The basketball races in the Minneapolis City and St. Paul City conferences are heating up. Minneapolis South, Minneapolis North, St. Paul Central and St. Paul Como are chasing City Conference championships in basketball.
As of press time, South and Como Park are currently leading their conferences in girls’ basketball while North and Central are trying to repeat as champions in boys’ competition.
At Central, sophomores Ronnel Porter and Daveonte Davis and seniors Re’Twan Balenger and Shawn Blanchard have given life to a team that had it rough in nonconference play and now sports a 4-0 conference record.
Davis, a slasher with shifty moves, currently leads the Minutemen in scoring at 13.8 points per game. Porter has been steady and fearless as the point guard, chipping in eight points per contest. Balenger, the team’s clutch performer, averages 13 points, and the dependable Blanchard contributes 10 per game.
Western Illinois signee Isaac Johnson’s 22.7 points per game leads Class 1A No.1-ranked North, who sport an 8-0 conference record. Johnson, who dominates play with his outside shooting, has help from junior forward Odell Wilson, senior guard JaQuan Sanders-Smith, and junior backcourt mate Tayler Johnson.
Wilson’s dominance and inside presence has him averaging 16.8 points for the Polars. Sanders-Smith’s experience at point guard has enabled him to add 12.7 per contest, while Tayler Johnson chips in at a 10.1 average.
The last time South won a city conference girls’ title they were led by current WNBA star Tayler Hill, who led the Tigers to a state championship that season.
Eight years later, sisters Morgan Hill and Jade Hill currently lead South, who are in control of the conference with an 8-0 record.
Morgan Hill’s clutch play and willingness to get to the basket has contributed to her team-leading 25.8 points per game. Jade Hill’s 11.8 average is attributed to her point guard skills and quickness, and Solana Cushing adds 11.2 with her timely scoring.
Como Park has moved right along after losing current St. John’s University Andrayah Adams. Junior guards Makayla Van Nett, Autumn Tucker and Raylene Adams, and sophomore forward Elaina Jones have led the Cougars to a 6-0 conference record.
Van Nett, an outstanding outside shooter, averages 18.8 for the Cougars. Jones adds 11.9 per contest in addition to her timely rebounding. Tucker and Adams — the team’s quickest and top defensive players — chip in 11.6 and 7.8 respectively.
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.