EDIT March 10: Like everyone, I missed Rochester Mayo over Lakeville North and, like a lot of people, I missed Osseo over Roseville. But I got #2 Anoka over #1 Forest Lake in 7AAAA.
Hopkins is the 1 of 3 teams vying for a 3-peat and, frankly, their the most likely to get it done. Maranatha has already lost to Mountain Iron-Buhl, their likely opponent in the Class A final. DeLaSalle is only rated #5 in QRF and #2 in the AP poll. Though, in truth, I think both will repeat.
And it's true that Hopkins, too, is rated #2 in the AP poll behind Kennedy. But Kennedy lost to Eastview last night for a 3rd loss, and they will not be rated #1 next week. Hopkins will.
Section 1--Lakeville North is a virtual shoo-in in a section that is otherwise made up primarily of non-metro teams. The big question of the day, of course, is why Lakeville NORTH is in the southern Minny section and Lakeville SOUTH is in the metro section. What up wit' dat'? But that's the way it is so Lakeville North (#10 QRF, 17-7) gets the nod.
Section 2--Bloomington Kennedy (#3, 21-3) is rated #1 in the AP poll, like I said, but lost last night. Kenisha Bell has been out with a HAND injury but she came back in last night's loss. I didn't see the game but she scored just 9 points and I'm guessing she's not 100 percent. But probably will be a month from now. If that's the case, they'll win in Section 2. If not, Edina (#4, 20-4) and guard MC McGrory move up.
Section 3--Eastview (#5, 23-1) and guard Maddy Guebert are a shoo-in though I really like Park of Cottage Grove with guards Larissa Lurken and Sydney Lamberty. But Eastview's level? No. Park does not match up with Tyra Johnson and Hana Metoxen in the front-court. Not many do.
Section 4--St. Paul Central (#17, 21-4) is the favorite though QRF likes Woodbury. White Bear Lake matches up with Central better but can't seem to figure Woodbury out (Woodbury swept the season series). EDIT: That's not correct, they split. White Bear could be an upset special here.
Section 5--Roseville (#6, 22-2) is the pick over Centennial but that would be a heckuva game.
Section 6--Hopkins (#1, 22-1) should get by Minnetonka without too much trouble.
Section 7--A weak section but I cannot decide between Forest Lake (#13, 18-6) and Anoka (#18, 16-8). Anoka seems to have more weapons and the 2 extra losses can be understood entirely as an artifact of tougher conference competition (Forest Lake in the Suburban East, Anoka in the Northwest Suburban). So I guess I like Anoka.
Section 8--St. Michael-Albertville (#7, 19-4) remains the prohibitive fave despite the recent loss to Monticello.
3. Kennedy or Roseville
4. Roseville or Edina
5. St. Paul Central
Wild guesses as to the random draw.
Hopkins vs. Anoka. No contest.
Eastview vs. Lakeville North. No contest.
Kennedy vs. St. Michael-Albertville. Kennedy by 10.
Roseville vs. Central. Roseville by 5.
Semis and Finals
Hopkins over Roseville by 8
Eastview vs. Kennedy depends on Kenisha Bell. If she's 90 percent Kennedy, if she's less than that Eastview.
Hopkins repeats. Eastview or Kennedy takes 3rd place.
C- Tyra Johnson, Eastview, more of a power forward but she's best of the "bigs" so gotta have her.
F- Jade Martin, Kennedy
F- Nia Coffey, Hopkins
G- Maddy Guebert, Eastview
G- Kenisha Bell, Kennedy, if she's 90-95 percent or more; or Jaqlyn Poss, Roseville, or Taylor Stewart, Lakeville North, if she's not.
The Overall All-Tournament Team (All Classes)
C- Savanna Trapp, Esko, 6-9, senior
PF- Jade Martin, Bloomington Kennedy, 6-2, senior
SF- Tyseanna Johnson, DeLaSalle, 5-10, senior
PG- Allina Starr, DeLaSalle, 5-9, senior
SG- Carlie Wagner, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, 5-10, junior
C- Elle Thompson, Chaska, 6-2, junior
PF- Tyra Johnson, Eastview, 5-11, senior
SF- Nia Coffey, Hopkins, 5-11, senior
PG- Kenisha Bell, Bloomington Kennedy, 5-8, junior
SG- Maddie Geubert, Eastview, 5-8, sophomore
C- Taylor Reiss, Minneota, 6-1, sophomore
PF- Kylie Brown, Simley, 6-3, junior
SF- Natalie Ratliff, Providence, 6-1, senior
PG- Jaqlyn Poss, Roseville, 5-8, senior
SG- Bailey Strand, Fergus Falls, 5-8, junior
C- Onye Osemenam, Maranatha, 6-1, senior
PF- Allie Knuti, Mountain Iron-Buhl, 6-1, senior
SF- Taylor Finley, Providence, 6-0, senior
PG- Leah Szabla, Providence, 5-10, senior
SG- Brianna Rasmussen, Fergus Falls, 5-9, junior
Coaches of the Year
These are not my final picks, these are forecasts based on how I foresee the state tournaments coming out.
AAAA--Brian Cosgriff, Hopkins. Remember they lost both starting guards. Melissa Guebert, Eastview, is #2.
AAA--Tara Seifert, Chaska, edges out Erin Herman, Hill-Murray, who almost gets a young team to the tournament.
AA--Bill Gottenborg, Hawley with Josh Thurow, Minnehaha, second.
A--Jeff Buffetta, Mountain Iron-Buhl, ahead of Tammy Filzen, Faribault Bethlehem.