The Prior Lake boys basketball team had 15 players in the scoring column Feb. 26 in an easy South Suburban Conference home win.
Four were in double figures for the Lakers as the team picked up its 22nd victory, rolling over Apple Valley 96-66. Junior Tyree Ihenacho led the way with 19 points.
Second-ranked Prior Lake was able to bounce right back from its 77-63 league loss at No. 5 Lakeville North Feb. 22. The Panther are a game ahead of the Lakers in the SSC standings with one more to go.
Prior Lake (22-3 overall, 15-2 in the SSC) will end the regular season March 1 at Rosemount at 7 p.m. Seeds for Section 2AAAA come out the next day and the Lakers look to be in the No. 1 spot.
The next five seeds will be heavily debated between No. 6 Shakopee (20-5), No. 7 Edina (17-8), No. 10 Chaska (20-5) and defending champion Eden Prairie (16-9).
Other teams in the field include Chanhassen (15-9), Minnetonka (13-12) and Bloomington Jefferson (11-13).
Quarterfinal play starts March 6 at the site of the higher seed. The highest seed remaining will be the host for the semifinals March 9 at 1 and 3 p.m. The title game is March 15 at the site of the highest seed at 7 p.m.
Prior Lake has never made a section final as a Class 4A program. It moved up the top class at the start of the 2003-04 campaign. The team has lost in the section semifinals five of the last seven years.
The Lakers' 22 wins are also tied for the most in a season as a Class 4A team. Last year, Prior Lake finished 22-6 overall. Its other 20-win season in Class 4A was 20-7 in 2005-06.
Prior Lake won back-to-back Class AA state championships in 1977 and 1978 and was also a state participant in 1976.
In the win over Apple Valley, seniors Sam Nissen, Robert Jones and Colin O'Connor were also in double figures for Prior Lake with 16, 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Others in scoring column: senior Jackyse Jacox (7), senior Nicholas Mullins (6), sophomore Kyle McCullough (4), senior Jake Veldman (3), junior DJ Doyen (3), ninth-grader Malcolm Jones (3), sophomore Tommy Mestnik (3), junior Travis Haedt (2), junior Nathan Bach (2), junior Austin Sommerville (2) and junior Taylor Flaata (1).
The Lakers also played their 11th straight game without junior forward Dawson Garcia, who leads the team at 27.5 points per game. He's been out since Jan. 25 with a stress fracture but is expected back for the playoffs.
Prior Lake is 10-1 in his absence.