NLS coach Mike Dreier, in 2016. [Star Tribune file photo]
1. Winningest coach is back
The state’s winningest girls’ prep coach, Mike Dreier of New London-Spicer, will make his state record 18th appearance in the state tournament. He owns a career record of 961-181. Dreier led the Wildcats to state titles in 1997 and 2002. They have been the runner-up six times. He was inducted into the Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame last year. This year’s squad (28-1), ranked fourth by Minnesota Basketball News, faces unranked Duluth Marshall (25-5) in the quarterfinals.
2. Top talent on display
Rochester Lourdes senior forward 6-1 Alyssa Ustby, bound for North Carolina, averages 26 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals for the No. 1-ranked Eagles (27-2). Tar Heels coach Courtney Banghart calls Ustby “a selfless teammate, and a versatile two- way player. She has great length and a relentless motor. She affects the game in so many ways.” Duluth Marshall also has Division I recruit in Grace Kirk, a 5-5 guard headed for Brown in the Ivy League. Kirk scored 33 points in a 79-63 victory over Pequot Lakes in the Section 7 championship.
3. Lone unbeaten in 2A
Pelican Rapids (29-0) joins Hopkins (28-0) as the only unbeaten teams in the state tournament. The fifth-ranked Vikings defeated No. 3 Fergus Falls 43-41 in the Section 8 championship on senior guard Maddie Guler’s running one-handed bank shot at the buzzer. Pelican Rapids is led by junior forwards Greta Tollefson and Anna Stephenson.
Follow the action: Adult tickets are $16 for championship games and $12 for consolation games. Student tickets are $10 for championship, $8 for consolation. All championship games and semifinals will be televised on Ch. 45 and streamed live at prep45.com for free. All quarterfinals will be streamed free at prepspotlight.tv.