Monday, March 17, 2014
State Girls' Basketball Tournament Preview
By MSHSL - Minneapolis
Two champions will return to defend their titles, while one team makes its first-ever appearance when the 2014 State Girls’ Basketball Tournament is held this week in Minneapolis.
The two teams returning to defend their 2013 titles are Minneota in Class A and New Richland-H-E-G in Class AA. Park Center of Brooklyn Park (Class AAA) is the only team making its first appearance.
Coaches voted and seeded the top five teams of each class: Minneota in Class A; New Richland-H-E-G in Class AA; Park Center of Brooklyn Park in Class AAA; and Eastview of Apple Valley in Class AAAA.
The 2014 State Girls’ Basketball Tournament starts Tuesday, March 18, with six quarterfinal games being played at Target Center. The remaining quarterfinals continue on Wednesday, March 19, and Thursday, March 20, at Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus. Semifinals start at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus on Thursday, March 20, and conclude on Friday, March 21. The championship games of all four classes will be played at Williams Arena on Saturday March 22. Third-place games will be played on Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul.
This year and the next four years, the boys’ basketball tournament will precede the girls’ basketball tournament because Target Center is hosting the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff tournament.
This is the 18th year of the four-class format and the 11th year with all games being played in Minneapolis. This is the eighth year that the Class AAA and Class AAAA tournaments were seeded by the participating coaches, but the first year that Class A and Class AA were seeded.
The seeding process had all 32 coaches of the section champions rank the other teams in their class one through seven. The highest and lowest rankings for each team were discarded, leaving five rankings for each team. From those rankings, the top five teams were seeded. In conference calls with all eight head coaches of each class, League Associate Director Lisa Lissimore announced the top five seeds. Pat Barrett, representing the girls’ basketball coaches association, then blindly drew the three remaining teams to establish the opponent for each seeded team. Numbers four and five automatically play each other.
Class A Preview
(Section 5) Browerville (23-5) vs. (No. 1 Seed-Section 1) Minneota (30-1): The Tigers of Browerville face the defending champion Vikings of Minneota. Browerville is making its second tournament appearance and first since 2006. The Tigers finished the season unranked in the final Minnesota Basketball News (MBN) poll and did not provide individual or team statistics. Minneota is making its fourth consecutive and fifth overall appearance, having claimed the title in 2013. Senior Taylor Reiss, all-time leading scorer for the Vikings, averages 24.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Junior Emily Stienessen adds 13.7 points per game. Minneota finished the year ranked No. 2 by MBN.
(No. 5 Seed-Section 6) Ada-Borup (28-1) vs. (No. 4 Seed-Section 1) Goodhue (25-5): Last year’s runner-up Ada-Borup is making its third consecutive and seventh overall appearance. The Cougars won previous titles in 2008 and 2009 and are the No. 5-seeded team this year. Ranked No. 4 in the final MBN poll, Ada-Borup outscored its opponents by an average of 34.2 points per game this season. Senior Monica Vega leads the team with 11.4 points per game and junior Haley Poehler is the top rebounder, averaging 6.8 per game. No. 1-ranked Goodhue returns to tournament play for the first time since 2011, making its fifth overall appearance. Senior Mikayla Miller surpassed 2,000 career points this season to become the Wildcats’ all-time scoring leader. She averages 24.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.0 steals per game. Junior Shelby Hinsch averages 10.4 points per game.
(Section 2) Mankato Loyola (27-2) vs. (No. 2 Seed-Section 4) Maranatha Christian Academy, Brooklyn Park(23-5): Both teams lost in the quarterfinal round in 2013. Ranked No. 7 in the final MBN poll, Mankato Loyola is making its second consecutive and third overall appearance. Ninth-grader Lindsey Theuninck is the top scorer for the Crusaders, averaging 13.4 points per game. Junior Megan Schroeder adds 10.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior Aunikah Bastian leads the team in assists (5.6 per game) and steals (4.5). The Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs are making their fifth consecutive and overall tournament appearance, claiming titles in 2011 and 2012. The team closed the season ranked No. 5 in the final MBN poll. The Mustangs average 84.2 points per game, with four players who average double-digits in scoring. Junior Lexi Lee leads the Mustangs with 17.4 points per game, while her sister, senior Madison Lee, adds 16.0 points per game. Sophomore Alaina Jarnot averages 12.2 points and 5.4 assists per game and senior Mikayla Payne contributes 10.5 points and 7.48 rebounds per game.
