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Roseville GBB proving coach wrong
After amassing 50 victories over the past two seasons, the Roseville Area High School girls basketball team appeared poised for a drop-off this year. The Raiders featured a senior-heavy roster last year and among the departed graduates were three players who are on Division I or II college teams this year.
With that kind of turnover and talent loss, head coach Jeff Crosby was a bit more guarded in his expectations for his team this season.
“Nothing against the kids we have but being realistic, I thought if we could get through December 5-5 we’d be in good shape,” Crosby said.
Roseville did a little bit better than that. The Raiders closed out December with a 57-43 victory over Andover in the championship game of the Roseville Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament on Dec. 30. The victory gave Roseville a 9-1 record.
“It’s a credit to the kids,” said Crosby. “I was being realistic but it’s nice when the kids prove me wrong.”
Roseville also got January off to a good start with a 49-14 win over Hastings. It was Roseville’s first road game of the season.
Leading the way this season are junior Monica Burich and senior Maria Ascher. Burich leads the team in scoring at 17 points per game while Ascher sits at 12.6.
Burich has scored 20 or more in a game five times this season with her single-game high being 25 points. She reached that total against St. Francis on Dec. 5 and Burnsville on Dec. 27.
Ascher averaged just shy of 20 points per game through the first four games of the season but has attracted much more defensive attention since that hot start. Her single-game high-water mark this season is 27 points, which she got against Wayzata on Dec. 10.
While Burich and Ascher have contributed as expected, Crosby has seen a number of other players step up into new roles. Roseville’s next three on the scoring leaderboard are senior Anita McCoy, sophomore Sara Hain and junior Kaitlin Nelson.
McCoy’s scoring average is 9.8 points per game.
“She has an unorthodox style,” Crosby said. “She makes plays only Anita can make all the time - in games, in practice. She gets to the line a lot and rebounds like crazy.”
Hain is averaging 7.7 points per game and Nelson, who missed the first couple of weeks of the season due to an injury, is scoring 5.6 points per game.
Crosby also singled out the LaBore-Curtis sisters, Gabby and Izzy, for their hustle. Gabby is a starter, as was Izzy before she suffered a broken nose at the hands, or more accurately the elbow, of her sister. During a drill in practice, Gabby got an elbow up and caught Izzy in the face. Izzy was scheduled for surgery this week and could be out for up to a month after that.
“She doesn’t want to have surgery,” Crosby said. “But (her nose) is as crooked as can be. She’s like, “I’ll do it when the season’s over” but (her parents) are ‘No, you have to do it now.’”
The one blemish on Roseville’s record is a one-point loss to Park-Cottage Grove Dec. 20.
“We didn’t play very well and they’re a great team,” Crosby said. “We always have battles. Usually the battle is we battle with them and win by a couple at home. Then we go on the road and lose by a couple. Somewhere along the line we have to steal one back.”
Roseville rebounded from the loss by winning the holiday tournament. The Raiders beat Burnsville, Cambridge-Isanti and Andover to claim the tournament title for the second consecutive season.
The Andover game closed out Roseville’s 10-game homestand to open the season. Crosby said he didn’t set out to have the schedule that way but it just happened.
“It just kind of all fell that way,” Crosby said.
With the schedule mostly set, Crosby got a call from North St. Paul, which had a scheduling snafu and needed to switch to the site of the game to Roseville. Apple Valley also contacted Crosby looking for a road game. The Moorhead game was a return engagement after the Raiders visited the Spuds last season and then the conference schedule worked out so that Roseville’s first two games were at home.
The victory over Hastings gave the team a taste of what it’s like to play away from home and also gave Roseville a boost heading into a tough week. The Raiders venture back out on the road on Tuesday to take on East Ridge before hosting Forest Lake on Friday.
East Ridge (4-2) was a sub-.500 team last season but has impressed many so far this season. The Raptors beat intra-city rival Woodbury last Friday and also owns victories over South St. Paul, Henry Sibley and Apple Valley. They also took Park-Cottage Grove to overtime before losing by two.
“That shows where East Ridge is at,” said Crosby. “I’m guessing they’re saying, ‘We should’ve beaten Park.’”
Forest Lake is tied for first place in the Suburban East with Park and White Bear Lake. The Rangers have beaten Hastings, East Ridge and Stillwater in conference play and also took down Park-Cottage Grove in a non-conference game in a holiday tournament.
With all that said, Crosby sees White Bear Lake (11-0) as the team to beat thus far. Following a string of four straight seasons with at least 23 victories each year, the Bears stumbled to a 14-14 record last season but have rebounded nicely.
“The conference favorite until you beat them is White Bear,” said Crosby. “They were down a little bit last year but they don’t stay down for long.”
Roseville hosts White Bear Lake on Jan. 24.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.
Suburban East Conference girls basketball standings
|White Bear Lake||3-0||11-0||-|
2013 Roseville Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament