Let’s go: Section 3A and 3AA men’s basketball teams are in action today – The Globe

Westbrook-Walnut Grove boys’ veteran basketball coach Derrick Jenniges probably knows as much about the Southwest Minnesota Christian Eagles as any rival. He’s come up against them several times in the regular season and in sectional tournaments, and in more than a few competitions where the stakes were high.

Southwest Christian is the No. 1 seed in this year’s South Section 3A tournament, and that’s nothing new. According to Jenniges, this year’s SWC release is similar to previous releases, which is an analysis that doesn’t sit well with the Eagles’ 2022 rivals.

“It’s kind of like a lot of other Christian teams in the southwest,” Jenniges SWC described this week. “As an opponent you can’t really take time off. It takes a lot of mental effort. You have to be tough.

Southwest Minnesota Christians defensemen Aidan Schaap (21), Cole Walhof, Micah Schaap (25) and Jarett Kuipers defend Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda’s Carter Drent in a 2021-22 season game. The Section 3A men’s basketball teams converge on Worthington today for ‘Super Saturday’.

Tim Middagh / The Globe

Experienced point guard Micah Schaap and 6-6 inside-out shooter-rebounder Carter Van Hulzen lead another SWC deep team. It’s the way the Eagles play so well together, the way they play their relentless defense, Jenniges said, that puts so much pressure on opposing teams.

“You have to go for a full 36 minutes. You not only have to be strong mentally, but also physically,” Jenniges explained.

Sections 3A and 3AA have full lists of games scheduled today (Saturday). South Section 3A will have its “Super Saturday” at Worthington High School, with Southwest Christian (22-4) playing 9th-seeded Red Rock Central at 10 a.m., followed by Murray County Central (4) against Westbrook-Walnut Grove (5) at 11:30 p.m., Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (2) taking on Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda (7) at 1:30 p.m., and No. 3 Tracy-Milroy-Balaton taking on Hills-Beaver Creek (6) at 3 p.m.

Pipestone Area is the top seed in the 3AA South Section and hosts Windom Area (8) at 7 p.m. tonight. In other games in the 7 p.m. first round, Montevideo (5) is at Jackson County Central (4), Luverne (6) is at Fairmont (3), and St. James Area (7) is at Redwood Valley (2).

The start of the Worthington High School Section 2AAA tournament won’t begin until Tuesday, when the eighth-seeded Trojans travel to Mankato to face the top-seeded Mankato East Cougars at 8:01 p.m.

This will be an intriguing Section 3A tournament for a number of reasons, including the fact that two and three seeds Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (19-7) and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (19-8) play outside the Red Rock Conference, where all other section teams reside. “Wild cards”, Jenniges describes knights and panthers.

For example: what can we predict at the start of March considering that Southwest beat RTR 83-72 in their only meeting this season, on December 7? It was three months ago.

On top of that, Jenniges pointed out that the 2021-22 regular season has been odd in at least one important respect: hardly any team has played him at full strength for a streak, due to injury and illness. Which teams now feel most complete?

And how will teams that play most of their games in smaller gymnasiums adapt to playing at Worthington High School today? Jenniges says some of them have never played there.

W-WG went 1-1 against Southwest Christian this season, winning the first meeting 64-61 in mid-January and losing the second 83-43 in mid-February. The No. 5-seeded Chargers also lost to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 59-49.

The TMB is a different kind of challenge, according to Jenniges. “They have a 6-foot-7, 260-pound guy (Anthony Nelson) who can catch and move,” he said. “They have a Division I lineman who plays basketball. What are we going to do with this?

Good point. But above all, there is Southwest Christian, always at the top.

“We are ready to go. Were excited. Everyone is healthy,” Southwest head coach Jamie Pap said this week.

But Pap is careful not to sound too confident.

“It’s a solid subsection. There are a lot of teams that can get away with it in the end,” he summed up.

And then there’s the 3AA South section field, which seems deceptively deep.

Pipestone Area (20-5) well deserves its top-tier status. The Arrows are a veteran-run club that can beat you in a variety of ways.

“I think we have a good mix of big players and I think we have good guards. Basically, we’re playing a game backwards,” head coach Tinklenberg said Wednesday.

The Arrows are serious on defense. “Our goal is to keep teams under 50, and if we do that we think we have a good chance of winning,” Tinklenberg explained.

It’s worked pretty well so far. Teams are averaging 49 points per game against Pipestone.

But all the other teams in the southern half of the section can threaten. Redwood Valley (19-7) split its two games with Pipestone Area in the regular season. Fairmont is 12-11 with a win over Pipestone Area.

Luverne is 10-13 on the year, but that can be deceiving. The Cards turned healthy in the second half of the season and they’ve won seven of their last nine games, including a 53-39 win over PA on Feb. 15 (the Arrows may have been distracted, though, as one of their classmates was involved in a car accident that day). Nonetheless, LHS junior Gannon Ahrendt has been burning the nets lately and the Cardinals remain dangerous.

Jackson County Central is 11-15 with a win over Luverne on Feb. 18.

Also, don’t count the eighth seed Windom Area (10-16). The Eagles – excellent long-range shooters – scored 100 points on Feb. 24 against Springfield and scored 90 or more on two other occasions. Windom’s Henry Erickson, Abe McKibbin and Dylan Serreyn can be great together.

Comments are closed.