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Tip Off Classic preview: Pine Island vs. Park

By Breakdown Staff, 11/26/12, 1:15PM CST


10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 1 at Hopkins' Lindbergh Center


The first game of this year’s Breakdown Tip-Off Classic features two teams with legitimate state tournament aspirations.

Last season, Park of Cottage Grove came up one game short, and will look to get past rival Eastview to get to the Target Center in late March. The Wolf Pack are led by the dynamic guard duo of Larissa Lurken and Sydney Lamberty, the two leading scorers in the program in each of the past three seasons.

Pine Island lost a heart-breaker last season at the Mayo Civic Center in the section tournament; a loss which will undoubtedly fuel the Panthers throughout this season. They should have the advantage at the post position with a pair of 6-foot-2 bigs in Sam Heeren and Niki Fokken.

Key Matchup

Alison Newton vs. Larissa Lurken
These two guards will do the majority of the ball handling for their teams and match up nicely as far as size and athleticism. If Newton’s quickness can take Lurken out of the game from a scoring standpoint, it will go a long ways toward Pine Island winning this game.


Why Pine Island will win:

  • The Panthers will control the tempo and the final will be in the low 40s.
  • On offense, they will pound the ball inside to take advantage of their height advantage and win the “points in the paint” battle.

Why Park of Cottage Grove will win:

  • Pine Island will have no answer on the perimeter for the combination of Larissa Lurken and Sydney Lamberty.
  • The Wolf Pack will keep it more of a full-court game, which plays into the hands of their superior guard play.

Our Prediction: Park of Cottage Grove


2012 Girls' Tip Off schedule

Tip Off Classic previews