Elks-Royals cage duels not the only show today

The Rogers High School parking lot will be crowded today (Saturday).

In the 10th annual River Battle, the Elk River and Rogers boys basketball teams tangle at 3 p.m. and girls at 5 p.m. All four squads are competitive, and the rivalry is livelier than ever now that both play in the same section. The Rogers girls lead the series 5-4, but the Elks have won three in a row. The Elk boys lead the series 8-2 and won last year’s game.

bruce_sidelinesAcross the parking lot, Rogers boys hockey (6-1-1) hosts longtime nemesis Hermantown at 3 p.m. Because the Royals were in Section 7A the past four years, they dueled the Iron Rangers seven times, losing them all, with just one close game, 2-1, two years ago. The Royals are hoping they’ve closed the gap against Hermantown, state Class A runner-up four straight years.

There’s actually two other Royals-Elks clashes today. The girls hockey teams will duel in Elk River at 7 p.m. Elk coach Joe Heasley said this won’t be an annual thing; it just worked out this year. In gymnastics, Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman is hosting a five-team meet at 11 a.m. and Rogers and Elk River will compete separately.

Switching loyalties
Tempestt Wilson is ERHS’s all-time scoring leader but she and her family will be rooting for the Royals in the River Battle boys game today. Her younger brother, Allen, opted last year to enroll at Rogers. Just a sophomore, he’s already making his mark on varsity, with a 23-point game off the bench in a loss at Brainerd on Monday.

Switching sides
Royal basketball coach Karlee Anderson will face her alma mater for the first time when the Royals meet the Rockford Rockets in the Jordan tourney Dec. 27.  “Looking forward to playing my hometown team,” said Anderson, who scored 1,778 points for the Rockets. “I still know a couple of their players from camps when I was in high school.”

Rematch for Elk girls
Elk River and STMA girl cagers will have a rematch of last year’s section championship  at STMA’s tournament on Dec. 27. The Knights beat the Elks twice last year. Elk River, deep and athletic but young and erratic, will lose a few in the rugged NWSC this year, but have as good a chance as anyone in the section. That game will be a good indicator as will be today’s game against Rogers.

Z-men in college hoops
Four Zimmerman graduates are playing college basketball. Jake Wilson has appeared in six games at UM-Duluth in limited action as a freshman. Brandon Giese, junior guard at Concordia-Moorhead, averages 11.8 points, for the Cobbers (4-5). Michael Jenson and Caleb Lunning are teammates at St. Olaf. Jenson, a senior, has played in all eight games for the Oles (5-3), averaging 1.0 point. Lunning, a sophomore, has gotten into six games.