Hopkins forward Nia Hollie
In terms of college-level talent, the Class 4A championship game between Hopkins and Minnetonka was about as good as it gets for girls’ basketball in Minnesota.
Hopkins had two Division I signees in its starting lineup, Nia Hollie (Michigan State) and Ashley Bates (Hampton), and two others who have committed to college programs next year in Evelyn Knox (Wayne State) and K’Aezha Wubben (Augsburg).
The Skippers have four seniors who will play D-I next year in Courtney Fredrickson (Wisconsin), Hannah Hedstrom (Lehigh), Lizzie Odegard (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Grace Allen (Pennsylvania). Sophomore Chrissy Carr, the daughter of former Timberwolves guard Chris Carr, is ranked among the top 10 college recruits for the Class of 2018 by a number of websites.
Icing on the cake
The state’s winningest coach, New London-Spicer’s Mike Dreier, treasures every state appearance just a little bit more. He made his 16th this year.
“You have to enjoy the heck out of it, especially the closer you get to the end,” said Dreier, who has an 865-160 career record in 38 years at the helm of the Wildcats’ program.
“I’m appreciative of the kids who dragged me along one more time,” said Dreier, whose team finished as Class 2A runner-up Saturday.
The Wildcats appeared in their first state championship game since 2002, their second title run. They won the 2A championship in 1997. The Wildcats were the runner-up in Class 1A in 1991, ’92, ’93 and ’94, and in Class 2A in 2001.
“As a coach there isn’t anything better [than playing for a state championship],” Dreier said.
Fouls draw no call
His team’s persistent foul trouble did not reduce Maranatha Christian Academy coach Chris Buerman to referee shaming. The Mustangs had two players foul out in both the semifinal and championship games.
“I don’t ever believe an official is going to determine a game,” Buerman said. “It’s the toughest job. You know walking in that at your best you’re 50 percent right. If I went and did the job, I’d be maybe 25 percent right. Because I yell at them all the time and then I watch the tape and have to apologize.”
Three of the four championship games included teams from the southeastern corner of Minnesota: Goodhue in Class 1A, Plainview-Elgin-Millville in 2A and Winona in 3A.
Key player sits out
Winona point guard Jayne Emerson did not suit up for the 3A championship after leaving Thursday’s semifinal with a knee injury. Emerson had a brace on her left knee.
Kiley Borowicz scored 43 points, leading No. 6-ranked Roseau (29-4) to a 94-82 victory over No. 2-rated Sauk Centre (30-3) in the Class 2A third-place game. Borowicz had 111 points and 39 rebounds in the Rams’ three state tournament games.
Staff writers Jim Paulsen, Ron Haggstrom, David La Vaque and Cody Stavenhagen contributed to this notebook.