MANKATO — Records matter, but head-to-head is a powerful tool in determining section seedings.
Mankato West and Mankato East will both have home games in the opening round of the Section 2AAA boys basketball tournament Tuesday, and a key nonconference victory played a large part in the seeding process for each team.
West (16-8) is the No. 2 seed and will host New Ulm (4-21) in the section quarterfinals on Tuesday. The Scarlets, who were 5-1 against section opponents, were seeded ahead of Willmar (18-7) due to a 62-54 victory in the season-opener Nov. 30.
“It’s great to have a home game, and we don’t have to leave Mankato as long as we keep playing, so we’re very pleased,” West coach Tom Boone said. “We’ve got some good things going, and different guys have been stepping up every night so that’s been good. We still have some things to work on, and we need to be more consistent.”
East (10-14) drew the fourth seed and will host Hutchinson (8-15) on Tuesday. The Cougars defeated Hutchinson 62-58 last month.
“We play so much better at home,” East coach Dave Makela said. “I don’t know if it’s home comfort or knowing the gym or not getting on the bus. We’re finally getting some home games lately so we’re happy.”
Marshall (21-4) is the No. 1 seed and will play Dassel-Cokato (4-20) in the quarterfinals, and No. 3 Willmar will host Worthington (8-14).
The section semifinals will be played March 1 at Minnesota State’s Bresnan Arena, with the championship game March 6, also at Bresnan Arena.
In Section 2AA, South Subsection, Waseca (23-2) is the No. 1 seed and will host Kenyon-Wanamingo (0-23) is the quarterfinals Tuesday.
The No. 2 seed went to New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (18-6), who will host Medford (3-20) in the quarterfinals.
Other first-round matchups in the subsection are No. 3 Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (17-8) at home against Maple River (11-14) and No. 4 St. Peter (10-14) hosting Tri-City United (10-10).
The No. 1 seed in the North Subsection is Mayer Lutheran (17-9), who has a bye into the subsection semifinals on Feb. 28.
No. 2 Jordan (12-11) hosts Sibley East (6-17) in the quarterfinals Tuesday, and No. 3 Glencoe-Silver Lake (11-11) is home against Central of Norwood Young America (11-12).
No. 4 Belle Plaine (14-7) hosts Le Sueur-Henderson (12-11).
Defending Section 2A champion Mankato Loyola (22-2) is the No. 1 seed in the South Subsection and gets a quarterfinal game on March 3 at Fitzgerald gym against either No. 8 Alden-Conger (10-13) or No. 9 Mountain Lake Area (9-12).
“You still have to take every game,” Loyola coach Rick Theuninck said. “We feel good about where we’re at, but anything can happen in the playoffs.”
Loyola locked up the No. 1 seed by defeating United South Central 68-45 Tuesday at Wells.
“Before the season, we set some goals,” Theuninck said. “One was to win the Valley Conference, and we did that. Two was get the No. 1 seed, and we did that. We still have a couple more goals we need to get.”
The No. 2 seed is United South Central (17-6), which hosts the winner of a play-in game between No. 7 Martin Luther (7-11) and No. 10 Madelia.
The No. 3 seed is Granada-Huntley-East Chain (10-10), which hosts No. 6 St. Clair (9-12). No. 4 Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (15-8) hosts No. 5 Southwest United (14-5).
In the North Subsection, Minnesota Valley Lutheran (15-7) is the top seed and will host a quarterfinal game March 3 against the winner of a play-in game between No. 9 Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart (6-16) and No. 8 Nicollet (10-11), who play Feb. 27 at Nicollet.
No. 7 Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (8-14) hosts No. 10 Cleveland (9-11) on Feb. 27 with the winner playing at No. 2 Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity (15-9) in the quarterfinals.
No. 6 Springfield (11-11) hosts No. 11 Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (2-18) in a play-in game, with the winner drawing No. 3 Sleepy Eye (15-9) in the quarterfinals.
No. 4 Cedar Mountain/Comfrey (11-8) hosts New Ulm Cathedral (14-8) in the quarterfinals.
Breiter is second
Maple River senior Jonah Breiter finished second in the Gopher Conference scoring at 16.9 points in 14 league games.
Blooming Prairie’s John Rumpza was the scoring leader at 20.0 points.
“Jonah draws a lot of attention, but he can play inside and out,” Maple River coach Chad Ostermann said. “He does a good job of passing out of double teams. He’s a good high-school player.”
For the regular season, Breiter, a 6-2 senior, averaged 17.4 points and 7.2 rebounds, shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 69.6 percent on free throws. He had high games of 33 points against Faribault Bethlehem Academy and 29 against Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial.
Rolling is rolling
Waseca’s junior point guard Mikayla Rolling set a career-high when she scored 37 points in a 77-62 victory over Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton last week. Her previous high was 24 points.
The program single-game record is 39, set by Jo Narveson in 1981.
Rolling was 13 of 22 from the field, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range against JWP.
“It was a combination of steals and defensive transition baskets and five 3-pointers,” Waseca coach Joan Conway said. “We ask her to do a lot, and she plays a lot of minutes. She does what we need her to do.”
Rolling averages 15.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 steals. She set a program record with 93 steals, and she has 84 steals so far this season.