TOP 10 METRO TEAMS
Let’s see, three consecutive Class 4A state championships and an overall record of 91-4 during that span. Who would you make No. 1? The Royals, led by 5-10 junior guard T’aire Starks, are the overwhelming favorite in their quest for a four-peat. They just might not be as dominant as in the past.
The Lightning keep inching closer to their dream season. Their young, talented group that finished fourth in 2012 and third in 2013 are now juniors. Coach Melissa Guebert will be counting on her daughter, guard Madison, and forward Hana Metoxen to lead the way. They are both juniors.
The Cougars are seeking their first state tournament appearance since Jill Becken resigned as coach after the 2010-11 season. Centennial made its last state tournament trip in 2009. Coach Greg Amundson’s group has a nice blend of veterans and youth who all have game experience.
For the Hawks’ return to Class 4A, coach Tara Seifert welcomes back her top four scorers, all of whom are seniors. Forward Ellie Thompson led the team averaging more than 17 points per game last season. Chaska will battle in tough Section 3, including Bloomington Kennedy and Lakeville South.
5. Bloomington Kennedy
Coach Quintin Johnson enters his second season at the helm of the Eagles, and expectations remain high. They were the state tournament runner-up to Hopkins a year ago. He has senior leadership to turn to in guards Kenisha Bell and Tonoia Wade.
The graduation of guard Joanna Hedstrom, now with the Gophers program, doesn’t mean the Skippers’ talent pool has dropped off. Minnetonka might not equal last year’s 24 victories, but it’s second only to Hopkins in the tough Lake Conference.
7. Forest Lake
The Rangers haven’t been to the state tournament in more than 10 years. Their seniors, led by forward Bailey Norby, are eager to end that drought. Forest Lake is coming off a 20-victory season and has the majority of its lineup intact.
8. Lakeville South
Coach Angie Iverson-Ohnstad’s squad, coming off a school-record 17 victories last season, returns seven of its top nine scorers and figures to be a 20-win team in 2013-14. Boston College recruit senior Kaitlyn Quandt, a 6-foot-4 center, should own the lane.
The Tornadoes have appeared in the state tournament in two of the last three years, their only two trips in the history of the program. Seton Hall recruit senior guard Claire Lundberg is one of three returning starters.
10. Minneapolis Washburn
The Millers’ success, seen last year in a fourth-place finish in Class 2A, is tied to senior Chase Coley, a 6-foot-3 guard/forward. They will compete in Class 3A for the 2013-14 season. A solid nonconference schedule should pay dividends at the end of the year.