EDIT: PRe-season all-state picks added on 8-29.
Hey, the tomato crop isn't even fully harvested, but school's in, so it's time for those Early Girls rankings (get it?).
Nia Coffey, Hopkins, F, Sr., POY
Carlie Wagner, New Richland-HEG, G, Jr.
Rebekah Dahlman, Braham, G, Sr.
Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle, F, Sr.
Cayla McMorris, Park Center, F-C, Jr.
Allina Starr, DeLaSalle, G, Sr.
Kenisha Bell, Bloomington Kennedy, G, Jr.
Maddie Guebert, Eastview, G, Soph.
T'Kendra Elbert, Tartan, G, Jr.
Jessica January, Richfield, G, Sr.
Jade Martin, Bloomington Kennedy, F, Sr.
Bailey Strand, Fergus Falls, G, Sr.
Savanna Trapp, Esko, C, Sr.
Taylor Thunstedt, New London-Spicer, G, Jr.
Taylor Anderson, Hopkins, G, Sr.
Phyllis Webb, Osseo, F-G, Sr.
T.T. Starks, Hopkins, F, Soph.
Ali Greeene, Mathomedia, F, Soph.
Joanna Hedstrom, Minnetoka, G, Sr.
Onye Osemenam, Maranatha, C, Sr.
Ellen Thompson, Chaska, C, Jr.
Viria Livingston, Hopkins, G, Soph.
Leah Szabla, Providence, G, Sr.
Kylie Brown, Simley, F, Jr.
Grace Coughlin, Benilde-St. Mary's, Jr.
1. Hopkins. The closest thing to a lead-pipe cinch since the iceberg. Nia Coffey and Taylor Anderson provide the senior leadership, T.T. Starks and Viria Livingston additional energy, and Molly O'Toole the muscle. What weakness? Wins Section 6, gets the #1 seed and wins the state title for the 3rd year in a row.
2. Bloomington Kennedy. Ever the under-achievers. This year Kenisha Bell and Jasmine Martin will try to break the hex, along with new coach Quentin Johnson. Wins in Section 2, #2 seed.
3. Osseo. Janay Morton and Phyllis Webb return. Takes Section 5, #3 seed.
4. Eastview. Maddie Guebert, now a sophomore, and coach/mom Melissa Guebert lead the way. Repeats in Section 3.
5. St. Paul Central. Willie Taylor has slowly rebuilt the Minutemen and they've now got more weapons than at any time since the 2007-2008 champions. Takes Section 4, #4 seed.
6. Roseville. Jaqlynn Poss leads the way but the Raiders fall to Osseo in Section 5.
7. Minnetonka. Gopher recruit Joanna Hedstrom is back after all, along with the Fredericksons but the Skippers cannot cope with Hopkins in Section 6.
8. Centennial. A cast of thousands but is Paige Waytashek the go-to girl? Another Section 5 also-ran.
9. Lakeville North. Fighting off decline. Taylor Stewart plays her final year after what seems like a decade on Andy Berkvam's team. Takes Section 1.
10. Chanhassan. Building a powerhouse. Another cast of thousands type of team, with Lauren Shifflett as the occasional savior. 2nd best in Section 2.
11. Robbinsdale Cooper. Chelsey McGee and Tailiyah Rich, once upon a time of Mpls. North fame, lead the way. Another Section 6 also-ran.
12. Park. Guards Sidney Lamberty and Larissa Lurken are a dynamic duo. Falls to Eastview in Section 3.
13. Mounds View. It's Katie McDaniels team now. Another Section 5 also-ran.
14. Lakeville South. A year away but building toward a powerhouse. Another Section 2 also-ran.
15. St. Michael-Albertville. Nathalie Van Whye leads the way to a Section 8 title.
Hopkins, Kennedy, Osseo and St. Paul Central advance to state semis. Hopkins defeats Osseo in the final. Nia Coffey is tournament MVP.
1. DeLaSalle. Almost as good a bet as Hopkins with Tyseanna Johnson and Allina Starr back in the saddle. Should take Section 3, get #1 seed, and three-peat at state.
2. Chaska. Successfully rebuilding after split into Chanhassan and Chaska. Center Ellie Thompson leads the way to Section 6 title and #2 seed.
3. Park Center. Unfortunately the spectacular Cayla McMorris goes down to DLS in the Section 3 final.
4. Fergus Falls. Bailey Strand joins Brianna Rasmussen in a truly dynamic duo. Best in Section 8. #3 seed.
5. Richfield. Jessica January will lead the Spartans vs. Chaska for the Section 6 title.
6. Mankato East. Minnie Childress and Claire Ziegler lead the way. Should take Section 2. and #4 seed.
7. Benilde-St. Margaret's. Falls short in Section 6 despite Grace Coughlin's best efforts.
8. Simley. On the rise with Kylie Brown and Abby Kain, should take Section 4.
9. Red Wing. Should take Section 1 behind Tesha Buck.
10. Alexandria. Falls short in Section 8.
DeLaSalle, Chaska, Fergus Falls and Simley advance to the semis, and DeLaSalle defeats Chaska for its three-peat. Tyseanna Johnson and Allina Starr are co-tournament MVPs.
1. Providence. Another defending champion with every opportunity to repeat. Should take Section 5.
2. New Richland-HEG. The sensation of 2012 behind Carlie Wagner. Should take Section 2 but no chance vs. Providence.
3. Esko. Savanna Trapp should get to state out of Section 7 in her last hurrah.
4. Crookston. Best team since 2008, should take Section 8.
5. Annandale. Unfortunately, draws Providence in Section 5.
6. Pine Island. Can they beat the hex (and Chatfield) in Section 1?
8. Sauk Centre. Will miss Kali Peschel but there's talent remaining, and should sneak back to state from Section 6.
9. Staples-Motley. Also from Section 6.
10. Albany. And another from Section 6.
11. Jordan. Still another Section 5 also-ran.
12. Worthington. Falls short in Section 2.
13. Foley. Tara Dusharm leads the way but Section 5 looms.
14. Minnehaha. A clear path to a repeat in Section 4.
15. Braham. How far can Rebekah Dahlman take the Bombers in her last go-round? Esko blocks a return to the state tournament.
In both A and AA, the brackets have Section 1 vs. 5, 3 vs. 7, 4 vs. 6 and 2 vs. 8. That means that Providence, Esko, Minnehaha and NRHEG advance to the semis, and Providence knocks off NRHEG in the final. Carlie Wagner is tournament MVP.
1. Maranatha. Could make it 4 repeat champions out of 4 attempt. Onye Osemenam makes Maranatha very difficult to beat. Should win Section 4 with ease.
2. Mountain Iron-Buhl. Should win Section 7. Could make it a repeat state title match-up v. Maranatha.
3. Minneota. Taylor Reiss leads the way. Should win Section 3.
4. Parkers Prairie. Should return to state from Section 6.
5. North Woods. A strong challenge to MIB in Section 7.
6. Upsala. Aimee Pelzer should lead the way back to state from Section 5.
7. Faribault Bethlehem. Jessie Matthews leads the Cardinals. Should take Section 1.
8. Ada-Borup. Will challenge Parkers Prairie in Section 6.
9. Win-E-Mac. Should take Section 8.
10. Isle. A chance to repeat in Section 5.
Here, Faribault BA, Minneota, Maranatha and Win-E-Mac advance. Watch for a possible match-up of Aimee Pelzer and Jessie Mathews in the 1st round, and also Minneota vs. MIB. Maranatha three-peats over Minneota in the final though Taylor Reiss is tournament MVP.