Posted On: 02/7/21 4:33 PM
Remember when kids had to wait their turn to play varsity, when it was common even for strong players to grind away in the shadows until their junior year to get any significant playing time? That seems like so long ago, especially when we peruse the box scores on a nightly basis and see kids like Tori Oehrlein Tori Oehrlein 5'8" | CG Crosby-Ironton | 2026 MN lighting it up again and again and again. The 7th grader from Crosby-Ironton tops the news again today was we recap the Week That Was #4, where the future is clearly taking place right here, right now.
There have always been prodigies, of course – The young violinists who are invited to perform with the greats; The little golfers who can post numbers most of us only dream of; the mini-savants who can dazzle us with their mesmerizing math skills. And there are the basketball players in Minnesota, who seem to get better and younger every year.
What Oehrlein is doing as a 7th grader is nothing short of remarkable. In a high-scoring affair Saturday up on the Iron Range, Tori scored 34 points and had 16 rebounds to lead the Rangers to an 86-74 victory that stretched Crosby-Ironton’s record to an unblemished 6-0. And it’s not as if Oehrlein’s performance was a one-off, either. The 5’9 guard from the class of 2026 is averaging a double-double – over 23 points and 10 rebounds per game, along with more than 7 assists and nearly 4 steals. She’s shooting 43% from the field. It’s hard to imagine what she might accomplish in her basketball career, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We should just enjoy the show.
Of course Tori isn’t alone this year. On Wednesday night in Minneapolis we saw two more young prodigies go head-to-head for the first time in varsity action as Providence Academy travelled to Minnehaha Academy for an Independent Metro Athletic Conference encounter. 8th grader Addison Mack Addison Mack 5'8" | PG Minnehaha Academy | 2025 MN and 7th grader Maddyn Greenway Maddyn Greenway 5'6" | PG Providence Academy | 2026 MN are a pair of truly talented point guards who have been posting remarkable numbers through the first four weeks of the season. They went at it hard for 36 minutes with PA prevailing 51-48.
Mack is averaging 26 points per game, and leads her team in steals and assists. She scored 29 in Wednesday’s game and followed that up Friday with 28 more against St. Croix Lutheran. Greenway is averaging 19 ppg. She plays every minute of every game. She’s athletic and physical and might be the most poised 7th grader we’ve ever seen. This is a polished player with an incredible future.
I took a post-game photo of Mack and Greenway (that’s it in the banner above) to commemorate the occasion. It was the first of hopefully many outstanding encounters between these two in the years ahead.
PS: If Lanelle Wright Lanelle Wright 5'5" | PG Hopkins | 2026 MN of Hopkins played at the class A or AA level, she would likely be churning out the same level of performances as Oehrlein, Mack and Greenway. The 2026 guard is a truly exceptional talent, but she’ll have to bide her time given how many others there are ahead of her in the Royals program.
What we watched
We saw a ton of great basketball this week beginning with a dramatic encounter between Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Chanhassen, and finishing with a blustery 238-mile road trip to Sleepy Eye and Lake Crystal.
- Monday – Stewartville at Byron, Benilde-St. Margaret’s at Chanhassen (online)
- Tuesday – Wayzata at Eden Prairie, Orono at Hutchinson, Lewiston-Altura at St. Charles (online)
- Wednesday – Providence at Minnehaha
- Thursday – Chisago Lakes at Becker, North Branch at St. Francis (online)
- Friday – Minnetonka at St. Michael-Albertville
- Saturday – Jackson County Central at Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s, Kasson-Mantorville at Lake Crystal-Wellcome-Memorial
With so much to revisit, and some terrific talent on display, we’ll publish a separate piece on Monday with details of what we saw in the best games of the week.
Player of the Week
Madison Mathiowetz Madison Mathiowetz 5'10" | CG Sleepy Eye St. Mary's | 2022 State MN – junior guard, Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s
The first time we traveled to Sleepy Eye in brutal winter weather Maddie rewarded our efforts with a 50-point performance against Buffalo Lake-Hector Stewart. That was last year. On Saturday we returned to the tiny Catholic school two hours southwest of the Twin Cities and once again Mathiowetz delivered. Maddie scored 46 points in a win over Jackson County Central and could have scored plenty more if she had not taken a bow with 5 minutes remaining. The 5’10 combo guard is the #15-rated prospect in the class of 2022 and will play this summer for North Tartan EYBL.
