Robert Jones has stepped up his game for the No. 2-ranked Prior Lake boys basketball team.
The 6-foot-10 senior center sparked the Lakers to a 72-70 South Suburban Conference win at No. 6 Shakopee Feb. 1 in what was also a battle of Section 2AAAA foes.
The Lakers were without junior Dawson Garcia for a second straight game. He leads the team in scoring at 27.5 points. Jones has averaged 27 points in Garcia's absence, while continuing to dominate the boards and protect the rim.
Prior Lake (14-2 overall, 8-1 in the SSC) is tied atop the league standings with No. 5 Lakeville North. The Panthers beat the Lakers in the first meeting, winning 77-68 on the road back on Jan. 22, which snapped Prior Lake's 12-game winning streak.
The two teams will meet again Feb. 22 in Lakeville in a game that will likely decide the league champ.
Meanwhile, Prior Lake moved a step closer to the No. 1 seed in Section 2AAAA with its conference sweep of the Sabers. There are five ranked teams in the section, including No. 8 Eden Prairie, No. 9 Edina and No. 10 Chaska.
In the win over Shakopee, senior Sam Nissen and junior Tyree Ihenacho were also in double figures with 17 and 11 points, respectively, while senior Carson Schoeller scored seven.
Prior Lake led 31-29 at the break, built the lead to 10 points in the second half and then held off the Sabers down the stretch.
The Lakers are back on the SSC court Feb. 5 at home versus Farmington at 7 p.m.