Tori Oehrlein of Crosby-Ironton grabs a rebound and quickly dribbles downcourt. Oehrlein uses a hesitation dribble in the front court, the opposition relaxes and she blows by for an uncontested layup.
Maddyn Greenway of Providence Academy jumps a passing lane for a steal, transitioning fast from defense to offense. Greenway now has plenty of options: drive to the basket, dish to an open teammate or hit a pull-up three-pointer.
Those are moments in the basketball lives of two freshman guards, high school phenoms who head Minnesota's girls Class of 2026. Each is scoring about 30 points per game, leading to 10 Division I offers apiece, the Gophers among them.
Either could become the youngest player in state history to surpass 2,000 career points. They are separated by only four points in career scoring — Oehrlein has 1,830 points in 67 games, Greenway 1,826 points in 75 games.
Rebekah Dahlman of Braham is Minnesota's career scoring leader. Her mark of 5,060 points set in 2013 appears to be in double jeopardy.
The race is on, except …
"We don't look at each other as rivals," Greenway said. "We want to see each other succeed."
Similar and different
North Tartan AAU director Bill Larson coached Greenway and Oehrlein when they were first becoming acquainted. Before they started eighth grade, they were members of a Minnesota three-on-three team that won a national tournament in Knoxville, Tenn.
Larson said he found himself just enjoying the show at times.
"The two of them are incredible," Larson said. "They are two kids with a great basketball IQ."
The two don't play exactly the same game, driven in part by their height difference. Oehrlein stands 5-11, Greenway 5-8.
But there are similarities, the biggest of which is this: They want their teams to win. Greenway is succeeding most on that count. Providence Academy is the Class 2A defending champion and finished second in 2021. The Lions are 16-2 this season and only once have scored fewer than 70 points. Greenway's scoring average is 29.9 points per game.
"Maybe the best quality about Maddyn is that her competitiveness isn't at the expense of her teammates," Providence Academy coach Conner Goetz said. "She brings others along with her. She's encouraging and makes others around her better."
Crosby-Ironton has made only one state tournament appearance in program history, in 2004. The Rangers are 11-7 this season and have been held below 60 points eight times. Oehrlein is averaging 30.4 points per game.
"We are starting to build our program now," Oehrlein said. "We have to keep pushing each other to get better. I really want our program to get where Providence Academy is and be able to enjoy wins."
Greenway definitely has liked that part.
"Hanging a championship banner up in your school is a fun way to celebrate with your teammates," she said.
Cool under pressure
Crosby-Ironton coach Pete Vukelich knew he had something special in Oehrlein when she was a seventh-grader. She received her initial Division I offer that season, from North Dakota.
"I was really excited to get that offer," Oehrlein said. "I have to keep working hard because I never want that offer to go away. I don't want them to think they made a bad decision."
In her first varsity game, Oehrlein had 18 points, 23 rebounds and nine assists in a 67-63 overtime victory over Detroit Lakes.
"Not to be cliché, but the first time I knew Tori had the 'it factor' was her very first career varsity game," Vukelich said. "She had ice in her veins at an early age."
Two weeks ago, Greenway was just as cool in an 87-80 victory over Class 4A defending champion Hopkins. She scored 41 points and had eight assists, seven steals and six rebounds. She went 16-for-16 from the free-throw line, tied for the ninth-best performance in state history. Dahlman holds that record, too, having made all 19 of her free throws in a 75-68 victory over Park Center on Dec. 1, 2012.
Greenway is the daughter of former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. Goetz cited a different famous pro in discussing her.
"You hear and read stories about Michael Jordan being competitive and wanting to win at everything, whether it was a card game or on the court. Maddyn is quite literally the exact same," Goetz said. "This is something that has been in her since I started coaching her in seventh grade."
Some athletes don't like talking about themselves. These are two of them.
They'll talk about each other.
"I wish I had Maddyn's speed," Oehrlein said. "I'm not the fastest player. I think it would be awesome to have speed like her."
Greenway envies Oehrlein's 14.8 rebounds per game.
"She reads shots so well and can go get offensive rebounds," Greenway said. "She has great tenacity on the boards."
Greenway and Oehrlein are highly sought-after for their basketball talent, but they are both three-sport athletes. Greenway plays soccer in the fall and competes in track and field in spring; Oehrlein's other sports are tennis in the fall and softball in the spring.
"They help with my quickness and staying on my toes," said Oehrlein, a shortstop in softball. "They also help me with my strength. Plus, you can always learn things from other people."
Greenway said her other sports improve her quickness, and track also brings the brain into play.
"Track is an individual sport and helps you with mental preparation," Greenway said. "The only person you can blame is yourself."
Oehrlein found yet another sport when she was trying to rebound from an ankle injury before the basketball season began. She swims now, for recovery and for strength.
"I try to get in the pool every morning following a game," she said. "It really helps me build up my cardio, too."
That kind of thinking separates Greenway and Oehrlein from others, their coaches said.
Vukelich: "Tori has a work ethic like I have never seen before. I have coached three different sports in the past 10 years, and she blows every athlete I've coached out of the water."
Goetz said: "Maddyn is as dedicated to her speed, strength and recovery regimen as she is to her basketball training. She's got a different level of maturity than most kids because of her ability to focus on the little things that make her 1 percent better."
The points pace
Rebekah Dahlman of Braham holds the state scoring record of 5,065 points, achieved in 188 games. She crossed 1,000 points in her 61st game and 2,000 points in her 97th game. A look at the two ninth-graders making a run at her:
Maddyn Greenway, Providence Academy
Seventh grade: 504 points in 24 games, 21.0 ppg
Eighth grade: 783 points in 33 games, 23.7 ppg
Ninth grade: 539 in 18 games, 29.9 ppg
1,000th point: 46th game
Tori Oehrlein, Crosby-Ironton
Seventh grade: 456 points in 21 games, 21.7 ppg
Eighth grade: 826 points in 28 games, 29.5 ppg
Ninth grade: 548 in 18 games, 30.4 ppg
1,000th point: 40th game