Honorable mention: We were in Lake Crystal Saturday night to see senior forward Mya Suess Mya Suess 6'1" | PF Kasson-Mantorville | 2021 State MN of Kasson-Mantorville have a monster second half when she scored six field goals to lead her team back from an 11-point deficit to beat Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 58-55. The Knights had no answers inside for the 6’1 Suess, who finished the night with 18 points and 20 rebounds.
Defensive Player of the Week
Adeline Kent Adeline Kent 5'8" | CG Becker | 2022 State MN – junior guard, Becker
Addy does so many great things offensively. She’s aggressive getting to the basket, has a quick first step that often leaves defenders in her wake, and can knock down shots from distance. That’s why she’s tied for second on the Bulldogs in scoring with Megan Gamble Megan Gamble 5'10" | SF Becker | 2021 State MN at 13.6 points per game on 52% shooting. What we tend to forget is what a weapon Kent can be on the other side of the ball. She has elite quickness, excellent lateral movement and the knack for anticipating what her opponent is going to do next. Those attributes were on full display Thursday against Chisago Lakes as Kent was a stealing, disrupting, irritational force. She’s averaging over four steals per game, but the defensive energy and hustle she brings really cannot be measured. Becker thrives on putting intense front-court pressure on its opponents and Kent is a huge part of that. Ranked #38 in the class of 2022, Addy recently verballed to the University of Tampa.
Honorable mention: Freshman Ari Comfort of St. Francis has already built a reputation as one of the premier on-ball defenders we have seen in the class of 2024. Although her offensive skills were also on full display Thursday against North Branch, it was Comfort’s consistent defensive pressure that made life miserable for the Vikings, helping St. Francis to prevail by a score of 56-60.
We love to present all of the gaudy offensive performances here every week, but there are plenty of performers who contribute on a weekly basis by making an impact on multiple facets of the game that are crucial for their teams. Leah Dengerud Leah Dengerud 5'8" | SF Totino Grace | 2022 State MN is a great example. The junior wing from Totino-Grace is a low-key, high-end performer. This week T-G got a big 59-55 win at Park Center in which Dengerud contributed 24 points (17 in the second half) along with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. The Eagles fell to Centennial a couple of nights later despite Dengerud’s 18 points and 8 rebounds. Totino has also benefited greatly from the arrival of transfer Hannah Herzig Hannah Herzig 6'0" | CG Totino Grace | 2022 State MN as she and Dengerud are carrying the mail for the Eagles.
Top offensive performers of the week include:
- Gianna Kneepkens Gianna Kneepkens 5'11" | CG Duluth Marshall | 2021 State #86 Nation MN of Duluth Marshall went 18-for-30 from the field to score 45 points in the Hilltoppers’ win over Duluth East. Regan Juenemann, the 8th grader we told you about here last week, had a career-high 28 points for the Greyhounds.
- Senior Bella Hartzel Bella Hartzel 5'8" | SG Hill-Murray | 2021 State MN of Hill-Murray nailed 11 three-pointers in a 41-performance against North St. Paul. We think that’s equals a state record for triples in a game, but since Minnesota has no definitive records on pretty much anything we’re not really sure. We do know that it was one heck of an impressive performance.
- Senior Jade Hill Jade Hill 5'8" | PG Mpls. South | 2021 State MN of Minneapolis South (St. Thomas) had a 38-point performance last week against Patrick Henry. She’s averaging 31 points per game.
- Junior Lilly Meister Lilly Meister 6'2" | PF Rochester John Marshall | 2022 State #55 Nation MN of Rochester John Marshall (Indiana) scored 38 in a loss to Red Wing.
- Junior Maddie James Maddie James 6'0" | SG Princeton | 2022 State MN of Princeton has a knack for putting up big numbers, and she did it again this week. James scored 39 points in a 77-66 loss to Big Lake.
- Junior Coco Duininck Coco Duininck 5'7" | CG Central MN Christian | 2022 State MN of Central Minnesota Christian scored 33 points in a victory over Dawson-Boyd
- Senior Olivia Anderson Olivia Anderson 5'7" | CG Anoka | 2021 State MN of Anoka (ND Science) had 31 points for Anoka in a win over Coon Rapids.
