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The Four-Point Play: Who are the area's All-Stars?

YME's Anna McCosh (left) and BOLD's Makenna Steffel are two of the area's standouts this year. Curt Hogg / Tribune

As a sports reporter, you're probably supposed to say that there's no such thing as the dog days of any given season.

But if the dog days of the winter sports season exist, then we're in the middle of them right now.

The regular seasons for the boys and girls are nearly two-thirds complete and postseason play is close—but not yet close enough.

Some of the good that comes with the dog days of any season, though, is the announcement of the league's All-Star teams; so, with the NBA's All-Star rosters coming out last week, it's time to do the same with local prep basketball.

Here's how it works: The 20 teams in the Tribune's coverage have been split into two "divisions" by location, East and West. From each of those two sides, eight players were selected to their respective "All-Star teams" with five starters and three reserves.

All stats used to pick the teams were derived from box scores submitted to the Tribune over the course of the season.

Girls

East starters

Guards: Shea Oman (New London-Spicer); Makenna Steffel (BOLD); Sara Kottke (Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart)

Forwards: Macie Kirckof (BBE); Ellie Greenwaldt (Central Minnesota Christian School)

East reserves

Cayle Hovland, Willmar; Carly Wedel, Willmar; Laney Huhner, Litchfield

West starters

Guards: Kelsea Lund (Lac qui Parle Valley); Alex Sather (Dawson-Boyd)

Forwards: Malory Anderson (Morris/Chokio-Alberta); Anna McCosh (Yellow Medicine East); Piper Asche (MACCRAY)

West reserves:

Ashlyn Mattson, Hancock; Avery Bartunek, Dawson-Boyd; Ellie Danielson, Minnewaska

Boys

East starters

Guards: Noah Slagter (Willmar); Brandon Adelman (New London-Spicer); Gavin Vosika (BOLD)

Forwards: Trent Weispfennig (Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart); Nathan Serbus (Renville County West)

East reserves

Owen Boerema, Litchfield; Evan Wiener, BBE; Carter Henry, BOLD

West starters:

Guards: Noah Kannegiesser (Hancock); Alex Swenson (Dawson-Boyd); Jackson Johnsrud (Minnewaska)

Forwards: Jaret Johnson (Morris/Chokio-Alberta); Bentley Boike (Dawson-Boyd)

West reserves

Josh Peterson, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg; Bennett Nienhaus, Hancock; Matt Gruber, Minnewaska

Poll time

This is something that I've been meaning to do for a few weeks now, but haven't gotten the space in the column to do so: release my ballot in the weekly Follow the Rock coaches/media poll. You can find the overall results of the poll within today's Prep Sports Central on Page B2, as well.

If you don't see your squad on here, just remember that no, I don't hate your team.

Boys

Class AAAA: 1) Cretin-Derham Hall 2) Hopkins 3) Lakeville North 4) Eden Prairie 5) Park Center 6) Apple Valley 7) Edina 8) Rochester John Marshall

Class AAA: 1) DeLaSalle 2) Austin 3) Mankato East 4) Columbia Heights 5) Willmar 6) Marshall 7) Orono 8) Northfield

Class AA: 1) Perham 2) Minneapolis North 3) Minnehaha Academy 4) Caledonia 5) St. Cloud Cathedral 6) St. Charles 7) Melrose 8) Lake City

Class A: 1) North Woods 2) Springfield 3) Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 4) Mayer Lutheran 5) Cass Lake-Bena 6) Hinckley-Finlayson 7) NCE/UH 8) Cleveland

Girls

Class AAAA: 1) Eastview 2) Wayzata 3) Hopkins 4) St. Michael-Albertville 5) Centennial 6) Cretin-Derham Hall 7) Lakeville North 8) Champlin Park

Class AAA: 1) Robbinsdale Cooper 2) Mahtomedi 3) Northfield 4) DeLaSalle 5) Holy Angels 6) Hermantown 7) Willmar 8) Hutchinson

Class AA: 1) Sauk Centre 2) Rush City 3) D-G-F 4) Norwood/Young America 5) Stewartville 6) Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 7) Minnehaha Academy 8) Maranatha Christian

Class A: 1) Mountain-Iron Buhl 2) Lyle-Pacelli 3) Hayfield 4) Menahga 5) Ada-Borup/NCW 6) Goodhue 7) Bigfork 8) Minneota

Let's talk about the possession arrow

The possession arrow. You know, the little red LED sign on the scorers tables that points to one end of the floor or the other. Given all that goes on during a basketball contest, it's generally one of the game's lesser-noticed features. You probably don't spend much time thinking about it, and you definitely don't lose sleep over it.

Enough of that, though. Let's talk about the possession arrow and everything it entails.

I get the benefits of the possession arrow. It speeds up the game, theoretically keeps the taller team from holding an advantage, adds an element of strategy and maybe some other good things it brings that I can't think of right now.

It also discredits fine defensive efforts (while not all dual possessions are the result of fine defensive efforts) by giving the possession back to the offense half the time, rather than at least making the involved players jump for it.

But my main beef with the possession arrow isn't even the arrow itself. It's the plays that get to the possession arrow.

Not all tie-ball calls come when two players are sharing joint possession of the ball. Rather than blow a quick whistle, let's make sure it's not a situation where two players are scrapping for a ball but only one has possession.

Also, why does a ball stuck between the backboard and the rim get awarded to the team with the possession arrow? Just think about that for a second. The defense forces a shot that misses so badly that it doesn't even come down, but instead gets wedged 10 feet up in the air—and there's still a 50 percent chance that the offense keeps the ball.

Again, none of this really affects the game all that often, but would this really be a column without a take once in a while?

Games of the week

These are the contests across the region that you should be keeping a close eye on in the upcoming days.

Tuesday

BOLD boys at Redwood Valley

New London-Spicer girls at Glencoe-Silver Lake

Hancock at Parkers Prairie

Thursday

Minnewaska girls at BOLD

Friday

Rockford boys at Litchfield

NLS boys at Annandale

Annandale girls at NLS

Minnewaska boys at Morris/CA

Dawson-Boyd boys at Pipestone

Saturday

Redwood Valley boys at Willmar

Murray County Central girls at Lac qui Parle Valley

Eden Valley-Watkins boys at Minnewaska

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