By Matthew Davis
Due to weather-related postponements, Champlin Park squeezed four games into five days during the final week of the regular season.
“We set out our goal on Saturday,” Rebels coach Jake Kuppe said. “If we our next four games, it’ll be in one week, we get the two seed.”
The Rebels certainly made the most of it- winning all four to lock in the No. 2 seed for the Section 5 4A Tournament. They will open at home against No. 7 Irondale at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Whichever team wins will take on either Robbinsdale Cooper or Osseo on Tuesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. in Anoka.
Before rattling off three wins at home, the Rebels upset the No. 10-ranked Centennial Cougars 67-65 on their home floor on Monday, Feb. 24. Freshman guards Allison Gerads and Sydney Hilley led the Rebels offensively with 13 and 11 points respectively. In addition, they helped spoil the Cougars’ senior night that included three Division I-bound players.
“We played like we haven’t played all year,” Kuppe said. “We executed, we were sharp, we didn’t back down. When they made a run, we didn’t fold.”
“It was kind of the team that we were hoping would be here all 25 games instead of just that one game,” Kuppe added. “It should give us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
With the Cougars as the No. 1 seed in Section 5 4A, the Rebels could see them again in the championship game on Friday, March 14 in Anoka at 8 p.m. They split their regular season series with the Cougars winning the first meeting in December.
An upset of the Cougars started the final week of the regular season with a bang for the Rebels. Despite the energy needed to pull off winning another three games in four days, they did.
On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Rebels beat Wayzata 49-44 at home. Rebels senior guard and Division I South Dakota State recruit Alexis Alexander led with 13 points, and Hilley added 11.
Beating Andover 58-51 on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and made it three-straight wins in three days for the Rebels. Gerads had a team high of 14 points, and Hilley and Alexander put up 12 and 11
respectively. Sophomore center Hanna Crymble gave the Rebels another 10 points in the post. The Rebels pulled away to make it a double digit game during the second half, but the Huskies kept fighting back with heavy fouling toward the end.
To cap the week and make their case for the No. 2 seed, the Rebels beat Maple Grove 50-40 on Friday, Feb. 28. Alexander led the Rebels with 15 points, and Gerads scored 11. Crymble had 9 points for the Rebels. The Rebels avenged an earlier regular season loss to the Crimson in the regular season finale.
Overall, the Rebels have turned things around of late with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games, including their four-game winning streak. The Rebels had been struggling in late January with a three-game skid, but they’ve gone 10-3 since that losing streak.