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    Minnetonka wields defense to strengthen its position atop girls basketball Metro Top 10

    Minnetonka is showing what separates it from the pack this season: defense.

    The No. 1 Skippers (18-0) held No. 4 Providence Academy more than 30 points below its season average in a 73-48 victory Saturday, securing their hold on the top spot in the girls basketball Metro Top 10. Minnetonka led 35-14 at halftime.

    Junior Aaliyah Crump scored 27 points and senior Gophers commit Tori McKinney scored 25 for the Skippers. Lions standout sophomore guard Maddyn Greenway finished with 23 points.

    The absence of leading scorer Ja’Kahla Craft has caught up with No. 8 St. Michael-Albertville (15-4). The Knights suffered back-to-back losses, to No. 2 Hopkins (16-2) 77-53 and unranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s (11-5) 76-63. Craft, who is averaging 25.8 points per game and bound for Seton Hall, is sidelined with a dislocated right pinkie finger.

    It’s time to start paying attention to Benilde-St. Margaret’s again with senior guard Olivia Olson back in the lineup. The Michigan recruit scored 35 points against St. Michael-Albertville. She was sidelined with a broken bone in her left hand.

    Maple Grove (14-3) climbs into the No. 3 spot.

    This week’s marquee matchup

    Hopkins at Minnetonka, 7 p.m. Tuesday

    Don’t arrive late for this one, a matchup of the state’s two best teams. This is the second of five consecutive grueling games for the Skippers. They follow it up with matchups against Wayzata, St. Michael-Albertville and Maple Grove. Hopkins just finished a three-game stretch in which it beat all three of those.

    Girls basketball Metro Top 10

    1. Minnetonka (18-0). Last week: 1

    2. Hopkins (16-2). Last week: 2

    3. Maple Grove (14-3). Last week: 5

    4. Providence Academy (2A) (16-3). Last week: 4

    5. Wayzata (14-4). Last week: 6

    6. Eden Prairie (15-4). Last week: 7

    7. Lakeville North (13-4). Last week: 8

    8. St. Michael-Albertville (15-4). Last week: 3

    9. Andover (14-3). Last week: 9

    10. Rosemount (14-4). Last week: 10

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