Monday, March 19, 2012

The Third Season: Boys HS Pairings, Schedule Set

Class AAAA Target Center Wednesday March 21

10 a.m. #1 seed Hopkins (28-1) vs. Woodbury (24-5). Zach Stahl is out for Hopkins due to an undisclosed rule infraction. Hopkins was already #1 seed by the hair on its chinny-chin-chin. Now I'd describe Class AAAA as wide open. I wonder if there have ever been 4 schools in a field with a total record of 111-3. Still, no surprises here as Hopkins seeks a record (boys or girls) 9th state title and coach Kenny Novak, Jr., seeks a boys record 7th title. A title would also be Hopkins' 4th in a row, tying the record of Southwest MN Christian and Mpls. Henry. Woodbury won it all once in 1983 and last appeared here in 2007. Hopkins 78 Woodbury 60.

12 noon #4 seed Osseo (27-2) vs. Duluth East (20-8). Ian Theisen vs. Akolda Manyang is not going to happen as Manyang is out. Johnny Woodard was out for 10 games early this year as well for the Greyhounds and 8 of East's 10 losses came at that time. So this is a better match-up than it looks to be, and the top prospect for a 1st round surprise. Osseo won the 2001 state title and returns from the 2009 and 2010 tournaments. East has never won one but finished 2nd in 1966, 1982, 2001 and 2006 and also last appeared here a year ago. Osseo 69 Duluth East 66.

2 p.m. #2 Lakeville North (28-1) vs. Moorhead (18-9). North gave Eastview its only loss and has won 18 in a row. Tyler Flack leads the way. Moorhead was just a #5 seed and is the only tourney entrant who was seeded lower than #2. Moorhead was the 1st repeat state champ in 1928 and 1929, then lost in the 1967 and 1968 finals. North is the only AAAA entrant that has not played in a state final. North is making its first appearance since 2006, Moorhead since 2002. Lakeville North 67 Moorhead 52.

4 p.m. #3 Eastview (28-1) vs. Eden Prairie (22-7). Eastview was rated #1 most of the way and now has won 9 in a row since the loss to Lakeville North. Joey King leads the way. EP was 13-2 before closing out the regular season at just 6-5. Eastview lost to Hopkins in the 2006 final and last appeared in the tournament 2 years ago. Eden Prairie lost in last year's final, also to Hopkins. Eastview 65 Eden Prairie 58.

Class AAA Williams Arena Wednesday March 21

10 a.m. #1 Minneapolis Washburn (27-2) vs. Rocori (18-11). Oddly enough, the #1 seed overall is 1 of 2 entrants who were not #1 in their section, but the Millers ride in with 16 straight wins. They are also the 2nd highest scoring team in the field at 79 points per game. Has wins over Eden Prairie, Austin, St. Paul Johnson and Benilde-St. Margaret's. Washburn won state titles in 1955 and 2009, Rocori won a title in 1988 and last appeared here in 2007. Coach Bob Brink, the #2 winningest coach in state boys history, has announced his retirement at the end of this season. Mpls. Washburn 73 Rocori 54.

12 noon #4 Austin (25-3) vs. St. Paul Johnson (20-8). Austin returns to the tournament field for the 28th time, but the 1st since 1982. It won state titles in 1935, 1946 and 1958. Johnson returns for the 4th straight year and the 6th out of 9. It won the Class AAA title in 2010. Johnson's Marcus Marshall may be the top individual in the AAA field. He scored 36 in Johnson's section final victory over St. Thomas 82-62. Johnson is the 2nd highest scoring team in the field (81 ppg) after Hopkins. Austin is the stingiest defender in the AAA field at 47 ppg. Johnson 69 Austin 59.

2 p.m. #2 DeLaSalle (23-6) vs. Detroit Lakes (22-7). DeLaSalle started 12-5 but finished 11-0. Sophomore Reid Travis is regarded as one of the best young players in the state. DeLaSalle has won state titles in 1985, 1988, 1998, 1999 and 2006 with 3 additional runners-up. They last appeared in the tournament 2 years ago. Detroit Lakes has made but 1 tourney appearance and that way back in 1918. DeLaSalle 63 Detroit Lakes 51.

4 p.m. #3 Grand Rapids (24-5) vs. Mankato East (25-4). This should be the best ball game among the 4 AAA quarter-finals. The 2 teams met at Grand Rapids on January 28 with Rapids winning 81-63. Now on a neutral court, it should be closer. Still Rapids is led by a classic inside-out 1-2 punch of guard Austin Pohlen and freshman post, 6-9 Alex Illikainen. Grand Rapids was runner-up to Johnson in 2010  and returns to its 4th straight tournament and 8th in 16 years. Mankato East returns for the 1st time since 2005. Mankato East 63 Grand Rapids 62.

Class AA Target Center Wednesday March 21

6 p.m. #1 Perham (27-2) vs. Worthington (21-6). The defending state champs from Perham come in on a 13 game winning streak, and as a slight favorite (as the #1 seed) to repeat. But this is a closely bunched field in this very 1st year of seeding in Class AA. Worthington boasts 1 of the better players in the field in 6-8 Mitch Weg, while Perham counters with 6-5 Mark Schumacher. Perham does it with defense. They're the stingiest team in this field and also the lowest scoring at 59. This is Worthington's 1st tournament appearance since 1998. Perham 59 Worthington 56.

