pulled out a big win Tuesday in a 55-54 victory over No. 10 Champlin Park as Terez Vanpelt's
tip-in at the buzzer won the game and continued another strong season for the 22-2 Orioles, who are ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A. Vanpelt scored 18 points to lead the Orioles and the win helped head coach Tm Theisen's team go 2.5 games up on Champlin Park in the Northwest Suburban Conference race. Champlin is now 14-3, with Blaine 13-4 and 3.5 games back.
Osseo has been a metro power for a number of years, recently led by current Gonzaga big man Sam Dower, among others. This year, the Orioles have a strong inside-outside game and have been able to turn it up on defense when needed - such as they did Tuesday against Champlin, when a key 5-second call late in the game resulted in a turnover for Osseo and set up the final tip-in by Vanpelt.
Vanpelt, a 6-foot senior guard with excellent jumping ability, averages 15.9 points per game, second on the team behind Joey Sonnenfeld's
17.3 points per game. Vanpelt also averages 6.4 assists per game and also more than five rebounds per game. Sonnenfeld, a 6-foot-4 forward, leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game. DJ Hebert
averages 8.5 points per game, but is another one of those players who does a little bit of everything to help good teams win. He leads the team with 34 steals and also contributes almost three rebounds and two assists per game. Ian Theisen
is a 6-foot-8 freshman who provides an intimidating presence in the middle. He averages 8.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and has a team-leading 25 blocks. Bridge Tusler
, Michael Brush
and Will Johnson
have also contributed in what has been an outstanding season for the Orioles. The only losses for the team this year have been to Conference foe Blaine (61-53 on Dec. 21) and to top-ranked Hopkins (86-68 on Jan .22). The Orioles haven't lost in February and while concentrating on a conference title, are starting to focus on preparing for a section title and run at the state tournament. WINONA BOYS EMERGE IN 3A
The Class 3A rankings are top-heavy with traditional Twin Cities powers, led by top-ranked Johnson (St. Paul)
, Benilde-St. Margaret's (St. Louis Park)
and DeLaSalle (Minneapolis)
in the top three. There are three outstate teams in the rankings, with Winona
the highest ranked team at No. 4, behind a 15-4 record. Other outstate teams in the 3A rankings include Apollo (St. Cloud)
(16-4) at No. 5 and Bemidji
(18-3) at No. 9.
Winona kept pace in the Big Nine Conference Tuesday with a 69-44 win over Rochester Century and remains tied with Owatonna in the Conference standings, where both teams are 14-2.
The Winhawks are led by Mark Blacklock
, a 6-foot-6 senior who has signed with Division II Winona State. Blacklock made 10 of 15 field goals and both free throws on his way to a game-high 22 points in the win over Century Tuesday. Lance Jensen
added 11 points and Hunter Gamoke
added eight in the win. SOUTH SUBURBAN SHOWDOWN LOOMSEastview (Apple Valley)
, Lakeville South
are all tied for first place in the South Suburban Conference, with a key matchup Friday between Eastview and Lakeville South. Eastview is ranked No. 9 in the latest Metro rankings, while Eagan is No. 8 and South unranked. But rankings don't matter when these big school rivals play each other and another classic should be on tap Friday at Eastview. Eastview won handily the first time, 59-43, led by four players in double figures. Frank Veldman
scored 18 points in that win, followed by Joey King
(14), Chris Narum
(11) and Ben Oberfeld
(10). King leads Eastview in scoring with 17.5 points per game, while Veldman averages 11.3 and Shane McSparron 10.4.
South meanwhile, is led by Alex Richter
and his 22.3 points per game. Richter was held to 16 points in the loss to Eastview earlier this season. Jon Christensen
averages 13.2 points and Riley West
11.1 for South.
Game time is 7 p.m. for this South Suburban showdown.HOW ABOUT HOPKINS?
How are things going for the state's premiere program - the Hopkins (Minnetonka)
Royals? Ranked No. 1 in the state, and No. 19 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 boys basketball rankings presented by the Army National Guard
, the Royals are 22-1 on the season after Tuesday's 87-57 blowout win over Wayzata. Joe Coleman
, a University of Minnesota recruit signed by Tubby Smith, leads the team in scoring at 21.8 points per game. Marvin Singleton
, who has signed with Northern Iowa, averages 17.3 points per game. Siyani Chambers
adds 11.5 points per game and Zach Stahl 11.3.
The Royals, however, are not home free when it comes to the conference title race. A 75-71 loss to Eden Prairie on Feb. 1 has Hopkins tied for first in the six-team Lake Conference heading into the home stretch. Hopkins avenged that loss with a 73-60 win over Eden Prairie on Feb. 18 and if both teams win out, there will be a two-way tie. However, as a longtime state power, section and state titles are what the Royals focus on, and what will drive this team heading into March.