Here We Go … The First Edition Of Mix Picks

Well I officially closed the books on the 2013 North Dakota preps sports season before I left to celebrate Thanksgiving. I return from the holiday with a new installment that I hope catches fire on the blog: It will be a weekly post usually on Mondays titled “Mix Picks” … It will be a weekly preview of a collection of North Dakota high school sporting events during the 2013-14 winter season. Odds are you will see me reporting live at many of these events.

So without delay here are the Mix Picks for this week “December 2-8”

1. GIRLS HOCKEY: Moorhead at Fargo South-Davies (7:30 p.m. tonight at Scheels Arena)

This early season border-battle matchup should be a good one. Both teams qualified for their respective state tournaments a year ago. The Bruins (1-1) are coming off a 6-1 loss to Bismarck and the Spuds have started the year 1-3. South-Davies will be without two key players from last year’s squad in Kara Tupa and Alex Woken. Tupa departed to play junior hockey and Woken transferred to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn.

2. BOYS HOCKEY: Fargo North at Fargo Davies (7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Scheels Arena)

The Eagles and Spartans are two state tournament teams from a year ago, but have started the 2013-14 season differently. The Eagles are 3-0 and will be looking to keep its undefeated record intact while the Spartans will be in search of their first win after starting the season 0-3-1. Last season the season series was split 1-1.

3. BOYS BASKETBALL: Milnor at North Sargent (7:30 p.m. Thursday in Gwinner, N.D.)

Players from Milnor and North Sargent teamed up for a berth into the North Dakota Class 1A football championship game last month, but the co-op gets busted up when the District 1 boys basketball season gets going. This matchup should be interesting in that it will be the first game Milnor plays after winning the school’s first ever Class B state championship back in March. The core of the state title team is back. Senior post player Wyatt Mund and senior point guard Briton Bussman are Milnor’s go-to combo. That combo worked well down the stretch last season, but the question everyone wants to know is there an encore?

Milnor senior guard Briton Bussman helped the Bison win a North Dakota Class B boys basketball state championship last season. Kevin Cederstrom / Special to The Forum

4. BOYS BASKETBALL: Hawley at Fargo Oak Grove (7:30 p.m. Thursday at Gorder Gymnasium)

The Grovers start the 2013-14 season off with a game against the Nuggets of Hawley. Hawley loses a very talented senior class, but brings back plenty of athletes including junior forward Ben Ellefson. The Nuggets and Grovers always feature offensively explosive rosters. This matchup will be the season opener for Oak Grove, which was the Region 1 runner up last season. Hawley currently stands at 0-1 and will play Breckenridge prior to the meeting with Oak Grove.

5. BOYS HOCKEY: Fargo South-Shanley at Fargo North (7:30 p.m. Friday at the Coliseum)

A crosstown hockey rivalry that features two East Region teams looking to climb up in the standings. The Spartans and Bruins split the season series last season.

6. BOYS BASKETBALL: Fargo Oak Grove at Maple Valley (7:30 p.m. Friday in Tower City, N.D.)

District 2 basketball starts up with a matchup between the Grovers and Raiders. Both teams will be looking for players to step up into starting roles as both the Grovers and Raiders lost talent from last year’s squads.

7. BOYS & GIRLS BASKETBALL DOUBLEHEADER: Bismarck St. Mary’s at Fargo Shanley (girls begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday at McCormick Gymnasium, boys start at 4 p.m.)

The Class A boys and girls basketball seasons will start out with a bang when St. Mary’s invades McCormick Gymnasium. … The Shanley girls team returns plenty of talent and will be one of the top teams in the EDC. The boys matchup should provide plenty of intrigue after last year’s meeting between the Saints and Deacons in the state quarterfinals was a barn burner.