The worst of the biting cold behind us, it's time to peek out from under the afghan and see what we should be watching as the winter sports season barrels ahead.
News spread quickly last week that Minnehaha Academy 7-footer Chet Holmgren was prepared to announce his college choice very soon. The week came and went and still no announcement. So, when can we expect a decision from the Slim Reaper? Lots of speculation — Gonzaga seems to be the front-runner — but the only one who truly knows is Holmgren himself and he's staying mum.
Can Mounds View stay perfect in basketball?
Just like 2019-20, the Mounds View boys' basketball team has won its first 11 games. The Mustangs didn't close quite as strongly as they started last year, losing eight of their last 17 games and finishing 20-8. Can they extend their unbeaten streak with games at Cretin-Derham Hall and Forest Lake this week? Don't undersell them. Mounds View isn't star-heavy, but the Mustangs take care of the ball and have shown they can win tight games, with six of their 11 victories by six or fewer points.
A half-dozen donuts
Six Class 4A girls' basketball teams have yet to lose a game: Hopkins, Farmington, Chaska, Stillwater, Elk River and Rochester Mayo. How long can that continue? Based solely on schedule, Elk River, Farmington, Mayo and Stillwater will be clear favorites through the remainder of the regular season. Hopkins, its winning streak now up to 72, has the toughest road to perfection. The Royals still must play fellow-undefeated Chaska and face Becker, the class of Class 3A and riding a 34-game winning streak itself, twice in its final three games.
How good IS Gentry Academy hockey?
The hockey programs at Gentry Academy, a Vadnais Heights private school with an eye fixed on hockey and in only its third season as a member of the MSHSL, have been phenomenal. The boys are 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, behind Hermantown. The Stars are defeating opponents by an average score of 9-1. The girls have been pretty darn good themselves, posting an 8-2 record, both losses by a single goal.
THE WEEK AHEAD
• DeLaSalle at Columbia Heights, 7 p.m. A rematch of a game played Jan. 29, won by Columbia Heights 68-63.
• Hopkins at Minnehaha Academy, 7 p.m.
• Chaska at Wayzata, 7 p.m. A pair of future Gophers face each other: Chaska junior forward Mallory Heyer and Wayzata junior guard Mara Braun.
• Maple Grove at Centennial, 7 p.m. The two highest-scoring teams in Class 2A. Maple Grove won the first game 9-3.
• Stillwater vs. Cretin-Derham Hall, at Highland, 3 p.m. Cretin-Derham Hall looks to avenge its only loss of the season.
• Warroad vs. Hill-Murray, at Aldrich Arena, 7:30 p.m. The defensive-minded Pioneers, No. 3 in Class 2A, host the high-flying Warriors, No. 2 in 1A.
• Chisago Lakes at Mound Westonka, 7 p.m.