Knights, Rebels get sections started Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2006

By Nathan Cooper, Tribune sports editor

Sub-Section 2A South

No. 5 Truman at No. 4 Alden Conger

Saturday, March 4, 7:00 p.m.

Alden-Conger overcame a 1-5 start to post its best season in several years. The Knights hope to continue their successful run into its first postseason game against Valley Conference rival Truman. The Bluejays stomped A-C in the teams first meeting in December, 79-59, but the Knights showed their season-long improvement with a 68-61 win over that same team in the conference tournament on Feb. 18.

The teams have nearly identical point differentials, with A-C outscoring its opponents 62.6 to 61.8 while an average night for Truman results around 54 points for each team. The winner will likely face top-seeded Mankato Loyola, but that No. 1 distinction doesn’t guarantee wins &045; especially in this section.

In Section 2A South, the top five teams have records between 12-13 and 16-10 &045; just a 3.5 game difference. Seeded fourth, the Knights aren’t a team anyone will overlook.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but to prove that point, follow this:

Late in the season, Alden-Conger beat second-seeded Granada-Huntley-East Chain.

GHEC toppled third-seeded Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.

JWP split its two-game season series with Gopher Conference foe and top-seeded Mankato

Loyola.

Sounds like a crapshoot.

Section 2A

South Sub-Section games

Thursday, March 2, 7 p.m.

No. 10 Martin Luther (2-22) at No. 7 Springfield (6-15)

No. 9 Nicollet (3-18) at No. 8 Madelia (7-19)

Saturday, March 4, 7 p.m.

Nicollet/Madelia at No. 1 Mankato Loyola (16-10)

No. 5 Truman (11-13) at No. 4 Alden-Conger (12-12)

No. 6 St. Clair (10-15) at No. 3 Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (13-11)

Martin Luther/Springfield at No. 2 Granada-Huntley-East Chain (14-9)

Thursday, March 9 at St. James

Sub-Section semifinals

Monday, March 13 at Gustavus Adolphus

Sub-Section finals

North Sub-Section games

Thursday, March 2, 7 p.m.

No. 10 Buffalo Lake-Hector (2-22) at No. 7 Cedar Mountain/Comfrey (8-16)

No. 9 Holy Trinity (4-20) at No. 8 New Ulm Cathedral (6-17)

Saturday, March 4, 7 p.m.

New Ulm Cathedral/Holy Trinity at No. 1 Sleepy Eye St Mary’s (16-7)

No. 5 McLeod West (11-11) at No. 4 Cleveland (12-9)

No. 6 LeCenter (10-15) at No. 3 Sleepy Eye (12-10)

Buffalo Lake-Hector/Cedar Mountain at No. 2 Lester Prairie (14-10)

Thursday, March 9 at Martin Luther College

Sub-Section semifinals

Monday, March 13 at Gustavus Adolphus

Sub-Section finals

Sub-Section 2AA West

No. 7 United South Central (13-11) at No. 2 Minnesota Valley Lutheran (23-2)

Saturday, March 4, 7:00 p.m.

Most years, a team with a 13-11 record would garner a fourth or fifth seed in any given sub-section.

And usually, a 23-2 team would easily be the favorite. This year, United South Central gets the short end of the stick with a quarterfinals assignment to take on Minnesota Valley Lutheran. It won’t be easy, but if the Rebels put the pieces together an upset isn’t out of the question.

Making a run even harder will be three state ranked teams in Blue Earth (7), MVL (9), and Maple River (10).

To its credit, USC has won five of six game, but some impressive wins have come among disappointing losses this season.

Notable wins have come against NRHEG twice and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown twice.

The Chargers come in scoring 75.8 points per game &045; sixth most in Class AA &045; while allowing only 56.4. The average 19.4 point differential is seventh best among Class AA teams.

Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s losses are both from teams in Section 2AA, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop and Blue Earth Area.

USC was narrowly edged by Blue Earth in December. Overall, seven of the eight teams in the sub-section boast winning records and all of those teams will have a shot. The section appears to be wide open for a Cinderella after Belle Plaine, a seventh-seed a year ago, took the section title in 2005.

West Sub-Section games

Saturday, March 4, 7 p.m.

No. 8 St. Peter (7-13) at No. 1 Blue Earth Area (18-4)

No. 5 at Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (17-7) at No. 4 Fairmont (16-7)

No. 6 LeSueur-Henderson (15-9) at No. 3 Maple River (22-3)

No. 7 United South Central (7-13) at No. 2 Minnesota Valley Lutheran (23-2)

Thursday, March 9 at Mankato State University

Sub-Section semifinals

Monday, March 13 at Mankato State University

Sub-Section finals

Friday, March 17 at Mankato State University

Section championship