Spring is on the way and it also means the final winter state championship games will take place Saturday in girls basketball. Here’s a preview of the four state championship games.
Opening up the day’s festivities is the Class A final with the top seeded Goodhue Wildcats and the Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs. What a winter sports season it has been for the town that has grown from a population of 778 in 2000 to a current population of 1,179. Last week, the boys basketball team lost to Minneapolis North in the Class A final and this week, many purple and white clad fans headed to Williams Arena to see the girls basketball team take on Maranatha. The Wildcats has plowed through their first two opponents like a farmer driving his tractor through a field. They beat Sacred Heart of East Grand Forks by 31 and Wheaton/Herman-Norcross by 39, giving them an average win margin of 35 points in two games. The Mustangs came off a monumental semifinal win in overtime over the Mountain Iron-Buhl Rangers. Can the Mustangs remained focused and pull off another last second win or will the Wildcats put them away early?
Rounding out the afternoon session is the Class AA championship game between the top seeded Plainview-Elgin-Millville Buldogs and the New London-Spicer Wildcats. The Bulldogs could be the second team from Section 1 to win a state title. Last year’s state champion Dover-Eyota was beaten in the section final by P-E-M. They could have their hands full against New London-Spicer. The unseeded Wildcats have been playing really good basketball, knocking off the third seeded Minnehaha Academy Redhawks and on Shea Oman’s game winner with :04.5 left in regulation time, the second seeded Sauk Centre Mainstreeters. It’s the eighth state championship game for veteran Wildcat head coach Mike Dreier. They are 2-5 in state title games. Is a third one in the works?
Following a dinner break, it’s the Class AAA championship with the Holy Angels Stars and the second seeded Winona Winhawks. tars head coach Dan Woods is in the title game for the first time since 2005 and the academy has a shot at its fist state title since 1975 when girls basketball as a one class tournament. They will have to get past a strong defensive Winona Winhawks who are in their first tournament since 2003. Get on line early, this should be an interesting AAA final.
Wrapping up Championship Saturday is an All Lake Conference Class AAAA final with the defending state champion Hopkins Royals and the Minnetonka Skippers. The Royals have been on a roll with wins over two time defending Class AAA champion Park Center and the Eastview Lightning. The Skippers are a very talented team who had decisive wins over Anoka and White Bear Lake. Both teams split their season series with the rubber game coming up sometime after 8 PM. There could be a good crowd for the Class AAAA final.