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JOSIAH STRONG

Champlin Park • basketball

Josiah Strong was looking forward to this season. The sixth man on last season’s Class 4A runners-up, the 6-2 guard was ready to step into a more prominent role because of significant graduation losses.

“We came in with a lot to prove and a chip on our shoulders,” Strong said. “A lot of people counted us out because we lost some great players. We still knew we were good.”

The Rebels (12-5) have been proving themselves all season and are peaking. They’ve won seven of their past eight, with Strong leading the way. He paced them to three victories last week with a combined 85 points, 18 assists and 12 rebounds, including a career-high 36 points in an 86-81 victory at Class 4A, No. 6 Park Center.

“That’s one of our biggest rivals,” he said. “Beating them on their home court is a big deal.”

So far, Strong is living up to the expectations he had for this season. He’s averaging 22.4 points and has committed to play at the U.S. Naval Academy next year.

“I was never big on a military academy, but I felt they really cared about me,” Strong said. “They say it’s not the next four years, it’s the next 40. When I looked at my goals after basketball, I knew I would pretty much be set.”

JORDAN BELKA

Rogers • basketball

– 21.3 points, 11.3 rebounds – as Rogers moved into first place in the Mississippi 8 Conference with victories over Zimmerman, St. Michael-Albertville and Buffalo.

JACKSON JUTTING

Prior Lake • hockey


The junior forward, who has verbally committed to Colorado College, had his best scoring week of the season, notching a hat trick and an assist in an 8-0 romp over Shakopee and scoring all four goals in a 4-0 shutout of Apple Valley. Jutting leads the Lakers with 18 goals and 33 points.

SARA MCCLANAHAN

Blake • hockey

McClanahan came up big in consecutive games against high-quality Class 2A opponents. The Dartmouth-bound forward scored twice in a 4-4 tie with No. 8 Blaine and had a pair of goals in a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Centennial.

AMANDA MONTPLAISIR

Buffalo • gymnastics

The senior three-sport athlete — she also runs cross-country and track — won back-to-back all-around titles in meets against Big Lake, with a 36.95, and North Branch, scoring a career-high 37.05. “Her gymnastics are beautiful,” coach Martha Driscoll-Nelson said.

ANNA OLSON

Monticello • basketball

After losing 15 of its first 17 games, the Magic has won three consecutive games. Olson, a sophomore forward, was the catalyst, scoring 62 points and chalking up 44 rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots.

TAYLIE SCOTT

Heritage Christian • basketball

The junior point guard topped 2,000 career points, with a combined 39 points in two victories last week. She’s the second player from her team to reach a milestone this season. Senior forward Annika Simonson topped 1,000 for her career on Dec. 4.

JIM PAULSEN

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