A pair of road North Central Conference tilts await the St. Edmond boys and girls this week.
First up, the Gaels travel to Hampton-Dumont tonight. Tip is set for 6:15 p.m. with girls action.
On Friday, St. Edmond will again travel north, taking on Algona with the same start time.
The Gael boys (10-2 overall, 9-2 in NCC) have lost two of their last three, including a 54-41 setback to Bishop Garrigan last Friday.
"It is really important that we come out and put together good first and third quarters in both of these upcoming games," SEHS head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. "We need to build some confidence and be ready to go off the bat."
Robby Burke continues to have a strong senior season, pouring in 23.8 points and grabbing almost 13 rebounds per night. However, he has been held to just 29 total points in the two St. Edmond losses.
Burke is 11th in the state in scoring per night and eighth in rebounding.
Fellow senior Konrad Laufersweiler is averaging 13.2 and just under 10 boards a night. Laufersweiler is battling some sickness and likely will not start this evening, giving way to Robert Flattery.
"Hopefully, we'll have Konrad in there for the majority of the minutes," Kochendorfer said. "If not, guys will have to step up and take charge."
Earlier this year, the Gaels had a close call with the Bulldogs (5-8, 4-6), earning a 54-48 home victory. Burke poured in 34 and 17, while Laufersweiler contributed nine and 11.
Kochendorfer also cited a desire to see more of the loose balls go the way of his guards, adding, "Robby and Konrad get so much of the attention (in terms of rebounding) that we need the other guys to grab a few of them.
"It would be huge - even if it was just three or four rebounds - for us to get some of those loose balls from our guards."
For Hampton-Dumont, Parker Claypool averages 15 points a night and Charlie Flickinger chips in 13.6. The duo accounted for 31 in the first meeting.
"They have some good shooters and really gave us a run the first game at our place," Kochendorfer said. "We have to go up there, be aggressive, hit some shots and defend them.
"If they make the shots we defend, that is something we can live with."
Algona (7-4, 5-4) will also be trying to exact a measure of revenge for a previous loss to St. Edmond later this week. The Gaels used strong first and third quarters to prevail, 70-48.
Laufersweiler racked up 20 points and 19 boards, while Landon Peed added 19, including a trio of three-pointers. Burke had 15 and 13.
The Bulldogs are paced by Luke TerHark, who has made 27 triples and is averaging 13.6 a game. Trevor Loeschen, who had 11 in the first meeting, is averaging that same figure on the year.
"When we beat them, we got off to a good start and held on," Kochendorfer said. "I don't think it will be that kind of game (Friday).
"I am expecting a tough game; they've been putting together some nice wins as of late and have good shooters."
Much like the St. Edmond boys, the fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Gael girls (12-1, 11-1) swept both opponents they will see this week.
St. Edmond earned a 59-47 victory over Hampton-Dumont behind a strong three-headed effort from Alli Huss (19 points), Anna Yung (16) and Jaci Stumpf (12).
The trio made 19 field goals, as the Gaels built an early 11-point lead.
"We have a big week coming up, as I expect postseason assignments to be announced and we are still right in the conference race," SEHS head coach Scott Messerly said. "We have to win, or we'll take ourselves out of (the league race)."
Yung has moved ahead of Huss, leading SEHS in scoring at 18.6 per game. Huss is averaging 17.5 and Stumpf 10.8. All three are shooting over 54-percent from the field and have combined for 252 made field goals.
"Having seen just about everything and anything a team is going to throw at us, I feel good about where we are at 13 games into the season," Messerly said. "Our girls are experienced, and that will be big this week with back-to-back road games."
Hampton-Dumont (11-2, 8-2) has been on a roll since the loss to St. Edmond, climbing to eighth in 3A on the heels of eight consecutive victories.
Jessica Speake leads the Bulldogs at 15 points per, while Jordan Prantner and Kennedy Wohlford are each over 11 points.
"Hampton-Dumont has two really good shooters who are young and do not hesitate to let it fly," Messerly said. "I expect a great atmosphere up there, as both (the girls and boys) games are big ones."
Wohlford poured in 16 in the first meeting, while Prantner had 13 and Speake 12.
Just like H-D, Algona (7-6, 6-4) has caught fire since falling to the Gaels. The Bulldogs have won four straight and are 5-2 since the loss.
Tangy Wiseman, a multi-time state cross country qualifier, leads the way at 14 points per game. She has made 26 triples and is shooting 80-percent from the free throw line.
"We need to keep Wiseman out of the lane," Messerly said. "She is quick and hurt us last time by driving."
Wiseman had 12 and Carly Seely 11 in the loss to St. Edmond.