There won’t be two hungrier teams at Hopkins Lindbergh Center on Saturday than the Eagles of Dover-Eyota and the Vikings of Pelican Rapids, who meet in the only all-AA game of the day. Both of these Class AA powers were poised for a great season last February when each saw its season wrecked by a devastating injury.
Dover-Eyota was 11-0 when do-everything guard/center Brandi Blattner went down with an ACL injury. The Eagles remained a tough out thereafter but lost four times, including to Hayfield in a Section 1AA semi-final as they scored a season-low 42 points.
Pelican Rapids was 17-1 when point guard Mackenzie Korf went down, also with an ACL. The Vikings lost six of eight the rest of the way and lost in the first round of post-season play.
You might infer from this that Blattner had more help than Korf, and you would be correct. That is why Dover-Eyota is rated #1AA both by Breakdown Sports and Northstar Girls Hoops (but only #7AA by the AP). The two organizations disagree about Pelican Rapids. The Vikings are rated #3AA by Breakdown Sports, but #12AA by Northstar Girls Hoops.
Blattner was leading the Eagles with 19 points per game when she got hurt. With Blattner out, center Megan Hintz took over, finishing at 20 points per game for the year. But that’s not all. Forwards Madi Cummins and Emily Roseboom scored 12 and 10 points per game, while guard Madi Nelson added 15. All are back for 2014-2015.
For Pelican Rapids, Korf was scoring 27 points per game when she got hurt. Senior wing Lincoln Haiby finished with 12 points per game, and junior forwards Grace Forsgren and Hally Evenson 9 and 6. No one else scored more than three.
Brandi Blattner, Delano vs. Mackenzie Korf, Park Center
It’s doubtful that the two nominal point guards will defend each other. Blattner, 5-11, is too big for Korf, while Korf is too quick for Blattner. But the first question is whether they’re healthy. The player who wins this matchup could simply be the player who is in better game shape.
Why Dover-Eyota Will Win
• Megan Hintz will dominate inside against the Vikings’ 5-8 post.
• Blattner will take her defenders inside as well, posting up for some easy baskets.
Why Pelican Rapids Will Win
• Korf will be in mid-season form, and will match last year’s average with 27-28 points.
• The Vikings will push the pace, win the turnover battle, score some easy baskets that way, and negate the Eagles height advantage.
Dover-Eyota by 10 in a high-scoring affair