Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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With four-point games littering the schedule, the Big Nine Conference standings are a bit of a mess. But it doesn't take a calculator to know that when Rochester John Marshall and Red Wing face off, it's going to matter. On Thursday, the Rockets and the Wingers met at Prairie Island Arena, both holding out hope of catching Owatonna for the top spot in the league. But after a 2-2 tie, both JM and Red Wing will have to run the table, but the Wingers will need some assistance.
GOODHUE – Purple or orange, home or away, there was no black and white at the end of Friday's Hiawatha Valley League showdown between two highly-ranked teams. Except, of course, there was the binary colors of the referee's shirt
There are five seniors on Red Wing's gymnastics roster, including two that were in the varsity rotation during Thursday's home meet against Austin. The Packers, ranked fourth in Class 1A, were too powerful for the Wingers, winning the dual 145.15-132.2.
Exploiting matchups is a given in any sport, and sometimes it's the difference between a win and a loss. Red Wing saw that on Friday in a 69-54 defeat to Big Nine Conference foe Mankato West.
It was a game that had played out before, a handful of times. The visitors had an overwhelming advantage in offensive-zone play, while the home team struggled to mount much of an attack.
ZUMBROTA – Tuesday's Hiawatha Valley League matchup between visiting Lake City and host Zumbrota-Mazeppa got off to a slow start. A really slow start. The Cougars hit a free throw 30 seconds into the game, and the Tigers answered with a field goal a little less than a minute-and-a-half later. That shot, which gave Lake City a 2-1 lead, came with 16:47 on the clock. The next basket, an and-one from Z-M's Makayla Arendt, came at 13:03. That sparked a 10-0 run for the Cougars, which lasted until Julia Anderson's 3-pointer broke the Tigers' nearly eight-minute drought.
ROCHESTER – School enrollment is how the Minnesota High School League separates its sports. In basketball, there are four classes, and Lake City sits in 2A. Rosemount, the Tigers' opponent in the Rotary U.S. Bank Holiday Classic on Thursday, is in 4A. The student populations are even more stark in comparison with Lake City's MSHSL count at 350, and the Irish at a tidy 1,953.
LAKE CITY – In what may go down as the most unlikely comeback of the 2016-17 season, Lake City put Lewiston-Altura back on the bus Thursday with a 52-point second half that erased a 16-point deficit at halftime. The Tigers, missing star captain Daynalyn Jostock for most of the game, finished off the 76-56 victory by clearing the end of the bench after it looked like the Cardinals would be the ones to run away with the game.
Just seconds after the opening tip-off, Duoth Gach soared into the air and, with one hand, slammed an alley-oop pass through the basket. The Packer fans in attendance exploded. The Red Wing fans sat silent, possibly stunned. It was a brilliant display of athleticism, and it could have been the signature moment of the game were it not for the Wingers' comeback that began with 8 minutes, 14 seconds left in the game. But Red Wing could not even the score, and Austin left Tuesday's Big Nine Conference matchup with a 65-62 victory.
PINE ISLAND -- Thirteen ranked individuals, and two ranked teams, took over the Pine Island High School gymnasium on Thursday. The host Panthers welcomed No. 1 Kenyon-Wanamingo and No. 5...