Posted On: 03/6/18 9:30 AM

Section 3AAAA consists of a slew of South Suburban squads with the Metro East and Suburban East mixed in. The road to the Target Center runs through Apple Valley for this grouping; can anyone stand firmly in the way? NHR talks it through here.

Contenders: Apple Valley

The Eagles have made quick work of this section many times over. Led by Tre Jones, this group has played together for what feels like forever and know exactly where they’ll be and when on the court. Super-elite role guys Luke MartensNathan MachoZach Korba and Ely Hendrickson will be ready to slash and spot up with Jones orchestrating. They finished the season 22-4 and are hungry to show they belong in the list of title challengers once again.

In the Hunt: Eastview

A 10-16 record likely doesn’t reflect the talent on this Lightning team. The young front line of sophomores Tate Machacek (10.9 ppg) and Steven Crowl (12.5 ppg) have caused some problems for Eastview’s foes this season. Max Bolger has been a senior producer as well. The rotation is young and they will grow consistent over time. For now, they could give AV a scare in a playoff atmosphere.

Dark Horse: Eagan

The Wildcats are in a rebuilding year, but they’ve been on a decent uptick lately, knocking off Eastview and Burnsville recently. They also took out 3 seed Hastings in December. Jaylen James is a shifty guard scoring in double figures and can take a game into his own hands periodically. They travel to Henry Sibley for the 4/5 matchup and I like them to take that game.

Winner: Apple Valley

Tre Jones has owned this side of town in March for three years now. There isn’t a whole lot of doubt he and the Eagles will make it four in a row. Apple Valley is the most talented team in the section, and their uptempo, ball-movement style of play will have opponents spinning for possibly the third time this season. Don’t overlook some of the young players in these first round games, but Apple Valley rakes through the three contests once again.

Section 3AAAA semifinals: Friday, March 9 at Farmington High School

Section 3AAAA finals: Thursday, March 15 at Farmington High School