Updated: 02/25/2014 4:10 PM
Created: 02/25/2014 1:43 PM KSTP.com
By: Northstar Girls Hoops Report
The Crookston High School basketball team lost two post players prior to this season, one to transfer and the other to injury, and two other starters have missed parts of this season with knee troubles.
As a result, the Pirates, 21-6 a year ago, are now 8-15, and 5-foot-11-inch junior Sydney Boike has had to shoulder more of the scoring burden than expected.
She has responded with 23 points per game on 45 percent field goal shooting (35.5 percent from three-point range) and by hitting 85 percent of her free throws.
Last week Sydney scored 89 points in 3 games, including a school record 38 in a loss to No. 8A Win-E-Mac.
Coach Lon Boike said, "We have used Sydney as a post player and then as a guard. Sydney has taken it upon herself at times to score when we have had some of our other scorers out of games. She has had five games in the 30s this year and generally is in the mid- to low-20s per game [with] 10 rebounds per game. She has seen box-and-ones and triple teams at times as well."
"This has made Sydney a more well rounded player," coach Boike added. "She is a tough matchup at 5'11" and able to play post and quick enough to play guard, drive and shoot the three. Sydney is like a coach on the court and displays very good leadership."
Asked about the upcoming postseason, coach Boike said, "We are hoping to get healthy down the stretch and make a long run in the section tourney. There are many good teams in Section 8AA and we have played all of them very well. Our section is really up for grabs and whomever is playing well and has momentum will probably win it."
Like Crookston, Eden Prairie High School lost its post - and its top returning scorer - to transfer before the start of the basketball season. Yet, the Eagles have improved from 15-12 a year ago to 15-7 now. There are probably many reasons for this, but chief among them has to be 5-foot-10-inch junior forward Martha Kuderer's progress as a scorer and all-around player.
"She's doing a great job of playing very efficiently," coach Chris Carr said. Kuderer is scoring 16.5 points per game while taking just eight field goal attempts. Her strengths, Carr said, include shooting the three - where she's shooting 43 percent and making two per game - and drawing fouls. Kuderer gets to the free throw line six times per game and makes 85 percent of them, or about five per game.
Last week Kuderer scored 31 points in a 73-61 win over Wayzata, and 22 in a 49-47 loss to No. 3AAAA Minnetonka. The Eagles have gone 2-5 after a 13-2 start, but those fives losses were by one, two, three, four and six points, respectively, and three of those five losses were against Top Ten-rated teams.
Northstar Hoops Report is a regular contributor to KSTP.com. You can find more coverage of Minnesota Prep Boys Basketball on www.northstarhoopsreport.com.