The South Suburban Conference owns the two No. 1-ranked Class 4A basketball teams — Eastview in girls and Apple Valley in boys — in the state. They also happen to be located in the same city.
Both are off to impressive starts on the young season.
Eastview, the defending state champion, opened its season with two victories in the Hamline Shootout. It defeated No. 4 White Bear Lake 56-42 behind 27 points from senior guard Madison Guebert in the season opener.
The Lightning followed that up with a 78-32 thumping of Bloomington Kennedy. It is playing without the services of senior forward Hana Metoxen, its third-leading scorer a year ago, who is recovering from a knee injury (ACL).
Apple Valley’s boys’ team, which has taken on a different look without Tyus Jones, who now plays for Duke, won its first three games. Freshman Tre Jones, Tyus’ younger brother, is now running the point.
The Eagles opened with three consecutive victories. The most recent was a 106-81 drubbing at No. 5 Minnetonka. Sophomore guard Gary Trent Jr. scored a career-best 42 points in the victory.
The Eagles won their first two games by 17 points over Chaska and 36 points over Chanhassen. They were state champions in 2013.
Close race ahead?
The race for the South Suburban Conference girls’ hockey title this year could look like 2012-13.
Two years ago, Eagan and Lake-ville North shared the crown with conference records of 13-3-1. Lake-ville South finished third, one-half game back, at 13-4-0.
Lakeville South (4-1) is the highest-ranked team. It’s No. 6 in the Class 2A poll, according to Let’s Play Hockey. Lakeville North (3-2-1) checks in at No. 11. Eagan (4-1-1) isn’t ranked.
“I see a few things different between the teams,” Panthers coach Buck Kochevar said. “South has depth, we have good defense, and Eagan has grit.
“This is great for girls’ hockey, and it’s going to come down to the wire. Who’s healthy? Who’s on fire? You gotta love it.”
• Shakopee junior Steffon Mitchell gave an early indication of what to expect from him during the boys’ basketball season.
The 6-7 forward scored 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Sabres’ 92-56 season-opening victory over Woodbury in a nonconference matchup.
Teammate Booker Coplin, a junior guard, also had a double-double (14 points and 13 assists).
• Senior forward Ryan Foley had two goals and two assists during a four-goal second period for Rosemount in a 5-3 victory over Hastings in a nonconference boys’ hockey matchup.