No change in the boys rankings with Battle Lake standing tall at No. 1.
On the girls side, Hawley reenters the rankings at No. 5 and Verndale jumps up a spot with Barnesville falling out.
1. Battle Lake (18-0)
This week: Host Henning Friday, At Concordia College (Moorhead) vs Pelican Rapids Saturday
Battle Lake beat a 10-6 C-G-B team 94-59, Brandon-Evansville 67-25 and Underwood 83-46. It’s almost getting too easy for the Battlers.
The Battlers are one of two remaining undefeated teams in the state and their 40.5 average points against is the best in Minnesota.
It’s a big week for the Battlers with 12-7 Henning and Class 2A Pelican Rapids (14-4).
2. Perham (14-5)
This week: Host Hawley Friday
Perham blew a big lead over Fergus Falls, but it’s hard to fault the Class 2A Yellowjackets for losing to the Class 3A Otters by three. Perham answered with a 51-36 win over Breckenridge and a 63-49 over Class 3A Detroit Lakes (12-6).
3. Barnesville (13-3)
This week: At Breckenridge Thursday, host Rothsay Friday, at Frazee Saturday
Two points is what separates Barnesville from Perham, as the Yellowjackets won 66-64 in overtime in the only meeting. The Feb. 20 rematch could have the HOL conference on the line.
Barnesville has won 10 in row, seven without its leading scorer Michael Strand. Strand is back and helped lead the Trojans over Hawley in overtime.
4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (15-1)
This week: At Hancock Friday
The Warriors are 15-1 overall and 10-1 in their section. It looks like Section 6A South will come down to W-H-N and Battle Lake.
Wheaton has not been to state since 1921 and will have to overcome a 71-32 loss to Battle Lake earlier in the season to get there.
5. Fertile-Beltrami (15-3)
This week: At Waubun Friday, at Grand Forks Showcase Saturday
Fertile-Beltrami is 10-2 in section play and winners of five straight, including a 73-62 win over Ada-Borup (11-6) Monday in which five Falcons scored in double digits, including Charlie Duckstad’s double-double.
Two of the three losses are to Northern Freeze, which sits atop Section 8A West, 70-59 and Red Lake, which sits atop Section 8A East, 61-55. No escaping those two come postseason.
1. Fergus Falls (16-0)
This week: Host Rocori Thursday, host Thief River Falls Saturday
Outside of a 62-51 win over Alexandria, no team has come within 20 points of Fergus Falls this season. Add Staples-Motley (77-48) and St. Cloud Apollo (75-20) as the latest to fall to the Otters.
Biggest challenge for the Otters comes Saturday against Thief River Falls (17-1). It will be No. 1 vs. No. 7 in Class 3A.
2. Ada-Borup (15-0)
This week: Host Hillsboro-Central Valley (N.D.) Thursday, host Mahnomen Friday
Ada-Borup is rolling behind Monica Vega, Haley Gehrtz and Haley Poehler. The Cougars are beating teams on average by more than 34 points, they are deep and they play defense.
The Cougars have 12-2 Hillsboro-Central Valley and 2-14 Mahnomen next.
3. Pelican Rapids (15-1)
This week: At Perham Tuesday, host Frazee Friday
Mackenzie Korf and Lincoln Haiby are all over the place for the Vikings. Korf had 19 points and 10 assists and Haiby had 14 points and eight rebounds in a 54-41 win over Perham.
Korf then had 26 points, 12 assists and six steals in a 79-59 win over Frazee and Haiby added 11 rebounds.
4. Verndale (15-2)
This week: Host West Central Area Thursday, at Henning Friday
Verndale is 7-2 in section play and the Pirates two losses are by a combined nine points.
The Pirates have never been to state and will need to get by Borwerville if they want a chance to. Tough week with 10-4 West Central Area and 10-7 Henning on the schedule.
5. Hawley (11-6)
This week: Host Menahga Tuesday, host Ashby Thursday
Hawley returns to the rankings after knocking off Barnesville 53-44. The Nuggets have won five straight and are 9-2 in section play.
Four of Hawley’s six losses are to teams ranked in the AP top 10. The Class 2A Nuggets lost to Thief River Falls (No. 7 in Class 3A) 53-46, Ada-Borup (No. 3 in Class 1A) 53-43, Pelican Rapids (No. 6 in Class 2A) 59-37 and Fergus Falls (No. 1 in Class 3A) 68-27.
Outside of those four loss, the Nuggets lost to Barnesvlle 50-46 in the second game of the season and to Class 3A Detroit Lakes 51-24.
Knocking on the door
Detroit Lakes (12-4) – The Lakers have won eight in a row. Problem is they are 2-4 in section and are looking up at 15-1 Albany, 12-3 Alexandria, 17-1 Thief River Falls and 16-0 Fergus Falls in Section 8AAA.