Paige Broze

Senior Paige Broze has helped Shakopee to a 7-3 start this season, including 3-1 in the South Suburban Conference.

Don’t forget about the Shakopee girls basketball team as a contender come postseason time.

Section 2AAAA looks to be the toughest in the state with three teams ranked in the top four heading into the New Year — No. 2 Minnetonka, No. 3 Eden Prairie and No. 4 Chaska, which is also the defending Class 4A state champion.

Meanwhile, the Sabers are off to a strong 7-3 start, including 3-1 in the South Suburban Conference. Senior Kate Cordes scored a game-high 19 points to lead Shakopee to a 68-43 home win over Prior Lake Jan. 4 in league action.

The Lakers are also a Section 2AAAA foe. Shakopee is 1-1 so far against potential future playoff opponents, including a 59-57 loss to Chaska to open the season back on Nov. 30.

Chanhassen, Waconia and Edina are also in the section field.

“You can really play well and still come up short to any of these teams (in the playoffs),” Sabers coach Juan Mitchell said. “The section is very competitive.”

Last winter, the Sabers went 1-1 in the playoffs, beating Prior Lake in the quarterfinals before losing to Chaska in the semifinals.

Shakopee’s last section crown came in 2019.

In the win over Prior Lake, the Sabers jumped out to a 36-20 lead at the break and never looked back. Senior Paige Broze and sophomore Nicole Maenke were also in double figures with 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Sophomore Olivia Pawlicki chipped in five points for Shakopee, while juniors Shyla Moore and Cassandra Ross each had four points and seniors Maya Mitchell and Jasmyn Hale both had three.

Shakopee closed out 2021 with an 85-58 home win over Champlin Park Dec. 23 in non-league play. The Sabers led 50-35 at the break.

Cordes dominated with 29 points, while Pawlicki scored 16 and Maenke finished with 10.

The Sabers went into the game coming off of their first conference loss, 62-40 at Rosemount Dec. 21.

Cordes led Shakopee in defeat with 14 points. She was leading the team in scoring through 10 games at 15.6 points per game. Pawlicki was also averaging in double figures (11.2), while Maenke was close (9.9).

The Sabers have only two non-conference games left in the regular season. They are both at home against section foes, first Waconia Jan. 13 and then Chanhassen Jan. 20.

Heading into the New Year, all eight Section 2AAAA teams had at least a .500 record or better. So for the rest of January and into February, winning as many games as possible will be important for Shakopee to get a top-four playoff seed and a home playoff game in the quarterfinals.

The first round of section play starts March 2. The semifinals are scheduled for March 5 with the title game on March 11. The higher seed is at home in all three rounds.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.