State Tournament: Friday Preview

High School

Posted On: 03/22/18 11:20 PM

All of the State Tournament action on Friday moves over to Target Center featuring four games.

The Class A semifinals begin at noon, with the #1 seeded Mayer Lutheran Crusaders squaring off against the #4 seeded Knights from Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.

At 2 pm, the second Class A semifinal pits the #2 seeded North Woods Grizzlies against the #3 seeded Cass Lake-Bena Panthers.

The Class AA semifinals begin at 6 pm with the #1 seeded Minnehaha Academy Redhawks facing the #5 seeded St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders.

The final game of the day in Class AA is at 8 pm between the #2 seeded Brooklyn Center Centaurs and the #3 seeded Caledonia Warriors.


Class A

Mayer Lutheran vs. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton – Each team brings their own distinct strengths to this game. Mayer Lutheran will have a size advantage with the tandem of Baden Noennig and Garrett Tjernagel. Both players are very active and mobile standing 6’6”, they will pose more of a challenge in the paint and at the rim than what RTR saw on Thursday. The ability of Kobey Woolhouse to control the tempo for the Crusaders, as well as knock down shots from the outside, will be vital for Mayer Lutheran.

RTR was very successful in transition against Hinckley-Finlayson. Just when the Jaguars thought they had caught some momentum with a bucket, the Knights had already inbounded the ball and zipped it up the court, not allowing HF to get their defense set. The ability of RTR to quickly get into transition, whether it was off of a made basket or a rebound, allowed them to get many quality looks at the rim. Westin Kirk will have to play big in the paint to contend with Noennig and Tjernagel, but the likes of Garrett Kern, Carter Hansen, and Cooper Hansen on the wing can look to push the tempo.


North Woods vs. Cass Lake-Bena – Their opponents on Thursday both tried to slow down the pace. For North Woods, they played at a slower pace than normal and were still too much to handle. They didn’t showcase any full-court pressure, and they didn’t need to.  Cade Goggleye was calm, cool, and collected, but will face more pressure from the Panthers on Friday. Chase Kleppe and Trevor Morrison could be difference makers, as Cass Lake-Bena does not have a true threat in the paint.

Cass Lake-Bena was slowed down by Rushford-Peterson, but they showed that they have players capable of scoring in the half-court. Noah DeLapaz can knock down shots if left open, and Arnold Kingbird has the ability to create for his teammates or get his own looks. He appeared to have possibly turned an ankle towards the end of the game, we’ll see if that has an impact on his play Friday. I would imagine that the pace of this game will be elevated from both of their games on Thursday.



Class AA

Minnehaha Academy vs. St. Cloud CathedralJaVonni Bickham has proven to be a lot to handle down low for most Class AA teams, but I think the matchup between him and Cathedral’s Michael Schaefer could be an interesting one. Schaefer has shown that he isn’t afraid to be physical down low, but he can also step out on the perimeter. Both players are double-double machines, it should be fun to watch them go at it. They aren’t the only two big bodies on the floor, Cathedral also runs out 6’7” senior Mitchell Plombon, and 6’10” freshman Chet Holmgren has continued to improve and make strides for Minnehaha.

Both teams have a number of talented perimeter players, Jackson Jangula, Nick Schaefer, Jacob Stolzenberg for Cathedral, and Terry Lockett, Kaden Johnson, and of course, Jalen Suggs for Minnehaha. As he is most nights, Suggs is a difference maker, and he just might be the difference maker on Friday.


Brooklyn Center vs. Caledonia – This game is very intriguing given that both teams are perimeter oriented, and feature very skilled, fundamentally sound perimeter players. Sophomore Lu’cye Patterson has been on quite a run through the section playoffs and into the quarterfinals of State. He has a sound all-around game that can be effective getting to the bucket, creating for others, or hitting from range. Adreone Sprinkles is the other key piece for the Centaurs, his activeness on defense and on the glass is impactful.

The King brothers had a cold night shooting in the quarterfinals, but I wouldn’t expect that to carry over. Look for them to try and get to the basket early in the game, hoping to see some close-range shots fall to get them started. Despite the shooting woes of other Warriors, Marten Morem was a perfect 8 for 8 on the night on his way to 18 points Wednesday.