a quarterfinal game against Section 5A-5AA at 6 p.m. Friday. The Section 2A-2AA and 3A-3AA teams will meet at 9 p.m. Consolation semifinal games are 12:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday, with semifinal games at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Games Sunday are at noon (seventh place), 12:30 p.m. (third place), 2:30 (fifth place) and 3 (championship).
Top players from the Great 8 tournament will be named to a team that will compete in the Minnesota High School National Invitational Tournament the weekend of April 19-22 in Plymouth.
Unusually warm weather in March figures to give the Minnesota high school baseball season a chance to start on time. One of the earliest regular-season games scheduled is Park of Cottage Grove at Rosemount at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. Two South Suburban Conference games are scheduled the next day, with Eastview playing at Apple Valley and Eagan traveling to Lakeville South.
Track and field teams also are starting to move outside. Burnsville will go to a meet at Farmington High School at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Burnsville and Prior Lake also are scheduled to compete in a co-ed meet at Apple Valley at 3:45 p.m. April 5.