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Thursday showdown: Buffalo vs. St. Michael-Albertville

By David La Vaque, Star Tribune Staff Writer, 01/20/11, 11:53AM CST


Both teams are undefeated in the Mississippi 8

A must-win game in January? Thursday’s game pitting Buffalo against St. Michael-Albertville comes close.

Both teams boast 6-0 records in Mississippi 8 Conference play. And both teams are assigned to Class 4, Section 8. Though the teams will meet at least once more, Thursday’s winner gets a jump on both the conference title and section seeding.

“And this game is always for bragging rights,” STMA coach Kent Hamre said.

Buffalo (11-1) coach Scot Sorenson agreed all on counts, noting “In the past we have had cousins playing against each other while their families sat together and cheered for their respective team.”

Thursday’s tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at St. Michael-Albertville (11-2), roughly a 10-mile drive from Buffalo High School. Fans on both sides are sure to recognize one another. Players will feel like they are looking in a mirror.

“We look very similar in both personnel and style of play,” Sorenson said. “Typically that is a guard-oriented, fast-paced game. But both have some strong post play that could end up being the difference.”

Hamre concurred, and with a nod to the teams’ hurry-up styles, added, “Both teams can be impatient.”

Hamre said experience is on the side of Buffalo and the Bisons’ 10 seniors. Forward Molly Muntifering (13.7 points per game) and guard Kendra Wycoff (11.1) present a formidable inside-outside combination.

“We can’t afford to make mistakes against them,” Hamre said.

STMA’s strength, Hamre said, is its balance. Christine Thorn dropped 30 points on Cambridge-Isanti, making her the third different player to lead the Knights in scoring the past four games.

The teams split their conference games last season with each team winning on the road.

“Hopefully we can put forth a great effort for them and it will come down to the team that makes the best basketball plays in the last few minutes,” Sorenson said.

Buffalo's Molly Muntering (below) averages 13.7 ppg. /Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

Buffalo Team Stats

St. Michael-Albertville Team Stats

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