Abby Hennen (14) of Minneota. [Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine]
1. Ready to defend
Defending champion Minneota’s path to another Class 1A championship looks all too familiar. The No. 1-ranked Vikings (30-1) meet Red Lake 21-9 in the quarterfinals, an identical matchup from a year ago when they won by 20 points. If they reach the semifinals, the Vikings would face the winner of Heritage Christian (22-7) and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (26-4). They defeated Heritage Christian 55-50 in the semifinals last year. Minneota returns junior Abby Hennen (18.1 points per game) and sister Morgan (13.1) from last year’s starters. Minneota, making its eighth state tournament appearance in the past 10 years, also won a state title in 2013.
2. Four first-timers
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (19-10), Fillmore Central (22-8) and Henning (28-2) are all making their first state tournament appearances. Henning is the No. 3 seed while Waterville-Elysian-Morristown is No. 4. Henning faces Fillmore Central in the first round, guaranteeing a newcomers will reach the semifinals.
3. Cardinals halt nine-year streak
It took Cromwell-Wright’s return to Section 7 to bring an end to Mountain Iron-Buhl’s streak of nine consecutive state tournament appearances. Both schools appeared in the state tournament in 2016 and 2017 when Cromwell-Wright was in Section 5. The No. 2-ranked Cardinals (28-2) are led by senior guard Taya Hakamaki, averaging more than 25 points per game.
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.