In Part One, the Class AAAA & AAA section finals and semifinals were previewed and now in Part Two, the Class AA & A sections will be examined.
Starting with Class AA. In Section 1, the Caledonia Warriors battle the St. Charles Saints for a trip up Highway 52 to Target Center. The Warriors roster is populated with players from the football team that won the Class AA title. Can they be even successful in basketball?
It’s down to the final four in Section 2 as the Belle Plaine Tigers face the Norwood-Young America Raiders and the Maple River Eagles battle the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers.
Jackson County Central and Montevideo will vie for the Section 3 championship. Section 4 is in semifinal mode with the New Life Academy Eagles taking on the St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders and the Minneapolis Roosevelt Teddies facing off against the Minnehaha Academy Redhawks.
Over in Section 5, semifinal play commences with the “Battle of Highway 55” featuring the Annandale Cardinals and the Rockford Rockets. On the other end of the bracket, the Breck Mustangs take on the Brooklyn Center Centaurs. Big things could come for one of the Twin Cities smallest school districts as Brooklyn Center is two wins away from their first trip to state since 1983.
Subsection final pairings are set in Section 6 with the defending Class AA state champion Melrose Dutchmen and the Albany Huskies in the West final and the Braham Bombers and the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders playing in the East final.
Heading north to Section 7 where the Crosby-Ironton Rangers face the Proctor Rails and the Esko Eskomos look for a return trip down I-35 against the Virginia Blue Devils. Section 8 features Perham and Breckenridge in the first semifinal and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton facing Barnesville in the second.
Now to Class A where the Goodhue Wildcats take on the Spring Grove Lions for the Section 1 title. Spring Grove, with an enrollment of 77 students lost their only game to Lake Mills, WI. The Lions ended Rushford-Peterson’s state championship reign in the semifinals.
In Section 2, keep your eye on the Cleveland Clippers as they are two wins away from their first trip to state in the school’s 102 year history. First, they have to beat the New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds. The second semifinal has the Mankato Loyola Crusaders and the St. Clair Cyclones.
The Section 3 title game features the Central Minnesota Christian Blue Jays, who finished third in last year’s state tournament and the Murray County Central Rebels, hoping to earn their first trip to Minneapolis. The Section 4 semifinals have the Christ’s Household of Faith Lions battling the top seeded Minneapolis North Polars and the Heritage Christian Academy Eagles facing the Prairie Seeds Academy Lycans. The Lycans are a quick and athletic team that could be a threat to the top ranked Polars.
The Section 5 final four has Pine River-Backus taking on Verndale and Browerville/Eagle Valley facing the Swanville Swans. One of only two undefeated teams in Minnesota (the other is Osseo) is Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and they have their season on the line against Lake Park-Audubon. The second semifinal has the Battle Lake Battlers and the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars.
For the third straight year, Fond du Lac Ojibwe could wrap up the Section 7 title. But first they will have to beat Mountain Iron-Buhl. In the second semifinal, Silver Bay faces North Woods. North Woods, based in Cook has lost only two games this season.
Concluding this round of section semifinals in Section 8 as the Red Lake Warriors are two wins away from a return trip to Minneapolis. First up is the Fosston Greyhounds. Kittson County Central and the Northern Freeze are also vying for a section final berth.
There’s plenty of action coming up this week. Who will punch their ticket to the Twin Cities?