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Posted On: 03/6/18 10:00 AM
The west metro is stacked, and section 6AAAA is not short on any of the great talent in that area.
With Robbinsdale Cooper moving down to AAA this year, no new teams were elevated and it left the section with just seven teams. That means 1 seed Hopkins receives a bye into the semifinals. Nevertheless, the next few seeds are playing good ball and can’t be counted out as a challenge despite regular season results.
Contenders: Hopkins, Wayzata
Hopkins boasts the best record in Class AAAA, holding just one loss on their record to Cretin early in the season. They’ve mowed down non-conference opponents led by the explosive trio of Blaise Beauchamp, Anthony Davis and Zeke Nnaji. They swept the Lake Conference (not without trial) and will be one of few favorites to win the state title. Another one of the most complete teams in the state.
Wayzata might not be thought of as a section contender, especially with Hopkins standing on the other side of the bracket—but don’t let their record deceive you. In their first meeting with the Royals, they held their own until a second half run broke it open. The Trojans are 15-11 and are led by junior guards Jacob Beeninga and Luke Paulson and senior leader Drew Galinson, all averaging more than 13 points per game. Wayzata is small up front but their guard play paces their offense to crazy levels. They draw 7 seed Minneapolis Southwest in the first round.
In the Hunt: St. Louis Park
If the Orioles can be at full strength with Cire Mayfield in play, you can bet they’ll be a tough out as a 3 seed. Add in Aidan Doherty and Joey Whitlock and that’s a fiery offensive ready to compete. They also lack some size but a semifinal against Wayzata could be entertaining. Their first round game is against Minneapolis Washburn.
Dark Horse: Robbinsdale Armstrong
The Falcons are just 11-15 on the year but are absolutely playing their best ball, having knocked out Totino-Grace, Osseo and Blaine in the past couple weeks. Sophomore Jake Breitbach is the only double figure scorer and the rotation has next to zero playoff experience, but coach Greg Miller has his guys ready to grind wins when it matters thanks to his many years of high-stakes basketball. They don’t get blown out often.
The Royals are just too big for any team to stand in their path, and a bye to the semifinals means more rest and preparation for the next round. I expect Coach Novak to have his guys ready and focused to make the trip back to state after being knocked out last year by Wayzata. The 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-10 presences of Nnaji and Joe Hedstrom will be too much for any team to match up with in this section.
Section 6AAAA semifinals: Friday, March 9 at Osseo High School
Section 6AAAA finals: Wednesday, March 14 at Osseo High School