(Section 8) Win-E-Mac, Erskine (28-2) vs. (No. 3 Seed-Section 7) Mountain Iron-Buhl (28-2): Win-E-Mac looks to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish. This is the second consecutive and third overall appearance for the Patriots, who finished the season ranked No. 9 in the final MBN poll. Win-E-Mac did not provide team or individual statistics. For No. 3-ranked Mountain Iron-Buhl, it is the fourth consecutive and fifth overall tournament appearance under this name. Mountain Iron previously competed in the tournament in 1978 and Buhl made an appearance in 1977. The Rangers lost in the quarterfinal round in 2013. Ninth-graders Chelsea Mason and Mya Buffetta are the team’s top two scorers, averaging 15.9 and 13.1 points per game, respectively. Senior Allie Knuti, who leads the Rangers in rebounding with 7.8 boards and adds 9.8 points per game, will play basketball at Bemidji State University next season.
Class A Quarterfinal Schedule — Thursday, March 20
11:00 a.m. — Browerville vs. Minneota at Mariucci Arena
1:00 p.m. — Ada-Borup vs. Goodhue at Mariucci Arena
3:00 p.m. — Mankato Loyola vs. Maranatha Christian Academy at Mariucci Arena
5:00 p.m. — Win-E-Mac vs. Mountain Iron-Buhl at Mariucci Arena
Class AA Preview
(Section 8) Pequot Lakes (23-6) vs. (No. 1 Seed-Section 2) New Richland-H-E-G (28-0): Unranked Pequot Lakes is making its first tournament appearance since 2012 and sixth overall. Senior Vanessa Lane averages nearly a double-double for the Patriots with 18.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Seniors Kayla Miller and Katie White add 14.4 and 11.9 points per game, respectively. The defending champions from New Richland-H-E-G are making a third consecutive and fourth overall appearance. The Panthers are undefeated and closed the season ranked No. 1 in the final MBN poll, scoring on average 79.4 points per game and defeating opponents by 40 points. Senior Carlie Wagner scored more than 1,000 points on 56.7 percent field-goal shooting during the season. She is the school’s all-time leading scorer with more than 3,800 points in her career. Wagner averages 36.5 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.4 steals per game. Senior Jade Schultz is the top rebounder for the Panthers, grabbing 7.8 boards per game to go along with 12.0 points. Schultz and Wagner will be teammates next season at the University of Minnesota.
(No. 5 Seed-Section 4) Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis (20-6) vs. (No. 4 Seed-Section 5) Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (27-2): Champions in 2010, Minnehaha Academy is making its eighth overall appearance and first since 2012. The Redhawks enter tournament play unranked in the final MBN poll. Sophomore Sarah Kaminski leads Minnehaha Academy in scoring (17.4 points per game), rebounds (9.96), assists (5.5), and steals (3.4). Junior Gracia Gilreath adds 8.7 points and 4.3 assists per game. The Lakers of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted finished the season ranked No. 6 by MBN. This is the third overall appearance for the Laker and their first since 2009. The school participated in the tournament as Howard Lake-Waverly in 1980 and 1982. Three players give the Lakers a balanced scoring attack: senior Abby Miller averages 16.1 points per game; senior Mackenzie Uter contributes 13.7 points and 7.2 assists per game; and senior Gabby Gruenhagen adds 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Next year, Uter will play basketball at St. Cloud State University and Miller will play at the College of Saint Benedict.
(Section 3) Redwood Valley, Redwood Falls (19-9) vs. (No. 2 Seed-Section 1) Kenyon-Wanamingo (29-1): Redwood Valley is making its first appearance under this name. The school made four additional appearances as Redwood Falls between 1976 and 1979, winning a title in 1976. The Cardinals closed the season unranked in the final MBN poll. Junior Lauren Hanson is the top scorer and rebounder for Redwood Valley, averaging 10.7 points and 6.6 boards per game. Senior Kayla Pohlen scores 7.8 points and junior Makenzie Mace adds 7.4 points per game. No. 2-ranked Kenyon-Wanamingo returns to tournament play for the first time since 2001. This is the Knights’ third appearance. Kenyon appeared once in 1988. Kenyon-Wanamingo did not provide team or individual statistics.
(Section 7) Esko (25-5) vs. (No. 3 Seed-Section 6) New London-Spicer (24-5): Back in the tournament for the first time since 2007, the Eskomos of Esko are making their 10th appearance. Esko was not ranked in the final MBN poll. A pair of ninth-graders leads the Eskomos in scoring: Ava Gonsorowski at 9.8 points per game and Judy Wagemaker with 9.5. Junior Ashley Bergerson contributes 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. New London-Spicer is making its 15th overall appearance and first since 2009. The Wildcats won titles in 1997 and 2002, and enter the tournament ranked No. 5 in the final MBN poll. Senior Taylor Thunstedt, who has committed to play for North Dakota State University, is New London-Spicer’s all-time leader in points (2,740+), steals (475+) and 3-point shots (425+). New London-Spicer did not provide individual statistics.
