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With six state championships to her credit, DeLaSalle girls' basketball coach Faith Johnson Patterson clearly knows how to get a team ready for the playoffs.
Having won 15 of their past 16 games, including back-to-back victories over Benilde-St. Margaret's and Minnehaha Academy last week, the defending Class 3A champion Islanders appear to be rounding into postseason shape.
"I think we've had to make way more adjustments [than last year]," said Johnson Patterson, referring most notably the loss of senior forward Mariah Adanene because of a head injury in mid-January. "But we are still improving, which is where we want to be at this time. We will compete."
The Islanders face one more big test before the postseason when they play host to Providence Academy on Friday. DeLaSalle lost to Providence on Dec. 9 and trail the Lions by one game for the Tri-Metro West lead.
High school football players who lose their helmet on a play, without it being directly attributable to a foul by an opponent, will have to leave the game for at least one down before returning, according to a rule change approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee.
The committee also changed the interpretation of a legal catch. A receiver will now be required to establish possession of the ball and contact the ground inbounds while maintaining possession, regardless of the opponent's action. An official can no longer rule that a player would have come down inbounds had he not been contacted by a defensive player.
• Centennial junior forward Jenna Roering was named the 2011-2012 Gatorade Minnesota Girls' Soccer Player of the Year. Roering had 34 goals and 12 assists last fall in helping the Cougars advance to the Class 2A semifinals.
• The Minnesota State High School Tennis Coaches Association has elected longtime Rochester Lourdes coach Kevin Rust to its Hall of Fame. Rust coached both boys and girls at the school from 1982 to 2010. He is best known for coaching the Eagles girls to 11 Class 1A team championships in 12 years from 1997 through 2008.
• After winning the Missota Conference meet least week, two-time Class 2A gymnastics team champion Northfield appears poised to make a strong run at a third consecutive title. The Raiders recently posted a score of 150.6, the only team to score more than 150 points this season.
• High school mountain biking enthusiasts are gaining another outlet for their sport as Erik's Bike and Board Shop announced plans to sponsor the newly-formed Minnesota High School Cycling League. Team will be forming this spring with racing scheduled for September of 2012. For more information, go to www.minnesotamtb.org.