District hardwood showdown looms

A year ago, the North and Tartan boys basketball teams split their two regular-season meetings and shared the Metro East Conference championship. The district foes renew their rivalry this week and again are in the thick of the conference race.

Tartan hosts game one this season on Friday, Jan. 27. The two teams also square off on Feb. 21 at North.

Last season, North won by two points on its home court and the Titans returned the favor by beating the Polars by six at Tartan. The two teams then met for one final time in the section championship, with North claiming victory and a trip to the state tournament.

Through Jan. 19, North was one of two teams without a loss in Metro East Conference play. The other was Mahtomedi.

North improved to 4-0 in the MEC by beating Hastings 71-44 on Jan. 17. Neither team could get much going offensively in the first half as the Polars led 26-16 at the break. The second half proved to be more conducive to offense, especially for North, which scored 45 points and won going away.

North junior Goodnews Kpegeol led all scorers with 23 points and at one point in the first half scored seven in a row. Gary Dixon added 16 and Bryce Phillips finished with 10.

Prior to tangling with Tartan, North visited Hill-Murray on Jan. 24, a game played after the deadline for this edition of the Review.

Tartan, which also hosted Hastings last week, opened the season with 10 straight wins before falling to Mahtomedi on Jan. 13. The Titans bounced back with wins over Hill-Murray and Minneapolis Southwest.

Senior Jordan Horn continues to lead Tartan in scoring at 17.4 points per game and is joined in double figures by three teammates. They are Jordan Thompson (12.8), Noah Whalen (12.2) and Joevon Walker (11.2).

Also on the schedule this week for Tartan was a trip to St. Thomas Academy on Jan. 24.

 

Hill-Murray

Victories haven’t been easy to come by for the Pioneers but points sure seem to be for Hill-Murray senior Simeon Davis. He continues to lead the Metro East Conference in scoring by a fairly hefty margin.

Davis is averaging 30.9 points per game and sits behind only Rochester John Marshall’s Matthew Hurt for the state scoring lead. Davis averages eight points more per game than the second-leading Metro East Conference scorer, Parker Fox of Mahtomedi.

Davis has reached the 40-point mark twice this season. The first came in the season opener as he put up 46 in Hill-Murray’s victory over Cannon Falls. The second time was Jan. 13 against South St. Paul as he scored 41 in the Pioneers’ 83-76 win.

Davis has three other games in which he has topped 30 points and has failed to score at least 20 points only once.

Hill-Murray was and will be at home for a pair of conference match-ups this week. North came calling Jan. 24, and the Pioneers then host Henry Sibley on Jan. 27.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

Metro East Conference boys basketball standings (Through Jan. 19)

School • Conf. • Overall • Games behind

Mahtomedi • 5-0 • 12-1 • -

North • 4-0 • 9-3 • 1/2

Tartan • 4-1 • 12-1 • 1

St. Thomas Academy • 3-1 • 10-2 • 1 1/2

Hastings • 2-2 • 5-6 • 2 1/2

Hill-Murray • 1-3 • 2-10 • 3 1/2

Simley • 1-4 • 5-7 • 4

South St. Paul • 0-4 • 1-11 • 4 1/2

Henry Sibley • 0-5 • 1-12 • 5

 

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