Class AA Quarterfinals Schedule — Wednesday, March 19
2:00 p.m. — Pequot Lakes vs. New Richland-H-E-G at Mariucci Arena
4:00 p.m. — Minnehaha Academy vs. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted at Mariucci Arena
6:00 p.m. — Redwood Valley vs. Kenyon-Wanamingo at Mariucci Arena
8:00 p.m. — Esko vs. New London-Spicer at Mariucci Arena
Class AAA Preview
(Section 4) Simley, Inver Grove Heights(22-7) vs. (No. 1 Seed-Section 3) Park Center, Brooklyn Park (23-5): Simley is making its third appearance but first since 2003. Sophomore Abby Kain leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.0 points per game. She also leads the Spartans with 10.6 rebounds per game Senior Kylie Brown, who will play for Creighton University next year, adds 12.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The Spartans were unranked in the final MBN poll. No. 6-ranked Park Center is making its first tournament appearance. Senior Cayla McMorris leads the Pirates offense with 21.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. She will play at the University of Wisconsin next year. Ninth-grader Mikayla Hayes adds 9.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
(No. 5 Seed-Section 5) Monticello (22-6) vs. (No. 4 Seed-Section 6) Minneapolis Washburn (24-6): Monticello, which is making its third consecutive and overall appearance, was No. 9 in the final MBN poll. The Magic placed fourth in 2013. Senior Grace Sawatzke leads Monticello with 16.4 points per game, as well as dishing out a team-high 4.4 assists per game. Senior Alyssa Lentner grabs 6.3 rebounds per game for the Magic. Sawatzke will play at the University of North Dakota next year and Lentner will play at Mayville State University in North Dakota. Senior Gabby Laimer, who averages 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for Monticello, will play at Northern State University. The Millers of Minneapolis Washburn, the No. 4 seed this year, are making their second consecutive and sixth overall appearance. They placed fourth in Class AA last year and were ranked No. 5 in this year’s final MBN poll. This season Washburn defeated its opponents by an average of 19.5 points per game. Head coach Tylor Coley’s senior daughter, Chase, leads the teams with 24.3 points, 18.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 5.7 steals, and 9.4 blocks per game. Coley also holds a number of school records, including all-time blocks and single-season rebounds.
(Section 1) Kasson-Mantorville (25-5) vs. (No. 2 Seed-Section 8) Fergus Falls (28-1): Unranked Kasson-Mantorville returns for its fourth tournament appearance but first since 1997. Junior Cori Kennedy shoots 43.4 percent from three-point range and leads the KoMets with 16.8 points per game. Kristin Scott, a ninth-grader, adds 13.7 points per game and corrals a team-high 8.4 rebounds plus 3.2 blocks per game. The Otters of Fergus Falls, ranked No. 1 in the final MBN poll, are making their third consecutive and fourth overall tournament appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals in 2013. A trio of seniors averages double-figure scoring: Bailey Strand (21.4 points per game), Anna Monke (14.0), and Brianna Rasmusson (11.1). Monke leads Fergus Falls with 7.5 rebounds per game and Rasmusson adds 9.3 assists per game. Strand will play basketball at the University of North Dakota next year and Monke will play at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Rasmusson will play volleyball at North Dakota State University. As a team, the Otters shoot 48.1 percent from the field and defeat their opponents by 28.9 points per game. Fergus Falls also has a 45-0 home winning streak over the past three years.
(Section 7) Chisago Lakes Area, Lindstrom(22-6) vs. (No. 3 Seed-Section 2) Marshall (28-1): Chisago Lakes Area is making its third consecutive and overall appearance in the state tournament. The Wildcats, who lost in the quarterfinals in 2013, were ranked No. 8 in the final MBN poll. Senior Bryanna Fernstrom averages a double-double with 26.0 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. Fernstrom will play at Iowa State University next year. Senior Sam Forslund, who averages 7.4 points per game, will play at Dakota Wesleyan next year. Junior Sarah Greene adds 13.0 points per game for Chisago Lakes Area. The Tigers of Marshall, who are the No. 3 seed this year, are making their sixth appearance this year. They made their last in 2006. The Tigers, who were No. 2 in the final MBN poll, are in the hunt for their third title. They won previously in 2001 and 2002. Junior Sarah Buysse leads Marshall with 14.1 points per game. Senior Kenzie Beekman adds 13.5 points per game and also leads the Tigers with 5.7 rebounds per game. Beekman and senior Hannah Bennett will play volleyball at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall next year. Bennett averages 11.1 points and 4.9 assists per game for Marshall.
