Porter, Raiders focused on title chase


Kaia Porter

There’s little doubt that Kaia Porter has more basketball waiting for her after her prep career wraps up next month. The Roseville Area High School senior has a number of colleges at multiple levels interested in her playing for them next fall. 

For now, however, Porter and her Raiders teammates are focused on the rest of the season and winning some titles. Through Feb. 9, Roseville sat atop the Suburban East Conference standings and Porter was the top scorer in the conference.

“It has just been an absolute blast,” Porter said about her senior season. “We have a ton of seniors and the camaraderie we’ve built from our younger years until now, it’s fun to play with people you love, playing the game you love.”

Porter is one of nine seniors on this year’s team and they want to go out on top. Taking home the conference title is at the top of the list of goals.

“It’s something we really want and it’s in our sights right now,” Porter said. “We definitely have the ability to get there and that’s one of our goals for sure.”

With four Suburban East Conference contests remaining, Roseville led East Ridge and White Bear Lake by a game and a half. East Ridge and White Bear Lake both had five conference games left to play.

Porter entered the final two weeks of the regular season leading the Suburban East Conference in scoring at 18.1 points per game. She is Roseville’s leader on the floor and can do much more than score.

Head coach Jeff Crosby likes the fact that she’s versatile on the defensive end of the floor.

“Defensively for us we can have her play all five positions,” said Crosby. “She’s a big kid, strong, tall. She’s usually the quickest, strongest, fastest on the floor.”

One of the things Porter has worked on this year is doing what she can to help her teammates be better players.

“For me, I like making others better,” Porter said. “I’ve worked on incorporating the whole team and as a unit getting points on offense.”

Still, Roseville tends to fare better the more points Porter scores. In her five lowest-scoring games of the season, the Raiders are 2-3. In Roseville’s recent 12-game winning streak, she scored in single digits in only one of those games.

 

‘Trust the process’

Porter’s play this year has also been noticed outside of the conference. She was recently named a nominee for the Miss Basketball award that goes to the top senior high school girls basketball player in the state.

“It’s definitely a big honor and kind of unexpected,” Porter said. “It’s just kind of fun to hear and it’s a credit to all the hard work I’ve put in over my high school career.”

She also became a member of the 1,000-point club earlier this season. She reached that plateau in Roseville’s 49-37 win at White Bear Lake on Jan. 20.

“I knew I was close but I had no idea how close,” said Porter. “I’m just going to do whatever the team needs me to do and whatever happens it’ll be fun. I wasn’t focusing on that but it was cool when it happened.”

Porter is also a finalist for the Minnesota State High School League’s Triple “A” Award, which goes to four students (two male, two female) who have at least a 3.0 grade-point average and participate in MSHSL-sponsored athletics and fine arts activities. She is the Region 4AA representative and is one of eight finalists for the AA regions’ female award.

In addition to all of her high school responsibilities, Porter is also taking some time this winter to try and decide on where to go to college next fall. She has received interest from schools at the Division I, II and III levels.

“I’m figuring out a place where I can do academics and basketball both at a high level and a place where I’ll feel comfortable the next four years,” said Porter. “I’m trying to trust the process and focus on my senior year. I want to live in the moment but also get set for next year. Once I figure it out, I think it will lift a weight off but it’s been good.”

Roseville saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end in a 54-39 loss to Wayzata on Feb. 7. Prior to that game, the Raiders’ most recent loss came at the hands of Woodbury during the Roseville holiday tournament in late December.

Roseville hosted East Ridge in a key Suburban East Conference game on Feb. 10, past the deadline for this edition of the Review.

On the schedule this week for the Raiders are a non-conference home game against Minnetonka on Feb. 14 and a trip to Forest Lake on Feb. 16. Roseville closes out the regular season next week with games at Park-Cottage Grove on Feb. 21 and at home against White Bear Lake on Feb. 24.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

 

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