Dlayla Chakolis (33), shown in a state tournament game last year against Forest Lake, is one of the leaders of Hopkins' talented team. Star Tribune file photo by Jerry Holt
1. Hopkins (4A)
Three consecutive state championship games with no titles after winning four in five years (2011-13, 2015). Led by the state’s best player in Paige Bueckers, that streak of frustrating finishes will end sometime. Why not this year?
2. Wayzata (4A)
An unstoppable inside scorer in Kallie Theisen, two strong inside players in Annika Stewart and Jenna Johnson to keep defenses from focusing on her, and a point guard whiz in Mimi Schrader to run the whole shebang.
3. St. Michael-Albertville (4A)
Talented, deep and battle-tested. Four of five starters are back, led by the floor wizardry of junior Mackenzie Kramer. They haven’t lost a Mississippi 8 Conference game since Feb. 14, 2013, a 69-game streak.
4. Eastview (4A)
The Lightning graduated a lot of talent, but return a terrific backcourt in Macy Guebert and Emma Carpenter and a budding star in sophomore Cassidy Carson. No coach builds esprit de corps better than Molly Kasper.
5. Roseville (4A)
Most of a talented team that reached the 2018 Class 4A semifinals is back, led by guards Kaylee Nelson and Jada Hood and junior forwards Jayda Johnston and Josie Haug.
6. Forest Lake (4A)
Expectations are high coming off its first state tournament appearance in 17 years. All five starters are back from a year ago, led by dynamic PG Maddy Rice and athletic forward Abigail Groeneweg.
7. Stillwater (4A)
Guard Sara Scalia’s profile rose dramatically by being Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen’s first in-state recruit. She’s joined by junior transfer Liza Karlen, a 6-1 post who can rebound and score inside and out, and ultra-quick guard Alexis Pratt.
8. Lakeville North (4A)
The Panthers have two exceptional players to build around in Annelise Tschida and Lauren Jensen, but the key word is “build.'' Expect a few bumps early as they transition to a guard-oriented offense.
9. Prior Lake (4A)
Word of advice: Do not underestimate 5-3 point guard McKenna Hofschild. A quick, mentally tough and fearless scorer who is unafraid to challenge, and beat, taller players inside.
10. Centennial (4A): The talent of G Taylor McAulay will have to hold the Cougars together while C Sara Stapleton recovers from an injury and coach Jill Becken molds a team of talented but green reserves.