AV boys clinch conference basketball championship

Jones puts up 34 in victory over Eagan

It’s seemed clear for a couple of weeks that Apple Valley would win the South Suburban Conference boys basketball championship, but the Eagles’ 82-64 victory over Eagan on Tuesday night made it official.

Apple Valley remained undefeated in conference play at 17-0 and holds a two-game lead over Lakeville North with one regular-season game remaining. The conference title is the school’s fifth in a row.

The Eagles (23-2 overall) led Eagan by two points at halftime before pulling away. Junior guard Tre Jones had 34 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to lead Apple Valley. Luke Martens, also a junior, added 21 points. The two were a combined 23-for-40 from the field.

Darby Sorensen had 22 points and Jaylen James 16 for Eagan, which is 4-13 in the conference and 7-18 overall.

Apple Valley, which has won 17 consecutive games, closes the regular season at home against Burnsville at 7 p.m. Friday. The Eagles will be the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A, Section 3 playoffs that begin Wednesday, March 7.

The rest of the Section 3 teams are battling for position in the seedings. Eastview (12-13) gave itself a chance for the No. 2 seed by coming from behind to beat Rosemount 65-60 on Tuesday. Eastview won both regular-season games against Rosemount (13-12). Burnsville (10-15) could be in line for the fourth seed and a possible first-round game against Eagan.

Lakeville North, meanwhile, appears to be a lock for the top seed in Class 4A, Section 1, which they have won the last five years. The Panthers (23-2), whose only two losses are to Apple Valley, will be one of three 20-win teams in that section; the others are Rochester John Marshall and New Prague, both 22-3. Lakeville South, 13-12 overall but third in the South Suburban at 11-6, could be a dangerous team in Section 1.