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Raiders draw second seed in GBB playoffs
With only a few weeks left in the winter high school sports season, the girls basketball squad is the lone Roseville Area High School team still in action. The Raiders begin their quest for a state-tournament berth this week.
Roseville ended up as the No. 2 seed in Section 4AAAA and hosts seventh-seeded Mahtomedi on Wednesday at 7 p.m. It is a very top-heavy section as three teams have reached the 20-win plateau this season.
The Raiders (20-6) picked up victory No. 20 on Friday with a 56-42 upset of fourth-ranked White Bear Lake (23-3). The win avenged an earlier loss to the Bears and prevented them from winning the Suburban East Conference title outright. White Bear ended up sharing the conference crown with Park-Cottage Grove.
Roseville head coach Jeff Crosby said the victory over White Bear Lake came at a good time.
“Friday’s win at White Bear Lake was fantastic for our kids’ competitive spirit,” said Crosby. “They played very well and worked their tails off. This is a great win for confidence as we head into section play.”
Roseville finished in a two-way tie for fourth place with Cretin-Derham Hall. Forest Lake, the only team to sweep Roseville during the regular season, ended up third in the SEC.
Another key victory for the Raiders this season came at a cost. Roseville beat Park-Cottage Grove 61-59 on Jan. 31 but lost senior point guard Maria Ascher for the season to a broken foot. Crosby felt Ascher was playing at an all-state level this season and that assertion was backed up by the invitation she received to play in the coaches association all-star game.
Reaching the 20-win mark shows the level of the players’ dedication, Crosby said.
“The 20-6 record is a credit to the girls working their tails off year-round as an athlete and basketball player,” Crosby said. “The team chemistry has continued to build stronger as everyone’s role kept changing with kids being out.”
Junior Monica Burich continues to lead the team with a scoring average of 15.9 points per game. Ascher was averaging 13.8 before she got hurt. Sara Hain and Anita McCoy average right around eight points per contest.
The Mahtomedi team that visits Roseville on Wednesday has a respectable record at 17-9 but didn’t get much respect from the section coaches. When the voting was completed, the Zephyrs wound up seeded below three teams with worse records.
A possible third match-up of the season with White Bear Lake could come to fruition in the section playoffs. The Bears are the top seed and host eighth-seeded North St. Paul on Wednesday and would play either fifth-seeded Stillwater or fourth-seeded Tartan in the semifinals. Tartan is a team that came on strong after the beginning of the year as seven of the Titans’ 11 losses happened prior to New Year’s Day. Tartan is led by Tia Elbert, the state’s leading scorer at 37.3 points per game.
To get to the championship game, Roseville will need to take care of Mahtomedi and probably have to deal with third-seeded St. Paul Central (21-5) in the semifinals. Central, which plays sixth-seeded Woodbury (6-20) in the first round, enters the post-season riding a nine-game winning streak, the longest current streak in the section.
The Beacons ended up with the second seed in the Section 4AA girls basketball playoffs, which begin Thursday. As one of the top three seeds, Concordia earns a first-round bye and plays its post-season opener on Saturday.
Concordia enters the post-season with a record of 21-5. One of those losses came against St. Croix Lutheran, which is the top seed in the section.
The Beacons closed out the regular season last Friday with a 52-46 victory over DeLaSalle in the last round of the Tri-Metro Conference tournament. The win gave Concordia a third-place finish in the event. Concordia opened the tournament with a 52-33 win over Visitation before losing 48-42 in overtime to St. Anthony Village in the semifinals.
The loss to St. Anthony was the only defeat the Beacons suffered over their last 12 games.
Concordia’s opponent on Saturday will be either seventh-seeded St. Paul Humboldt or 10th-seeded Mounds Park Academy. The Beacons beat both of those teams last month.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.