There’s one more class to be examined and that’s Class A and the eight sections on the Road to Target Center.
Section 1 is in the subsection semifinals and in the West subsection is the top seeded Goodhue Wildcats and the second seeded Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms. Blooming Prairie has several players who were on the state tournament football team last fall, Jon Rumpza, Jake Decker and Mitchell Jones. Over in the East subsection is the top ranked Class A team the Rushford-Peterson Trojans. The Trojans are on a 22 game winning streak in head coach Tom Vix’s 30th season. It could come to a showdown with the Spring Grove Lions for a berth in the section final. Spring Grove is also hot, winning 11 straight.
In Section 2, the top seed in the North subsection is the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Falcons. But look out for the second seeded Springfield Trojans, winners of 12 straight. In the South subsection, the top seeded United South Central Rebels remain alive but look out for the second seeded Mankato Loyola Crusaders and the third seeded St. Clair Cyclones.
Over in Section 3, big things are happening in the little town of Prinsburg where the Central Minnesota Christian Blue Jays are the top seed in the North subsection. The Canby Lancers are best known for wrestling but in boys basketball they are the number two seed and have a good chance of heading to Minneapolis. In the South subsection, the top seed is the Murray County Rebsls. Lookout for the second seeded Southwest MN Christian Eagles. The Edgerton based school has been a perennial private school power and is on a seven game winning streak.
A familiar coaching name is heading the top seed in Section 4. Larry McKenzie, who guided Minneapolis Patrick Henry to four consecutive state titles is leading the Minneapolis North Polars. Can McKenzie be one of the few coaches to lead two different conference teams to the state tournament? First, they will likely have to face the second seeded Maranatha Christian Academy Mustangs. Jeff Wall’s bunch is on a 10 game winning streak. Polars or Mustangs? Take your pick. The section final at Macalester College is bound to be exciting.
The Nevis Tigers and the Kimball Cubs are the top subsection seeds in Section 5. But don’t count out the north subsection’s second seeded Browerville Tigers. As for the defending Class A champion Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars, they have suffered graduation losses and have fallen to 5-21.
Looking at Section 6, there could be a three team race in the North subsection with the top seeded Waubun Bombers, the second seeded Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Comets and the third seeded Park Christian Falcons. One of them will likely battle the South subsection’s top seed the Battle Lake Battlers. The Battlers are on a 127 game winning streak and could extend it to 20.
Heading up to Section 7 where the Floodwood Polar Bears are the top seed in subsection 1. Last year’s success story, Fond du Lac Ojibwe is seeded second. Over in subsection 2, the Mountain Iron-Buhl Rangers are the top seed followed by the North Woods Grizzlies, seeded second.
And the final section to be examined is Section 8, where a pair of Native American schools are the top two seeds in the East subsection the Red Lake Warriors and the Cass Lake-Bena Panthers. On their heels is the third seed Fosston Greyhounds, who won the first state tournament in 1913. Can they go for a state title 102 years after entering the history books? One of these teams will face the South subsection winner, with the Win-E-Mac Patriots the top seed. The Northern Freeze is the second seed and the Stephen-Argyle Storm is seeded third. Keep your eye on this section. There’s some exciting small town basketball in northwestern Minnesota.
There you have it. Thirty two boys basketball sections. Four classes. Who will head to Minneapolis?