Sterling (5-7) at Rock Falls (4-9)
When: 7:15 today
Where: Tabor Gym, Rock Falls
Conference: Sterling 2-1 NIB-12 West; Rock Falls 0-2 BNC West
On the line: Twin Cities bragging rights for 2014.
Players to watch: Joe Brouilette, Sterling jr. F; Cory McCallister, Rock Falls jr. G; Austin Donoho, Rock Falls sr. G; Zach Rehmert, Sterling sr. G; Sterling Thornton, Sterling so. G; Daegan Wharff, Rock Falls sr. F
Outlook: The Warriors and Rockets meet for the first time this season in a game that could be a regional game preview. Both teams have had ups and downs through the first half of the season, so a win over rival could be the thing to set them on track for a strong finish.
SVM pick: Rock Falls
Oregon (13-6) at Sillman Valley (8-7)
When: 7:15 today
Where: Stillman Valley H.S.
BNC West: Oregon 4-1, Stillman Valley 2-2
On the line: Rubber match between teams this season.
Players to watch: Sam Lambrigtsen, Oregon sr. G; McKaylee Beeter, Oregon sr. F; Sydney Shelburne, Stillman Valley jr. G; Abby Timm, Stillman Valley jr. F; Macy Weaver, Stillman Valley fr. F; Emy Wright, Oregon jr. G
Outlook: The teams have split two blowout games this season. Oregon won by 30 on Dec. 7, while Stillman Valley won by 20 at the Dixon tournament. This game will be about pace and hitting shots. If the Hawks pick up the tempo and make 3s, Stillman will be in trouble.
SVM pick: Oregon
Amboy (11-5) at Morrison (11-10)
When: Morrison High School
Where: 7:30 Thursday
Three Rivers North: Amboy 5-2; Morrison 3-5
On the line: Key positioning in the Three Rivers North.
Players to watch: Kennedy Dinges, Amboy jr. G; Chelsea Eads, Morrison sr. F; Lakin Goodman, Morrison jr. G; Ashley Greul, Morrison jr. C; Kaitlyn Leibing, Amboy jr. C; Elizabeth Ortgiesen, Amboy jr. C
Outlook: The Clippers and Fillies are hanging around in the Three Rivers North race, and a win here could put either one in good position in second behind Prophetstown. Both teams rely on young players, so this could be a preview of even bigger games in the next couple years.
SVM pick: Morrison
Sterling (11-8) at Ottawa (10-2)
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Kingman Gym, Ottawa
NIB-12 West: Sterling 2-1; Ottawa 3-0
On the line: Warriors need win to even up conference race.
Players to watch: Jasmin Bailey, Ottawa sr. G; Catie Carlson, Ottawa sr. G; Kaitlyn Bauer, Sterling jr. G; Kiarra Harris, Sterling jr. G; Cassidy Rice, Ottawa jr. F; Gabby Sandoval, Sterling jr. G
Outlook: There have been a lot of years where the conference title in girls hoops has come down to Sterling and Ottawa. If the Warriors want to stay in the conversation this year, they’ll need a big game at a tough place to win on Friday to knock off the Pirates.
SVM pick: Sterling
Forreston (5-7) at Polo (16-2)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Polo High School
NUIC East: Forreston 2-1, Polo 3-1
On the line: Marcos looking to stay near top of NUIC East.
Players to watch: Andrew Beasley, Forreston sr. F; Brian Cavanaugh, Polo sr. G; AJ Dollmeyer, Polo sr. C; Ethan Groom, Forreston jr. G; Max Simmons, Polo jr. F; Kaleb Reining, Forreston jr. G
Outlook: The Cardinals took a hit with the loss of their top player Robert DeVries to a broken leg. Polo is coming off its first conference loss to Aquin on Saturday. Both teams will want a good showing to stay alive in a tough NUIC East race. These two teams could meet again in regional play.
SVM pick: Polo