Skip to main content


John's Journal: It’s Always Great When Hubmen, Jaguars And Saints Compete

Teams From Jordan And St. Peter Have A Longstanding Rivalry

Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2024 - 7:22 PM


The St. Peter High School girls basketball team listens to coach Bob Southworth during a timeout.


Jordan boys basketball coach Matt Urbanek.

ST. PETER – There’s something special about being on hand for a high school event. Any high school event. You always see memories being made.

A few things struck me during a visit to St. Peter High School this week for a basketball doubleheader between the Jordan Hubmen and Jordan Jaguars (explanation below) and the St. Peter Saints, with the boys playing first and the girls wrapping up the evening.

For those of us of a certain vintage, varsity basketball doubleheaders were the norm back in the day. That format is being resurrected in Minnesota hoops, and it’s a good thing. Families with daughters and sons playing basketball don’t have to split up for games in two locations … that’s a great big reason to like twin bills.

As the boys teams from Jordan and St. Peter began warming up, some of the Saints inquired about the lack of music being played in the Saints’ bright, roomy, fabulous gym. That was quickly resolved, with, shall we say, modern music kicking in, the kind of music teenagers of 2024 enjoy. Once the game started, however, PA guy and scorer’s table musicologist Neil Doose took over the musical selections during timeouts. I don’t know if the teens in the gym could pick Bob Seger, Neil Diamond or Alabama out of an audio lineup (they must have recognized “Eye of the Tiger,” right?), but Neil (Doose and Diamond) hit it out of the park with us oldsters.

The boys game tipped off at 6:17 p.m. and the girls contest ended at 9:23. It was 3 hours, 6 minutes of great entertainment between teams representing schools that are 35 miles apart on U.S. Highway 169. Recent classification changes have them in different classes (Jordan in 2A and St. Peter in 3A), but the rivalry is long and historic.

“They used to be in our section and we’ve played them for years,” said Jordan boys coach Matt Urbanek. “And we always like playing them. They're well-coached, they have good players, they play hard and they’re similar to our program. It's a good rivalry.”

Urbanek, who recently recorded his 400th career win, has been leading the Hubmen since 2009. He has had an interesting geographic journey from north to south. After graduating from Winona State in 1997 he took a teaching and coaching job in International Falls, moved down to Brainerd in 2001 and then on southward to Jordan.

“I love it here,” he said. “We have great kids, we have great culture. We have a lot of support in the community that comes from the kids and it comes from the community and it's a great place to coach and a great place to teach.”

Urbanek spoke after the Hubmen lost to the Saints 73-46 in what most would consider a mild upset. The Jordan boys came in with a record of 9-3, winning their last four games. The Saints were 4-6 before the game and afterwards they had some newfound confidence.

“We didn't play for like two weeks during the break, so we've just been a little rusty,” Saints boys coach Sean Keating said. “And that's the best energy we've had on the defensive end. They just create chaos with their defense and they get after you, but I was proud of the way our guys handled that.”

Keating has coached the Saints for 10 years, leading teams to state tournaments in 2014 and 2019. Senior Kaeden Guida, who led the Saints with 21 points against Jordan, will continue his career in another sport – baseball – next year at Minnesota State Mankato.

Now for the Hubmen/Jaguars thing. The Jordan boys teams are the Hubmen and the girls teams are the Jaguars. I don’t know of another high school in Minnesota that has distinct nicknames for boys and girls. If my information is correct, the Hubmen nickname came from the town's railroad history and when girls sports started they needed something that didn't have "-men" in it. Makes sense.

The girls game, between the Saints and Jaguars, was a spellbinder between ranked teams. Jordan (11-2) came in as the No. 5 team in 2A and St. Peter (12-1) was No. 7 in 3A. The contest lived up to the billing.

On the first possession (and the first shot), the Saints missed a three-point attempt. Coach Bob Southworth’s advice? “Hey! Let’s get warmed up here first!”

Jordan’s zone defense and St. Peter’s penchant for throwing up errant threes helped the Jaguars take an early 17-11 lead. Then came the momentum swings, which hinged on solid defense by both teams and no fear when driving to the hoop.

The Saints led 34-23 late in the half and were in front 38-29 at halftime. Jordan clawed back in the second half, forcing a 42-42 tie before taking a 50-45 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

Sarah Haggenmiller scored with the aide of a fortunate bounce on the rim to give the Saints a 58-52 lead, and a three by ninth-grader Kylie Southworth gave St. Peter a nine-point lead, 61-52, with 5:40 left in the second half.

The biggest lead of the game came when the Saints led 66-54, keyed by a drive, layup and free throw by Rhyan Holmgren, a 5-foot-11 senior. She is the Saints’ career scoring leader and finished with 30 against Jordan.

Jordan started three sophomores, with 5-11 10th-grader Morgan Staloch leading them with 23 points. Junior Savi Borowicz added 14.

The Jaguars had an advantage in arms and legs over the Saints, and the girls from Jordan played hard from end to end. All in all, both games were worthy of the great rivalry.

“Jordan has a really good team,” said Saints girls coach Bob Southworth. “They present some problems to us with their length in that zone. We're a shorter team and they're longer so that does present some problems. But that's typically how we play; we like to play at a faster pace. And we shoot from the outside a lot. And when we can get Rhyan going to the basket or get some other kids going to the basket, that helps alleviate some of that pressure on the outside.”

Holmgren was tired and happy afterwards, a definite sense of elation as well as relief hanging in the St. Peter air.

“They just got out of our section last year and it's always been a big rivalry between us,” Holmgren said. Asked what made the difference for the Saints, Rhyan said, “Probably our defense and just our mentality of getting those stops and being mentally tough even when they were making shots and we had bad turnovers; we just wanted to get going on the next play.”

The aforementioned Kylie Southworth – and junior Annika Southworth – are Bob’s daughters. They are part of a sports-themed family with strong ties between the high school and Gustavus Adolphus College, which are within walking distance of each other.

Bob, who attended Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop High School, graduated from Gustavus in 1999, where he was a football and basketball player and is a member of the college’s Hall of Fame. Their mother, Sara (Schonrock) Southworth grew up in Blue Earth and was a basketball and softball athlete at Gustavus.

Annika Southworth is a junior starter and Kylie is normally a top reserve, although she was in the starting lineup when the Saints faced Jordan. She filled in for senior starter Abby Maloney, out with an injury.

Bob works during the day as president of HomeTown Bank in St. Peter, with most of the rest of his time spent as basketball coach.

“A lot of coaches get out of coaching because it takes time away from their family, where I'm kind of the opposite,” Bob said. “Now our time together is at practice, on the bus and at games.”

Holmgren who is quick, strong and talented, will play college hoops at Minnesota State Mankato.

“This is my 14th year and I've had a few pretty good players,” Bob Southworth said. “She ranks right up there at the top. Just from being able to shoot it from the perimeter and being able to go to the basket, she's one of the better ones I've coached.”

Did he try to convince her to attend Gustavus? You bet he did.

“That would have been awesome,” he said, laughing. “I’m happy for her. I think she’ll do well at Mankato.”

As for the coach’s daughters, junior Annika and ninth-grader Kylie, mom and dad could probably arrange a tour of the Gustavus campus (as if that’s even needed).

“It’s still a couple of years away,” Bob said. “We’ll see.”

--MSHSL senior content creator John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 

Next Article

Staff Reflection: Tim Leighton