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Which teams will be playing for state championships on Friday?

By RON HAGGSTROM, Star Tribune , 04/05/21, 5:30PM CDT


The Star Tribune's Ron Haggstrom did pretty well with his quarterfinal picks. But not good enough by his hoops standards. See how he landed on the eight semifinal games starting Tuesday.

Seventh-grader Maddyn Greenway has emerged this season with Providence Academy, which plays undefeated New London-Spicer in a Class 2A semifinal Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Drew Herron, SportsEngine

Going 13-3 in Las Vegas would have me elated. But my girls’ basketball predictions in the state tournament quarterfinals aren’t good enough. I’ve always been referred to as “Mr. Perfect.” Even before the late Curt Hennig, the wrestler who grew up in Robbinsdale and was only a few months older.

On to the semifinals:

Class 4A
Chaska vs. Hopkins: No disrespect for the other two semifinal teams but this is the state championship. Only the Hawks stand between Hopkins and another state championship. Chaska will not have a problem matching the Royals’ intensity, but will in the depth department. A Royals victory will run their winning streak to a record 79 games, breaking the 78-game mark held by Fosston from 1999-2002. Sorry, Kelly Roysland.

Centennial vs. Rosemount: Both of these teams are getting better as the year goes on. The Irish were determined to knock off next door neighbor Farmington in the quarterfinals. Centennial doesn’t bring the same kind of luster. I’m banking on this game not being in the 40s. With that being said, go with the Cougars. If this is a low-scoring affair, Centennial has more offensive options.

Class 3A
Holy Angels vs. Marshall: This class has the best two semifinal matchups, with four of the top five ranked teams in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll. Both programs seek a third state title, Holy Angels winning the most recent in 2016. For those of you who are all offense, I’ll take the better defensive team here: Marshall.

Becker vs. Hill-Murray: In the season’s waning weeks Becker’s talented senior class suffered a three-game losing streak — a one-point loss to Holy Angels and defeats to 4A powers Minnetonka and Hopkins that serves as notice of how much better they will have to play at this time of the year. That stretch pays dividends Tuesday night with a victory.

Class 2A
Albany vs. Glencoe-Silver Lake: The past few weeks have shown not to bet against senior guard Miah Monahan and the Panthers. The Eastern Illinois recruit always seems to prevail in tough situations. Glencoe-Silver Lake, the No. 3 seed in the South, will prove it was seeded too low.

New London-Spicer vs. Providence Academy: Another semifinal battle that would be better served as the championship. New London-Spicer has already defeated the other two semifinalists this season. The team’s contrasting styles will entertain. New London-Spicer will get the tempo it wants, but Providence Academy prevails in a low-scoring game.

Class 1A
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa vs. Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s: The Section 5 champion has not played for the Class 1A state championship since 2010. That representative, Barnum, won it all. I worked on the Iron Range from 1983-99, and I’m sorry, everybody knows Barnum is a Section 7 school. On that alone, go with Madison Mathiowetz and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s.

Minneota vs. Mountain Iron-Buhl: Rangers coach Jeff Buffetta has enjoyed a great run over the last 10 years, reaching the state tournament nine times. But over that period he has yet to defeat Minneota. I have to take the Vikings, even though I will no longer ever be permitted in Parkville. Skol!

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