Eastview coach Molly Kaspers (standing) and her Lightning team are playing in their eighth consecutive Class 4A state tournament and fourth under Kaspers' leadership. Photo: Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
4A story lines
1. Can Hopkins win one more?
Undefeated, the No. 1 seed and a perennial tournament favorite, the Royals do have a significant hurdle to overcome: The runners-up in 2016, 2017 and 2018 are just the second team in tournament history to lose three consecutive championship games (New London-Spicer lost four Class 1A finals from 1991 through 1994). Don’t think that Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff isn’t aware of that. While Cosgriff is steadfast in never taking an opponent lightly and is meticulous in preparation, you can count the Royals’ recent history factoring into how they play.
2. Eastview is back again
It’s about time that Eastview is considered a flagship girls’ basketball program. The Lightning will be making their eighth consecutive state tournament appearance and have two championships, in 2014 and 2018, tucked away. Coach Molly Kasper has continued what former coach Melissa Guebert started, having made the state tournament field in all four years of her coaching tenure. Kasper’s aggressive style rubs off on her players, who play with grit and tenacity and supreme confidence in their ability to find a way to win.
4. Star power
Among the big individual names in the Class 4A field: Paige Bueckers and Dlayla Chakolis at Hopkins, Sara Scalia and Liza Karlen at Stillwater, Macy Guebert at Eastview, Taylor McAulay at Centennial, Lauren Jensen at Lakeville North and Abigail Groeneweg at Forest Lake.
4. Family ties
Maple Grove’s leading scorer, Jordyn Lamker, is the daughter of Edina football coach Derrin Lamker. ... Shakopee guard Jaley Coplin’s brother, Booker, was recently named the MIAC men’s basketball Player of the Year.JIM PAULSEN