Basketball previews of local interestPublished 11:03am Tuesday, March 20, 2012
The coaches have selected the top seeds in all four classes for the first time — Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in Class A, Perham in Class AA, Minneapolis Washburn in Class AAA, and Hopkins in Class AAAA.
Perham and Hopkins are also the only two schools returning to defend their 2011 titles. If Perham wins, it would be the second consecutive and overall title for the Yellowjackets.
The 2012 State Boys’ Basketball Tournament starts Wednesday, March 21. Quarterfinal games will be played at Target Center on Wednesday, March 21, and at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis on both Wednesday and Thursday, March 21 and 23. Semifinals will be played at Target Center on Thursday March 22 and Friday March 23.
The championship games of all four classes will be played at Target Center on Saturday March 24.
Third-place games will be played on Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul.
Class AA Preview
(Section 3) Worthington (21-6) vs. (Section 8 & No. 1 Seed) Perham (27-2): Unranked Worthington is making its third appearance, but first since 1998. Senior Mitchael Weg, who is the school’s all-time leader in rebounds, averages 24.2 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. Junior Morgan Traylor adds an average of 12.3 rebounds per game. The Perham Yellowjackets return to defend their 2011 title. They are making their second consecutive and overall appearance and were the No. 4 team in the final MBN poll. Perham did not provide team or individual statistics.
Class AAA Preview
(Section 5) Rocori, Cold Spring (18-11) vs. (Section 6 & No. 1 Seed) Minneapolis Washburn (27-2): Rocori is making its 13th trip to the tournament, last appearing in 2007. The Spartans were not ranked in the final MBN poll. Junior Jonah Eisenschenk leads Rocori with 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Senior Nathan Meyer adds 13.0 points per game.
Head Coach Bob Brink, who has coached the Spartans for 51 years, will retire at the end of this season. The Millers of Minneapolis Washburn, who were ranked No. 2 in this year’s final poll, are returning for their eighth appearance. They madetheir last in 2009.
(Section 8) Detroit Lakes (22-7) vs. (Section 3 & No. 2 Seed) DeLaSalle, Minneapolis (23-6):
The Lakers of Detroit Lakes return for the second time, but first tournament appearance since 1918. The Lakers finished the season unranked in the final MBN poll. Senior Joe Mollberg, who has more than 1,400 career points, averages17.6 points per game. Senior Brian Labat adds 12.3 points per game and also corrals a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game. Mollberg and Labat will both attend the University of North Dakota on football scholarships next year.
The Islanders are making their 17th appearance; their last in 2010.
Class AAAA Preview
(Section 8) Moorhead (18-9) vs. (Section 1 & No. 2 Seed) Lakeville North (28-1): Unranked Moorhead returns to tournament play for the first time since 2002. It is the 23rd appearance for the Spuds, who won championships in 1928 and 1929. Moorhead’s leading scorer is junior Aaron Lien, averaging 22.3 points per game. Junior Austin Nelson adds 11.7 points per game, while senior Matt
Ellingson contributes 10.7 points and 4.9 assists per game. The Panthers of Lakeville North are making
their second overall appearance and first since 2006. Lakeville North gets balanced scoring from three seniors: Tyler Flack averages 13.7 points per game; Brett Rasmussen adds 12.8; and Ryan Saarela hits 56.3 percent of his field goals for 12.2 points, plus 8.3 rebounds per game.
Class A Preview
(Section 7) Lakeview Christian Academy, Duluth (25-5) vs. (Section 6 & No. 1 Seed) Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (30-0): The Lions of Lakeview Christian Academy are making their debut tournament appearance. They enter competition scoring an average of 93 points per game, led by junior
Anders Broman’s 1,293 points this season — 44.6 points per game on 60.9 percent field goal shooting.
Senior Luke Borchardt is the team’s top rebounder with 9.2 per game.
The Lions enter the tournament unranked in the final Minnesota Basketball News (MBN) poll. Undefeated and top-seeded Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa wrapped up the season ranked No. 1 in the final MBN poll.
The Jaguars are making their second overall and consecutive appearance, in pursuit of a title after 2011’s runner-up finish. Senior Connor Goodwin averages a double-double in points (17.5 per game) and rebounds (10.3 per game).
Three other players average double-digit scoring: sophomore Billy Borgerding (12.1 points per game); senior Kirby Montbriand (13.1); and sophomore Brian Goodwin (15.2).
Television and Webcast
All semifinal and championship games will be televised live by KSTC-TV Channel 45, and also streamed live and free on the Web at Prep45.com. GrandStadium is also recording all quarterfinal and third-place games for delayed viewing at Prep45.com.