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Danielle Schaub and defending Class 3A champion Park Center try to build an early lead in the Northwest Suburban Conference West Division standings when they host Pirates host Totino-Grace on Tuesday. Photo by Mark Hvidsten.

Since Totino-Grace lost at home to Benilde-St. Margaret's 54-32 on Dec. 8, the Eagles (7-1), ranked No. 8 in Class 3A by Minnesota Basketball News, have tallied six straight wins.

Led by 6-foot-2 junior Sydney Weierke's 13.5 points per game, Totino-Grace is 3-0 in Northwest Suburban Conference play, but the competition picks up to start the new year, as the Eagles face No. 8-4A Park Center, Osseo and No. 10-4A Elk River in the next two weeks.

After winning the Class 3A state title last season, the Pirates (6-4) have had an up-and-down year in Class 4A so far.

Florida commit Mikayla Hayes (13.8 ppg) has led Park Center to impressive wins over No. 4-4A St. Michael-Albertville, Elk River and No. 6-3A St. Paul Como Park, as well as a 2-1 start in Northwest Suburban contests.

But recent losses to Class 4A heavyweights, including a 66-50 defeat to Minnetonka at their home tournament on Dec. 30, have somewhat dimmed the Pirates' bright start.

The league schedule is just heating up with the start of the new year, which makes this cross-class matchup of ranked teams vying for position in the West Division the deep Northwest Suburban Conference our Top Game of the Week.

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