Apple Valley boys’ basketball coach Zach Goring thought his depth would pay off this season. His seniors haven’t let him down.
Goring doesn’t have a senior in his starting lineup, but his top three players off the bench all graduate this year. They are Steven Christiansen, Austin Korba and Riley Parham.
“We’ve talked to those three a lot this year,” Goring said. “They have accepted their roles. They also realize they would be starting at most other schools.”
The trio provides an average of 13 points per game off the bench. They all have been in double figures this season.
The No.-2 ranked Eagles (27-2) have four starters averaging double figures. They are sophomore guard Gary Trent Jr. (21.5 points per game), junior center Brock Bertram (13.6), junior guard Jordan Bolton (12.6) and junior forward Cameron Kirksey (10.5).
The Eagles (27-2) topped Cretin-Derham Hall 74-50 in the Class 4A, Section 3 final, avenging last year’s setback, to earn another berth in the state tournament. They will face St. Michael-Albertville (24-5) in the quarterfinals Wednesday at Target Center.
The Lakeville North boys’ hockey squad became the 13th large school or single-class team and 17th overall to go undefeated and untied while winning the state tournament. The Panthers (31-0) defeated Duluth East 4-1 in the Class 2A final Saturday before 19,495 fans at Xcel Energy Center.
The Panthers became the first large school to accomplish the feat since Bloomington Jefferson in 1992-93. They were the state tournament runner-up a year ago.
Lakeville North had five players selected to the 12-member all-tournament team. They were senior defensemen Jack McNeely and Jack Sadek, senior forwards (and twins) Jack Poehling and Nick Poehling and junior goaltender Ryan Edquist.
• New Prague junior Alex Gregor had a hat trick and an assist in a 5-2 victory over New Ulm in the consolation bracket of the Class 1A boys’ hockey state tournament. He finished the season with 34 goals and 26 assists.
• Freshman center Marie Olson scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, leading Apple Valley’s girls’ basketball team to a 71-51 victory over Park of Cottage Grove in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A, Section 3 tournament. The 6-3 Olson averaged 10.7 points per game during the regular season.