skip navigation

As top girls' players drive metro scene, will Hopkins vs. Farmington end season in championship game again?

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 01/18/21, 5:00PM CST


See who’s among the Star Tribune’s top 10 players and teams as the season swings into its first full week.

Farmington center Sophie Hart (32), shown here putting up a shot against St. Michael-Albertville in a state tournament game last year. Photo: JEFF WHEELER • Jeff.Wheeler@startribune.com

Ten metro players who will drive girls’ basketball this season.

1. Sophie Hart, Farmington, P, 6-4, senior: Dominant in post on both ends of the floor. Averaged a double-double last year, 17 points and 14 rebounds. College: North Carolina State.

2. Adalia McKenzie, Park Center, G, 5-11, senior: Deadly combination of quickness and physicality. Led the metro last year with 30.9 ppg. College: Illinois.

3. Jenna Johnson, Wayzata, F, 6-2, senior: Can play both inside ant out. Effective in the lane and can step out and drain the three. College: Utah.

4. Maya Nnaji, Hopkins, F, 6-4, junior: Game-altering shot-blocker with enviable offensive skills. Great finisher, has multiple high DI offers. College: Undecided.

5. Mara Braun, Wayzata, G, 5-11, junior: Fluid athlete, can break down a defense off the dribble. Excels at controlling tempo, peerless court vision. College: Minnesota.

6. Kendall Coley, St. Louis Park, F, 6-2, senior: Long and lean, can play facing the basket and create her own shot. Runs the court well, finishes strong. College: Nebraska.

7. Mallory Heyer, Chaska, F, 6-2, junior: Physical and aggressive around the basket, can withstand contact and still get her shot. Averaged 19.6 ppg in 19-20. College: Minnesota.

8. Nia Holloway, Eden Prairie, F, 6-0, junior: Still developing with tremendous upside. Has good agility to create around the basket. College: Minnesota.

9. Amaya Battle, Hopkins, PG, 5-10, junior: Difficult to defend, Explodes to the basket, yet can hit the pullup. Adept at corralling weakside rebounds. College: Undecided.

10. Kaylee Van Eps, Chaska, G, 6-1, senior: In her 5th varsity season, a versatile and heady player. One of two Hawks to top 1,000 points last season.  College: Lehigh.

Top 10 teams

Heading into the season's first full week, here are staff writer Jim Paulsen's top 10 metro teams:

1. Hopkins: The Royals’ winning streak is now at 63 after a season-opening victory. The addition of freshman Liv McGill from Park Center just adds to the riches.

2. Farmington: Most of the Tigers are back from the 2020 team that never got the chance to meet Hopkins in the Class 4A state final due to COVID.

3. St. Michael-Albertville: Star guard Tessa Johnson is lost for the season to a knee injury, but the Knights have plenty of depth to pick up the slack.

4. Wayzata: Are Mara Braun and Jenna Johnson the best duo in the metro? Perhaps, but there’s a lot of competition.

5. Chaska: Division I tandem of Mallory Heyer and Kaylee Van Eps make the Hawks formidable.

6. Eden Prairie: A 34-point opening game loss to Hopkins isn’t anything to worry about. There’s some significant talent here.

7. Becker (3A): The deep and balanced Bulldogs play an up-tempo, team-first style that’s a joy to watch.

8. Maple Grove: The Crimson have four starters back from last season’s Northwest Suburban North Division champs.

9. Minnetonka: How strong is the Lake Conference? Tonka, with two notable transfers from DeLaSalle, makes it five in the top 10.

10. Stillwater: Ponies coach Willie Taylor knows how to get the best from his team. Guard Alexis Pratt might be the fastest player in the state.


Girls Basketball Hub Headlines