The Class AAA Quarterfinal Schedule — Tuesday, March 18
6:00 p.m. — Simley vs. Park Center at Target Center
8:00 p.m. — Monticello vs. Minneapolis Washburn at Target Center
The Class AAA Quarterfinal Schedule — Wednesday, March 19
10:00 a.m. — Kasson-Mantorville vs. Fergus Falls at Mariucci Arena
Noon — Chisago Lakes Area vs. Marshall at Mariucci Arena
Class AAAA Preview
(Section 4) St. Paul Central (24-5) vs. (No. 1 Seed-Section 3) Eastview, Apple Valley (28-1): The unranked Minutemen of St. Paul Central are making their second consecutive and 11th overall appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals in 2013, but won previous championships in 1976, 1979, 2007 and 2008. Junior Chelcie Kizart leads the Minutemen with12.5 points and 4.2 steals per game. Senior Rayna Sherow adds 12.4 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game. As a team, St. Paul Central outscores its opponents by 20.8 points per game. Eastview returns for its third consecutive and seventh overall appearance. The Lightning were ranked No. 1 in the final MBN poll. They are looking to improve on last year’s third-place showing. Junior Madison Guebert averages 22.0 points per game, and junior Hana Metoxen averages 5.3 rebounds per game. Senior Kari Opatz adds an average of 14.6 points per game. Opatz will attend Concordia University on a golf scholarship next year.
(No. 5 Seed-Section 7) Anoka (22-7) vs. (No. 4 Seed-Section 6) Eden Prairie (18-9): The Anoka Tornadoes, seeded No. 5 this year, are making their second consecutive and third overall appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals of the 2013 tournament and were ranked No. 8 in this year’s final MBN poll. Seniors Claire Lundberg and Kyrah Fredenburg lead the Tornadoes with 16.0 and 13.8 points per game, respectively. Fredenburg also grabs a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game. The No. 10-ranked Eagles of Eden Prairie return after a two-year absence. This is their third appearance. Junior Martha Kuderer leads the Eagles with 15.0 points per game and junior Emma Boehm adds 10.6 points per game. Rachael Platt, another junior, paces Eden Prairie with 7.6 rebounds per game.
(Section 1) Lakeville North (20-9) vs. (No. 2 Seed-Section 5) Centennial, Circle Pines (23-5): The unranked Lakeville North Panthers are making their fifth tournament appearance and first since 2012. They are looking for their second championship, having won previously in 2010. Junior MacKenzie Denk leads the Panthers in both points (10.1 per game) and rebounds (6.8 per game). Ninth-grader Temi Carda averages 9.8 points per game for Lakeville North. The Cougars of Centennial return to tournament action after a four-year absence. They were ranked No. 9 in the final MBN poll. This is their fifth appearance. Senior Jill Conrad leads Centennial with 15.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Senior Daizjah Morris adds 14.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Morris is also the school’s all-time leader in steals and she averages 3.9 per game.
(Section 8) St. Michael-Albertville (23-4) vs. (No. 3 Seed-Section 2): Bloomington Kennedy (23-6): The Knights of St. Michael-Albertville are making their third consecutive and seventh overall appearance. They were ranked No. 7 in the final MBN poll and are in the hunt for their third championship. They won previously in 2001 and 2009. Last year the Knights lost in the quarterfinals. Senior Erin Autio, who will attend the University of South Alabama on a track scholarship next year, leads the team with 11.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Ninth-grader Rae Johnson adds an average of 11.1 points per game for St. Michael-Albertville. The Bloomington Kennedy Eagles are making their second consecutive and fourth overall appearance. They are looking for their second title, having won previously in 2005. The Eagles enter the tournament ranked No. 6 in the final MBN poll. Bloomington Kennedy did not provide team or individual statistics.
The Class AAAA Quarterfinal Schedule — Tuesday, March 18
10:00 a.m. — St. Paul Central vs. Eastview at Target Center
Noon — Anoka vs. Eden Prairie at Target Center
2:00 p.m. — Lakeville North vs. Centennial at Target Center
4:00 p.m. — St. Michael-Albertville vs. Bloomington Kennedy at Target Center
Television and Webcast Coverage
All semifinal and championship games will be televised live by KSTC-TV, Channel 45, and also streamed live at Prep45.com for a fee of $4.97 per day. Live statistics of all games will also be displayed on the League website (www.MSHSL.org).
Tickets will be available at Target Center, Mariucci Arena, and Williams Arena. Quarterfinal tickets cost $14.00 for adults and $9.00 for students. Daily quarterfinal wristbands, which are good at each venue, are $19.00 for adults and $12.00 for students. Semifinal and championship tickets will be available at Williams Arena and cost $14.00 for adults and $9.00 for students per session. Third-place tickets will be available at Concordia University and cost $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for students.
A visit to any participating Wells Fargo metro location can yield you a $2 discount coupon for students 13 and younger.