8 p.m. #4 Litchfield (24-4) vs. Watertown-Mayer (28-2). Here's a mystifying seed, Litchfield with 4 losses at #4, Watertown-Mayer with 2 losses and no seed. But Litch beat WM 63-50 at Litch on January 24, and plays in the tougher Wright County Conference (WM plays in the Minnesota Valley). But the 2 central Minny teams had many other common opponents against whom WM went 8-1 and Litch went 10-4. Litchfield won state titles in 2000, 2002 and 2003, but has not appeared here since 2003. WM has not appeared since a runner-up finish in 1999. Watertown-Mayer 60 Litchfield 56.

Class AA Williams Arena Wednesday March 21

6 p.m. #2 St. Peter (28-1) vs. Plainview-Elgin-Millville (24-6). Plainview EM returns to its 4th straight tournament and 5th in 6 years while St. Peter last appeared here in 1995. St. Peter has the best W-L record in the field and the #2 seed, and is the 2nd highest scoring team in the AA field after Braham with 77 points. St. Peter 65 Plainview EM 60.

8 p.m. #3 Braham (29-1) vs. St. Croix Lutheran (24-6). Braham, AA champion in 2004, 2005 and 2006, is back for the 6th time in 9 years, while St. Croix Lutheran makes its 1st-ever appearance. Braham is led by Tyler Vaughan, who recently went over the 3,000 point mark for his career (3,255 points). Braham 72 St. Croix Lutheran 59.

Class A Williams Arena Thursday March 22

11 a.m. #1 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (30-0) vs. Lakeview Christian (25-5). One of the top match-ups of the 1st round in any class, this one features the undefeated, #1 rated and #1 seeded, and last year's Class A runner-up BBE versus Lakeview Christian and high-scoring Anders Broman, already the #2 scorer all-time among MN boys with 3,811 points. Lakeview is the highest scoring team in any class with 93 points per game. BBE 84 Lakeview 80.

1 p.m. #4 Browerville (27-2) vs. Mountain Lake-Butterfield-Odin (24-5). Browerville and MLBO make their 1st tournament appearances, but Mountain Lake was a frequent participant in the single class era with 13 appearances between 1913 and 1952. The Lakers were runners-up 3 times, including in the very 1st tournament in 1913, and won the 1939 state title. Browerville 64 MLBO 57.

3 p.m. #2 Southwest MN Christian (26-1) vs. Fosston (24-4). SWC makes its 7th appearance and seeks its 5th state title. SWC was the 1st team, boys or girls, ever to win 4 straight titles in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. This is their 1st appearance since 2002. Fosston appeared in 7 of the 1st 9 tournaments from 1913 to 1921, winning the 1st tournament in 1913. They then made their 1st tournament appearance in 90 years last year. SWC 63 Fosston 55.

If Fosston and MLBO both exit the tournament in the 1st round, as their lack of a seeding would suggest as being, shall we say, not unlikely, it would be fun if the 2 could be matched up--how about 8 a.m. on Saturday at Concordia, before the 4 3rd place games get underway. I mean, this is the 100th year of Minnesota High School Tournament Basketball. This would be a perfect way to cap off the 100 Year celebration. Bring back the 2 participants in that 1st final in 1913, won by Fosston 29-27 over Mountain Lake.

5 p.m. #3 Rushford-Peterson (24-5) vs. Prairie Seeds (24-2). An intriguing match-up between a perennial power and an upstart charter school. RP is back for the 12th time in 24 years, and with the 1989 and 2006 titles under its belt. Prairie Seeds Academy, founded in 2004 in Brooklyn Park, MN, is making its 1st tourney appearance. Seeds is also the 2nd highest-scoring team in any class with 91 ppg, while RP is always known for its tough defense and its ball control. Seeds will want to run, RP will want to walk. RP 65 Prairie Seeds 63.

Semi-Finals All At Target Center

Class AAA Noon Thursday

Washburn 77 Johnson 74. Washburn won the TC Game 90-89.
DeLaSalle 62 Grand Rapids 58. The Thunderhawks unable to replicate their big upset of 2010.

Class AAAA 6 p.m Thursday

Hopkins 69 Osseo 65
Eastview 66 Lakeville North 58

Class A Noon Friday

BBE 69 Browerville 57
SW Christian 65 Rushford-Pete 57

Class AA 6 p.m. Friday

Watertown Mayer 59 Perham 57
St. Peter 66 Braham 62

Finals at Target Center Saturday

BBE 62 SWC 61
St. Peter 61 Watertown-Mayer 57
Washburn 70 DeLaSalle 65. The 2 had 4 common opponents. Washburn went 5-0 and DLS 2-3.
Eastview 68 Hopkins 66

Top Performers

AAAA Bobby King, Eastview; Siyani Chambers, Hopkins
AAA Reid Travis, DeLaSalle; Marcus Marshall, Johnson
AA Tyler Vaughan, Braham; Joey Bartlett, St. Peter
A Connor Goodwin, BBE; Andeers Broman, Lakeview