- Junior Ronnie Porter Ronnie Porter 5'2" | CG Como Park | 2022 State MN of Como Park had a triple-double in the Cougars game against St. Paul Johnson with 29 points, 17 assists and 12 steals. Ronnie also scored 34 against Humboldt.
- Sophomore Jenna Kluxdal Jenna Kluxdal 6'0" | PF Jordan | 2023 State MN of Jordan had a breakout game for the Jaguars with 29 points against Holy Family. The big forward is making excellent progress in her development.
- Senior Macey Ziebarth Macey Ziebarth 5'6" | CG Cleveland | 2021 State MN of Cleveland had a 28-point game against Cleveland in a 74-71 win over Nicollet.
- Senior Lucia Hauge Lucia Hauge 6'0" | PF St. Croix Lutheran | 2021 State MN of St. Croix Lutheran (UW-Eau Claire) had a double-double against St. Anthony Village, going 10-for-19 from the field for 23 points along with 15 rebounds and 5 assists.
Marking the Milestones
Another pair of talented veterans reached the 2,000-point milestone this week. Ivane Tensaie Ivane Tensaie 5'7" | CG Concordia | 2021 State MN of Concordia Academy (ND Science) scored 24 points in a win over St. Paul Academy to hit the magic number. Marshall’s Jordyn Hilgemann Jordyn Hilgemann 5'10" | SF Marshall | 2021 State MN (Northern State) had 25 points in a win over Redwood Valley and also reached the 2,000 mark.
In what has to be a very rare accomplishment indeed, Windom seniors Delaney Smith and Allison Letcher completed a career double-double of sorts when both Eagles hit 1,000 career points on the same night in a win over Jackson County Central.
Junior Abbie Riederer Abbie Riederer 5'8" | CG Mn Valley Lutheran | 2022 State MN scored 27 points on Tuesday against Springfield to top 1,000 for Minnesota Valley Lutheran, becoming the 15th Charger in school history to reach that milestone. Others who bettered 1,000 career points this week include:
- Big Lake senior Caela Tighe Caela Tighe 6'0" | SF Big Lake | 2021 State MN
- Charles senior Lindsey Root
- Spring Lake Park senior Madi Ngene Madi Ngene 5'9" | PF Spring Lake Park | 2021 State MN
- Hibbing senior Haley Hawkinson Haley Hawkinson 5'8" | CG Hibbing | 2021 State MN
- Mankato west junior Lani Schoper Lani Schoper 5'9" | CG Mankato West | 2022 State MN
- Rochester Lourdes junior CJ Adamson CJ Adamson 5'9" | CG Rochester Lourdes | 2022 State MN
Meanwhile, senior Ellie Hasz Ellie Hasz 6'0" | SF Pine City | 2021 State MN of Pine City (University of Mary) became the Dragons’ all-time leading three-point shooter. She surpassed the previous record (234) set by 2020 graduate Lily Wilson Lily Wilson 5'8" | PG Pine City | 2020 State MN .
We should also give a shout out to coach Jeff Buffetta of Mountain Iron-Buhl. The Rangers’ 53-49 win on Thursday over Cherry was Jeff’s 500th career victory.
The last time Nora Francois Nora Francois 6'0" | PF Minnetonka | 2021 State MN played in a varsity basketball game was when her DeLaSalle team won the Minnesota class 3A state championship in March of 2019. Nora’s journey since that time has been a difficult one as she dealt with significant health issues, attended two different high schools, and set aside her basketball aspirations. Nora returned to the court this summer with Minnesota Stars Hersch and had a nice showing at the Prep Girls Hoops Top 250 Expo in October. On Friday night at St. Michael-Albertville she returned to the varsity court with Minnetonka and we were there.
On her third appeal to the powers that be, Francois was finally declared eligible by the Minnesota State High School League on Thursday afternoon. The former top-10 prospect is a difference maker and offers a big boost to a Minnetonka team that is already very deep. She’s big and long and gifted. Regardless of the outcome on the court, we’re just happy to see Nora is back. She has committed to North Iowa Area Community College and has a very bright future at the next level.
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