GBB - Kato West at RGB - 02-Feb-2021-34

Northfield senior Emma Rasmussen has emerged as a key distributor for the Raiders and is averaging 8 assists through the last two games, in addition to 9.5 points a contest. (Photo courtesy of Jim Wellbrock)

Games: Northfield (5-4) at Rochester John Marshall (4-4), 7:30 p.m., Friday; Red Wing (4-2) at Northfield, 3 p.m., Saturday.

Recent results: The Raiders have split a pair of close games against Mankato East and Rochester Century. The Rockets snapped a three-game losing streak with a win against Faribault on Feb. 9, but haven’t played since, and the Wingers are coming off a seven-point loss against undefeated Rochester Mayo and an 18-point win against Mankato East.

Last season: Rochester John Marshall swept Northfield with disparate wins of 32 points and two points, while Austin split its two games with the Raiders last season.

1. The offense the last two games for the Raiders has flowed through a pair of senior wings. Annika Richardson is averaging 24.5 points per game while shooting 51.5% from the field and 40% from behind the arc. The majority of that damage has come inside, however, with Richardson averaging 14 points in the paint in the last two contests, due to a combination of second-chance points and transition baskets, but also largely because of the assistance of senior Emma Rasmussen. While Rasmussen is averaging 9.5 points through the last two games, her largest offensive contributions have been through her 16 total assists in those contests compared to only four turnovers. Those figures are an improvement on her season totals of 4.1 assists and 3.1 turnovers a game, and has also led to an uptick in scoring from Richardson, who is averaging 20.7 points a game this season.

2. Rochester John Marshall might have the most top-end talent in the Big 9 Conference, with that ability concentrated with 6-foot-2 junior center Lilly Meister (Indiana University commit) and 5-foot-11 guard Katie Hurt (Lehigh University commit). Those two have unsurprisingly provided the bulk of the scoring punch for the Rockets, but so far that tandem’s success has not translated to wins against the better teams in the conference. Rochester John Marshall has beat up on Rochester Century, Owatonna, Albert Lea and Faribault by a combined 76 points, but has also lost to Mankato East, Mankato West, Red Wing and Rochester Mayo to drag the Rockets down into the middle of the conference standings.

3. After a delayed start to the season, Red Wing has wasted little time reasserting itself as one of the contenders for the conference title. After a season-opening defeat against Mankato East on Jan. 29 (which was avenged with an 18-point win Tuesday), the Wingers rattled off three consecutive wins and appeared poised to deliver the first loss of the season to Rochester Mayo. Red Wing sprinted out to an 18-9 lead, but an 18-1 run from the Spartans to take a lead the Wingers were never able to erase. So far, Red Wing has been led by a collection of scorers, with Sydnee Nelson, Bailie Roschen, Sophia Rahn and Sydney Rahn scoring in double figures against Rochester Mayo.

Reach Regional Sports Editor Michael Hughes at 645-1106 or follow him on Twitter @APGSoMnHughes. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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